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CE C ILIA A GREENH I ER A RC HI ES OF W HI TE N ESS IN T H E GE OG R APHI ES OF EMPI RE: THOMA S THI STLE WOOD AND T H E B A RRETTS OF J AMAI C AINTRODU C TIONT revor Burnard, in his recent book on Thomas Thistlewood, the eighteenthcentury Jamaican overseer, pen-keeper, and slaveowning diarist, notes the spirit of egalitarianism that existed among Whites in Jamaica and the absence of class conflict among them, despite clear socioeconomic differences. 1 He cites Edward Long who argued that there were no distinctions among whites besides those between good and bad citizens, and himself argues that T histlewoods attitudes were shaped by an ideological milieu in which slavery created conditions of relative equality between whites (Burnard 2004:71, 72-73). He refers to this condition as ideological egalitarianism within structural inequality (Burnard 2004:73). But he goes further to assert that the conscious equality that distinguished West Indian whites was rooted in a degree of real equality that was not replicated in British North American colonies (Burnard 2004:76). Burnards (2004:74) argument is that there were so few Whites and so many slaves that Whites inevitably bonded together for security purposes and out of fear. Moreover, a high percentage of Whites shared a common expe -1. I wish to gratefully acknowledge the three following fellowships or grants that have allowed me to work on this and other papers related to a larger project on the inter face among moral, disciplinary, and labor regimes in Anglophone Caribbean history: 2000-2001 NEH-Schomburg Scholars-in-Residence Fellowship, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; 2001-2002 Henry Charles Chapman Research Fellowship, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of L ondon, and a 2002-2003 Faculty R esearch Grant from the C enter for L atin American S tudies ( CL A S ), University of Pittsburgh. I would also like to thank the reviewers of this article for their critical and very generous insights. New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006):5-43
6 CE C ILIA A GREEN rience of racialized mastery through slave ownership, however unevenly so. In addition even poor Whites could leverage their scarcity by demanding and receiving high wages. Perhaps most controversially (in light of ample evidence to the contrary), Burnard argues insistently that there are commensurate limits on T histlewoods authority over these poor Whites, his occupational and social inferiors. Finally, the low numbers meant that there were simply not enough wealthy Whites to fill the entire range of political offices in the colony. S o at the lower levels positions such as justices of the peace, militia officers, and vestrymen political participation had to be extended below the ranks of the wellborn and wealthy (Burnard 2004:77). All of this fostered a spirit of egali tarianism and fraternity among Whites, particularly White men. T he argument is clearly correct on a number of points, and not without significant merit and insight. However, it is somewhat exaggerated and it risks justifying the suppression or deferment of a necessary analysis of quite pro found structural inequalities within the White community. T he fact that race trumped class in the White creole imagination and that recruitment to political office was of necessity inclusive of lesser Whites should not in any way provide an excuse for leaving those inequalities unexamined especially when they formed a key constitutive element in the production of empire. My con cern here is less a rejection of Burnards thesis than a cautionary corrective to his rich but interpretively selective account. Within the scope of his argument about White egalitarianism (especially C hapter 3), Burnard (2004:81) glosses over important differences among nonelite Whites, exaggerates the lack of conviviality between free Blacks or C oloreds and lesser Whites, and, most importantly for this paper, ignores critical evidence of the social-structural fac tors separating the socioeconomic or class niche of respected, socially mobile lesser-White settlers like T histlewood and that of the upper plantocracy. T his article is primarily taken up with an examination of the latter subject. However, an additional and longer-term concern here is to demonstrate the need to systematize a framework that captures the complexity of West Indian social structure and looks beyond the most visceral racial divide on the one hand or the merely local on the other. In other words, to capture the complexity of West Indian social structure is to understand that race is not enough to explain the nuances of the local, but also that the local is not enough to explain the nuances of race. T he historian of colonial systems is always faced with the difficult but inescapable task of understanding the colony at once on its own very complex terms and on a scale well beyond its embodied limits. This is often counterintuitive to both the tendency to understate the complexity of the local qua local and the tendency to forget the ongoing operation and effectivity of the local-translocal-metropolitan transmission belt of connected processes. While this articles primary rationale or raison dtre is therefore not a critique of Burnard, his particular emphasis furnishes a convenient concep
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 7 tual foil to a project whose preoccupation has been to insert T histlewoods story into a very different kind of narrative and analytical problematic. Both Burnards significant, award-winning book and the research agenda I am pro posing (which has its own genealogy) would be trivialized by a representation of the contribution here as some kind of rejoinder to him. 2 I am hoping that the article functions instead as both the introduction of a new research agenda and as a preliminary contribution to such an agenda. In trying to balance both functions, it runs the risk of leaving both the historian and the sociologist dissatisfied. T he hope is that it manages to transcend the bounds of narrowly defined disciplinary regimes just enough to capture the imagination and pique the interest of all kinds of C aribbeanists. Based primarily on limited second ary sources, there is no attempt to pass these results off as satisfying all the requirements to merit a claim for writing history. Neither can I claim uniqueness for the vision and concerns adumbrated here. Important parallels exist in the work of Ann Stoler as well as others cited by her as defining what she calls critical colonial studies or the new imperial history. As such, it gets even more complicated because while I see parallels, in a very preliminary reading of some of their work, I am unquali fied, and in any event unprepared at this early stage, to claim any strict affili ation. Nonetheless, the following comments by Stoler, in the introductory chapter of one of her books, seem to me to be particularly compelling and relevant to the central preoccupations of this article:No longer fixed on the colonized alone, colonial studies has increasingly been concerned with historical variability in the making of racialized categories. No longer convinced that colonialism was a successful hege monic project, students of colonial histories now direct their archival energies to the instabilities and vulnerabilities of colonial regimes, to the internal conflicts among those who ruled, and to the divergent and diverse practices among them. As this book suggests, few students of the colonial would claim that colonialism was more an economic venture than a cul tural one or that studies of the colonial can be bracketed from the making of the modern, of Europe and its nation-making projects. No one would claim that colonial effects were confined to areas of physical conquest alone. ( S toler 2002:9-10)In a way Stoler and others are pursuing the cultural counterpart of a project that has long informed the core premises of the scholarship of C aribbeanists, T hird-World and postcolonial scholars, nonessentialist Afrocentric revision ists of colonial history, dependency theorists: how did colonialism make and re-make the political economies of both colony and metropole, as part of a contentiously unitary and structurally differentiated imperial trajectory? As 2. Moreover, Burnard has a varied and multifaceted body of work, whose component parts, though in some instances relevant here, are too numerous to mention.
8 CE C ILIA A GREEN much ink has been used to deny the centrality of colonialism in the unfolding of metropolitan political economy by internalist E urocentric revisionists of various ideological persuasions as has been used to trace the hidden and notso-hidden threads of the mutually reconstructive connection by those who have taken it for granted. Therefore, this new cultural history is surely, in some ways, a vindication of the latter tradition. However, critical colonial studies goes well beyond a necessary or simple understanding of mutual determination to a long overdue destabilization of the easy dichotomies and binaries of such categories as metropole/colony and colonizer/colonized or of the idea of colonialism as a finished, efficient, successful, or transparently executed project. Its perspective claims that the ingredients in the reproduc tion of colony and empire, colonizer and colonized took unexpected and mul tiple twists and turns on the ground. The sentries and subversives of empire could be a motley crew, often hidden in the seams of the main narrative. T hus, against the grain of Burnards assertion of racialization (and racial solidarity) as a completed, successful, and difference-obliterating project, I am interested in exploring the very contradictions and differences that had to be suppressed (or managed) for the purpose of race-making, and in under standing that process as a set of practices which took some doing and did not just happen. Moreover, it should be emphasized that the discursive and political practices of racial production and the practices of embodied social and economic reproduction the operation and making of class, class sub jects, and class effects should not be conflated. They are closely related but not coterminous, and they belong to different levels of the social sys tem, linked through a labored process of mediation. Through this process the contradictions between the imperatives of race and the quotidian realities of class are constantly being managed, contained, and smoothed out. In a larger sense, this article is precisely concerned with tracing (underneath the racializing categories) the crisscrossing strands of embodied and mate rial practices by which the highly textured and patterned tapestry of empire and colony was woven and a delicate (and shifting) balance of distance and intimacy maintained. By way of locating it within a defined analytical field, I would propose that it most closely engages what Stoler (2002:7) refers to as the microphysics of colonial rule. Without committing S toler or her col laborators in any way to this more risky position, I would also suggest that if ever there was a moment to re-invoke, in new ways, the oft-repudiated Marxist categories of infrastructure and superstructure, as differentiated dimensions of social practices and social relations (or as relatively autono mous social practices and relations), it is here. In thinking about race as a unifier of Whites of different classes or strata, I find S tuart Halls (1977:158, 162) observation about the way hegemony secures the unity of the whole social formation useful for the group as well. He notes that hegemony secures the unity, cohesion and stability of [the]
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 9 social order in and through (not despite) its differences, and that what mat ters is not simply the plurality of their internal structures, but the articulated relation between their differences. In this article I want to talk about classrelated differences (the plurality of their internal structures) among Whites (particularly male-centered groups), and do so with the background under standing both of complexity-and-unity (Hall 1977:158) and of racial unity as a labored process of mediation and as unstable and unpredictable. In addi tion, I want to consider the implications of those differences for the making of West Indian societies as place-based (and deeply stratified) communities or social entities rather than just as functions of empire or as racialized spaces. Finally, in precisely locating the problematic of this sociohistorical piece, I wish to state that this is not some kind of return to class, since it does not assume that class was ever abandoned. In the first place, class-based differ ences among Whites were secondary or even tertiary ones, the primary and focal class relation being that between the slave-owning planter class and the enslaved plantation workers. S econdly, I would like to place considerable dis tance between myself and those analysts who make all the right conciliatory or deferential gestures toward the particular strengths of postcolonial theory (of which I certainly endorse the need to be rigorously critical) and then subtly manoeuvre a return to the reductive position that its not race, its class; its not colonialism, it is the capitalist mode of production. 3 As if race, colonial ism, and E urocentrism did not also constitute devastating material relations of their own (let alone as defining moments of historical capitalism). I try instead to anchor my analysis within those traditions of Black and postcolonial mate rialist feminism that reject either/or conceptual apparatuses in favor of com plex both/and dialectical ones. Before venturing into the historical narra tive, therefore, I briefly consider neglected aspects of the various dimensions whose intersectionality positions Whites differently among themselves and the importance of such differences in the making of empire and colony. In the interest of space, most of which will be devoted to the details of the historical narrative or proof, I limit my elaboration of the sociological concepts prof fered and applied in this article to this section. First, race. Since race, or more especially racial solidarity, is already given in this analysis I want to begin with the reminder that it is an achieved, constructed, and somewhat unstable category, not a spontaneous and fixed one. While Barbados provides the clearest example of visceral and enduring class divisions among Whites, Jamaica was not exempt from this condition, despite the relative absence of a self-sustaining poor White class. 3. In a volume that makes an otherwise laudable attempt to bring about a rapprochement between (versions of) Marxist and postcolonial theory, Lazaruss contribution (2002:4364) seems to me to be particularly guilty of this either/or and economistic reductionism.
10 CE C ILIA A GREEN In the case of Barbados, Hilary McD Beckles (1985, 1986) has written at length about early White servitude or proto-slavery and about the contempt in which poor Whites were held by White elites, before emancipation and the subsequent strategic closing of ranks on the basis of race. 4 R ichard Dunn (1972:9) points to the routine expectation that English servants in the early settlements of Barbados and the L eewards would desert to the S paniards at the first opportunity rather than defend their masters. But even at the height of Jamaicas golden age of sugar, scattered among the daily compendia of Thomas Thistlewoods thirty-six-year record of plantation life during that period are occasional references to White servants running away and even to White servants staging uprisings alongside enslaved Blacks. 5 Closer to the point of this article, we see below that Thistlewoods entry into the lower ranks of the White elite is a proactively and purposively sponsored one. Class and patriarchy Admittedly, it is easier to make a case for the salience of divisions among Whites based on the juridical status/class dis tinctions of freedom/mastery vs. unfreedom/indentured servitude. Indeed, it is puzzling why Burnard should seek to downplay even those. It is perhaps less easy to make a case for the salience of divisions between local subelites and dominant translocal elites. However, I want to argue that those distinctions are critical (a) in mapping the differentiated structures of localtranslocal-metropolitan imperial economic networks, (b) in understanding the specificities of place-making in the colonial restructuring of localities, 6 and (c) in dispelling any illusions about the true specifications (specs) and scope of the dominant sugar-planter bourgeoisie (and its delineation of a selfdefining cordon sanitaire ). In other words, these differences matter. If one brings together a robust concept of class and a historically spe cific understanding of colonial-capitalist modes of production, one can pre cisely map the differentiated structure of spatial-circuits 7 circumscribing the reproduction of groups, economic sectors, and places. 8 Within this general 4. See also Beckless other defining contributions to an emerging repertoire of what might be tentatively labeled critical British West Indian colonial studies, especially his path-breaking Centering Woman (1999). 5. For example, on Sunday, September 29, 1752, Thistlewood recorded news of an apparently unsuccessful local uprising: Heard of a white man and the Negroes rising upon C apt. L eister. He afterwards told me the story himself (Hall 1999:31). 6. And, one might add, the dynamics of creolization in the colonial restructuring of cultures. S ee Brathwaite 1974. 7. See Green (1995:86-89) for a slightly differently focused, but related, discussion of spatial-circuits or enclaves. 8. In sociospatial terms one might refer to the space of bodies-in-motion (defined of course by class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc.), space of flows (circuits of economic transactions), and space of places (place-defined societies, communities, or niches).
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 11 approach, I see classes as comprehending mutually constitutive dominant and subordinate spatial-circuits of re/production (see Green 1992-93). Re/ production is an elliptical reference to the joint processes of economic pro duction and the physiosocial reproduction of human beings as constituents of social groups, hence my reference above to embodied social and economic reproduction. T his precision represents a concern to understand classes both as mutually antagonistic agents of public production relations and as social groups separately constituted and marked through institutionally mediated processes and relations of familial, domestic, sexual, generational, and pri vate-human reproduction. By tracing the variously converging and diverg ing spatial-circuits of re/production we can more fully grasp the operation and making of class, class subjects, and class effects, and the implications of diverging modes of extended, intergenerational, group reproduction. The different groups are bounded by diverging/converging modes of reproduc tion as well as by differential protagonistic roles in dominant and subordinate goods-producing and exchanging economies. R elations of reproduction in the vast majority of known human societies have been organized on the basis of varieties of patriarchal or male-domi nant systems and institutions of heterosexual marriage, sex, and kinship. Patriarchy as a ruling system encompasses both in-class organization of rul ing-class male power, providing a variably adapted and enforced hegemonic model for the rest of society (other classes), and class/patriarchal domination over subordinate groups T o see class only from the public productive angle and not from the private reproductive angle (mediated by marriage and/or concubinage) limits our vision. Indeed, the latter angle reveals not just the social, cultural, and genealogical circuits of class but also key aspects of the financial circuits, since profits and property flow through families, through marriages, wills, bequests, trusts, and so on. C lass, and therefore racial endog amy if necessary, is maintained through mating and marriage within the per ceived bloodlines, no matter what the role played by relations of concubinage. T he special case of the dual marriage system, which reproduces two class and racial lines from the single male progenitor, will be discussed below (see Green, forthcoming 2007, 9 for implications for the enslaved). Space and place. According to C harles W. Mills (1997:41), the R acial C ontract [of which the slavery contract is one permutation] norms (and races) space, demarcating civil and wild spaces. C atherine Hall (2002:72) gives this concept a particular twist when she notes that, from the point of view of the colonists, E ngland was for families, Jamaica was for sex. T o para phrase a famous quotation, the West Indies was for them a convenient facil ity where enslaved Africans labored to produce tropical commodities for their 9. Pre-print version available online at http://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/lhr/toc. hhp.
