Oscar WebberSep 17, 2023
Negotiating Relief and Freedom
Responses to Disaster in the British Caribbean, 1812-1907
Manchester University Press 2023
Negotiating Relief and Freedom: Responses to Disaster in the British Caribbean, 1812-1907 (Manchester University Press, 2023) by Dr. Oscar Webber is an investigation of short- and long-term responses to disaster in the British Caribbean colonies during the 'long' nineteenth century. Dr. Webber explores how colonial environmental degradation made their inhabitants both more vulnerable to and expanded the impact of natural phenomena such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. He shows that British approaches to disaster 'relief' prioritised colonial control and 'fiscal prudence' ahead of the relief of the relief of suffering.
In turn, that this pattern played out continuously in the long nineteenth century is a reminder that in the Caribbean the transition from slavery to waged labour was not a clean one. Times of crisis brought racial and social tensions to the fore and freedoms once granted, were often quickly curtailed.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.