Announcing the ACH 2019 Elsa Goveia Book Prize Winner: Randy Browne for Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean

Tara Inniss's picture

The Association of Caribbean Historians (ACH) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Elsa Goveia Book Prize book in recognition of excellence in the field of Caribbean history, Randy M. Browne for his latest book entitled, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

After receiving 52 submissions for the 2019 Elsa Goveia Prize the Committee, comprising Kathleen Monteith (Chair), Anne Eller and Chelsea Schields, was in unanimous agreement about this award, and announced its decision at the ACH Annual Conference (May 26-30, 2019) in Curaçao.  The prize is named for renowned Caribbean historian Elsa Goveia (1925-80). The following extract of the citation was read during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 30:

Browne’s book is a human-centred history, covering the period in the immediate aftermath of Berbice’s transition from Dutch to British rule, analysing the means by which the enslaved in that colony conducted and negotiated their survival. Browne has utilised a body of primary sources, which hitherto were under-utilised in the study of enslavement. He deftly works through and analyses these layered negotiations in all of their complexities on numerous sugar and coffee producing properties: from the gendered politics of survival, to carving out spaces of spiritual autonomy. This work is an important contribution and expansion of our understanding of the everyday life and world of the enslaved beyond the routine of daily labour and the forms of resistance that have been excavated from plantation journals and other papers.  It expands and deepens our understanding of the evolving character of slavery and slave society. Indeed, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean offers a path-breaking contribution to our understanding of slave life and experience, in the decades preceding the end of slavery in the British Caribbean.  

In addition to the prize being awarded to Randy Browne, the Committee recommended two additional books for special mention: Peter Hudson’s Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and Elena Schneider’s The Occupation of Havana: War, Trade and Slavery in the Atlantic World (University of North Carolina Press, 2018). A loyal member of the ACH, Browne graciously converted his prize of USD $250 into a Life Membership with the organization. His commitment will continue to support outreach activities of the organization and future conference development. For more information on the publication please visit: