Back to Top
Close Menu
 

Meet the Faculty

Not One, Not Two, But Three Cave Hill Degrees!

Dr. Hélène Zamor remembers the exact date she arrived in Barbados to attend The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. It was September 9th, 1993. Three degrees later, she is still here. Few persons can boast of having read for three degrees at the Cave Hill Campus and then returning to the same Faculty to teach. But Dr. Hélène Zamor, a native of Martinique holds that special honour. 

Having achieved a BA, MA and PhD in Linguistics,

"Coming to Cave Hill was a lot like coming home"

she is now a Lecturer in French Language, and is described by many as the quintessential Connoisseur of Caribbean Culture. Growing up in the French speaking Caribbean, Dr. Zamor developed an equal love for French Creole culture and for the music of the English speaking Caribbean, especially that of Trinidad’s Mighty Sparrow. Hence, coming to Cave Hill was a lot like coming home.

Researching Culture
Dr. Zamor has been able to marry her lifelong love for Caribbean culture with her professional training in linguistics. 
As an MPhil student, she was granted the unique opportunity to work with one of the region’s senior researchers in lexicography Dr. Jeannette Allsopp.  The two worked on the Caribbean Multilingual Lexicography Project which documented the English, French, Spanish and Creole names of the flora, fauna and foods of the region. Her PhD work continued along a similar track. She investigated and wrote the history of music and dance in the French (Creole) speaking Caribbean islands from colonial times to the present. 

Her current research looks at the development of the sugar and rum industries in Haiti and Martinique and highlights the French creole language terms used to differentiate the sugar and rum varieties. Who would have thought that rum had a Creole language?

Dr. Zamor immerses herself in regional culture by interviewing artistes in various countries and browsing museums as well as historical sites.  Her focus on doing comparative cultural studies flows out of a passion to bring the islands of the French and English speaking Caribbean together through a collective consciousness of their cultural similarities and diversities. In her own words “Barbadians should know the dances of Martinique and the people of Martinique should also be dancing to Bajan music.”   
 
Living Culture
When Dr. Zamor travels around the region, pursuit of indigenous food is at the top of her to-do list.  She excitingly shared the fun-fact that Haiti has approximately 140 varieties of mangoes! 
Meeting potential students at a College Fair in Martinique.
 
As expected, a true Cultural Connoisseur will also be able to play an instrument synonymous with the region. The steel pan is her chosen one. 
She took the plunge five years ago and is now a proud member of the orchestra known as Unity Steel. Dr. Zamor plays whenever work and other commitments permit. 

UWI Ambassador
The title of UWI Ambassador to the French speaking Caribbean is one that Dr. Zamor readily accepts. She expressed joy in being a part of the Cave Hill contingent to a recent college fair in Martinique.  Her presence was a welcomed comfort for parents who were assured that their children could not only survive, but thrive at the Cave Hill Campus.

Looking Ahead
Dr. Zamor hopes to document the evolution of the education system in Martinique and intends to use comparative analysis to extend this project.  She spoke passionately of the possibilities concerning the discovery of economic, social and cultural factors that may have differentiated the evolutionary process in various Caribbean territories. Prospective MPhil or PhD students interested in the historical and comparative elements of Caribbean culture are invited to share Dr. Zamor’s journey. 
 


Return to Meet the Faculty Home