Reader in Caribbean History
School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University
I am a historian of the Caribbean, with particular interests in Jamaican history, Caribbean cultural history, comparative histories of slavery and emancipation, and gender history. I am currently working on a book The Cultural Politics of Obeah, to be published by Cambridge University Press.
I did my first degree, in history, at Warwick University. I then went to Yale University to do a PhD, graduating in 2000. My dissertation, 'No Bond but the Law: Punishment and Justice in Jamaica's Age of Emancipation' was supervised by Emilia Viotti da Costa, Gilbert Joseph, and Nancy Cott.
Caribbean history especially Jamaica; history of slavery and emancipation; gender history; comparative history of the Americas, colonial and postcolonial histories.
My main current research is on the political and cultural history of obeah, a Caribbean creole spiritual healing practice that has been illegal for most of its history. My research examines competing constructions of obeah in law, medical knowledge, colonial discourse, and popular culture, using them as a window onto debates about race and nation in the region. The research has been funded by a British Academy small grant, a Leverhulme Project grant, and an AHRC research fellowship. With the support of the Leverhulme Trust, Maarit Forde and I organized a conference entitled Obeah and Other Powers: Rethinking Caribbean Religion and Healing at Newcastle in 2008. Some of the work presented at that conference was published by Duke University Press in 2012, in a book entitled Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing. My monograph on obeah will be published by Cambridge University Press. Some of my research on obeah is on my Obeah Histories website.
I also maintain my interest in state formation in Jamaican history and Caribbean history more broadly. This developed out of my PhD research, published in revised form as No Bond but the Law, on the development of the prison system in Jamaica during and after the end of slavery.
I welcome applications to work on any area of Caribbean history, and on histories of slavery and emancipation and/or gender history elsewhere in the Americas or the British Empire. I also welcome students interested in interdisciplinary Caribbean Studies.
Current PhD Students
Helen McKee, 'A Comparative Study of the Jamaican Maroons and the Creeks' (AHRC funded)
Selina Patel, 'The Concubine and the Casa-Grande: Feminized Space and Female Power in the Brazilian Plantation Household, 1750-1822' (AHRC funded)
Janelle Rodriques, 'Strategies for Survival: Representations of Obeah in Anglophone West Indian Literature'
Former PhD students
Silvia Espelt Bombin, 'A free coloured elite? Trade, identity and social mobility in Panama City, 1700-1770' (AHRC funded)
Ria Snowdon, 'Georgian Women in the Business of Print: Gender and the Provincial Press of Northern England' (AHRC funded)
I teach the following modules, although not all of them run every year:
HIS2034: The Rise and Fall of Atlantic Slavery
HIS3001: The Haitian Revolution (special subject)
HIS3213: Slave Emancipation in the British Empire (special subject)
MA History of the Americas
- Paton D. Witchcraft, Poison, Law, and Atlantic Slavery. William and Mary Quarterly 2012, 69(2), 235-264.
- Paton D, Forde M, ed. Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing. Durham, North Carolina, USA: Duke University Press, 2012.
- Paton D. Revisiting No Bond but the Law. Small Axe 2011, 15(1), 176-186.
- Paton D. The Abolition of Slavery in the Non-Hispanic Caribbean. In: Palmie, S., Scarano, F, ed. The Caribbean: A History of the Region and its Peoples. Chicago, Illinois, USA: University of Chicago Press, 2011, pp.289-302.
- Paton D. Obeah Acts: Producing and Policing the Boundaries of Religion in the Caribbean. Small Axe 2009, 13(1), 1-18.
- Paton D, Webster J. Remembering Slave Trade Abolitions: Reflections on 2007 in International Perspective. Slavery and Abolition 2009, 30(2), 161-167.
- Paton D. Interpreting the Bicentenary in Britain. Slavery and Abolition 2009, 30(2), 277-289.
- Paton D. An 'Injurious' Population: Caribbean-Australian Penal Transportation and Imperial Racial Politics. Cultural and Social History 2008, 5(4), 449-464.
- Paton D. The Afterlives of Three-Fingered Jack. In: Carey, B; Kitson, P, ed. Slavery and the Culture of Abolition: Essays Marking the British Abolition Act of 1807. Boydell and Brewer: London, 2007, pp.42-63.
- Paton D. Gender, Language, Violence and Slavery: Insult in Jamaica, 1800-1838. Gender and History 2006, 18(2), 246-265.
- Scully P, Paton D. Gender and Slave Emancipation in the Atlantic World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.
- Paton D. Popular and Official Justice in Post-emancipation Jamaica. In: Heuman, G., Trotman, D, ed. Contesting Freedom: Control and Resistance in the Post-Emancipation Caribbean. Oxford: Macmillan Caribbean, 2005, pp.1-19.
- Paton D. No Bond but the Law: Punishment, Race, and Gender in Jamaican State Formation, 1780-1870. Durham, North Carolina, USA: Duke University Press, 2004.
- Paton D. ‘From His Own Lips’: The Politics of Authenticity in James Williams’s A Narrative of Events, Since the First of August, 1834. In: Brycchan Carey, Sara Salih, and Markman Ellis, ed. Discourses of Slavery and Abolition: Britain and Its Colonies, 1660-1838. London: Palgrave, 2004, pp.108-122.
- Paton D, ed. A Narrative of Events, since the first of August, 1834, by James Williams, an Apprenticed Labourer in Jamaica. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 2001.
- Paton D. Punishment, crime, and the bodies of slaves in eighteenth-century Jamaica. Journal of Social History 2001, 34(4), 923-+.
- Paton DR. Decency, Dependence, and the Lash: Gender and the British Debate Over Slave Emancipation, 1830-1834. Slavery and Abolition, 17, 3 163-184 1996.
- Paton D. The Flight from the Fields Reconsidered: Gender Ideologies and Women’s Labor after Slavery in Jamaica. In: Joseph, GM, ed. Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History: Essays from the North. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press Books, 2001, pp.175-204.
- Paton D. The Penalties of Freedom: Punishment and the ‘Rule of Law’ in Post-Emancipation Jamaica. In: Salvatore, R.D., Aguirre, C., Joseph, G, ed. Crime and Punishment in Latin America: Law and Society since Late Colonial Times. Durham, North Carolina, USA: Duke University Press, 2001, pp.275-307.
- Paton D. Histories of Three-Fingered Jack: A Bibliography. Brycchan Carey, 2008. Available at: http://www.brycchancarey.com/slavery/tfj/index.htm.
- Paton, D. Enslaved Women and Slavery before and after 1807. History in Focus 2007, 12.
- Paton D. Telling stories about slavery. History Workshop Journal 2005, (59), 251-262.
- Paton D, Beck J, Robinson G. Teaching "the Americas". Radical History Review 2004, (89), 218-229.