‘Read! Learn!’: Grobalisation and (G)localisation in Caribbean Textbook Publishing

  • Gail LowEmail author
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)


This essay addresses educational and literary publishing interfaces, how literary material circulates formal institutional practices of reading and learning, and the social and cultural work to which these texts are put. The first section of the essay uses George Ritzer’s terms ‘grobalisation’ and ‘glocalisation’ to situate twentieth century textbook publishing within an overview of British educational presses’ penetration of markets abroad so as to tease out some recurring patterns. It then addresses localisation as a floating signifier within the global export of examinations, remarking specifically on key moments in the history University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicates (UCLES); the third part addresses the emergence of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), an attempt to redress the expanding neo-colonial educational examinations universe, providing initially an example of the (g)localisation of imported exams and then, latterly, the creation of an independent regionally specific examining authority. Finally the essay addresses Heinemann Educational Books’, penetration of the Caribbean market to capitalise on a post-independence local schools market and compares, briefly, both the African Writers Series and the Caribbean Writers Series.


University Of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) African Writers Series (AWS) Caribbean Examinations Council Heinemann Educational Books (HEB) Naipaul 
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I am grateful for the award Carnegie Trust travel grant to undertake the archival research for this paper. All quotations from the Heinemann Education Books archives at the University of Reading Special Collections is reproduced by kind permission of Random House.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of DundeeDundeeUK

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