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Lecture Hilbourne A. Watson: Reparations and the Caribbean problematique in global neoliberal perspective

The demand for reparations is as old as emancipation itself; however, the states that trafficked in slavery are not eager to apologize for slavery, much less compensate descendants of enslaved people or governments, considering that Britain borrowed a large sum to compensate former slave owners for the loss of their “property.”

The lecture will focus mainly on the Commonwealth Caribbean (CARICOM) context, which involves two main parties to the reparations issue in the moment of capitalist neoliberal globalization. The two parties are certain European states and weak Caribbean counterpart states that issued a ‘Ten Point Action Plan’ for reparations. Contradictions stemming from the unequal distribution of power among sovereign states are heightened by neoliberalism, for which transnational corporations (TNCs) fought and won to strengthen their global position in collaboration with the major powers that favor and promote neoliberalism. The rolling back of the economic and social borders of states favors the integration of global economy and strengthens the position of private capital across borders, to the disadvantage of weaker states, in ways that complicate the reparations issue and help explain why the struggle for reparation remains largely at the level of discussion with little meaningful progress in sight.


Hilbourne A. Watson is Professor Emeritus, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. He taught at Howard University (1973-1994) and at Bucknell University (1994-2013). He has published widely, especially in areas in international political economy. Among his recent publications is the article ‘The cult of Cedric Robinson’s black marxism: A critique from the perspective of proletarian transnationalism‘ in The Philosophical Saloon.

Professor Watson is a past president of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA). He is the recipient of the Caribbean Studies Association Life Time Award for distinguished service to the CSA.


Dr. Francio Guadeloupe is a social & cultural anthropologist and senior researcher at KITLV. He is currently the chair of the project ‘Island(er)s at the Helm: Co-creating research on sustainable and inclusive solutions for social adaptation to climate challenges in the (Dutch) Caribbean’.

Format, date, time & venue

This seminar is a hybrid event and will be held in the conference room of KITLV (room 1.68) and online via Zoom, on Monday 25 September, from 15.00 – 16.30 PM (CET).


If you want to join this seminar on location, please register via:

If you wish to join this webinar online, please register here.

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