12 CE C ILIA A GREEN profit and for the palates and developing biophysical mass needs of metropoli tan consumers. It was, indeed, also a facility where the enslaved were forced to render domestic and sexual service for their resident White masters. One might think of Jamaica and the other West Indian islands in terms of both space functionally and discursively assigned social spaces as constituent elements of whole systems and place, geographically fixed and relatively autono mous, locall y determined whole societies-in-the-making. R elatedly, one might consider classes/social groups as having different relationships and forms of agency with regard to both dimensions. T hese differences were important for the constitutive reproduction of both transatlantic empire and local colony, the case of the neoteric societies of the C aribbean islands lending new meaning to the term, place-making. In this article, I want to argue that T histlewood, as representative of one class, or, at the very least, class fraction, and the Barretts, as representative of another, were situated differently in the local-translocalmetropolitan 10 matrices and processes of empire, and I want to understand how these differences mattered. As such, I am interested in distinguishing the precise historical roles of these greater and lesser Whites in the mutual constitution of metropole and colony, notwithstanding the fact that they shared an imagined home as freeborn Britons. T he Barretts enjoyed uneven membership in a transat lantic ruling class whose genealogical and economic modes of reproduction routinely traversed a geographically dislocated spatial-circuit and called for a certain distance from the rooted, osmotic process of place-making. My main point is that there should be no illusions that Thistlewood is a representa tive of this class (his own re/productive niche diverging substantially from theirs), but I also want to suggest some specificities about his own classrelated role. T histlewood, without such border-crossing options, an intimate and routine brutalizer of the enslaved, on-the-spot policeman of the fron tier moral economy, but also dependent upon and a participant in the Black reproductive niche and a patron of the subaltern protopeasant economy, is a key vector in the embedding and domiciling of colonialism and in the making of a potentially independent, unique place-based society. He is more appropriately understood as part of a colonial petty bourgeoisie. In some ways, the practices of his class or stratum were more insinuating with regard 10. I specifically intend and deploy the term translocal rather than transnational. T ransnational, though sometimes commonsensically used below, does not quite capture the intended meaning, since the relationship of imperial metropole to colonial hinterland or province is not a relation of inter-nation but one of intra-empire, a relationship of dif ferent functional and social spaces in one elaborate hierarchical transatlantic complex. At the same time, translocal captures the integrity of each space, as being its own local and variously experienced as such by those who cross borders and reside at different times in each, as necessary conditions of their social existence.
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 13 to the colonized lifeworlds of the enslaved than was the more removed hege mony of the upper elite, notwithstanding the acknowledged heterogeneity within dynastic practices. 11 I have suggested elsewhere (Green, forthcoming 2006) that Thistlewood might be more central to the question of how inti macy localizes empire and helps reproduce historically unique West Indian creole societies. Within the context of my specific and primary concern with differences within the White community, I focus on two social groups or class types in particular, using two individual/family biographical profiles culled from unevenly documented histories: locally bound intermediate strata clustered overwhelmingly around individual White male immigrants, and translo cal upper-class family dynasties with significant generational depth and breadth. In the following sections, I present an overview of Jamaican sociodemographic structure pertinent to the questions raised by the discussion, before considering the variously converging and diverging spatial-circuits of reproduction of, first, Thomas Thistlewood and his lesser White race/ class/gender stratum and, second, the upper-class family dynasty of the Barretts of Jamaica and of E lizabeth Barrett Browning literary fame. It might be objected that Thistlewoods single biographical trajectory is clearly no match for a dynasty that completed the multi-era, multigenerational cycle from adventurer to creole planter class, to absentee owners, to merger with the industrial bourgeoisie at home. However, while Thistlewood shared only about three generations with the centuries-spanning Barrett clan, the deep differences between their respective class experiences and class effects had already become a structural feature of the society during that time. I conclude the article by briefly reviewing the implications of the dif ference.WE S T INDIAN SO C IAL STRU C TURE AND LO C AL/ TRAN S LO C AL CIR C UIT S OF RE P RODU C TION New World plantation slave societies can be generally divided into those that had a residentiary ruling class and high levels of E uropean settlement (usu ally constituting majorities) and those with a high propensity toward owner absenteeism and low levels of E uropean settlement. T he latter group of colo -11. In other words, while it is important to acknowledge some convergences in sexual and reproductive practices between individual family members of the upper elite and the sub-elite overseer class, the dominant principles defining the class as a whole clearly diverge. S ee the discussion on the dual marriage system below.
14 CE C ILIA A GREEN nies tended to be treated like overseas investments and the biggest ownerplanters tended to merge with the metropolitan ruling class (at home), developing no fundamental or sustainable interest in nurturing independent capitalist states in the tropics or subtropics. The demographic structure of Britains West Indian colonies, and more particularly Jamaica, can primarily be explained by their historical status as nonresidentiary colonies of exploita tion (colonies of export production driven by imported slave labor) and their economic administration through surrogacy. T he White population was skewed toward immigrant single male subal terns as a result of absenteeism among the upper ranks of the plantocracy, the tendency to recruit, prefer, or require unmarried men as overseers and other lesser plantation surrogates, and the persistent, semi-mythical lure of over night privileged status and quick fortunes that Jamaica held for displaced and dclass casualties of Britains rapidly changing economy. In an earlier piece, Burnard (1991:97) noted that in 1730, 76.2 percent of the White population, which itself constituted only 6.6 percent of the entire population of the island, were servants, usually working as bookkeepers or overseers on plantations. During T histlewoods time (1750-86), Whites accounted for between 6 and 8 percent of the total population, and adult men outnumbered adult women by more than 2 to 1 (Burnard 2004:17-18). Burnard has gone so far as to con clude, with some exaggeration and a disinclination to see beyond the immedi ate physical confines of the provincial space, that the evolution of planta tion society in Jamaica ... allowed little space for white women (Burnard 1998:164). Broadly speaking, Whites in eighteenth-century Jamaica indeed tended to be male, young, migrant, and subaltern. T heir general character was marked by their location between a preponderant population of enslaved Blacks on the one hand and a nonresidentiary, translocal or metropolitanbased White upper class on the other. As S ydney Haldane Olivier (1971:68) observed, even early nineteenth-century attempts to encourage the develop ment of a White yeoman or small-settler class failed because such a class could not hold its own in the local economy of that period. During the second half of the eighteenth century the problem of absen teeism intensified. According to one source, absentees owned 30 percent of Jamaicas sugar estates in 1775 and 84 percent in 1832, as both absenteeism and the concentration of land increased ( S heridan 1974:287). While the great majority of Jamaican planters and pen-keepers were not absentee, the very largest sugar planters between one-fifth and one-sixth of the total were, and they owned the majority of slaves and acres in the colony. In 1754, the nine largest landholders, a little over one-half a percent of the total, each owned between 10,000 and 23,000 acres of land (Sheridan 1974:219, T able 10.1). The sugar export economy of Jamaica thus showed a structural pro pensity toward absenteeism and its demographic consequences. The com plications of this phenomenon multiplied as more fortunes were made and
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 15 younger generations, schooled and coming of age in E ngland, were less and less inclined to go back to the colonies to manage their inherited planta tions in person. E xclusively female heirs daughters, widows, sisters made the prospect of return, even as visiting absentee owners in the robust tradi tion of Matthew Monk Lewis (1999), that much more unlikely. This did not mean, however, that female absentee ownership eroded the integrity of White patriarchal planter-class hegemony any more than did male absentee ownership, since there was usually in place a formidable support system of male players, including attorneys and overseers locally and British commis sion houses and agents in the metropole, to ensure the smooth reproduction of the enterprise. The subjective social space of the upper West Indian plantocracy was therefore transnationally split. T he divided social character of this class was represented precisely by the physical and social separation of certain funda mental conditions of their reproduction slave-worked sugar plantations and metropolitan financial, cultural and what I call genealogical capital into different worlds. In one recurring version, the transnational split was accom modated entirely by proxy, with the proprietors remaining in the metropole and their second-class surrogates presiding over their plantations and rep licating the dualism of the system on their behalf. In the sagas of the great West Indian Creole family dynasties, biographies that were ultimately or wholly played out in Jamaica, those that zigzagged back and forth across the Atlantic, and those entirely nurtured and sustained in the motherland on the financial sweetness of Jamaican sugar profits, often marked different gen erational points in the genealogy of a transatlantic colonial family dynastic cycle that started and ended in Britain. T he reproductive spatial-circuit of the upper plantocracy could not be comprehended by a look at its provincial manifestations only. Their transatlantic mode of reproduction, as indicated earlier, depended upon spatially dislocated means of reproduction coordi nated through the converging and centralizing circuits of empire: the slave trade and slave-worked sugar plantations at the provincial sites of production (of the labor force and the export staple), and metropolitan finance capi tal, White wives properly incorporated through the endogamous institution of elite marriage, and impeccable genealogical and cultural credentials and networks at the central site of capital distribution and subjective class repro duction. T hese enabled unquestioned and smooth integration into the homebased bourgeoisie and the identity repertoires of upper-class Englishness or Britishness. In British West Indian society, marriage was considered to be an exclusive upper-class privilege, completely bound up with considerations of race, lineage, and property, from which the lesser White bachelor estate personnel and the slaves were effectively barred. T he elite institution came to have a special asso ciation with absenteeism, as the richest planters looked to E ngland as a source
16 CE C ILIA A GREEN of marriageable partners and sent their sons and daughters there to be educated, and inevitably to marry and to settle. E ngland became the home site (and place of residence) for the social reproduction of the wealthiest group among the West Indian planters, their transnational niche being materially sustained on the basis of profits from their sugar plantations and the financial backing of British merchant houses. T he small West Indian and related mercantile circles in E ngland (and in the colonies) married into each others families and effected political alliances that advanced their colonial interests, further securing the transnational niche. R ichard Pares (1950:249) points out that the plantations were loaded ... with legacies and annuities, with widows and old maids quar tered upon them from every county in E ngland, in an extravagant and inef ficient system which ultimately redounded to the benefit of the planters British creditors. C ertain established sugar traders (factors) and creditors of the big planters refused to deal with small planters because they often had coloured families, who might inherit their land and desire a loan from a merchant. T hey also declined to lend money to white planters who were likely to leave their properties to coloured heirs (Pares 1950:240). Obviously, the ultimate concern was economic rather than moral, since the big planters were no less likely to have colored families, just either more able to sustain them outside and without encroaching upon their main capital enterprises or less willing to acknowledge them (except perhaps as their property). Access to upper-class White wives, metropolitan finance capital, and extended reproduction of genealogy across the Atlantic were available to only a small number of elite White West Indian men. For those planters who were resident in the colony, their reproductive and sexual niches might be consummated and sustained not just in relations of marriage with White women, co-resident or headquartered abroad, but also in relations of con cubinage with Black women, enslaved or free. White planters often became the mediating biological and social link between two (or more) sets of fami lies, helping to reproduce two different classes either simultaneously (usu ally, but not always, involving multiple residences) or sequentially (perhaps beginning or resuming their legal marital careers after going home to E ngland). R aymond T S mith (1987:167) refers to this as the dual marriage system, noting that from the beginning of the development of the slave regime, a marriage system was in place that included both legal marriage and concubinage, a system in which the elements were mutually and reciprocally defining and which articulated with the racial hierarchy. I want to insert here a note about White Wives, not just as genealogical capital or reproducers of patrilineage, but also as widowed owners ensuring the continued reproduction of productive property and economic capital. Women, though in a distinct demographic and structural minority, were also independent planters locally and not just as widows. However I am paying particular attention here to absentee widowed upper-class female legatees of
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 17 large plantation property. One remarkable example (and there are others 12 ) should caution us against assuming too readily the historical passivity of the overseas White wife/widow. On January 17, 1776, Anna E liza E lletson, left Devisee and sole E xecutrix of Hope E state in L iguanea, Jamaica (and all his E states R eal & Personal in E ngland), by the death of her husband, R oger Hope E lletson, 13 writes to her Jamaican attorneys, pleading the pecu liar disadvantages of her sex:Mr. E lletson was a very good understanding Planter, but I am a mere nov ice, Indeed few people can have a just idea of cultivating any C ountry with which they are unacquainted, and I believe, it seldom happens to be the subject of Contemplation with Women our mode of Education does not qualify us for such employments, if I wish in any Degree to render myself Mistress of this subject, tis only, that I may comprehend, what you may have occasion to write me, but not to presume to direct you, the least in your management. 14Mrs. Elletson, having thus charmingly disarmed her local representatives, proceeds with systematic and steely resolve, in this and her other letters, to establish an astonishing command over the direction of her properties from across the Atlantic. S he is scrupulous in setting up the contractual instruments and terms of her new management regime. S he familiarizes herself with and strictly monitors the market for sugar in relation to grade, color, price, fluc tuations of supply and demand, shipping, timing, and location of sale. She suggests and orders elaborate schemes for scientific and technical improve ments of the property and methods of cultivation, including irrigation sys tems and procurement of the latest technology and technical expertise. She is as rigorous in her attention to the care and upkeep of the slave labor force as she is to the details of the estate accounts, especially in regard to various testamentary claims upon and debts owed the estate. She keeps close tabs on the staff conditions and regularly submits recommendations for changes. With the help of her Jamaican and British lawyers, she vigorously pursues a number of new and pending prosecutorial and defensive legal actions on behalf of the estate. Most boldly, she successfully sues the T own of Kingston over a prior concession to supply water to the town from the estate that had 12. See, for example, letters from Anne Fyffe of Dundee, Scotland, after the death of her husband, David, regarding the familys Jamaican properties, in the Fyffe Family Collection, MS 1655, National Library of Jamaica. The Fyffe family fortunes were, admittedly, considerably less auspicious. 13. He had served as lieutenant-governor of Jamaica. 14. Anna Eliza Elletson, Curzon Street, London, to Messrs. Pool and East, Kingston, January 17, 1776, Ms 29a, E lletson Family L etters, National L ibrary of Jamaica.
18 CE C ILIA A GREEN been granted by her late husband. Her successful suit cites the estates need of the water for its own sugar manufacturing operations. Mrs. Anna Eliza Elletsons role as remote trustee of a large West Indian property, preserved through endogamous marriage for British upper-class posterity, is exemplary but by no means unique. Her legal victories were facilitated by her substantial support and surrogate system, complete with political and financial reinforcements subsequently brought in by her titled new husband, the Duke of C handos. L ater, after their only child married the Duke of Buckingham, the estate would become the property of the Duke of Buckingham and C handos (Brown 2004:22). The critical roles of absentee wives, returned widows, and mothers relo cating in the motherland with their school-age sons and daughters are also in evidence in the account of the Barrett family presented below. The so-called dual marriage system potentially or actually generated two race/class lines one legitimate, the other illegitimate with the White master as common genitor, reproducing White paterfamilial propriety and racial superiority on the one hand, Afro-creole matrifocality and hybridized subalternity on the other. Just as marriage came to be an exclusive prop erty of the very wealthy and a mechanism for the transnational reproduc tion of the Euro-creole upper class, concubinage came to be the means by which a bastard intermediate class was bequeathed to the societies of the West Indies by the planters and their surrogates as the social superiors of the slaves and, later, of the Black peasantry and working class. Legitimacy and illegitimacy defined the relation of center to periphery and the genteel draw ing-room world of White wives to the profane underworld of Black concu bines. But dual marriage, involving simultaneous access to White wives and Black concubines, was not typically an option for subaltern White men, and, indeed, not all the liaisons that produced these bastard scions had the same social standing. The range crossed the hierarchies of male-gender White and female-gender non-White society, moving from the regular form of predatory rape experienced by any number of female plantation slaves in the casual, irregular, or random sexual encounters forced upon them by masters and their associates in the course of their everyday lives, through the semi-regular, sometimes long-lasting or permanent and more or less consensual housekeeping arrangements which brought a favorite slave into the household of an overseer or proprietor or continued to involve dual residences on the plantation (slave women sometimes being specially pur chased or hired for such housekeeping purposes), to the semi-respectable or at least openly alternative liaisons between planter-class men and rela tively high-status free C olored women, who might be either independently situated or kept in their own establishments, residential and/or commer cial. L ate eighteenth-century observer, Bryan E dwards (1793:22), allowed of the latter that the terms and manner of their compliance ... are commonly as
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 19 decent, though perhaps not as solemn, as those of marriage; ... giving them selves up to the husband (for so he is called) with faith plighted, with senti ment, and with affection. Others were more contemptuously cynical and given over to racial and sexual stereotyping in their observations: Though the daughters of rich men, and though possessed of slaves and estates, they never think of marriage; their delicacy is such, for they are extremely proud, vain and ignorant, that they despise men of their own colour; and though they have their amorous desires abundantly gratified by them and black men secretly, they will not avow these connections (Moreton 1790:124-5). Indeed, one other consequence of the skewed racial-gender demograph ics of colonial West Indian populations was the emergence into numerical and intermediate caste/class conspicuousness of a free Colored population and a politically anomalous free Colored elite. This is another group whose importance and complicating presence are understated in Burnards discus sion of White egalitarianism. In keeping with this observation, T histlewoods diaries show us that even the account of racially endogamous and racially exogamous mating by Whites defining the boundary between legitimacy and illegitimacy, while broadly true, should not be exaggerated. Thistlewoods longest engagement as an overseer in the first half of his residency in Jamaica places him in a subordinate class position vis--vis the respectably married not quite White heir of the late White plantation owner, William Dorrill, under whom T histlewood also served. While this type of situation may have been rare, Thistlewoods Jamaican biography played out in an unsettled space in-between sharply defined racial and class worlds should, on a whole, caution us against composing too simplistic an account of relations and status hierarchies among Whites as well as between Whites and free Blacks and Coloreds. Details of this biography presented below allow us to more vividly and sensitively mark the complexities of those relations and status hierarchies. 1515. My main source for the details of T histlewoods diaries, in addition to Burnards book itself, is the much earlier one by Douglas Hall (1999). Halls book is an edited presenta tion of the excerpted diaries that has a somewhat different focus from Burnards and has both great independent and great complementary value. I also got a chance to do a cursory preview of the diaries themselves, while I was in Jamaica doing archival research. The University of the West Indies Mona library has a complete copy of the original Monson manuscripts in its West Indies Collection section. Having broached the formidable task of sampling the 32 folios, which contain 10,000 sometimes illegible pages of handwritten text, it was not difficult to come away in some considerable awe of both Burnard and Hall and their remarkable accomplishments in reading, editing, synthesizing, and interpreting. I also read enough to get a sense that there is probably no substitute for an original read ing. Even in my preliminary sampling I was able to glean a number of details that show patterns not highlighted by either Hall or Burnard. Depending on particular scholarly interests, there is no doubt that everyone will have his or her own T histlewood.
