Pioneer reparatory justice master’s programme welcomes first students
STUDENTS enrolled in the world’s first master’s in reparatory justice programme are studying at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the University of Glasgow.
The double degree MA/MSc in reparatory justice is an initiative of the two universities through their joint Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research (GCCDR). The programme is an emerging field of study and the master’s programme targets students with interest in reparatory justice from various backgrounds, disciplines, and interests. It offers students an unparalleled opportunity to work with scholars in reparatory justice at The UWI as well as Glasgow’s Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies.
Students in the programme could pursue their studies at The UWI’s Mona or Cave Hill campuses or the University of Glasgow. The UWI is at the forefront of the global movement, leading activism and academic research underpinning claims for reparations for slavery. The University of Glasgow offers access to primary source materials and material culture holdings. It draws on expertise across the study of slavery, genocide, and human rights violations. The degree continues the University of Glasgow’s work in its ongoing reparative justice programme, which is part of the nine recommendations found within its Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow report, published in September 2018.
Jheanelle M Owens signed up for the programme at The UWI, Mona campus, in Jamaica, where the campus grounds still bear the marks of a past steeped in plantation history.
“The case for reparations has become severe, and this programme is so timely. This master’s programme gives me hope that we are moving in the right direction as a global community,” she said. “I am pleased to have been selected to be part of this programme. I am an African woman born in Jamaica, to express who I am so clearly should be a right, but is, in fact, a privilege in the Western world. Many people cannot identify their origin, language, or history with pride.”
Added, fellow student Vakeesha John, who is enrolled at The UWI, Cave Hill campus, in Barbados: “When I think about life as a black woman, a Caribbean woman, I think of my journey, the social, mental, spiritual, and physical, as the process of coconut milk making – the coconuts are grated, diluted, then squeezed. The juice separates itself into a filtered form, taking most of the nutrients of the coconut, and the residue remains drained of its richness and, in most cases, is discarded. This reminds me of the journey of the black enslaved man and woman. Our riches, our culture, our strength was squeezed out of us; we’ve been drained of our very essence, our social and spiritual nutrients and the residue that most of our societies have to deal with contains poverty, a lack of awareness, illiteracy, a feeling of inferiority, inequalities.”
Wholly owning its ethical responsibility as an activist university, The UWI is positioned at the epicentre and fully invested in reparatory justice and driving a new development paradigm for the region it serves. Co-chair of the GCCDR Professor Simon Anderson, based at The UWI, Cave Hill campus, in Barbados said the venture is the culmination of the incredible effort and commitment of partners at The UWI and the University of Glasgow, who are to be congratulated for implementing this flagship, globally relevant postgraduate programme.
The programme’s unique features include the partnership between Glasgow and The UWI for teaching, research, and education, which facilitates a programme focused on the Caribbean and the reparations movement, but which also draws on case studies from the wider global context. The programme also offers collaboration with research centres in Europe, the Americas, and Africa for a distinctively international learning experience. Students will graduate with both a degree from The UWI and the University of Glasgow.