Power, Identity and Difference in Caribbean and Black British Contexts
Submitting InstitutionYork St John University
Unit of AssessmentCommunication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management
Summary Impact TypeCultural
Research Subject Area(s)
Language, Communication and Culture: Cultural Studies, Literary Studies
Summary of the impact
Dr Lawson Welsh's research is concerned with questions of power, identity
and difference in the Caribbean and its diasporas as evidenced in
theoretical, literary, culinary and wider cultural contexts. There are
four main areas of impact to this research:
(a) Impact on the public understanding of Caribbean history and culture
via the creative sector (television);
(b) Impact on pedagogic strategies and curriculum development in the
field of Postcolonial Studies and Anglophone Caribbean literature;
(c) Impact on the production and interpretation of Black British Women's
(d) Impact on widening awareness of food studies, Caribbean and other
ethnic minority culinary practices in a regional context.
(a) (b) Welsh's interests in this field developed out of her research at
Warwick University 1987-1991 and were consolidated in The Routledge
Reader in Caribbean Literature (1996), a key text in the field which
brings previously unknown or inaccessible primary and secondary texts to
greater attention and draws more familiar texts into a range of new
(b) (c) Welsh is a founding member and co-editor of the leading
international journal, Journal of Postcolonial Literature (JPW:
Taylor and Francis), launched in 2005 and devoted to the study of global
literature in English. This Journal explores the interface between the
postcolonial writing of the modern global era and the economic forces of
production which increasingly commodify culture, as well as the reshaping
of inner maps of the metropolis through the ethnic, diasporic voices and
the alternative and interstitial modes of writing associated with the new
(b) (c) Welsh has published one monograph (2007), co-edited two books
(1996, 2010), edited two special issues of international journals (World
Literature Written in English and JPW) and a cluster of
shorter publications exploring themes of power, identity and difference.
Her co-edited book, Re-routing the Postcolonial, explores future
directions for Postcolonial Studies including theories of globalization,
cosmopolitanism, terror, ecocriticism and the ethical and aesthetic turn
in postcolonial studies.
(d) Welsh' s most recent research focuses on performances and
representations of food in Caribbean and diasporic contexts, with
particular interests in cookery writing and questions of `authenticity',
culinary versions of nation and food hierarchies and social order in early
References to the research
3.1 Donnell, A. and Lawson Welsh, S. (eds), (1996) The Routledge
Reader in Caribbean Literature (Routledge).
3.2 Lawson Welsh, S. (2007) Grace Nichols in the `Writers and
Their Work' Series (British Council and Northcote Press).
3.3 Wilson, J. Sandru, C. and Lawson Welsh, S. (eds), (2009) Special
issue of Journal of Postcolonial Writing: Rerouting the Postcolonial,
45:2 and (2010), Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions
for a New Millennium (Routledge).
3.4 Lawson Welsh, S. (2012) `Texts, Bodies, Theory: Teaching Gender in
Postcolonial Studies' in Teaching Gender (Palgrave Macmillan,
`Teaching the New English Series'), edited by Fiona Tolan and Alice
Ferrebe; General Editor, Ben Knights, Director of the English Subject
3.5 Lawson Welsh, S. (2013) `A Table of Plenty: Representations of food
and social order in early Caribbean writing, Caryl Phillip's Cambridge
(1991) and Andrea Levy's The Long Song (2010)', Entertext,
Caribbean Special Issue edited by Sandra Courtman and Wendy Knepper.
3.6 Lawson Welsh, S. (2013) 'Performing Cross-culinary discourse:
residual orality and the invention of 'tradition' in the cookery writing
of Levi Roots' in Anne Bruske ed. Caribbean Food Cultures:
Performances of Eating, Drinking and Consumption in the Caribbean and
its Diasporas (Transcript Press).
Details of the impact
(i) `Impact on the public understanding of Caribbean history and
culture via the creative sector (television)'
Welsh's research has had impact via the re-presenting of her expertise in
Caribbean history and culture to non-academic, popular audiences. She acts
as a specialist advisor to researchers for BBC radio and television
programmes which have connections to the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora.
Most recently she was consulted by researchers on series 10 of the popular
BBC 1 series, `Who Do You Think You Are?' for a programme on Black British
footballer John Barnes. This explored his Jamaican ancestry and the key
political and cultural contribution of his grandfather, Frank Hill, in the
1930s, 40s and 50s. This ninth episode of the series was aired on 17th
October 2012. The series regularly attracts viewing figures of 6 million.
Welsh's consultancy thus has had wide impact in creating and interpreting
cultural capital and in contributing to a wider public understanding of
Caribbean history and culture via the creative sector (television).
