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David Scott of Small Axe Receives Distinguished Editor Prize

David Scott, Editor of Small Axe

With a name hewn from the Jamaican proverb ‘small axe fall big tree’, the Small Axe journal of Caribbean criticism is a journal built on the understanding the small things can have an impact that far outstrips their size. The weight and resonance of journal’s contribution to the world of cultural criticism was most recently highlighted by its editor David Scott’s receipt of the 2017 Distinguished Editor’s Prize. 

Along with being editor of Small Axe, Scott is also the president of Small Axe Inc., the director of the Small Axe Project  He is the author of Formations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (1994), Refashioning Futures: Criticism After Postcoloniality (1999), Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (2004), and Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (2014), and co-editor of Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and his Interlocutors (2007). He is currently at work on two book projects: one, a study of the moral imperative of reparations for New World slavery; and the other, a biography of the life and work of Stuart Hall.

The prize was awarded yesterday, Thursday, January 5, 2017 by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre.

Leading up to the event, Scott and Small Axe have received great praise from academia for its role in deepening conversations around race, gender literature and more.

Praise for Small Axe

“The journal distills the finest of Caribbean intellectualism, so that it may be related to predecessors such as Tropiques or Bim, but it surpasses them too, not just in longevity, but in setting and observing new currents in Caribbean thought, literature, social studies, and visual art.”

Martin Munro, Florida State University.


“Small Axe edited and published under Scott’s vision has become one of most relevant intellectual and creative publications for our current political, social and cultural climate. Small Axe continues to reflect the ‘problem space’ of the contemporary global moment.”

Roshini Kempadoo, University of Westminster. 

“It remains a moment of pure joy for me to receive and unwrap Small Axe editions that I have come to expect to be visual as well as visually theoretical feasts; to be anglophone, francophone, hispanophone, as well as thoroughly regional in orientation; and to be interdisciplinary.”

Faith Smith, Brandeis University.  

“What Scott did since the 90s was to create an intellectual space that would absorb the Caribbean wherever it existed in pockets, drawing Caribbean thinkers, academics, intellectual workers or artists in the United States, Britain or Europe, linking these with scholars and practitioners who continued to live and work in the Caribbean region and thus cross fertilizing a dialogue that has been bountiful and unending.”

Patricia Mohammed, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.