Murphy examines race and borders in the colonial Caribbean in new book

Murphy Creole ArchipelagoIn her new book, "The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), Tessa Murphy traces how generations of Indigenous Kalinagos, free and enslaved Africans and settlers from a variety of European nations used maritime routes to forge connections that spanned the eastern Caribbean.

In the book, Murphy explains how these islands are distinct from other Caribbean colonial plantation societies, a result of the powers that competed for influence in the region, such as the British and French, as well as the Kalinagos, who continued asserting their right to their lands. Research materials included parish records, an Indigenous language dictionary, historical maps and colonial correspondence from France, England, the United States and the Caribbean.

Murphy is an assistant professor of history at the Maxwell School. She received a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 2016. Her research has been supported by a number of institutions, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, France’s Institut National d’Études Démographiques, the John Carter Brown Library, the David Library of the American Revolution and the Clements Library.