Online ISSN: 2221-7886

Volume 5, Number 1 (2016)
Strategic Historiographical Interventionism and the Cosmopolitan History of Trinidad and Tobago in Bridget Brereton's History of Modern Trinidad 1763-1962: Race Relations in Colonial Trinidad 1870-1890, and Law, Justice and Empire the Colonial Career of John Gorrie 1829-1892 - Part One
Michael F. Toussaint
This paper seeks to explore the contribution of Emerita Professor Bridget Brereton to the historiography on Trinidad and Tobago. Often, the historian’s attempt to recount the past is influenced by several factors, including what others have written hitherto, their interpretation of historical events, and the way in which they present personalities and communities. Regarding cosmopolitan Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean, these and other influences have worked to produce contesting historical narratives. Such narratives, conditioned additionally by the experience of colonialism, slavery, racism, class and gender conflicts, have not only skewed historical representations at times but also imposed on scholars the need to produce more balanced historiography. This paper assesses the contribution of Bridget Brereton against the background of this challenge, particularly, by examining three of her inter-related publications:  History of Modern Trinidad, 1783-1962 (1981); Race Relations in Colonial Trinidad 1870-1890 (1979); and Law, Justice and Empire: the Colonial Career of John Gorrie 1829-1892 (1997). It seeks to determine the role of these publications in the evolution of a cosmopolitan, postcolonial historiography of colonial Trinidad and Tobago.