Early African Caribbean Newspapers as Archipelagic Media in the Emancipation Age


Early African Caribbean Newspapers as Archipelagic Media in the Emancipation Age shows how two Black-edited periodical publications in the early decades of the nineteenth century worked towards emancipation through medium-specific interventions across material and immaterial lines. More concretely, this book proposes an archipelagic framework for understanding the emancipatory struggles of the Antiguan Weekly Register in St. John’s and the Jamaica Watchman in Kingston. Complicating the prevalent narrative about the Register and the Watchman as organs of the free people of color, this book continues to explore the heterogeneity and evolution of Black newspaper print on the liberal spectrum. As such, Early African Caribbean Newspapers makes the case that the Register and the Watchman participated in shaping the contemporary communication market in the Caribbean. To do so, this study engages deeply with both the textuality and materiality of the newspaper and presents fresh visual material.

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Johanna Seibert received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the Obama Institute at the University of Mainz in 2021. The same year, she co-edited a special issue on “Black Editorship in the Early Atlantic World” with Atlantic Studies. Recently, she joined the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Notes on the Text
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Mediating Emancipation: The Weekly Register and The Jamaica Watchman as Archipelagic Agents of Communication
 1 Imaginations of Early Caribbean Newspapers
 2 Periodical Studies and the Archipelago
 3 Sites of Editorship and Periodical Materiality

1 The Business of Communication
 1 Newspaper Markets under Archipelagic Conditions
 2 Island Communities and the Local Ties of the Register
 3 The Watchman and the Periodical Infrastructures of White Humanitarianism

2 Formats and Layouts in Motion
 1 Materiality and the Insignificant Significance of the Register
 2 The Transformative Designs of the Watchman
 3 Newspaper Formats and Archive Building

3 Personhood and the Poetry Column
 1 Poems and Periodical Cultures in the British Caribbean
 2 Christmas Book Poems
 3 Concubinage and Sentimental Verse
 4 West Indian Worthies: Richard Hill and John Boyd
 5 Satirical Interjections

4 Recording the Cycles of Black Rebellion
 1 Miscellanies of Haiti: “Madame Christophe” and the Logic of the Final Page
 2 Sketching Independent Haiti: Richard Hill’s Multi-Mode Auto-Ethnography
 3 Editorial Voices on the Turner Rebellion
 4 Corresponding Samuel Sharpe’s Confessions

Conclusion: The Trajectories of African Caribbean Periodicals
Works Cited
Students and scholars in nineteenth-century Atlantic history, English, (early) Caribbean studies, African American studies, Black Atlantic studies, media studies, postcolonial studies, periodical studies, as well as librarians and archivists with a focus on the Caribbean and/or newspapers.
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