Templeton’s own Dr. Kristen Childers recently published an award-winning book on the nature of colonies’ disentanglement from empire. The book, entitled Seeking Imperialism’s Embrace: National Identity, Decolonization, and Assimilation in the French Caribbean, offers an intriguing look into two French colonies in the Caribbean that voted against independence amidst a wave of other colonies seeking and ultimately gaining their independence.
The islands Martinique and Guadeloupe serve as the focus of Dr. Childers’ investigation, as she analyzed both the critiques and accolades the islands received for their decision to remain under French authority. Dr. Childers adeptly articulated the benefits of the decision, such as a drastically decreased mortality rate and higher standards of living. She also highlighted the critiques of the decision and the problems that arose with it as equality with France was never truly attained, and racism continued to negatively affect those on the islands. The book is a nuanced and well-written take on the history surrounding these two islands, and it also speaks to the larger theme of assimilation and decolonization of the territories affected by European imperialism.
Dr. Childers was recently recognized for the book by the Society for French Historical Studies. The Society awarded Dr. Childers with the Gilbert Chinard Prize, which is given to the best book published on either the history of French-American relations or the comparative history of France and North, Central, or South America. The prize has been awarded annually since 1967, and Dr. Childers said she was honored to have received the recognition. She was presented with the award at the annual Society meeting in D.C. on April 22. The prize appropriately speaks to the work Dr. Childers put into the book, and the college is lucky to have such a brilliant and distinguished historian on its faculty.