From Colony to Nation: winner of the Elsa Goveia Book Prize

Anne S. Macpherson, associate professor of history at Brockport State College, recently received the Goveia Book Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians for her book, “From Colony to Nation: Women Activists and the Gendering of Politics in Belize, 1912-1982.”

Macpherson’s is the first book to cover the subject of women’s political history in Belize. It demonstrates how women were creators of and activists within the two principal political currents of 20th-century Belize: colonial-middle class reform and popular labor-nationalism. As such, their alliances and struggles with colonial administrators, male reformers, and nationalists, and with one another were central to Belize’s emergence as a nation-state.

“Macpherson brings an innovative, unapologetically revisionist perspective to her project, offering the first work to theorize the political subjectivities of women in Belize and thereby significantly raising the theoretical stakes of the historiography of Central America’s understudied Caribbean coast,” Michael Stone, Princeton University’s director of Latin American studies, wrote in the Hispanic American Historical Review.

Mark Moberg of the University of Albama wrote in a review published in American Historical Review that Macpherson “succeeds brilliantly” in remedying the omission of the role of women in Belizean history.

“Her book is the first significantly new contribution to Belizean history in decades. Belizean women emerge… as central political actors…sustaining popular movements when male leadership was timid, compliant, or divided. Macpherson’s history accords such steadfast determination a central role in Belize’s emergence as an independent nation,” Moberg wrote.

The Elsa Goveia Book Prize, awarded every two years since 1995 by the Association of Caribbean Historians, recognizes excellence in the field of Caribbean history.

Elsa Goveia (1925-1980) was born in what was then British Guiana. She earned her doctorate in history at the University College London and joined the staff of the University College of the West Indies in 1950 as a lecturer in the department of history. In 1961 she became the first woman to be named professor at the University of the West Indies. She was also the author of seminal works on West Indian history.

The Association of Caribbean Historians is an independent, non-profit, professional organization devoted to the promotion of Caribbean history from a multidisciplinary, pan-Caribbean perspective, and is the primary association for scholarly and public historians working in the field.

For the original report go to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s