20 CE C ILIA A GREEN Among the complexities and nuances that might confound a too-strict correlation between race and class or race and political interests, there are two on which I wish to focus in the following section: first, the reproduc tive niches of those White men who did not have access (or at least easy access) to White wives and the dual marriage system or to actively and transnationally deployable metropolitan finance, cultural, and genealogical capital; second, the enforceable and regularly enforced authority that over seers like Thistlewood, as resident masters, had over the White plantation underlings, whose reproductive niches tended to be even more constrained than their own. T here is a third subject which cannot be fully addressed here but should be borne in mind: that of proximal relations between Whites and free Blacks or Coloreds (usually the latter) mediated through ties of friend ship, commonly experienced ownership of slaves and land, illegitimate but more or less acknowledged kinship, and even as in the case of John C ope, T histlewoods boss during most of his overseership, and his wife, Mary C ope (ne Dorrill) marriage. I would argue that Burnard understates the evidence of these complexities and nuances as furnished by T histlewoods diaries and therefore the ways in which they rendered British West Indian social struc ture far more opaque than the easy representations offered by various com monsensical accounts would have us believe.THOMA S THI S TLE W OOD: IN BET W EEN RA C IAL AND CLA SS WORLD SThistlewood is the younger of two sons of a middling yeoman farmer in Lincolnshire County in England. He is apparently displaced from a liveli hood in farming as a casualty of the law of primogeniture, although he does receive a small legacy of 200 from his father. L acking in both the moral and resource prerequisites for a proper/tied match with a respectable woman of his class, he casts his lot with colonial adventures overseas and decides to seek his fortune in Jamaica. Despite a deep-seated ambition, a decent basic education that included a smattering of the classics and the sciences, and miscellaneous entrepreneurial proclivities and experiences, Thistlewood cannot aspire to a position above that of overseer. Modest as it might seem, it was not the worst he could do. According to Edward Kamau Brathwaite (1971:142), overseers on absentee-owned plantations were master[s] of the place, whereas bookkeepers, in spite of the authority of immediate, everyday tyranny they sometimes held over Blacks, were typically among the poorest and most powerless White men. For one, Thistlewood goes to Jamaica on his own account; he is a free man, not shackled by a pre-contracted formal indenture. On the contrary, he is fortunate enough to be armed with letters of introduction from local notables with West Indian connections. He finds work immediately and remains a well-regarded and much sought-after over
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 21 seer for the first seventeen years of his life in Jamaica. At the end of this period, he moves, together with a small, gradually acquired slave workforce, to property he has purchased jointly with Samuel Say, a fellow member of the overseer class. He converts his portion to a pen, a type of operation that is ancillary to the great sugar estates, and he eventually develops it into a muchadmired horticultur a l showpiece. He is a small proprietor by most standards (thirty or more slaves and 160 acres, of which more than half is swampland), but his agronomic skills and relative commercial success, combined with his appointments to a number of lower-level political offices and military com missions confirm him as a respected member of the White community. T histlewoods diaries speak to us of two worlds: the predominantly homo social world of dominant (both greater and lesser) White men and the overwhelmingly African world over which he presides with routine and unre mitting brutality, but which he also shares, however unevenly, in an intimate and sometimes startlingly mundane domestic arrangement with Phibbah, an Afro-creole house slave. He acts as a kind of mediator and link between, and traverser of, these two worlds, the homosocial world of White men without, or unaccompanied by, White wives and the world of brutalized, infantilized, and sexualized Black men and women. His role in each world is contradictory and complex. He is a near (not quite) equal participant in the exclusive White male political commons, in which he is appointed to lower-level but not insig nificant offices. He engages actively in both intra-class and inter-class social networks of White homosocial conviviality in which women make an occa sional appearance, and he is a member of the fraternity of White plantation masters whose domination of the bodies of the enslaved includes compulsive and unrelenting sexual predation upon those of enslaved women. L ike the overwhelming majority of the other White men in his world, he routinely and regularly exercises his at-large droit du seigneur on the female labor force of the estates under his management. Yet there are limits. He can never aspire to being an elected member of the Assembly, that jealously guarded instrument of planter-class self-gov ernment and of the sovereignty of claims to freeborn English identity and subjecthood. He is never invited to dinner at the Governors House or to the great balls of elite planter-class society complete with bona fide hostess wives and the small circle of society ladies though he often supplies the livestock, game, vegetables, and flowers that ensure their grand success. He does not become a sugar planter and exporter, instead remaining primarily a less-valued broker of domestic economy and a patron of the protopeasant economy of the slaves, particularly the coterie of elite domestic and skilled slaves networked around his wife, Phibbah. Perhaps most importantly, he does not have a White wife, but lives according to the custom of the coun try, and more especially according to the custom of his class.
22 CE C ILIA A GREEN Even here there are important qualifications. Thistlewood is not a can didate for the dual marriage system who decides to forego the benefits of a White wife in part because of the assurance of other conditions of reproduc tion that guarantee full maintenance of class status. T his is true, for example, of George Goodin Barrett, Elizabeth Barrett Brownings great-uncle, dis cussed below, who mates exclusively (at least, in self-acknowledged terms) with a mulatto slave, E lissa Peters. T heir children suffer a fate not untypical of the offspring of such couplings: they are not given the Barrett name, but they are sent to E ngland to be schooled and domiciled according to the terms of their fathers will, and they receive secondary (and inevitably contest able) bequests. Thistlewood, in contrast, gives his son John his name. He does not have the economic wherewithal or the genealogical amplitude and latitude to school him in E ngland, and evinces no aspirations or plans to that effect. John is schooled locally and is later apprenticed to a master carpenter, William Hornby. It should be pointed out here that not all large planter names were so closely guarded (outside of the widespread process of giving estate slaves the surnames of their owners). Another strategy, pursued by Martin or Martyn Williams, the dually married husband of Georges properly pedigreed first cousin (who later becomes the widowed mistress of Georges brother), was to both pass on the name and petition the courts to declare his illegiti mate mixed-race children, whose mother was a free Black woman, legally White. 16 T o complicate matters, there is a third option that both Williamss dual marriage obligations and the changed inheritance laws of his and Georges time 17 preclude him from pursuing (whatever his personal inclina tions): bequeathing his main properties to Colored heirs. His properties are passed on to his legitimate White heirs. T he case of Molly or Mary C ope (ne Dorill), the fully endowed illegitimate quadroon daughter of Thistlewoods late employer (now his employer, under coverture of her White husband) is different, but in part only because of the absence of competing claims from a legitimate White family. S he appears to us, through the admittedly limited medium of Thistlewoods cryptic daily log, as the tragic dupe of a strategy 16. This is a reference to a special statute in Jamaica by which free Colored individuals were allowed to petition the Assembly (or to have someone petition the Assembly on their behalf) for special privileges that would render them legally White, thereby conferring upon them an approximation of the whole bundle of rights and obligations that came with free White status. This special privileges statute was peculiar to Jamaica among the British islands. S ee Heuman 1981:6. 17. William Dorrills last will and testament was dated March 5, 1754, seven years before legislation was passed in 1761 prohibiting Whites from leaving real or personal property worth more than ,200 sterling (or around 2,000 Jamaican pounds) to any Colored or Black. S ee Heuman 1981:6.
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 23 to re-inscribe and recover a proper plantocratic and racial destiny for the at-risk property and lineage of her paternal ancestry. Once she has fulfilled all the right conditions she becomes practically dispensable. S he confides to T histlewood that her husband wants her to cut the entail off and settle upon him for life (Hall 1999:70). S he is being pressed to transfer title to the estate to her abusive and incompetent White husband. 18Not only is T histlewood not a candidate for the dual marriage system but his sexual rights over his slave mistress are limited by the preeminent rights of her owner (through his heiress wife), John C ope. T histlewood is forced to defer to C ope, the younger man, in a variety of ways, not the least of which is his own powerlessness to stop him from exercising paramount rights of own ership, and (therefore) patriarchal precedence over T histlewood, by summon ing Phibbah into sexual service on more than one occasion. Thistlewoods exclusive rights to Phibbah are only secured when he is settled on his own property and he is finally allowed to hire her on a permanent basis from the C opes. At that point, T histlewood is able to keep his intense dislike for C ope in sufficient check to astutely accommodate the latter mans increasingly sig nificant role as sponsor and patron of his own vertical mobility and growing respectability in the White community. Overseers and others of their class often hired and sometimes purchased favored slave lovers and brought them into their homes in housekeeping arrangements, which involved providing sexual and domestic services, sometimes for life. Sometimes the housekeeper was a free Black woman. Mrs. C armichael, a five-year sojourner in the West Indies as a planters wife, and a tenacious apologist for the plantocracy, describes the C olored house keeper as a necessary evil for the poorly paid 19 and poorly equipped resident manager or overseer who cannot afford a White wife or offer her an accept able way of life: Managers so situated, too often keep a coloured housekeeper, who gener ally manages well for herself, though she almost always does something for her own subsistence, either by huckstering or making preserves. She 18. Ultimately the transgressive racial composition of the family appears to take its toll. T he main properties, totaling thousands of acres, are mismanaged by C ope and eventually have to be sold off. Moreover, tragedy seems to haunt the DorrillC ope women, i.e. Mary and her two daughters. All three women, non-White but near-White, have been able to secure a relatively elusive level of respectability through appropriate marriages to White men, but have obviously done so at great psychic cost. One of the daughters later hangs herself in an apparently laudanum-induced episode (Hall 1999:291). As for her brothers, they are sent to school in E ngland and return to ambiguous statuses and constant conflict with their abusive father. 19. Olivier (1971:67), too, noted that overseers and bookkeepers were stingily paid in cash.
24 CE C ILIA A GREEN can live, and be very comfortable, in circumstances that no European woman could possibly be happy in; for she is never at a loss for society, as she can always find some coloured people not far distant, of her own habits and manners; but an E uropean female in such circumstances, would be desolate and miserable, even if her husband could afford to give her the common comforts of life; for no woman of decent moral habits, can make a friend of any of the coloured population who move in that sphere of life. ( C armichael 1969:61-62)According to Mrs. C armichael, the combined circumstances of conditions that are both materially and morally unfit for a E uropean woman operate powerfully upon the middling and lower classes of white people, in pre venting marriage, and opening a door to much immorality ( C armichael 1969:61-62). T he slave mistress was typically the object of lease or purchase but not of manumission. While offspring were often manumitted at a young age, it was not unusual for their slave mothers to be freed by their owner/keepers only in death, as a fulfillment of the last will and testament. This safe system of postmortem release protected and preserved the sanctity of the slaveowning order and, presumably, assuaged the consciences of dying White men. For the belatedly enfranchised, freedom was usually too short-lived and too deeply compromised to be properly enjoyed. Despite the difficulties T histlewood encountered in hiring Phibbah, ostensi bly because of ties of devotion between the latter and her owner, Mary Dorrill/ C ope, the practice of procuring housekeeper services through either the hire or purchase of female slaves did not as a rule meet with major objection from owners. On January 17, 1776, Anna E liza E lletson wrote her attorneys in Jamaica to carry out the intention of her late husband to transact the sale of his slave mistress and mulatto daughter to one Mr. C oe, the estate distiller. S he hopes, however, that this will not prove a distraction from his duties:among Mr. Elletsons papers I found one which by the subject, I believe was intended, to convey all right & title to a negro slave, named Maria, and her mullato Daughter, to the said Mr. Coe, for the consideration of one hundred & thirty pounds current money of Jamaica I presume Mr. Elletson meant to execute that T itle, therefore, as soon as you are pleased to give me instructions concerning it, I will certainly execute it, at the same time, I hope that Black Lady will not engross too much of his attention from his business. 20 A little over four years later she has occasion to arrange for the title to his mulatto child to be transferred to the current overseer. As usual, she wants 20. Anna Eliza Elletson, Curzon Street, London, to Messrs. Pool and East, Kingston, January 17, 1776, Ms 29a, E lletson Family L etters, National L ibrary of Jamaica.
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 25 to make sure the estate is duly compensated: I am very ready to comply with Mr. C oncannons request by making him a title to his mulatto child, on condition of his replacing it with an able Negroe, & wish to have yr. opinion adopted relative to the other mulatto children on the estate. 21 During his early years in Jamaica, T histlewood shares, or aspires to share, similar domestic arrangements with fellow-overseer Mordiner (or Mordenner) and the two socialize with each other. T histlewood notes that his friend has been purchasing Quasheba ... He gives for her, two new Negroes cost him 48 pounds each, beside duty. He paid 14 pounds per annum for her: he paid in ready cash for her and his two children about 166 pounds besides what they have cost him in victuals, clothes, etc. (Hall 1999:52). T histlewood is clearly impressed with Mordiners com manding ability to secure, with unmitigated proprietary rights, one of the basic requirements of secondary White manhood in the West Indian colo nies the in-house provision of exclusive sexual and domestic services by a selected Black woman, legally enslaved or nominally free. He has cause to be envious. In 1757, when he temporarily leaves the employ of the C opes, he begged hard of Mrs C ope [Mary Dorrill] to sell or hire Phibbah to me, but she would not; he [Mr. C ope] was willing (Hall 1999:79). After a visit from Phibbah, he yearns achingly, I wish they would sell her to me (Hall 1999:80). It is not until he is settled in his own property ten years later that the C opes finally agree to hire Phibbah out to him at an annual rate of 18; but selling is still out of the question. Sometimes expressions of affection for a slave mistress breached the boundaries of inviolate and robust White manhood, and exposed the vul nerability of those whose circuit of reproduction depended exclusively on the emotional, sexual, and other household and bodily care services pro vided by Black women within domestic (back)space. William C rookshanks, Thistlewoods immediate subordinate on Egypt Plantation, proves to be an embarrassment to his race, gender, and class in that regard, as he violates both the spatial and the expressive limits of this kind of relationship. Mirtilla, his slave mistress, whom he has leased at a yearly rate of 20 and re-hires out to earn her expenses, completely manipulates him (according to T histlewood), refusing to work, feigning illness, only resolved to put William through a needless charge through spite (Hall 1999:70). William cries sadly, the more fool he, as it is probably for Salt River Long Quaw [another slave], (Hall 1999:68) T histlewood comments, regarding a miscarriage Mirtilla suf fers early on in the ill-fated relationship. The love-crazed William curses her owners when they punish her for some misdeed. L ater, he attends her in 21. Anna E liza C handos, Bath, to Messrs. Pool and E ast, Kingston, March 12, 1780, Ms 29a, E lletson Family L etters, National L ibrary of Jamaica.
26 CE C ILIA A GREEN the labor of giving birth to their child. W.C. came home and cried, over whelmed by the experience. T histlewood clearly regards W. C .s softness for Mirtilla as excessive and foolish, and a dangerous embarrassment to the stan dards of potent and inscrutable White manhood. Crookshankss behavior is obviously related to his marginality within the White plantation-based community. He cannot really afford a full-time housekeeper in the manner of T histlewood and other supervisory staff, and he is forced to subcontract out Mirtillas services so that she can earn her keep. His precarious financial and psycho-emotional status quickly causes him to lose control of the situation. T he procurement of stable, full-time, and exclusive domestic and sexual services, or housekeeper arrangements, was typically beyond the reach of the lowest and most transient of the White male plantation staff. Moreover, they were subject to the patriarchal precedence of the resident master, overseer, or owner in the matter of access to the sexual services of the enslaved female labor force. Not only does Burnard exaggerate T histlewoods enjoyment of a shared political egalitarian space with the White elite, but he also suppresses the compelling evidence of his supervisory authority over the White subordi nates beneath him. As resident master, T histlewood has the power to hire and fire lower-level White staff and to police both their employment-related and their personal and sexual conduct, especially in relation to that most precious of plantation property, the slave labor force. He wields the ultimate power of patriarchal arbitration over both the White subordinates and the slaves. He controls access to enslaved women, approves, makes, and breaks matches (both White/Black and Black/Black couplings), referees sexual rivalries and domestic conflicts, punishes both male and female transgres sions against the patriarchy, and of course reserves to himself the absolute right of access to any female slave, unmitigated by prior claims, including those most recently adjudicated by him in favor of a successful claimant against interlopers. Over the course of his tenure at E gypt, he has cause to either approve or thwart the designs of members of his White staff regarding both tran sient sexual opportunities and more lasting housekeeper relationships with enslaved women. S ometimes his authority derives more clearly from direct ownership of the slave in question. In late 1762, he gives his assent to the partnering of the new driver, R obert Gibbs, a Barbadian, with his slave Nanny (Hall 1999:127). Nannys next keeper, another White man, Patrick May, stayed only six days. He came home drunk on the evening of May 23, 1763, quarreled with Nanny whom he kept, and shot her with small shot, one of which struck her head near the top, and the other her ankle, both these shots seem to be lodged (Hall 1999:128). T histlewood dismisses him. A previous employee, James R ogers, leaves after being rep rimanded for assaulting the slaves in the field while drunk (Hall 1999:124).
