Professor Clem Seecharan tells of finding himself through history

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Dr. Clem Seecharan during Friday night’s reading at Moray House

— at Moray House lecture

PROFESSOR Clem Seecharan, here at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture, read from his works in an evening titled “To Write is to Learn”, at the Moray House Trust last Friday evening. Hailing from Palmyra, East Canje, Berbice, Professor Seecharan has been based in the UK for the last 25 years. An historian of the Indo-Caribbean experience and of West Indies Cricket, Professor Seecharan has written several books on both topics.

In summer 2011, on a previous visit to Guyana, he read extracts from “Mother India’s Shadow over El Dorado: Indo-Guyanese Politics and Identity, 1890s-1930s”, to a small gathering at Moray House Trust shortly before the Trust was formally launched.

At the “To Write is to Learn” lecture, Professor Seecharan discussed the works and impacts of early Caribbean intellectuals such as L.E.S. Scholls and Blyden. He made note of the early West Indian cricket team and stalwarts such as Joe Solomon, Basil Butcher and others.

Professor Seecharan attended the Sheet Anchor Anglican School, the Berbice Educational Institute, and Queen’s College. He studied at McMaster University in Canada, and taught Caribbean Studies at the University of Guyana before completing his doctorate in History at the University of Warwick in 1990. He joined the staff of the University of North London (Now London Metropolitan University) and was head of Caribbean Studies for 20 years.

In 2002, he was awarded a Professorship in History at the London Metropolitan University, where he is now Emeritus Professor of History. He is the only person in the UK to teach a course on the history of Indians in the Caribbean, and the History of West Indies Cricket.

His main publications include: Indo-West Cricket (Hansib, 1988) with Frank Birbalsingh; India and the shaping of Indo-Guyanese Imagination: 1890-1920 (Peepal Press, 1993); Tiger in the Stars: The Anatomy of Indian Achievement in British Guiana, 1919-1929 (Macmillan Caribbean: 1999); Bechu: ‘Bound Coolie’ Radical in British Guyana (UWI Press, 2001); Sweetening Bitter Sugar; Jock Campbell, the Booker reformer in British Guiana (Ian Randle Publishers 2005) which was awarded the Elsa Gouveia Prize by the Association of Caribbean Historians; Muscular Learning: Cricket and Education in the making of the British West Indies at the end of the 19th century (Ian Randle Publishers, 2006), and many others.

“To Write is to Learn: Finding Myself through History” is the title of a forthcoming book which will be published later this year by Peepal Tree Press.

Moray House Trust, a legacy of the late David de Caires, is a cultural initiative to foster and preserve artistic expression in Guyana. Since its inception, the Trust has hosted a series of book readings, book launches, poetry recitals, lectures, concerts, and art exhibitions in pursuit of its mission.

(By Michelle Gonsalves)