(ii) `Influencing pedagogic strategies and curriculum development in
the field of Postcolonial Studies and Anglophone Caribbean literature'
Welsh's 1996 publication, The Routledge Reader in Caribbean
Literature quickly established itself as a Routledge bestseller and
as a template for subsequent collections. It has never been out of print
and is widely recommended as a core text on Caribbean, Black Studies,
World Literature and Postcolonial programmes globally. For example, it is
currently required reading on modules at Stanford, Chicago, Cornell,
Illinois, Iowa, Santa Cruz, Michigan State, Miami, Texas Christian,
Florida, Toronto, Manitoba, Albany, Victoria, Auckland, Queensland,
Brisbane, the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and Barbados,
Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Lyon, Liege, Aarhus, Marburg, Freiberg, Saarland,
London, Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Kent, York, Leeds and Newcastle.
In his 1996 review of The Routledge Reader in The Observer,
Caribbean/ Black British writer, Caryl Phillips, noted the `ample space
[given] to authors who have been previously underestimated', especially
early, out of print and non-canonical and/or critically neglected figures.
More importantly, he anticipated the Reader's impact in shaping
understanding of Anglophone Caribbean as a whole by influencing curricula
and encouraging re-publication of lost or out of print texts: `It may well
have paved the way for the republication of some of them. This is true of
H.G. de Lisser and Roger Mais and is certainly the case with Una Marson.'
Since 1996, this impact has been realized with the launch of the Faber
Caribbean Classics series edited by Phillips and Macmillan and Peepal
Press's republication of important early Caribbean texts including, as
predicted, Mais and Marson. Welsh is currently writing critical
introductions for the `Caribbean Classics Series' (led by writers Derek
Walcott and David Dabydeen) which reprints Caribbean texts with the aim of
widening access to local Caribbean audiences.
Welsh's 2012 pedagogic research on teaching gender in Postcolonial
Studies also has impact as part of an English Subject Centre/ Palgrave
Macmillan publication designed to influence design and delivery of
curriculum in international as well as national HEI contexts. Although too
recent a publication to have significant citation figures for, it has led
to a number of invitations, including an invitation to join a new Black
British Women's Network (BBWN), initiated at an international expert
meeting to promote Black British Women's Writing at Vie Universiteit
Brussel in March 2013 and funded by the Flemish Research Council (Fonds
voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen).
(iii) `Creation and interpretation of Black British Women's Writing'
Welsh is a recognised expert on Black British writing and her 2007
monograph, Grace Nichols (British Council and Northcote Press),
was the first book length study of this important author, included on UK
GSCE and A Level syllabi. Her international reputation has led to
invitations to be area consultant to the prestigious online resource, The
Literary Encyclopaedia, to join the editorial board of The
Journal of Contemporary Literature (India), and to act as specialist
peer reviewer for major publishers such as Routledge (US), Taylor &
Francis (US) and Palgrave Macmillan (UK). Welsh's research directly led to
the invitation to join BBWN as a targeted expert. BBWN has impact via: a
new online annotated bibliography of criticism of Black British women's
writing aimed both at scholars and students; a special issue journal
publication which will explore the current state of Black British Women's
Writing and criticism by means of a genre-based approach; targeted
conference panels (for example at the international `AfroEurope'
Conference in London, October 2013, and at the Postcolonial Studies
Association Conference, Kingston University, September 2013) and an
international conference, `Black British Writing: Tracing the Tradition
and New Directions' will be held at the University of Brighton in July
2014. Popular dissemination of network research takes place via dedicated
BBWW groups on LinkedIn and Facebook:
(iv) `Widening awareness of food studies, Caribbean and other ethnic
minority culinary practices in a regional context'
Welsh's latest research into Caribbean food studies and food writing has
impact by increasing public understanding of food studies, Caribbean and
other ethnic minority culinary practices in an international and regional
context. Her research has led to invitations to speak both in the UK and
abroad. For example, at the International Conference, `Caribbean Food
Cultures: Performances of Eating, Drinking and Consumption in the
Caribbean and its Diasporas' held at the Centre for Transcultural
Research, the University of Heidelberg (September 2012), and at a public
event on `Food and Storytelling' in the Studio Talk Series hosted by the
International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN) at York Theatre Royal
(October 2013). She also presented papers on food at the International
Conference, `Narrating The Caribbean Nation' at Leeds Metropolitan
University (April 2012) and at the `Caribbean Studies in the North'
seminar series, at Leeds Metropolitan University (October 2011).
Sources to corroborate the impact
5.1 Dr Lawson Welsh has research contacts in broadcasting, including a
Junior Researcher at Wall to Wall for the BBC series `Who Do You Think You
Are?', who would be able to provide information on Dr Lawson Welsh's
projects and consultancy.
5.2 In academic publishing, a former Editorial Assistant in Education and
Research at Routledge/Taylor & Francis (New York), and a Commissioning
Editor in Research at Routledge/Taylor & Francis (New York) would be
able to provide information on commissioning/ peer reviewing projects.
5.3 For Black British Women's Writing Network (BWWN), Prof. Dr. Bekers of
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, would be able to provide information on the
network's activities. See also https://www.facebook.com/groups/378188258946761/
5.4 For The Literary Encyclopaedia, see http://www.litencyc.com/editors.php.
The Managing Editor can give details about Dr Lawson Welsh's (Anglophone
Caribbean) area editorial consultancy for this online resource.
5.5 Food Consultant and Managing director of Inspirational Indian