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 27 T histlewood is particularly averse to the risk posed by White drunkenness, an endemic feature of plantation life, to slave property and to his own authority. He denies the right of certain White underlings to prey upon the female slaves at will. For example, he reprimanded Henry Mac C ormick for frequenting the Negro houses in the night (Hall 1999:140). On other occasions he steps in to prevent what he sees as inappropriate or injurious couplings, even to the point of preferring the claims of elite male slaves over those of certain White contenders. He takes care to protect longerterm supervisory alliances over more transient ones, regardless of race. T he peripatetic and elusive character of White labor made such a course wise. Moreover, poorer White servants, many of whom were Irish and S cottish, were the object of open ethnic prejudice, suspicion, and contempt from self-aware E nglishmen like T histlewood. 22 During the entire period he is executing this kind of dominion, T histlewood is still an overseer. One other important distinction palpably present in T histlewoods account is that between free status and indentured status among Whites. I have noted elsewhere that indentured servants to some degree shared with enslaved Africans the condition of deracinated isolates (Green, forthcoming 2007). Both slave and indentured servant were seen as detached embodiments of labor power at the complete disposal of the master. T heir legal personalities were thereby suspended or canceled out, the one permanently and by force, the other temporarily and by contractual self-submission. For both groups, marriage was prohibited as an interference with the masters proper enjoyment of his property rights in their persons and labor services. E ven outside the bonded contract, single status was often stipulated as a condition of employ ment of the White overseers and bookkeepers, for whom these positions were expected to act as stepping stones to bigger and better things. As noted above, T histlewood himself records instances of White servants absconding or mak ing common cause with enslaved Blacks against their masters. Thistlewood came to Jamaica as a free and English man, with the pride of the yeoman class and a burning personal ambition coursing through his veins. He becomes a master of White servants and Black slaves, a slave-owner, small planter, and, through a process of sponsored mobility, a respected junior member of the White plantocratic political commons. His social niche, however, lay outside the dual marriage system or the bordercrossing transatlantic circuits of the upper elite. His accommodation to the custom of the country, embedding him within a cross-racial spatial circuit of personal and generational reproduction, was not simply his choice or preference (i.e. as an option that willfully excluded a White wife). T o a very great extent, these were the means of reproduction available to him, for 22. T histlewood appears to hold a particular aversion for S cotsmen.
28 CE C ILIA A GREEN his use and abuse. And indeed, he remains a lifelong sexual opportunist and predator, exploiting generations of enslaved women owned and managed by him, including mothers and their daughters or other lineal descendants. By a contrast that may seem startling today but was normative in its time, he also shares a lifelong co-residential, intimate, complex, and dense conjugal partnership with his chosen slave wife, Phibbah. T he processes of T histlewoods daily and generational reproduction, in bodily and affective terms, take place within a Black/African female-medi ated emotional and cultural domestic space. T histlewood has no insider knowledge of any other kind of private domestic world. In this space, even as ultimate patriarch and master, he is humanized (as far as possible) by and dependent upon the intercessionary care services and emotional solicitude of Phibbah, agent and mediator of multiple worlds in her own right. He is genitor of a hybrid, intermediate, C olored race/class line, which in his case abruptly ends with the premature death of his only acknowledged son, Mulatto John. After an initial period of referring to this son anonymously as Phibbahs child, he eventually does step into the role of social father-dis ciplinarian to him, however contentiously so. T his second-generation (and self-obliterating) merger of the White overseer and small settler class into the increasingly significant intermediate class of free C oloreds became a routine structural feature of Jamaican society, in ways that, while not pecu liar to Jamaica, did not occur everywhere. Olivier (1971:69) is careful to point this out:The small white settler class was absorbed as overseers and book-keepers, married or cohabited unmarried with coloured women, and in a genera tion or two became merged in the class described as the free coloured people. T hey did not, as white immigrants of their position did, for example, in Barbados or in S outh Africa at a later period, give rise to a permanent poor white class; and it was very fortunate for Jamaica that they did not. Nonetheless, considerable doubt remains as to whether Mulatto John would have been duly vested as T histlewoods main heir, had he lived. T histlewoods nephew, John Thistlewood, his elder brothers son, joins him from England in early February 1764, a few years after the birth of Mulatto John (and, it should be said, the passage of the law restricting bequests to C olored heirs). Was this a move on T histlewoods part to secure a collateral extension of the White Thistlewood family on Jamaican soil? If so, it was not to be, because the young John Thistlewood meets with an untimely death soon after his arrival in Jamaica. However, we have the evidence of T histlewoods last will and testament. After making conditional provision, within strictly mandated price limits, for the purchase and manumission of Phibbah and the settlement
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 29 upon her of Bess, a female slave (already informally owned by Phibbah), 23 with the latters son and future issue, and a small plot of land to be pur chased and upon which a house was to be erected suitable to her station, Thistlewood apportions the balance from the expected proceeds of the sale of his estate to his brothers surviving children in England three-fifths to William Thistlewood son of my brother John Thistlewood of the County of Lincoln and two-fifths to my niece Mary Annet daughter of my said brother John Thistlewood (cited in Hall 1999:313-14). If Phibbahs manu mission cannot be secured upon his terms, the alternative arrangement of settling upon her a small annuity for life (fifteen pounds per annum) must be followed. Thistlewood also bequeaths sterling to his agent in London, and an equivalent amount to a planter friend, lately of this parish. T hus even though T histlewoods direct line ends in miscegenated ano nymity in Jamaica, where he leaves behind the only conjugal family he has known and that has physically and emotionally sustained and serviced him for the past thirty-five or so years, the bulk of his modest fortune, built partly on their blood and sweat, ends up in E ngland, with his White col lateral heirs.CONTRA S TIN G THI S TLE W OOD: THE BARRETT S, A WE S T INDIAN CREOLE DYNA S TYThe genealogy of the famous English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning ( E BB) illustrates both the fabulous wealth of the C reole upper class and their somewhat heterogeneous family/kinship patterns and strategies, despite the central role played by the White wife as reproducer of the race and the lin eage. The entire Jamaican trajectory of the (self-professed White) Barrett family spanned nearly 340 years, beginning with the expeditionary forces in 1655 that handily won Jamaica for the burgeoning British Empire, and ending with the death in 1992 of E dward R ichard Moulton Barrett, the last 23. Phibbah had been made a gift of Bess by Mrs. Bennett, the free Colored woman who owns the pen that Thistlewood and Say later jointly buy. Her friendship extends to other areas as well: she boards L ittle Mulatto John during the week while he attends Mr. Hughs school in the S avanna (Hall 1999:134). Bess has to be registered as T histlewoods because, as a slave, Phibbah cannot own another slave. The ties of friendship and busi ness with free Colored women like Mrs. Bennett and Elizabeth Anderson (later Mrs. Mould), Molly Copes mother and the widowed mistress of her father William Dorrill, belie Burnards pronouncement about the lack of social contact between Whites and free Blacks or C oloreds. T histlewood writes many letters to both women, as well as to Molly C ope, while in her employ as well as after, communicating details of both a business and a private nature, including asking personal favors and making personal inquiries. In addi tion, T histlewood and the women often exchange gifts.
30 CE C ILIA A GREEN of the Barrett landowners in Jamaica (Barrett 2000:ix). 24 In 1838, the year slavery was finally abolished, the vast and multiple Jamaican estates of the extended Barrett clan covered 31,000 acres, according to one source (Markus 1995:99). T he saga of this famous family, still shrouded in the compulsively amne sic mystery of British colonial and literary history, has all the makings of a sensational best-selling novel: multigenerational inbreeding; unmarried cousin mating; interracial liaisons and childbearing with enslaved and free Black women; unresolved questions about the racial purity, or escape from racial contamination, of the self-proclaimed White bloodlines; uneasy social relations with C olored cousins sent to E ngland for schooling and in some cases permanent relocation; bitter, drawn-out legal battles between White and C olored heirs of some of the Jamaican properties, involving the poets father as a claimant on the legitimate White side; rumors of incest, madness, sociopathy, and drug addiction. For a very long time in E lizabeth Barrett Browning historiography, the historical and political memory loss ran so deep that there seemed to be a general complicity in the project of re-inventing a solidly authentic, if colorful, E nglish past, while strategically deploying fragments of the Jamaican connection as titillating and evocative devices in the romantic and exotic figuration of the poet-legend. In various biographical entries, her father, E dward, is often described as a member of the British landed gentry who sent his sons to Jamaica on business. It is hardly ever mentioned, for example, that E BBs estranged grandfather and two of her beloved brothers all lived out the final portions of their lives in consen sual and procreative and in one case legal relationships with Black or C olored Jamaican women on Jamaican soil. E BBs father had both White and non-White illegitimate half-siblings and, although he probably did not live long enough to know this or to fully absorb the knowledge of it, non-White Jamaican grandchildren (the first one being born four months before his death in 1857, according to one source). 25 T hese details especially the unexpected trope of return and re-creolization or going [back] native interfere with 24. For my account of the Barretts I have relied upon two main sources and a number of supplementary ones. T he main sources are, first and foremost, the remarkable 1938 fam i ly history by Marks, and the more recent work by Barrett (2000), a descendant of the family, who himself relies somewhat on Marks. Markss work is highly idiosyncratic, but to the shame of subsequent chroniclers of the Barrett family, unmatched in historical detail, based on original research, and historical candor (especially for its time and place). An exception to this rule is the 1995 work of Markus, who draws appropriately on both the details and the candor. Marks is not without her own prejudices, but she gives one room to read her work and her evidence as an expos of White West Indian society. 25. Markus 1995:303. The supreme irony of his life was that two of his sons who were not disinherited by him because of known or unknown marriages against his will produced only C olored illegitimate grandchildren. His White grandchildren (those that
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 31 the smooth and sanitized induction of the Barrett Browning legacy into the annals of the British literary canon. All C olored offspring (especially those that were self-evidently so) have been kept scrupulously expunged from or marginalized within official constructions of the Barrett family tree, while out-of-wedlock White scions, most certainly those with the correct maternal pedigrees, have all been allotted their rightful and prominent places upon its branches (see both Marks 1938 and Barrett 2000). Who is included as part of the historical Barrett family is first and foremost a matter of race. I want to reinforce the point that this kind of semi-mythical genealogical reconstruction was both required and made possible by the socioeconomic status of the transatlantic Creole dynastic upper class moreover, in ways that dramatically distinguished them from bachelor settlers of modest selfmade fortunes like Thistlewood, despite the fact that the two types often found common ground in Jamaica. Thistlewood simply did not have the financial and genealogical capital to reproduce such a dynasty. But neither did his status as a respected junior member of the White planter community and participant in White homosocial convivial networks and political com mons require such dynastic connections. At the same time, it would be a mistake to assume that T histlewood did not keenly feel his place in the White Jamaican and imperial social order. Thistlewoods life was contemporaneous with about three or more gen erations of the Barrett family. They also lived in the same region of western Jamaica, and there are cross-references in Thistlewoods journals and the Barrett biographies to some of the same personalities, places, and major local events. His business partner, Samuel Say, is overseer at Old Hope Estate, the property of Martin Williams, future husband of Elizabeth Barrett Waite, mother of the famous Richard Barrett (not Williamss child), speaker of the Assembly during the tumultuous pre-emancipation years. After S ays death, Williams offers Thistlewood the job, but he turns it down. By then he is the owner of his own property. Another connection is George Robert Goodin who owns land abutting Sarah Bennetts property, the very one which Thistlewood and Samuel Say later buy. He is the brother of Judith Goodin, wife of Edward Barrett of Cinnamon Hill, EBBs great-grandfather and Richard Barretts grandfather. After Thistlewoods death, Goodin purchases his precious Bread Nut Island Penn for 600 pounds currency. And so on. The upper-class dynastic status of the Barretts, and the depth of their West Indian genealogy offer a working contrast to the modest social position and hard-won individual status of T histlewood. It helps us to place him and them, and to properly distinguish the constituent strands of the social tapestry.were ostensibly White) from legalized marriag e s, in a strange pathological twist, were cut off by him. But that is a detail of individual or individually manifested pathology, only obliquely traceable to structural factors.
32 CE C ILIA A GREEN EBBs great-great-grandfather, Samuel Barrett, Jr., a direct descendant of Hersey Barrett, pioneer, who arrived in Jamaica in 1655 with his wife and children among the expeditionary forces of Admiral Penn and General Venables, married Elizabeth Wisdom in 1722. They had fifteen children, of whom six died young, three married and moved to London, five married and remained in Jamaica, and one contented himself with a housekeeper arrangement with an enslaved woman. Six years before his death in 1760, Samuel Barrett was in possession of some 2,605 acres of land, 2,285 of which were in St. James and the remainder distributed among the parishes of St. Ann, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, and Vere. In 1754, only 13 percent of Jamaican landholders had 2,000 acres or more. Among S amuel Barretts chil dren who remained in Jamaica was the fabulously wealthy Edward Barrett of Cinnamon Hill, who married Judith Goodin (George Robert Goodins sister) in 1760. 26 These were EBBs great-grandparents. In 1798, the year of Edwards death, it was reported: his moderate income this Year is full ,000 Stg and is likely to be more the Next. Enough we moderate People will admit for fifty Families (quoted in Barrett 2000:45). He and his wife had five children, including Elizabeth, EBBs grandmother, who married C harles Moulton, her grandfather, a sometime wine merchant, slave trader, and planter of disputed origins, in 1781. It is this generation that dis plays for us the full range of the Jamaican elites mating, marriage, and fam ily patterns. Elizabeths own marriage does not appear to have had much substance or to have endured very long. The record shows Charles Moulton later having children by a number of lovers, White and Black, in E ngland and finally back in Jamaica, and becoming largely irrelevant to the Barrett fam ily, who considered him a sponger (Marks 1938:310-14; Barrett 2000:52). In one of his last testaments he is most concerned with securing the patrimony of his illegitimate children and the goodwill of his legitimate ones towards them. His long-estranged wife is never mentioned (Barrett 2000:52). Elizabeths eldest brother, George Goodin Barrett, goes on to have a distinguished public career as a leading member of the Jamaican plantoc racy. Home from Oxford University in 1784, he was appointed justice of the peace for St. James the next year, and was subsequently elected three times to the House of Assembly, in 1787, 1790, and 1795. In 1793, he was appointed attorney for the estates of William Beckford of Fonthill Abbey, 26. Judith Goodin Barrett re-married in 1803 after the death of her husband, Edward. Her new husband was thirty-three-year-old Captain Michael White Lee, who was sta tioned in Jamaica at the time. S he was in her sixtieth year. T he truly interesting reason this is worth mentioning, however, is the fact that Captain Lee subsequently retains his Barrett connection by marrying Barrett Williams, the daughter of E lizabeth Barrett Waite Williams and Martin Williams, and Judiths own grand-niece by law (through her first husband). S ee Marks 1938:271, 370 and Barrett 2000:48-49.
