F&M Stories

'I Remember Having a Lot of Questions—and I Wanted Answers'

Inspired by his F&M Experience, a 2017 Alumnus Pursues Doctorate at Duke University

When Tayzhaun Glover '17 arrived on campus for his first year at Franklin & Marshall, he didn't have a plan for life after college.

"It seemed like I had a world of time to figure that out," he said.

Though he wasn't sure exactly what path he would take, he knew he always enjoyed Black history. Following this passion, Glover took several courses in the Africana Studies program before he discovered anthropology and French. His intrigue sparked, he combined his interests and built a major around these three subjects to study slavery in the Caribbean. This move subsequently set in motion a new adventure: pursuing a doctorate in history at Duke University.

Today, Glover focuses his doctoral work on inter-island marronnage — the act of escaping slavery — and intellectual production in the 18th/19th century Eastern Caribbean with a particular focus on Saint Lucia.

"The courses I took in these departments geographically and conceptually grounded what is becoming my dissertation," Glover said. "I was learning about slavery outside of the American South and engaging with theoretical frameworks that helped me think about slavery and the experience of slavery."

Glover credits his time at F&M for his current standing as a Ph.D. candidate, saying he flourished as a scholar in F&M's liberal arts environment.

"I became very interested in slave resistance during my time at F&M," he said. He pointed out a first-year seminar, "Africa and the Black World," with Professor Douglas Anthony, and a presentation by Professor Nadra Hebouche on the Haitian Revolution during his junior year as moments that made him think more about the complexities of slave resistance in the Americas.

"I remember having a lot of questions—and I wanted answers," he said. This craving led him to complete an independent study with Professor Hebouche about the role of black women in the Haitian Revolution, a paper that evolved when he started graduate school.

"Even though my project morphed into something completely different, I think that it conceptually started in the classes I took with Professor Anthony and Professor Hebouche," Glover said.

During summer 2016, Glover studied abroad with Virginia Commonwealth University, a program he discovered with the help of the Office of International Programs at F&M. He stayed at the University of West Indies Cave Hill campus in Barbados and took a course on Caribbean history during the first half of the program, which set up the context for the Caribbean literature course he took during the second half.

"The program took place during the end of Barbados' Crop Over season, which runs from June through the first Monday in August and is a traditional celebration of the end of the sugarcane harvest," Glover said. He attended several cultural events while there, including theatre productions, an Emancipation Day parade, Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso Monarch competition, and Kadooment Day, which were contextualized in class and woven into the writing assignments he completed.

"This was my first experience outside of the country and it definitely inspired me to travel more," he said.

This study-abroad experience combined with his Africana studies, anthropology, and French courses solidified Glover's desire to pursue his doctorate in history with a focus on the Caribbean.

"[Professors] Anthony and Hebouche, along with [Professor] Bernard Moitt, who led my study-abroad program, encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D.," he said. "The three of them were very helpful with walking me through the application process and preparing me for life as an academic."

After receiving his doctorate, Glover plans to stay in academia and become a professor. He also started exploring public history as a genre so that he can make his work accessible to and actively engage with the descendants of the communities in the Caribbean that inform his work. His ultimate goal is to have his work incorporated into St. Lucia's school curriculum since he learned there is an absence of St. Lucian history in classroom learning on the island.

"That pushed me to think more critically about finding ways to make my work more accessible and digestible to non-academic audiences," he said.

Though he arrived on campus unsure of his future, Glover grasped the opportunity of an open road ahead of him and personalized his education and discovered his passions. Embarking on this Ph.D. journey with a goal of making an impact in the Caribbean, Glover truly sets new standards of academic excellence and embodies the spirit of Franklin & Marshall.

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