Confrontations: UWI Student Protests and the Rodney disturbance

Confrontations: UWI Student Protests and the Rodney disturbance of 1968.

University of the West Indies, Mona

October 18-20, 2018.

A UWI 70 Event

Fifty years after the riotous events surrounding the banning of historian Walter Rodney turned the Jamaican capital on its head and led to a government lockdown of the University of the West Indies, the UWI Mona Department of History and Archaeology and the UWI Museum are collaborated to explore the moment, its context, and larger meaning through a conference and exhibition. The conference titled, “Confrontations: UWI Student Protests and the Rodney disturbance of 1968” ran from Thursday, October 18, 2018 to Saturday, October 20, 2018 as follows:

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Events later dubbed the “Rodney riots” of October 1968 were pivotal to the UWI community specifically, but also to the wider Jamaican context and beyond, raising issues relative to engagement with global “isms” in a decolonizing Caribbean. They came in a year of astonishing tumult: youth-led movements in the United States, Mexico, Prague, and Paris transformed the worlds from which they emerged. Riots across the United States added to the explosiveness of the era. The October events in Jamaica with ripples beyond were a Caribbean response to these wider currents; but also a reflection of a much deeper and longer impulse. Students of the Caribbean at the regional university in Jamaica had challenged local and international political contexts before the 1960s. While drawing on contemporary concerns, such action rooted them to more profound antecedents that the post-colonial Caribbean was struggling to reckon with. In Jamaica, issues of governmental authority, intellectual freedom, citizenship challenges, justice and insularity, race and colour, among others, were starkly revealed in the development and aftermath of what took place in October 1968. Student activism after 1968 reflected changes created by that era.

The fiftieth anniversary of what happened in October 1968 provides a useful vantage point from which we can give fresh analysis to student protest in the Caribbean, the banning of Walter Rodney, the reactions to it, and the legacy of youth-led movements in the Caribbean while acknowledging the global wave to which these regional actions were connected.

The Conference came as part of the UWI 70th Anniversary celebrations and was open to the general public as a free of entry event. Memorabilia and books were on sale.

Click links to stream event:

Launch Event:

Roundtable Discussion:

Panel Discussion 1:

Panel Discussion 2:

Panel Discussion 3:

Panel Discussion 4:

Panel Discussion 5: