UCL Institute of the Americas


Dr Kesewa John

Dr Kesewa John


Associate Lecturer (Teaching) in Caribbean History

year Abroad Tutor
affiliate tutor


Kesewa John is a historian of Caribbean radicalism, intellectual history, and gender. Prior to joining UCL she worked as a Junior Fellow (ATER) at the Université des Antilles in Guadeloupe, and a Teaching Fellow (Lectrice and Vacataire) at same university in Martinique.

Dr. John obtained her PhD in History from the University of Chichester. She also holds a Maîtrise in Teaching French as a Foreign Language (FLE), an MA in Ethnicity, Globalisation, and Culture, and a BA in French and History. Her research explores gender in Caribbean people’s political history, specialising in transatlantic, multilingual linkages between Afro-Caribbean activists and the evolution and dissemination of early Black radical thought.

Kesewa is the current Chair of the Society for Caribbean Studies, the UK’s only learned society focused on promoting scholarship about the Caribbean and its diasporas, and a member of the Black British History Matters journal’s editorial collective. A fan of Caribbean arts and public engagement, she regularly collaborates with Insightful Black History, a community history project, Caribbean film collective Cinemawon, and appears as a panellist on literary review programme Page Turners +

Research Summary

Kesewa is particularly interested in the intersections of Black feminist and Black radical histories of early twentieth century Caribbean activism. Her current research projects include a monograph about the region’s radical press and Caribbean decolonisation, and an archiving and oral history project exploring the history of the Society for Caribbean Studies.

Teaching Summary


AMER0074: History and Politics of Latin America c. 1930 to the Present

AMER0088:The Caribbean Radical Tradition, 1791-2020: Introduction to Black Intellectual History

Post Graduate Taught:

AMER0011: Politics, Society and Development in the Modern Caribbean

AMER0096: Introduction to Caribbean Intellectual History: 'None but ourselves can free our minds'


Research Publications

  • “To ‘Hold Up the Hand of the Emperor Ras Tafari’ in 1935-6: When Caribbean Women Led The Ethiopian Solidarity Campaign,” 76 King Street Journal, forthcoming 2021.  

  • “Militant Diaspora: Britain’s International African Service Bureau and the Caribbean Labour Rebellions of the 1930s,” History Matters, Volume 2, Issue 1, Winter 2021.

  • “Public Thinker: Annette Joseph-Gabriel on Black Women, Frenchness and Decolonization,” Public Thinker interview series, Public Books, 9 October 2020.

  • “'You ask for bread, they give you hot lead' : When Caribbean Radicals Protested Conscription for Colonial Subjects,” in (ed.) Hakim Adi, Black British History: New Perspectives, London: Zed Books, 2019.