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 33 whose London house stood near that of his Jamaican-born aunt, Margaret Barrett Lawrence, in Portman Square. In 1795 he became assistant judge of the Supreme Court and comptroller of public accounts. He was promoted to captain of the T relawney Militia in 1793, and fought as a colonel of the Horse Militia in the Maroon War of 1795, in which he was wounded. He died two months later of apparently unrelated causes. George Goodin Barrett was also a factor in the slave trade, in partnership with L eonard Parkinson of Jamaica, the purchaser in E ngland of Kinnersley Castle near the Ledbury Hope End which Edward Moulton Barrett [his nephew and E BBs father] was to own (Marks 1938:215). T he records show that as a slave trader he bought small batches of slaves from C harles Moulton, EBBs grandfather and his sisters husband. George, for all his impeccable upper-class credentials, never had a White wife, but, in the period 17851794, fathered six children by Elissa (or Eliza) Peters, a mulatto slave who was settled at Oxford Pen, one of the many Barrett properties. Ownership of E lissa was transmitted to George by his father, and the children were serially manumitted through purchase by him, but Elissa remained a slave. She (as well as her Issue and Offspring) was finally manumitted in his last testa ment, recorded the day before he died. Marks (1938:220) notes that it is an interesting fact that no Barrett in any known will, until George Goodin Barrett drew his will, left property to such connections. T hey purchased man umissions and stopped there. Another brother, Henry, took the more conventional path of marrying Barbara, the daughter of Richard Samuels, with whom he had one daugh ter. Marks also reports him having two mulatto boys with a negro slave. Closely associated with George in his illustrious public career was Samuel Goodin Barrett, the youngest brother, whose mating career took a differ ent, unconventional twist, though one which, without question, preserved the family genealogy and family wealth. He lived in a common-law union with his older and widowed first cousin, E lizabeth Barrett Waite Williams, which was never converted to legal marriage. She continued to be known as Mrs. Williams, and Jeannette Marks (1938:210) observes that S ams passion for his cousin E lizabeth Barrett Waite Williams had its inception in their unmar ried love and life together. Marks is careful, however, to give their doubly pedigreed Barrett children a prominent place in the family tree, while scru pulously omitting all issue of color. Indeed, this branch of the Barrett family produced some of the central figures of Jamaicas turbulent nineteenth-cen tury political history. The union of the cousins produced four sons, one of whom, Richard Barrett (mentioned above), was to play a leading role on behalf of the planter class in the fiercely fought battles over nonconform ist missionary rights, the 1831 slave rebellion, and abolitionism. Richard Barrett was variously editor of the Jamaica Journal several times member of the Assembly, C ustos for S t. James, and S peaker of the House. His mother,
34 CE C ILIA A GREEN E lizabeth Williams had been married to Martin Williams, owner of Old Hope Estate in Westmoreland, who was thirty years her senior and by whom she had had five or more children (Barrett 2000:30). Her late husband, for his part, had fathered eight mulatto children by Eleanor Williams, a free Black woman. In 1783, Williams petitioned the House of Assembly for the rights and privileges of his mulatto children. 27 However, when he died in 1786, he left everything to the children of his otherwise faithless marriage, and most of the executors he named were members of his wifes (the Barrett) family. It is, therefore, with a fitting sense of irony that Marks (1938:211) notes the names of Eleanor Williamss less privileged children: One was named after the negro mother and one after Martyn Williams, a third bore the name, E lizabeth, of Martyn Williamss wife. By the familys own account, it was fear of losing her dower and guard ianship of her children which made E lizabeth balk at re-marriage, or at pub licly acknowledging one that was alleged (in an obscure family letter) to have taken place in a Roman Catholic Church in York (Barrett 2000:30). This strategic decision, like so many others, appeared designed to ensure that the wealth of the legal marriage did not diverge too greatly from the pathways of the great House of Barrett patrimony. A ban on re-marriage was probably a condition of Elizabeth Williamss endowment by her husbands will. Such a condition was routine in the wills of the propertied during the feudal and proto-industrial periods in England as well as in the colonies. It had also been more unconventionally deployed by William Dorrill in rela tion to his mulatto mistress and mother of his children, Elizabeth Anderson. S he, however, chose the respectability of a first-time marriage to a subaltern White, her late keepers bookkeeper, over entitlement to a fragment of the property the whole of which (in any event) had been left to her children. As a non-wife, she could not be made trustee of the entire estate; nor could she be the bearer of proper dower rights. We know that the decision by E lizabeth Williams and S am Barrett not to marry had nothing to do with their being cousins. For, indeed, cousin mar riage was a common strategy of the elite, although the Barretts seemed partic ularly incestuous in this regard. R ichard, the eldest son of first-cousin lovers Elizabeth and Samuel, deepened the process of inbreeding by marrying and mating with his first cousin. This and exact name replication happened with bewildering frequency among the Barretts and other elite families. T he imperatives of class endogamy made the resort to cousin marriage even more compelling for nonresidentiary colonies than elsewhere, given the peculiar demographic constraints. On the other hand, compared to the situation of a T histlewood, the availability of White female cousins as marriage candidates represented a genealogical depth and breadth that was relatively uncommon 27. S ee note 16.
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 35 in a place like Jamaica. E ven where such marriages were loveless and barely fruitful, as was the case with Richard Barretts marriage, the scene was set for the transmission of property through the proper lines. Richard Barrett made generous provisions in his will for his mistress, Emily Gaynor, and his unrelated mixed-race children, to whom modest hous e s were bequeathed with the proviso that the possession of the houses not become injurious to Barrett Hall E state. Most of his immense properties were safely passed on to White collaterals (Barrett 2000:112-13). In keeping her positions as widow and as cousin-mistress separate and intact, and with two fortunes at stake, Elizabeth Barrett Waite Williams, matriarch extraordinaire, had calculated smartly. From her new location in E ngland, she was able to play an active, and by all accounts, aggressive, role in ensuring that all legal disputes arising from counterclaims on her childrens various inheritances would be resolved in their favor. As we will see below, both the Colored offspring and legitimate nephews of legator George lose out, in the case of some disputed property, to Sams and Elizabeths power ful sons in Jamaica. Here, the twice-widowed matriarch has the remarkable advantage of being able to enlist the support and intervention of the older sons of her marriage, all of them powerful in their own right, in the cause of the Goodin-Barrett property interests. However, she is careful to maintain the unity of the larger Barrett clan (that is, its White members). S he died in 1834 at the age of seventy-seven, leaving her nephew Edward Moulton-Barrett and her son George Goodin Barrett co-executors of her ample Jamaican and E nglish estates (Marks 1938:425). According to Marks, she had defied that convention most important in a womans life and had nevertheless remained a dominant and respected figure in her family group. T he bulk of her estate, moreover, went to one of her Barrett sons, George, and his children. As pointed out previously, George Goodin Barrett (the uncle) made arrangements for his slave mistress and quadroon sons that were highly unusual by Barrett family tradition. Elissa Peters was bequeathed an annu ity of Fifty Pounds Current money, a house to live in within five miles of the sea, and three negro girls. T o each of his quadroon children Goodin Barrett left two thousand pounds Current money of Jamaica, the maxi mum allowed to colored offspring by law (Marks 1938:223). In addition he ordered that each of them upon attaining the age of Seven years Be sent to England and to be there decently clothed maintained and Educated in a moral manner at the charge of his Estate and at the Discretion of their Guardians hereinafter named (quoted in Marks 1938:223). Moreover, he earnestly desired that they should not fix their abode in Jamaica but do settle and reside in such countries where those distinctions respecting color (which the policy of the West Indies renders necessary) are not maintained (Marks 1938:224). Among the non-Barrett trustees appointed by George for the disposition of his estate and guardianship of his children were Leonard
36 CE C ILIA A GREEN Parkinson, his friend and business partner in the slave trade, Bryan E dwards, the planter-historian, and John GrahamC larke, the fabulously wealthy slave trader of Newcastle-uponT yne, who later came to own flour mills, collier ies and glass works, ships, and land in Jamaica, as well as two large houses, one on Pilgrim Street and the other in Gosforth (Barrett 2000:50-51). The latters daughter later marries E dward Barrett Moulton Barrett. 28 T heir first born is E BB. One of Georges quadroon sons, T homas Peters then residing in or near New C astle in the care of John GrahamC larke, was on coming of age to be made an E xecutor and trustee of his will (Marks 1938:223). T his was in a final codicil to Georges will, obviously significant as a last-minute determination to pass on a piece of the Barrett birthright to his racially dis advantaged first son. In 1795, T homas Peters was only eleven years old. T he partial investiture of his non-White children who quickly fade from the bio graphical accounts, however, should not be confused with Georges singleminded expansionist commitment to the powerful White Barrett dynasty. He stipulat e d as a condition for receipt of their legacies that his sisters children, E dward ( E BBs father) and S amuel Barrett Moulton, should by law and at the age of twenty-one take the surname of Barrett (hence E BBs baptismal name of E lizabeth Barrett Moulton Barrett). As noted above, his own chil dren were forced to keep the name of their mother, Peters. Moreover, his last will and testament vested the reputed (illegitimate) White children of his brother S am (who were additionally endowed in other Barrett wills) as his main heirs (Marks 1938:224). His own children, of course, were limited in their legal capacity to inherit property, and, while they were schooled and accommodated in E ngland, it is questionable whether they ever received the full extent of their modest inheritance (Barrett 2000:60). R epeated obstacles were placed in the way of T homas Peterss attempts to redeem his autho rized role as trustee and executor of his fathers estate. Predictably, he became embroiled in a number of lawsuits, pitting him against the other trustees, as well as the lawyers for his White cousins. A dispute over claims on the estate of their grandfather, E dward Barrett of C innamon Hill which was being held in trust by his legitimate grandson and E BBs father arising from a debt of slave and livestock property allegedly owed the heirs of George Goodin Barrett, the original owner of this property, was finally settled in favor of the sons of E lizabeth Waite Williams and S amuel Goodin Barrett, the illicitly matched cousins. As White male collateral descendants, they had been their Uncle Georges main heirs. T homas Peters disappears from the record.28. The slave-owning families acted as trustees for each others fortunes, guardians to each others children, and married into each others families. In 1812, John GrahamC larkes eldest son, John Altham GrahamC larke, marries L eonard Parkinsons daughter, Mary E lizabeth (Barrett 2000:60).
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 37 While the obligations to fulfill the wishes of George Goodin Barrett regarding his childrens education were tolerated, any continuing intrusion of E lissa Peters into their lives was not. E lizabeth Moulton, E BBs grandmother and Georges sister, wrote to John GrahamC larke on March 20, 1799: I was greatly asstonished [ sic ] to hear of E liza Peters being in E ngland, as I never heard of her having the least desire to come, I only hope her being with T om & William will not injure them, in their Education; I beg you will not let her have any thing to do with them, that is not keeping them from their learning, the three Younger ones I should think, the sooner they are put to S chool, the better, the Mother I shall say nothing about. (Quoted in Barrett 2000:50) Another condition of elite West Indian families was fulfilled when Georges sisters children, the Moulton-Barretts, were sent to E ngland for their educa tion (as indeed were his), joining other branches and generations of Barretts who had made the journey back and stayed, or become long-term or chroni cally peripatetic sojourners. E BB was the first of the children of E dward, his nephew, born in E ngland, and although her father (after perhaps one visit) never returned, some of his sons would, to become re-creolized, pick up the threads of local Jamaican and family-dynastic history, and fall conveniently, perhaps after an initial culture shock, into the custom of the country. Indeed, of the three sons who went to Jamaica to look after the family affairs, the two who survived had children with Black women only and spent the rest of their lives in Jamaica. By then, too, the racially unsullied genealogical capital is shrinking. C harles John, the third son, and one of the survivors, married his illegitimate mulatto childrens C olored governess, a well educated brown woman of good class, who, according to Marks (1938:613), tricked him into marriage by feigning pregnancy, while S eptimus, his younger brother, follow ing the custom of the country, ... had the usual housekeeper arrangements by which there was at least one daughter (Marks 1938:616). Charles John, who lived to the age of ninety, essentially oversaw the gradual and final dissipation of the Moulton-Barrett familys Jamaican pat rimony. But, as Pares might remind us, 29 this did not happen before much of the wealth had been safely transferred to the original home, England, where various branches of the family lived on to enjoy, display, and deploy it. In their heyday, the various extended Barrett family plantations includ e d, but were not limited to, Cinnamon Hill, Cornwall, Retreat Pen, Oxford, 29. Pares (1960:50) noted in his classic rejoinder to Adam S mith, after some initial loans in the earliest period which merely primed the pump, the wealth of the West Indies was created out of the profits of the West Indies themselves, and, with some assistance from the British tax-payer, much of it found a permanent home in Great Britain. Jamaica con stituted the largest source of this transfer of wealth.
38 CE C ILIA A GREEN Cambridge, Spring, Thatchfield, Schawfield, Content, T yrall, Anchovy Bottom, Barrett Hall, Spring Gut, Harding Hall, Greenwood, Spot Valley, Blue Hole, Moor Park, Albion, T he R amble, Dixon, Paradise, and R io Hoja. The total acreage of these estates amounted to the tens of thousands. Their E nglish estates were vast as well. Hope E nd, for example, the estate E dward Moulton-Barrett bought to raise his growing family in, covered some 475 acres of land and had an asking price of ,000 (Forster 1989:10; Barrett 2000:53). After suffering financial losses as a result of the successfully dis puted Jamaican property, 30 the Barretts were forced to give up Hope E nd, and they relocated twice before moving to the lodgings on Wimpole S treet made famous by the Browning-Barrett love story. According to one source, the Moulton-Barretts remained wealthy, but not as extraordinarily wealthy as they had been (Garrett 2002:14). Upon his death in 1857, E dward MoultonBarretts diminished estate amounted to ,695.12s.1d, exclusive of the remaining Jamaican properties, 31 in which he had had only a lifes interest and which passed on directly to his oldest surviving son, C harles John, under the terms of the latters great-grandfathers will. Five of his other children received ,950 each and three of them, including EBB, had been disin herited, although they were ultimately beneficiaries of their siblings gen erosity (Barrett 2000:137). The three disinherited children had all married against their fathers wishes. T wo of the matches, EBBs and that of her sister, Henrietta, proved particularly galling because the chosen mates were, among other things, 32 penniless. Both Henrietta and her brother Alfred, the other disinherited sibling, followed family tradition at least in part by mar rying their second cousins. Lizzie, Alfreds wife, was the granddaughter of the consensually mated first cousins, Samuel Goodin Barrett and Elizabeth Barrett Waite Williams. T he relationship between L izzie and Alfred, thirteen years her senior, had developed after Lizzie had been sent from Jamaica 30. According to Marks (1938:347-48), the disputed property, two parcels of slaves and some fifty steer, represented a loss of approximately 20,000, plus the expense of hiring them back for use at an annual rental. 31. But presumably this figure included the compensation Moulton Barrett would have received under the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation for slaves that he owned in 1833. 32. It is not surprising that, having himself escaped and rescued most of his children certainly his daughters from the looming prospect of a White Jamaican dynastic decline, E BBs father cannot reconcile himself to her choice, in R obert Browning, of a fellow West Indian Creole (or direct descendant of Creoles) of questionable racial and class geniture (given the presumption of racial and class genealogical authenticity on his own part). It her choice of mate disrupts the process of amnesia that is so critical to a satisfac tory resumption of a proper English identity upon returning home, critical too to a smooth and untroubled rewriting, with all the proper metropolitan flourishes, of the story of empire and Britain the Great.
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 39 by her father, George Goodin Barrett (junior), to live with Edward and his family in London, apparently because her mother had become mentally unbalanced (Barrett 2000:135-37). Despite being disinherited and having no steady occupation, Alfred was still able to survive on the proceeds of Jamaican property:T he couple lived by borrowing on L izzies inheritance, which was in trust subject to her mothers life interest, under her parents marriage settle ment and her great aunt Sarah Felthams will, but her mother lived to an advanced age. Finally, her brother Edward George gave her an annual income from his Jamaican estates instead and, on August 11, 1895, Alfreds brother George died, leaving Alfred the residue of his property after some legacies (Barrett 2000:137).EBB herself was the independent recipient of legacies based on Jamaican sugar profits: 4000 from her fathers brother, S amuel, who died in Jamaica, and from her grandmother and namesake, whose money was derived from the enormous holdings of her father, E dward of C innamon Hill (Markus 1995:93-4). Every single member of the family lived, directly or indirect ly, from Jamaican property. The other branches of the House of Barrett, in Jamaica and outside, continued to thrive from active Jamaican operations well into the twentieth century. The Barretts are an excellent example of a dynasty that actively main tained its exclusively White (or presumed so) economic and social enterprise for, ultimately, hundreds of years on both sides of the Atlantic. Education and marriage drew sections of individual families home to England where they settled and provided a secure and anchored referent of imperialnational belongingness on behalf of the transatlantically split dynasty. The translocal nature of their power was evident: Jamaican-born Sam MoultonBarrett, EBBs uncle, gets elected to parliament in England, just as one of his brothers English-born sons eventually becomes an elected member of the Assembly after returning to Jamaica. EBBs direct ancestral line did not become absentee owners until the death of her great-grandfather E dward in 1798, after which there was a twenty-nine-year hiatus that ended with the return of EBBs uncle, followed by her brothers, to manage the familys absenteeism-impaired Jamaican patrimony. However, House of Barrett prop erty in western Jamaica was so extensive and ubiquitous that Hope Masterton Waddells account (1970) of contemporaneous Presbyterian and other mis sionary struggles to gain access to various estates in that region, for the pur pose of proselytizing among the slaves, reveals Barrett connections at every turn. The wide diversity of responses among those connections to the rising tide of humanitarianism and abolitionism was reflected in the different fates suffered by their various estates in the 1831 slave rebellion.
