UWI AT 70
THE GLEANER, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2018
OP-RANKING SHAKESPEARE, don of the
English theatre, is traditionally taught in
universities as the master of high culture.
In his own time, his plays were popular culture,
written for mass consumption.
‘Rough & Ready’ Shabba Ranks, international
superstar of Jamaican dancehall culture, is
usually excluded from conventional literary
studies. The prepositions ‘from’ and ‘to’ do not
signify rejection of Shakespeare for Shabba.
Instead, they acknowledge the potential range
of literary texts in the academy.
When I entered The University of the West
Indies, Mona, in 1968 to study literature, my
department was named ‘English’. By the time I
was retiring as a professor of literary and
cultural studies in 2016, the department had
been transformed into ‘Literatures in English’.
The literature of England is no longer the
singular subject of study. The plurality of
literature from the former colonies of England
is represented in the curriculum.
The revised name of the department is not
entirely accurate. Various Creole languages are
deployed in the literature. In fact, Caribbean
Creole Linguistics originated in the Department
of English. The British linguist, Robert Le Page, a
former Head, established a solid academic base
for the study of Caribbean creoles. Furthermore,
oral texts are included as well.
In the 1969-1970 academic year, Professor
Kenneth Ramchand introduced a course on
West Indian literature. One of his British
colleagues sceptically asked, “Is there a West
Indian Literature?”Ramchand paid him no mind.
I was fortunate to have been a student in that
inaugural class, which included Louise Bennett
among the writers studied. Professor Mervyn
Morris was invited to lecture on her work. In
1963, he had written the classic essay, “On
Reading Louise Bennett, Seriously”, which was
in four installments in
1964. Professor Maureen Warner-Lewis
expanded the curriculum with courses on
‘Introduction to Orature’, ‘Folktale and Proverb’,
and ‘Myth, Epic and the Hero’. I designed
courses on popular culture: ‘Reggae Poetry’ and
The Department also offers courses on film,
a development pioneered by Dr Rachel
Moseley Wood. In the 2018-2019 academic
year, a BA in Film Studies will be introduced.
Dr Connor Ryan played a major role in
designing the programme.
The colonial Department of English at Mona
has undergone revolutionary ideological
transformation into the post-colonial
Department of Literatures in English (and Creole
and Film Studies).
Its name will eventually catch up.
Prof Carolyn Cooper
Rachid Parchment/Sports News Coordinator
THE UNIVERSITY of the West Indies (UWI), through its
Faculty of Sport, has bettered the lives of youngsters
across the Caribbean looking to gain
qualification for various careers in
professional sports, especially cricket.
Throughout its 70 years, the UWI has not
only been regarded as the most reputable
institution for tertiary training in the
region, but also as one of the Caribbean’s
symbols of unity through CARICOM.
Similarly, West Indies cricket has been
held in the same regard, especially
because of the role it plays in reminding
the people of the region of what it means to be black.
For many years, especially between the 1970s and
the 1990s when the Windies were dominant in Test
cricket, the team comprising black men was an
inspiration to many fans across the region.
However, in recent times, the team has struggled to
produce consistent victories in all three formats of the
game – Test, One-Day Internationals, and Twenty20 –
as many youngsters are choosing other careers
because they do not see the value in cricket, especially
as a means of earning a living.
The UWI has helped to change the perception that
once an individual chooses to become an athlete, it
closes the door on thoughts of earning a respectable
living through what had been traditionally considered as
professional and respectable careers.
“The Faculty of Sport is here to send that message,”
says UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles,
who played professional cricket in his youth.
The UWI and Cricket West Indies (CWI) have worked
together throughout the years for the betterment of
cricketers across the region through various
memoranda of understanding (MOU) geared at
improving players and coaches.
CWI Marketing and Communications Manager Carole
Beckford says that these have enabled
cricketers such as Jamaican Chadwick
Walton and Windward Islands’ Kavem
Hodge to gain a tertiary education.
Walton recently completed a master’s
degree at The UWI, while Hodge is
pursuing his bachelor’s.
“We have different levels of MOUs
with the university that include
coaching programmes,” Beckford said.
“The Open Campus, through WIPA
(West Indies Players’ Association), has
been exceptional. Those relationships have yielded a
lot of opportunities for our members, where they get
to do courses, especially online. Those ventures have
One of the MOUs specifically focuses on coaching
improvement at Level Two.
Former wicketkeeper-batsman, now CWI Director of
Cricket, Jimmy Adams, describes The UWI as
“instrumental” in its creation.
“CWI will also benefit from UWI’s expertise in the
delivery of the course throughout the region,”Adams said.
“I am hopeful that the collaboration will see us
continue working together to further develop our
coaching education programmes to the benefit of
both the coaches and players throughout the region,”
The UWI and CWI have both said that while there is a
lot more to be done to improve cricket in the
Caribbean, the sport can return to its glory days with
the shared vision and objectives that have maintained
their long-standing partnership.
Sports faculty changing fortunes
From Shakespeare to Shabba
Ranks: Revising Literary Studies
Dr Eric Williams 1962-1971:
of Trinidad & Tobago
Sir Thomas Taylor 1947-1952:
(former Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford)
Dr Walter Grave 1953-
Sir Arthur Lewis 1959-1960:
(first West Indian scholar to hold the post of
From left: University of
the West Indies (UWI)
athlete, and current
West Indies cricketer,
Rovman Powell; Vice-
Sir Hilary Beckles; and
Dean of the Faculty of
Sport, Dr Akshai
Mansingh, share a
light moment at the
official launch of the
faculty in July at
The UWI Regional