In honour of Remembrance Day celebrations, Richard Smith speak to us on the role of Jamaicans and other West Indians in the World War I. He will tell us how early military enthusiasm in Jamaica contributed to the formation of the 16,000–strong British West Indies Regiment. He will explore the connections between plantation and military attitudes which resulted in the majority of Jamaican volunteers being confined to the role of military labour during the conflict. Richard will also discuss how some Jamaicans managed to evade military regulations and the racial attitudes of the time to serve as officers and in front-line combat. During the recent centenary commemorations, 2014-2018, the role of the West Indian colonies during the First World War received increasing attention and recognition. Richard will conclude by considering how the remembrance of Jamaica’s contribution informs ideas about race, masculinity and national belonging.
Richard Smith teaches in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been researching the role of Jamaicans and other West Indians in the First World War since 1995.
This event is a Zoom webinar on: Tuesday 24 November 2020 at 6.00 p.m. London time.
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