40 CE C ILIA A GREEN CON C LU S ION I have provided evidence in this article to show the ultimate depth of class divisions among Whites in Jamaica, despite the spirit of egalitarianism which ensured overall White solidarity and Black social exclusion. As such, I chose to focus particularly on the diverging modes or spatial-circuits of reproduc tion of the different strata. T he skewed demographic character of the White population and the conditions of surrogate estate management restricted the availability of White wives and access to the dual marriage system for White subaltern men. Easy access to coerced and more, or less, consensual housekeeping sexual services of enslaved Black women further strength ened the likelihood that the reproductive niche of the overseer (and associ ated) class would be entirely dependent on sexual and domestic relationships across race and statutory group. Whether or not they exercised choice in their interracial unions they were structurally restricted in their social means of human bodily, affective, and generational reproduction. Ultimately, most of these subalterns were locally bound single-generation Whites. As Olivier (1971:69) pointed out, in a generation or two [they] became merged in the class described as the free coloured people. On the other hand, the upper plantocracy was scrupulous in preventing such a merger they had the means to do so and in maintaining a strict separation between the two different race-class lines generated by the dual marriage system, which they enjoyed with impunity. T heir means to such enjoyment included access to genealogical, financial, and cultural capital on a transatlantic basis. Part of the translocal dynastic power of these families was the ability to tap into both local and metropolitan sources of elite White wives, among the fami lies of their business partners and associates as well as their own broad kin networks. Because women typically outlived their husbands, the absentee widow was often more critical to the maintenance of large family planta tion property than has ordinarily been thought. Moreover, cousin marriage was common and highly approved as a strategy for keeping property within the extended family and for ensuring the racial purity of the lineage. In conjunction with an imposed restriction on testamentary transmission of property to Colored offspring, White genitors typically chose to keep their main properties strictly within the confines of their legitimate White families (sometimes, of necessity, through collaterals), often endowing their out side Colored children in marginal ways (if at all) or at least in ways that did not encroach upon the main family enterprise. When encroachment did take place, disputes were usually settled in favor of White co-heirs. Despite this, it is important for us to recognize that fabulous wealth often enabled marginal endowment to be sufficient to create a free C olored group of elite proportions in its own right. Some of the strategies pursued involved early manumission (if applicable), schooling in England, bequeathing of houses
HIERAR C HIE S OF WHITENE SS IN THE GEO G RA P HIE S OF EM P IRE 41 or smaller properties or both, often in conjunction with a variable number of slaves, and petitioning the courts for special privileges for their mixed-race children. For most classes of White men, postmortem manumission of longterm slave mistresses, sometimes bolstered by small annuities and modest houses and house plots, was a fairly frequent practice. Of course, locally anchored interracial marriages and full investiture of Colored heirs were not unknown, but for the most part the wealth of the Jamaican plantocracy ended up in Britain, as part of an imperially appropri ated White British patrimony, transmitted through the channels of financial and genealogical capital, but based overwhelmingly on the forced labor of enslaved Africans.REFEREN C E SBARRETT, R A 2000. The Barretts of Jamaica: The Family of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Winfield K S : Armstrong Browning L ibrary of Baylor University, T he Browning S ociety, Wedgestone Press. BE C KLE S, HILARY MCD 1985. Plantation Production and White ProtoS lavery: White Indentured Servants and the Colonisation of the English West Indies, 1624-1645. The Americas 41(3):21-45. , 1986. Black Men in White Skins: The White Working Class in West Indian Slave S ociety. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 15:1-21. , 1999. Centering Woman: Gender Discourses in Caribbean Slave Society. Kingston: Ian R andle; Princeton: Markus Wiener; Oxford: James C urrey. BRATHW AITE, EDW ARD KAMAU 1971. The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica 1770-1820. Oxford: C larendon Press. , 1974. Contradictory Omens: Cultural Diversity and Integration in the Caribbean Mona, Jamaica: S avacou. BRO W N, SUZANNE FRAN C I S 2004. Mona: Past and Present: The History and Heritage of the Mona Campus, University of the West Indies. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. BURNARD, TREVOR, 1991. Inheritance and Independence: Womens Status in Early C olonial Jamaica. William and Mary Quarterly 48:93-114. , 1998. The Sexual Life of an Eighteenth-Century Jamaican Slave Overseer. In Merril D. Smith (ed.), Sex and Sexuality in Early America New York: New York University Press. , 2004. Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World. C hapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press.
42 CE C ILIA A GREEN CARMICHAEL, MRS ., 1969. Domestic Manners and Social Condition of the White, Coloured, and Negro Population of the West Indies Vol. 1. New York: Negro Universities Press. [Orig. 1833.] DUNN, RICHARD 1972. Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713. C hapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. EDW ARDS, BRYAN 1793. The History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies. Vol. 2. Dublin: L White. FORSTER, MARGARET 1989. Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Biography New York: Doubleday. GARRETT, MARTIN 2002. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. GREEN, CECILIA, 1992-93. Gender and Re/production in British West Indian Slave S ocieties. Parts 1-3. Against The Current 7(4):31-38; 7(5):26-31; 7(6):29-36. 1995. Gender, Race and Class in the Social Economy of the English-Speaking C aribbean. Social and Economic Studies 44(2 & 3):65-102. , forthcoming 2006. Unspeakable Worlds and Muffled Voices: Thomas Thistlewood as Agent and Medium of Eighteenth-Century Jamaican Society. In Brian Meeks (ed.), Culture, Politics, Race and Diaspora: The Thought of Stuart Hall Kingston: Ian R andle. , forthcoming 2007. A C ivil Inconvenience? T he Vexed Question of S lave Marriage in the British West Indies. Law and History Review 25 (1). HALL, CATHERINE 2002. Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-1867. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; Cambridge: Polity Press. HALL, DOUGLAS 1999. In Miserable Slavery: Thomas Thistlewood in Jamaica, 175086 Kingston: T he University of the West Indies Press. [Orig. 1989.] HALL, STUART, 1977. Pluralism, Race and Class in Caribbean Society. In UNESCO, Race and Class in Post-Colonial Society Paris: UN ESC O. HEUMAN, GAD 1981. Between Black and White: Race, Politics, and the Free Coloreds in Jamaica, 1792-1865. Westport CT : Greenwood Press. LAZARUS, NEIL, 2002. The Fetish of the West in Postcolonial Theory. In Crystal Bartolovich & Neil Lazarus (eds.), Marxism, Modernity and Postcolonial Studies C ambridge: C ambridge University Press. LEWIS, MATTHEW GREGORY, 1999. Journal of a West India Proprietor: Kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Orig. 1834.] MARK S, JEANNETTE 1938. The Family of the Barrett: A Colonial Romance New York: Macmillan.
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PAUL SUTTONC A R IBB E AN D E V EL OPM E N T : AN OV ER VI E W In S eptember 1999, the University of the West Indies (UWI), in cooperation with the C A R I C OM secretariat and the C aribbean Development Bank, held a major conference on the theme of T he C aribbean in the 21 st C entury. 1 T he discussions ranged widely over the history, geography, economy, society, pol itics, culture, and environment of the region and provided a mix of analytic a l insight and practical proposal. T hose addressing the conference included three C aribbean prime ministers, senior officials from regional organizations, lead ing C aribbean academics, and policy advisors in nongovernmental organiza tions and the private sector. Among the conclusions drawn from the proceed ings by the organizers of the conference, Kenneth Hall and Denis Benn (2000: xiii-xxix), were an urgent need to revisit conventional economic policies and to adopt creative strategies capable of generating higher levels of growth with equity, the need to re-orient existing governance structures by promot ing effective constitutional change and suitable public sector reforms, the demand for increased social equity as a basis for social stability, the adoption of suitable policies designed to promote art and culture as an integral aspect of the overall development of the region, and the need for the C aribbean to think differently about its international relations given the diminishing geopolitical and geo-strategic significance of the region which had reduced its bargaining position in both the hemispheric and wider global system. T hese are important observations which should be borne in mind in any contemporary discussion of development in the C aribbean. T he region is cur rently facing a serious development challenge. It is by no means certain that the region, or at least some of the more vulnerable parts of it such as Haiti, Guyana, and the Windward Islands, can adapt to survive. T he publication of two reports in 2005 setting out the range and depth of problems facing the region is therefore both welcome and timely. T he first, by the World Bank enti -1. T his is a revised and expanded version of a presentation originally given to the meet ing of the Development Policy and Review Network on Caribbean Development in the 21st C entury, KI TL V, L eiden, December 12, 2005. New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006):45-62
46 PAUL SUTTON tled A Time to Choose: Caribbean Development in the 21 st Century 2 takes up the same challenge as the UWI conference. It provides a massive and detailed empirical account of the economic challenges facing the region and sets out policies to deal with them. Given the importance of the World Bank in setting the development discourse and mobilizing resources from the international community, it is bound to be influential. For that reason alone it ought to be read and discussed by anyone with a serious interest in C aribbean develop ment. At the same time, it is deeply flawed, not least because it overlooks pre cisely what the UWI conference did so much to assert, the unique specificity of the region and the importance of those who live and work in the C aribbean in understanding its true character and contributing to its development. T he second is the United Nations E conomic C ommission for L atin America and the C aribbean ( ECL A C ) report, The Millennium Development Goals: A Latin American and Caribbean Perspective 3 T his is a contribution to the much wider development agenda approved by the United Nations in 2000. It set eight millennium development goals to be achieved by the year 2015 on the basis of the global situation during the 1990s. T he Millennium Development Goals report provides a counterpoint to the World Bank report by emphasizing a broader development agenda. It also provides a commentary on the major social problems facing the region. In comparison to those in some other parts of the developing world, such as south Asia and subS aharan Africa, the problems in the C aribbean seem manageable and the prospect of meeting at least some of the development goals, quite good. 4 Nevertheless, the ECL A C report identifies real poverty in the C aribbean, which is so often masked by the description of most of the countries as middle-income and not needing international assis tance and support. T his view is misplaced, particularly in regard to the smaller countries of the region, many of which remain crucially dependent on external support for their development and prosperity. T ogether these reports provide a snapshot of the development problem atic in the region. T hey provide some useful new thinking and a wealth of empirical material. It is, however, the contention of this article that these reports need to be set in context. T he main argument presented in this overview of development is that development policy without a deep understanding of what 2. R eport No. 31.725L A C Available online through http://www.wds.worldbank.org. 3. C oordinated by Jos L uis Machinea, Alicia Brcena & Arturo L en, 2005. Available online at http://www.undp.org/rblac/mdg/regional/interagency.pdf. 4. S ee the Mauritius S trategy
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 47 makes the C aribbean different will be development policy that ultimately will not deliver the level and type of development that meets the regions needs. A MATTER OF DEFINITION Development is generally recognized as a complex multifaceted process of economic, social, political, environmental, and cultural change resulting in increases in the well-being of people and extending their rights and choices in the present without compromising the abilities of future generations to enjoy these benefits. In the C aribbean the economic, social, and political elements of development have held center stage in the last fifty years. T ypically they have been (and are) represented in the form of rising incomes (great e r Gross Domestic Product per capita), social progress (improved welfare through education and health programs and gender equality) and political freedoms (independence, administrative efficiency, and democracy). In the last fifteen years environmental issues have slowly risen on the development agenda as well as, more recently, cultural issues such as artistic expression and various forms of identity. Any exploration of development in the region is therefore very wide. The focus of this article is on the traditional agenda economic, social, and political development, in that order. This is not because these aspects are in any sense superior to other forms of development (although the economic dimension remains dominant within the development discourse and within the C aribbean), but because it permits the long view it enables one to look back at development policy to situate where the theory and practice of devel opment is now and where it may go in the future. In turn this may mean looking again at what constitutes development in the region. In order to proceed, however, there are two issues that must be addressed. T he first is a familiar one: the definition of the C aribbean. In presenting statis tics and some of the current arguments on development this article cites exten sively from the two reports released in 2005. T he World Bank report focuses only on the independent C aribbean countries, so excluding the dependent and overseas territories of France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United S tates of America. It also continues to exclude C uba. T he ECL A C report has a separate section for the C aribbean including the C aribbean C ommunity ( C A R I C OM) countries and all the dependent and overseas territories, but excludes from it C uba, the Dominican R epublic, and Haiti, which it treats within the L atin American dimension of the report. T he definition of the region would thus still appear to depend on where you sit, and this necessarily makes comparability between countries difficult to determine (statistically and other wise, for example, in terms of generalization and policy recommendation). The other is Cuba, and more marginally, Haiti. It is difficult to include
48 PAUL SUTTON Cuba in any study of development without recognizing its unique develop ment model, which has implications for all the dimensions of development identified earlier. T he analysis within the paper therefore does not generally hold for Cuba. The same also applies to Haiti to some degree. Its pattern of underdevelopment (if not its strategy and aspiration for development) mean that caution is needed in applying them to Haiti. T o exclude from consid eration some half of the population of the Caribbean is unsatisfactory but regrettably inevitable if one is to make better sense of the remainder. At the same time it can also serve as a reminder of the difficulties and of the failure of development in Haiti; and in C uba of the existence of an alternative to the dominant capitalist development discourse and practice in the region. T hese are matters that are considered again toward the end of the article. EC ONOMI C DEVELO P MENTThe World Bank report points to high but declining economic growth fig ures for the region. In the period 1961-2002 the average per capita growth for a median Caribbean country was 2.8 percent, higher than Latin America and broadly comparable to developed (O EC D) countries but lower than east Asia. In the 1990s it was only 1.9 percent, and in a scenario the World Bank presents under the title of business as usual, that is, no change to existing patterns and policies, it projects a growth rate of only 2.2 percent per capita per year to 2010, which means a slow decline. Faced with this gloomy future the World Bank argues that for the region it is A Time to Choose to break with the past and set out in new directions. T he future it sees for the region is one in which services dominate the econ omy, which is already the case in many countries. T he contribution of agricul ture and industry to GDP has steadily fallen, with the service sector being the main contributor to growth. S ervices accounted for some 62 percent of GDP in the 1990s (50 percent in the 1960s) much higher than the average (45 per cent) for developing countries. T ourism is a major contributor accounting for 18 percent of total GDP and 34 percent of total employment. T he C aribbean has around half the worlds cruise market (fifteen million passengers annually) but the more lucrative stopover business (approximately the same number of visitors but accounting for more than 90 percent of total visitor expenditure) is facing difficulties from a maturing product at home (an established industry with a focus on beach resorts) and competition overseas, resulting in at best a static share of a growing global market. T o combat this the C aribbean will need to reinvigorate its tourist industry through the development of niche products such as eco-tourism and up-market tourism. By contrast, the World Bank sees no future in agriculture for export and only a limited future in industry. In general agriculture is marked by low pro
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 49 ductivity and a lack of competitiveness. It is kept alive artificially, it argues, by various preferential schemes which are seen as increasingly unsustainable. Witness here the recent reform of the sugar regime in the European Union, which has dealt a possibly mortal blow to sugar production for export in several C aribbean countries, and the impending reform of the banana regime from 2006 that will do the same for bananas. The future of agriculture for export is thus limited again to the development of niche products such as organic bananas or speciality fruit and vegetables, or products which can be agriculturally processed in the region for export to the Caribbean diaspora and speciality food markets. Industrys share in GDP had dropped to 25 percent in the 1990s (38 per cent in the 1960s). T he much discussed apparel/clothing markets which ben efited under special arrangements, especially with the United S tates, have not developed as anticipated, and the World Bank sees little real future for such enterprises outside of the Dominican R epublic (and less so Haiti and Jamaica). Mineral extraction remains important in a few places, but only in T rinidad and T obago is there any realistic chance for large-scale industry to develop (based on natural gas and its by-products) and to hold its own in a global, competitive market. R egrettably this development is not discussed in the report as neither is the potential for any industrial development at all. Given the importance once attached to industrialization in the region, this is a curious omission, implying that the region made a serious mistake in its development strategy in the past. T he C aribbean in most instances therefore has no choice other than to move into services in an even bigger way. T he question is, which ones? T he World Bank identifies the following: information and communication technology (I CT )-enabled products and services, offshore education, health services, and niche tourism. T he effective use of I CT is seen as an essential ingredient in attaining competitiveness in both services and niche manufacturing sectors in the region. It can offset problems associated with small size and distance from markets while at the same time projecting the region abroad. Government sup port (nationally and regionally) would be needed to create a more competitive telecommunications sector (internet costs are currently too high) and provide services for small firms. T he offshore education recommendation follows the successful establishment in the region of twenty-three offshore medical schools whose graduates together account for some 70 percent of the international medical graduates entering the United S tates. T he need for medical schools is expected to grow as demand for medical practitioners exceeds the supply from North American medical schools, and tuition and associated costs in the C aribbean remain significantly below those in the United S tates. Government support is needed for accreditation and to encourage foreign direct investment in the higher education sector. L inked to the import of foreign-educated medi cal staff is the globalization of health services. C uba was a leader in this field, although the model offered in the report is essentially private-sector driven and
50 PAUL SUTTON seeks to capitalize on the advantages of proximity to the North American mar ket, climate, an established tourism industry, well-trained health practitioners, and established health and medical services. T he C aribbean could offer health and wellness spas and in some cases medical treatment and rehabilitation. Government support would be needed for regulations covering health insur ance and the provision of professional services, as well as to facilitate synergies between the tourism and offshore medical sectors. L astly, the report proposes the reinvigoration of the tourism product in the region. T he C aribbean is the most tourism intensive region in the world, but its product has failed to evolve to meet new demands. C onsequently, the report argues for new approaches and innovative thinking directed toward the creation and capture of niche markets (e.g., adventure and nature-based tourism) and the promotion of tourism to cater for the very rich. Developing tourism in these directions requires a more comprehensive approach than in the past, with government activity aimed at improving the destination product by providing a better infrastructure for tourism (roads, water, sanitation, hotel training, etc.) and nurturing the environ ment, rather than supporting specific tourism projects financially. T here is also a stronger need to focus on the stopover element and on the small tourism enterprise sector (e.g., small hotels). T hese proposals, with the exception of those for I CT (and even there in part), are extensions of the familiar pattern of offshore C aribbean devel opment. T hey are small and specialized like the offshore financial centers. Generally they do not do much for local employment although they can, in certain circumstances, boost the local economy: for example, in Dominica the medical school is estimated to contribute 8.3 percent to GDP. Offshore development therefore provides some opportunities, but does not overcome the vulnerabilities that many small countries face in the global system, and all proposals of this nature are based on the continuation of a buoyant overseas demand. T hey thus continue dependence and are hostage to developments elsewhere. T he recent example of attempts at regulation of the offshore finan cial centres (OF C s) by the O EC D illustrates the perils. In the C aribbean eigh teen states and territories had established OF C s, with some of them offering a substantial array of services. For example, the C ayman Islands are among the largest OF C s in the world. T he O EC D, through its harmful tax competition initiative, sought to impose, without consultation with the C aribbean OF C s, controls on their activities that would have seriously affected their attractive ness as OF C s, and hence their ability to do business. In this instance a vigorous campaign was mounted by the OF C s (with the support of powerful interest lobbies in the United S tates and elsewhere) and the proposals were modified and then shelved ( S anders 2002, Woodward 2004). However, the issue has not fully gone away. T he E uropean Union, for example, is committed to a S avings T ax Directive, which seeks to impose fiscal transparency on OF C s, so removing some of their comparative advantage (the maintenance of secre
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 51 cy) in the provision of financial services. T here is therefore no guarantee that attempts to close down OF C s will not occur again in the future, particularly if the effects of globalization on O EC D countries are judged as too harmful, or the U. S war on terror demands even greater financial surveillance. T he sectors chosen by the World Bank also depend on the local availabili t y of well-trained human resources. T his is a dimension of future C aribbean devel opment that does need to be fully explored. T he report identifies unemployment as one of the most challenging economic problems facing the C aribbean, 5 with variable but still persistent high levels of unemployment (and underem ployment in rural areas) and the worrying indications that employment growth slowed in the 1990s. T hose aged 15-24 account for 40-56 percent of the total unemployed, with the burden falling most on poorly educated females. T his leads, among other things, the report argues, to high and growing levels of alienation, addicti o n, and crime. In these circumstances there is a desperate need to improve opportunity. Developing and improving education and skills is one obvious way of tackling this problem. Whereas access to education in the region remains better than in many parts of the developing world, the Caribbean has fallen in rankings that measure years of schooling (from 47 out of 92 countries in 1970 to 52 in 2000). There is a problem of school completion rates, and the numbers in tertiary education, at 15 percent in 2000, remain below the L atin American average of 26 percent. These numbers obviously matter if the offshore strategy is to capitalize on knowledge-based activity. Without appropriate education and then training it is difficult to see how this strategy can work. T o realize these education goals the report advocates significant educational reforms and a greater involvement of the market. In tertiary edu cation, for example, increased private financing, including higher fees and student loans, are proposed as a means to expand education at this level. T ertiary institutions are also urged to improve their services to the private sector through their involvement in curriculum development. T he report also favors a greater role for regional agencies and the establishment of publicprivate partnerships in delivering training programmes. T he problem with this approach, as the report acknowledges, is that it can lead to brain drain. This is nothing new, but its scale is rarely appreciated and the outmigration of educated workers is not fully explored in the report. A recent study by Mishra for the IMF reports that 12 percent of the labor force from the Caribbean emigrated to OECD member countries in 1965-2000, with rates rising to 70 percent of those who had completed tertiary educa tion and 89 percent in the case of Guyana. 6 New ways will clearly need to 5. A Time to Choose paragraph 6.28. 6. Prachi Mishra, Emigration and Brain Drain: Evidence from the Caribbean, IMF Working Paper No. 06/25, 2006.
52 PAUL SUTTON be found to ensure that the C aribbean does not subsidize the development of developed countries through such brain drain or that it receives some return for it. In the meantime, the World Bank argues that the diaspora can be better harnessed for development. E stimates suggest that there are some three million Caribbean emigrants in the United States (including more than one million from Cuba), 300,000 in Canada, and around one million in the EU. T he C aribbean has seen a tenfold increase in remittances from U S $ 400 mil lion per year in the early 1990s to US$ 4 billion in 2002, making the region (measured as a percentage of GDP) the largest recipient of remittanc e s in the world. In the period from 1998-2003 remittances represented an average of 6 percent of regional GDP (and the figure could be much higher since the IMF study reports remittances as constituting 13 percent of the regions GDP in 2002). R emittances thus exceed foreign direct investment flows and over seas development assistance (ODA) combined, both of which have declined in recent years. Yet as sizeable (and as important) as remittances are, the conclusion by Mishra is that the total losses due to skilled migration ... out weigh the recorded remittance for the Caribbean region on average, and for almost all the individual Caribbean countries, 7 suggesting that remittances are at best only partial recompense for the loss of development potential that such high-level and high-education emigration entails. Lastly, there is a problem of mounting and increasingly unsustainable debt. High debt levels have placed seven Caribbean countries amongst the ten most indebted in the world and fourteen among the top thirty. T his is gen erating a significant problem for public finances with the almost inevitable concomitant of a cutback in the provision of government spending and the associated reduction of public services. The smaller countries of the eastern C aribbean were among the fastest growing in the region, but as debt doubl e d in the 1990s, their rates of growth slowed considerably, with Dominica recently experiencing a debt crisis. In other countries, such as Jamaica and Guyana, debt has long been an issue, but only Guyana has received any respite under the HIP C initiative. T he high levels of debt represent a serious diversion of government revenues from development projects and can act as a deterrent to private investment. The debt problem is not well known out side (or even inside) the region and deserves greater consideration.SO C IAL DEVELO P MENTThe ECLAC Report seeks to put social objectives at the center of develop ment strategy. It provides detailed commentary on a number of the millen nium development goals, although insufficient data does not allow it to pro -7. Mishra, E migration and Brain Drain, 2006
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 53 vide in-depth coverage of all the indicators for specific targets, particularly where the Caribbean is concerned. The report also argues that the extreme heterogeneity of the L atin American and C aribbean region ( L A C ) make gen eralization difficult, with frequent exceptions to be noted. T he problem of heterogeneity is well illustrated by the first goal: to erad icate extreme poverty and hunger. While L A C is making some progress to meeting the target of halvi n g the number of people whose income is less than U S $ 1 a day, countries with low levels of human development (Haiti) will not do so without very high (and recently unprecedented) economic growth rates. In the C aribbean a more realistic benchmark poverty figure is U S $ 2 a day. On this measure progre s s has been made, but some countries with the lowest per capita incomes (Guyana and S uriname) will need to make greater efforts, mobilizi n g international as well as domestic funding. In relation to other devel oping regions L A C has made some modest progress but lags behind Asia. In respect of the second goal: achieve universal primary education, LAC will not meet the target in spite of high primary enrollment rates. In the Caribbean these are at 95 percent, but there are also significant dropout rates, especially for boys. The high dropout rate obviously has enormous implications for development policies based on skilled human resources. T he advantage LAC possesses on this goal (it has the highest enrolment rates in the developing world) is thus less than may generally be thought. Goal 3 is to promote gender equality and empower women. In terms of eliminating gender disparity in primary education the entire region is on tar get. However, significant gaps exist in income earned by women. This is at its most marked among those with higher levels of education. There is no data on the Caribbean, but it is well known that in parts of the region, for example students enrolled at the University of the West Indies, women significantly outnumber men. As such, and even as the world of work is changing, existing patterns of discrimination persist and women are disad vantaged. T hey are, for example, still a minority in legislatures and in public life in the C aribbean. Goal 4 is to reduce child mortality. All C aribbean countries (except Haiti) are on target to reduce child mortality rates to one-third of their 1990 lev els, although some Caribbean countries (Belize, Guyana, St. Vincent, and Suriname) have made slower progress than expected. Once again, LAC as a group is more favorably placed than most other developing countries to reach this goal. Goal 5 is to improve maternal health. While LAC has a lower maternal mortality ratio than other developing regions, it is unlikely to reach the target of reducing maternal mortality rates by three-quarters, owing to slow or no progress. Although there are some difficulties in obtaining data the evidence is that the Caribbean has a significantly higher maternal mortality rate (113 per 100,000) than the LAC average (87) with the highest rates in Guyana
54 PAUL SUTTON (133) and Suriname (153). The reasons for this clearly need investigation since they are probably linked to more than poverty. Goal 6: combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. The Caribbean has the second-highest rate of HIV/AID S in the world. Haiti is worst affected (5.6 percent) followed by four others with rates over 2 percent ( T rinidad and T obago, Bahamas, Guyana, and Belize). The main mode of transmission is sexual contact between men, although inevitably more women are becoming infected. The problem here, of course, is that the incidence of HIV/AIDS bears disproportionately on the most productive age group (20-45). Malaria is also a problem in French Guiana, Guyana, and S uriname. Goal 7: ensure environmental sustainability. T he report is very pessimistic about LAC meeting its targets in this area since the indicators show consid erable environmental degradation in both built and natural environments. It points to the loss of biodiversity and of forests, air pollution, and the growth of slums. In Haiti some 90 percent of the urban population lives in slums, with figures above the regional average (31.9 percent) for Anguilla, the Dominican R epublic, Jamaica, and T rinidad and T obago. It also points to the need to include environmental considerations more fully into development programs and policies. The Caribbean has made some moves in this direc tion, and since many of them are small island developing states ( S ID S ) they have been included in the Barbados Programme of Action and its follow-up in Mauritius in January 2005. 8 However, the Mauritius conference pointed to many weaknesses in environmental policies among both S ID S and the donor community, which had failed to support them as much as anticipated. On a more positive note, most C aribbean countries are on target in realizing a sup ply of clean drinking water and improving sanitation. Goal 8: develop a global partnership for development. T his covers access to markets in developed countries, debt, ODA, youth employment, and the provision of essential drugs and I CT In most of these areas, as already noted in part, progress has been slow. In respect of trade, the Caribbean has com plained of being marginalized in the current Doha R ound. T he region points to difficulties in getting their proposals for special and differential treat ment for small and vulnerable economies on the agenda, and the devastating impact on them of the changes in the sugar and banana regimes. Guyana, for example, has pointed out that while it got U S $ 8 million of debt relief in the recent G-8 summit, losses incurred by the sugar regime will reach US$ 40 million. ODA flows to LAC have fallen. The SIDS, which are supposed to be given special recognition, have seen flows halved in 2000-2003 com pared to the same period in the 1990s. Access to drugs remains riddled with inequalities, and ICT spending at US$ 400 in LAC remains well below the U S $ 2000-3000 in the developed countries.8. T he Mauritius Declaration, 2005.
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 55 T here are clearly successes and failures, but overall L A C is better placed than many other regions in the developing world to reach (or nearly reach) the millennium development goals, though this has its own dangers for two rea sons. First, the region has the worlds most unequal and concentrated pattern of income distribution. T here are persistent pockets of poverty within medium and high-level income countries, and there is a growing inequality between the countries of the region, characteristics of the C aribbean as a subregion as well. T he surest way to meet targets within countries would be to target the poorest, but there are clearly important political implications in such a policy. T he difficulties facing the Hugo C havez regime in Venezuela at the moment show some of the problems a policy of this kind would face. S econd, the fact that most countries feature in the medium-level category, or better in the Human Development Index, means they can be conveniently ignored by the international donor community. T he C aribbean in particular suf fers from being overlooked, being furthermore a region of mainly small states with low visibility and little political clout. Its visibility has serious implica tions for the region. While most of the millennium development goals embody the commitment of resources at the domestic level, these by themselves will not be enough to achieve the goals. E xternal support is still needed. T here is at present little sign that external support is (or will be) forthcoming.POLITI C AL DEVELO P MENT T he importance of the political dimension in development emerged with the debate on the need for good governance in the 1990s. While originally concerned with sub-Saharan Africa, the imperative of good governance has spread throughout the developing world, including the Caribbean. A recent discussion of governance in the region, involving a large number of regional academics and policy makers, opens with the observation that [d]espite continuing debate on its ideological origins and the persistence of a variety of definitions regarding its specific content, there is increased recognition that the concept of good governance, broadly conceived, is an important requisite for the promotion of an optimal level of development, the guarantee of human rights and freedom, and the maintenance of social and political stability. (Hall & Benn 2003:x)Within the Caribbean the practice of good governance for most states has involved two elements: the role of government in delivering development and the fostering of democratic governance to sustain development. In the last twenty-five years there has been a substantial debate on the role of the state in development. T here is still no consensus, although since the publication of the World Bank Development R eport on The State in a
56 PAUL SUTTON Changing World the state is widely seen as playing a catalytic, facilitati n g role, encouraging and complementing the activities of private businesses and individuals (World Bank 1997:3) within a broadly neo-liberal develop ment paradigm. T his demands an effective state. T here are two elements to such a state. First, a states role must match its capabilities, which demands a sharper focus on fundamentals, particularly on core activities that are crucial to development (establishing a foundation of law, macroeconomic stability, basic social services and infrastructure, and protecting the vulnerable and the environment). S econd, the states capability must be raised by reinvigorat ing its public institutions through a number of measures including design ing effective rules and restraints to check arbitrary state actions and corrup tion, greater competition among state institutions to increase their efficiency, improved performance of state institutions through better pay and incentives, and making the state more responsive to the needs of people through broader participation and decentralization. T here is a distinction to be made here between two categories of state in the C aribbean: those that lack both elements and those who lack only the second. In the first category are Haiti and Guyana, and more marginally (and arguably) the Dominican R epublic. T he priority here, and particularly for Haiti, is politi cal reforms to improve capacity and accountability. It almost goes without saying that these will be difficult to achieve and will involve long-term com mitments, not only from those within the country but also from those outside (including regional agencies) who can promote and facilitate such changes. T he priority in the second category is the building of institutions for an effi cient, effective, and economical public sector. In the C aribbean the share of government expenditure in GDP has risen from 27 percent of GDP (19901997) to 32 percent GDP (1998-2003), which suggests the test of economy is not being met. S ome of this increase is linked to increasing debt costs and to exogenous shocks (including hurricanes). S ome also comes from the higher costs of delivering public services in small states (e.g., health and education in outlying islands). However, unless expenditure can be matched by government revenues (which at the moment it is not) then the public sector must do more with less. T his puts a premium on programs of public sector reform designed to deliver efficient and effective administration. In the C ommonwealth C aribbean such reform programs have been in place in a number of states for a decade or more, with so far mixed results. Only Jamaica shows mostly positive outcomes and a strong and sustained commitment to reform. T he difficulties involved show this to be an area that needs further attention. The record of democratic government (defined as liberal democracy) in the Caribbean is generally very good. Of course, there are exceptions. The twofold distinction identified earlier could also apply to the immediate pros pects for democracy. There is a major crisis in Haiti and little apparent will to solve it by the political elites within the country. Guyana is currently stable
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 57 although the country remains polarized by race. The Dominican Republic presents a more hopeful picture although the political process remains highly personalized and factionalized. C uba remains a unique problem in which the death of C astro and the transition from the rule of the C ommunist party to a more pluralistic system is long promised but seemingly as distant as ever. In all four, processes of change will need to follow a distinct trajectory tailored to individual circumstance. E lsewhere the problems of democracy seem to cluster around a number of issues that have been identified in a series of conferences held in the region throughout the 1990s to the present day. 9 T hey include apathy toward, and alienation from, existing political institutions, seen in declining turn-out for elections; increasing social anomie and disregard for social conventions in the breakdown of a culture of civil discourse and the rise of antisocial behav ior; and growing corruption and political violence, linked to the growth of drug trafficking. In his book investigating the Westminster experience in the C aribbean, one of the regions most distinguished political scientists, S elwyn R yan (1999), points to failing political parties, bureaucracies under stress, and judicial systems in crisis. He also comments on regionwide political practices among the political elite which erode good governance, including authoritar ian leadership styles, adversarial politics (political and ethnic tribalism), the cultivation of political patronage, and the encouragement of zero-sum attitudes in government in which the winner takes all, freezing out the opposition and acting against political consensus. While these are significant deficiencies they nonetheless have to be balanced against the overall record of high and continuing liberal demo cratic processes (widely regarded, at least among the major donor countries and international agencies, as the essence of good governance) throughout the Caribbean. In the period 1980-2004, 66 general elections were held in the Commonwealth Caribbean, and everywhere governments have been changed by ballot. More recently, the political corruption index shows an improvement regionally from 16 in 1990-1997 to 6 in 1998-2002 (with the worst offender being Suriname at 106 and 43, respectively). And lastly, the Caribbean remains the most democratic region in the developing world (probably because it is mainly made up of small states, independent and dependent, since small states tend to be more democratic than large ones). In short, there is undoubtedly need for better governance, but a sense of propor tion must also accompany policy recommendation.9. See for example Hall & Benn 2003; Governance and Democratic Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (New York: United Nations Development Programme, 1996) and Organization of American S tates, Westminster in the Caribbean: Viability Past and Present, Prospects for Reform or Radical Change (Washington, D C 2002); availab l e at www.upd.oas.org.
58 PAUL SUTTON THE PA S T, PRE S ENT, AND FUTURE OF DEVELO P MENT POLI C YThe dominant development policy paradigm in the Caribbean today is neoliberalism. It began with the structural adjustment crises in a number of coun tries in the 1980s. Before the 1980s two development paradigms held sway (see Payne & S utton 2001). T he first was the modernization paradigm of the 1950s and 1960s associated with the work of Arthur Lewis, which drew on the experience of Operation Bootstrap in Puerto Rico. The essence of the strategy was a program of industrialization by invitation, which sought to combine the labor surplus in the region with modern (largely foreign) capi tal to create industries to serve the regional and foreign markets. The state was to play an important role in developing infrastructure and providing fis cal incentives. It also promoted regionalism through the creation of regional trade mechanisms to offset the disadvantage of small size. T ourism was also encouraged (particularly following the C uban R evolution, which diverted tourists to other C aribbean islands). In some ways the policy was successful. T he rates of growth in the 1950s and 1960s were around 5 percent (higher than any period since that time). But there was disappointment in two areas: unemployment and underemployment remained high, and the region was still dependent on the outside world for its development dynamic. T hese disappointments were turned into critiques within the University of the West Indies, resulting in a new paradigm of devel opment associated with plantation economy (similar in many ways to the thinking of the L atin American dependency theorists) pioneered by L loyd Best and popularized by George Beckford. T his paradigm of development attributed underdevelopment to the historical and continuing legacy of the plantation and argued for a pattern of development that was regionally more specific and political in its aims. In this it was influenced both by the example of the C uban R evolution and by the achievement of independence in a num ber of countries in the C ommonwealth C aribbean, which nominally gave the state greater powers to advance development. Under the influence of indepen dence the state took a more commanding role in the economy and regional integration was strongly promoted alongside an espousal in the international system of various T hird World causes throughout the 1970s. The debt crisis, U.S. policy under Ronald Reagan, and structural adjust ment dealt a mortal blow to this paradigm. T he politicos were replaced by the tecnicos The discussions about development were no longer ones of grand design developed within the region for the region but about how best to administer the programs that were designed elsewhere under the neoliberal paradigm as expressed in the Washington Consensus. The 1990s onward witnessed the further entrenchment of this paradigm within the region as it sought the best way to accommodate to and benefit from globalization.
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 59 It has two elements. T he first is predicated on closer integration with the global economy through developing greater competitiveness in some prod ucts and niche markets in others. It builds on studies undertaken in the vari ous international and regional organizations and finds a particular expression through the concept of strategic global repositioning (SGR) advocated by Richard Bernal, the current director of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery. He defines it as a process of repositioning a country in the global economy and world affairs by implementing a strategic medium to long term plan formulated from con tinuous dialogue of the public sector, private sector, academic community and the social sector. It involves proactive structural and institutional trans formation (not adjustment) focussed on improvement and diversification of exports and international economic and political relations. Achieving S G R requires changes in both internal and external relations. T he external rela tions are of paramount importance because of the highly open and vulner able nature of these small, developing economies. (Bernal 2000:311)The concept of SGR has found favor within the region and without. For example, it was commended in major meetings in the World Bank in both 2000 and 2005 as a strategy particularly suited to small states. 10T he other is closer C aribbean integration. In 1989 the heads of gover n ment of C A R I C OM made a decision to reinvigorate the integration process (origi nally launched in 1968) through the creation of the C A R I C OM S ingle Market and E conomy ( CS M E ). T his was to include a fully functioning common mar ket, the harmonization of macroeconomic policies and eventually monetary integration. In 1994 regional leaders established the Association of C aribbean S tates (A CS ) to encourage closer cooperation throughout the region and the proximate L atin American mainland. Neither has fulfilled its promise. T he A CS has proved ineffectual. C A R I C OM has fared a little better. Following long delays, some key elements of the single market (free movement of goods and services) were established as of January 2006 between Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, S uriname, and T rinidad and T obago. T here is also some lim ited free movement of labor. But the smaller countries of the Organisation of E astern C aribbean S tates remain concerned about its effect on them, and the Bahamas has recently decided not to join. L ittle has been done to establish the single economy. T he slow pace of change has led some to question whether the CS M E is really that important to the region. It remains of significance for most political leaders and for the tecnicos but fails to excite the public because of its top-down approach to integration. It also suffers, according to Norman 10. Lino Briguglio, Bishnodat Persaud & Richard Stern, Toward an Outward-Oriented Development Strategy for Small States: Issues, Opportunities, and Resilience Building ( C ommonwealth S ecretariat and World Bank, 2005); available at www.worldbank.org.
60 PAUL SUTTON Girvan (former secretary general of the A CS ), from serious defects in the origi nal design, which retains too much national sovereignty for implementation. T he completion of the CS M E he argues, requires agreement on the selective pooling of national sovereignty in defined areas a policy most C aribbean leaders are at present unwilling to discuss, let alone implement. 11The current development strategy, compared to the 1970s and even the modernization vision of the 1950s and 1960s, is one where the specific regional dimension is missing. It is largely derivative, and regional input (e.g., Bernal 2000) has been limited. T he dangers this approach of overlook ing regional specificity can carry can be demonstrated using the two reports cited in my opening remarks. T he World Bank report is a massive document providing a wealth of empirical evidence but presenting it very much within the approved (now post-Washington C onsensus) thinking that permeates the bank. This type of thinking is very evident if one turns to the bibliography and the various studies that accompany the report. In them there is little use made of local consultants or national or regional studies. It is tempting to conclude that its authors in the bank are secure in their paradigm and that the World Bank has imposed a one-size-fits-all model on the region. A similar critical view is held by the regions leading development econo mist. In a presentation to the World Bank in June 2005, C live T homas argued that its report A Time to Choose betrays a failure by its authors to pay proper and respectful regard to the institutional memory of the regions discourses on economic matters, 12 thereby highlighting the failure of the bank to fully appreciate the debate on development policy in earlier years. He also criticizes its methodology on these grounds, arguing that the report pays insufficient attention to the historical and institutional context of the region and the microanalysis of firms. My proposition is that when these are suf ficiently embedded in the analysis, it might well suggest different lines of departure, different emphases, and perhaps a different perspective from which to frame the development problematique in the region from that the report adopts. 13 In short, the report is not comprehensive enough in its vision nor mindful enough of the specific realities of the C aribbean region.11. Norman Girvan, The CARICOM Single Market and Economy: Challenges to Its Completion (presentation to the Caribbean Study Group of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, L ondon, March, 2006). 12. C.Y. Thomas, The World Banks A Time to Choose : Comment (remarks to the Caribbean Forum for Development, sponsored by the Caribbean Development Bank, Barbados, June, 2005). 13. T homas, C omment 2005.
CARIBBEAN DEVELO P MENT: AN OVERVIE W 61 The ECLAC study tries to provide an alternative view. It takes to task the one-size-fits-all approach and argues that gradual and partial reforms aligned with actual conditions in each country and with existing institu tional structures have yielded better results than reforms that were not fil tered through the sieve of practice, experience and internal discussion (my emphasis). It also argues in respect of achievement of the millennium devel opment goals that: economic growth is a necessary but not sufficient condi tion for the reduction of poverty and inequality. T he workings of the market must be given greater scope while at the same time improving the role of the state. In short, it provides an endorsement of the mixed economy and argues for an approach sensitive to local realities. I find the ECL A C approach preferable. But I would go further. At the very beginning I noted the exclusion of Cuba and Haiti from this article on the grounds that they were atypical Caribbean states. But what is a typical C aribbean state? Many years ago the celebrated anthropologist S idney Mintz (1971) provided the answer in his depiction of the region as a sociocultural area defined by multiple historical, economic, social, political, and cultural criteria. Within this framework Cuba and Haiti would occupy the central place. T hey would, in fact, be the typical C aribbean state. In thinking again about development in the region the approach taken by Mintz should very much be kept in mind. Development policy demands a strong element of regional specificity if it is to be credible and is to work. Globalization may be linking countries and territories to different parts of the world like sepa rate spokes in a wheel, but to extend the analogy, every wheel has a hub that gives it shape and strength. T he C aribbean region is a hub and development policy must build from the center outward if it is to deliver the right kind of development which is also sustainable development to its people. It follows that development must be culturally aware and environmen tally sensitive. In the Caribbean there are moves to get the Caribbean Sea declared as a special area with special protection. In the world at large the C aribbean is probably better known for its music than for any other product. There must be a way in which such vital elements can be combined with economic, social, and political criteria to bring about a development policy in the C aribbean that is truly multidimensional and practically beneficial for all its peoples. In such an exercise there should be full engagement with all the regions peoples and a frank appraisal of what has and has not worked in the past. T his must encompass Cuba (and Haiti) as well. T here are plenty of lessons that can be drawn from a rich historical past. These need to be recovered and integrated within the development discourse in the region to provide the roots for a grounded account of development against which more fashionable propositions can be tested, and if acceptable, grafted on to experience to promote new and vigorous growth.
62 PAUL SUTTONREFEREN C E SBERNAL, R., 2000. The Caribbean in the International System: Outlook for the First T wenty Years of the 21 st Century. In Kenneth O. Hall & Denis Benn (eds.), Contending with Destiny: The Caribbean in the 21 st Century Kingston: Ian R andle, pp. 295-325. HALL KENNETH O. & DENIS BENN 2003. Introduction. In Kenneth O. Hall & Denis Benn (eds.), Governance in the Age of Globalisation: Caribbean Perspectives Kingston: Ian R andle, pp. x-xxv. MINTZ SIDNEY, 1971. T he C aribbean as a S ocio-cultural Area. In Michael M. Horowitz (ed.), Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean: An Anthropological Reader Garden City NY: Natural History Press, pp. 17-46. PAYNE A NTHONY & PAUL SUTTON 2001. Charting Caribbean Development Basingstoke U.K.: Warwick University C aribbean S tudies/Macmillan E ducation. RYAN, SEL W YN 1999. Winner Takes All: The Westminster Experience in the Caribbean S t. Augustine, T rinidad: I SER University of the West Indies. SANDERS, R ONALD, 2002. The Fight against Fiscal Colonialism. Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 365:325-48. WOODW ARD, R., 2004. The OECDs Harmful T ax Competition Initiative and Offshore Financial Centres in the Caribbean Basin. In Ramesh Ramsaran (ed.), The Fiscal Experience in the Caribbean: Emerging Issues and Problems. St. Augustine, T rinidad: C aribbean C entre for Monetary S tudies, University of the West Indies, pp. 604-44. WORLD BANK, 1997. World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. PAUL SUTTONDepartment of Politics and International S tudies University of Hull Hull, HU6 7 R X United Kingdom
TIMOTHY S. CHINCA R IBB E AN M IG R A T ION AND T H E CON STR U CT ION OF A BL A C K D IA S PO R A I D E N T I T Y IN P AU LE M A RS HA LLS B ROWN G IRL B ROWNSTONES A good deal of the scholarship currently being done in ethnic and cultural studies, as well as many other fields within the humanities and social sci ences, attempts to theorize or employ diaspora models and other frameworks that enable transnational analyses. 1 T his essay is indebted to and builds upon this scholarship by exploring the relevance that diaspora models might have for the way we read Paule Marshall, as well as other writers like her, and African American literature in general. In fact, I would argue that the current emphasis on diasporic frameworks and issues of transnationality not only serves to illuminate aspects of Marshalls fiction that have not been fully understood or appreciated, but also reaffirms the importance of her work. Spanning nearly four decades and tracing roots, as well as routes, that are African American as well as C aribbean, Marshalls narratives present an especially ripe opportunity for thinking about how migration and displace ment, key terms of the diaspora experience, affect the formation of cultural identities in the twentieth century. Although the idea of diaspora is certainly not new, the questions that are currently being asked about borders and boundaries and their inevitable permeability, about syncretism and hybridity and the necessary impurity of cultures and identities, for example may enable a more adequate assessment of the particular strengths of Marshalls fiction: its transnational and cross-cultural focus, its representation of migrant and hybrid subjectivities, its figuration of the diaspora as an organizing prin ciple for Black identity. Paradoxically, it seems that the diasporic dimension of Marshalls work has also been the source of a certain amount of critical confusion or misper ception, or both. Carole Boyce Davies, for example, has noted that writers 1. In addition to numerous scholars whose work might be cited here, the works of Hall (1990) and Gilroy (1993) have been particularly useful for my own thinking on issues of diaspora and identity. New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006):63-81
64 TIMOTHY S. CHIN like Paule Marshall, Audre L orde, Michelle C liff, and Jamaica Kincaid tend to disrupt conventional notions of tradition and destabilize assumed canoni cal boundaries. Asserting the importance of migration in the work of these writers, Boyce Davies suggests that the rigid compartmentalization into geography and national identity which academia forces on writers disinte grates when confronted by writers like Paule Marshall (Davies 1990:70). In fact, the difficulties that Marshalls work often poses for a canon-based (i.e. national) approach might have a lot to do with what some of Marshalls critics see as a certain degree of critical neglect or underappreciation of her work. 2 R ather than assume that Marshalls texts belong to one tradition or the other, my strategy is to highlight the interstitial location of her narratives, that is, their hybrid or intercultural position. Indeed, I would argue that it is pre cisely this hybridity Marshalls dislocation vis--vis established boundaries of place, nation, identity, race, culture, and literary tradition that engenders the search for a transnational Black diasporic identity in her fiction. Studies highlighting the contributions of prominent Caribbean migrants such as Marcus Garvey, Amy Jacques Garvey, Claude McKay, George Padmore, C.L.R. James, W.A. Domingo, Richard B. Moore, Hubert Harrison, C yril Briggs, and others suggest that C aribbean migrants and their descendants have participated and often played a key role in the articula tion of certain cultural discourses, Black nationalism and pan-Africanism, for example, through which forms of Black identity have been mediated in the twentieth century. 3 As a corollary to this observation, I would sug gest that Caribbean migration, more generally, has had a significant impact on the formation of modern Black identities, particularly transnational and diasporic forms of Black identity. There is, of course, a well-respected and sizable body of scholarship on this subject, including studies that examine the historical trends and patterns, the size and scope, the push and pull fac tors, and the broad social effects that characterize Black C aribbean migration 2. See, for example, two studies of Marshalls fiction that appeared in 1995, one by Denniston and the other by Pettis. Denniston (1995:xi) claims that Marshall is among those Black women writers who have enjoyed critical acclaim without widespread rec ognition. Pettis (1995:6) notes that although scholars of African-American and AfroCaribbean literature ... consider her among the premier American writers ... significant numbers of Americans knowledgeable about literature remain ignorant of Marshall. A more recent study by Hathaway (1999:10) attempts to relocate the work of Marshall and Claude McKay in terms of a more pointed cross-cultural consideration of both authors that moves beyond these restrictive paradigms. In this sense, my essay is in alignment with the general thrust of Hathaways argument, although my emphasis is on the ways in which the Black diaspora itself forms a construct, an imaginary if you will, that Marshalls narratives help to invent and elaborate. 3. S ee, for example, Martin 1976, Hill 1983, L ewis 1987, and James 1998.
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 65 (to the United States and Great Britain, predominantly). 4 The scholarship on Caribbean migration provides an important social and historical context for Brown Girl, Brownstones and my reading of Marshalls 1959 novel is informed in many ways by this scholarship. However, I want to suggest that Brown Girl, Brownstones also amplifies this scholarship in significant ways. My reading of Marshalls novel is intended to demonstrate that Brown Girl, Brownstones offers a complex and nuanced understanding of how C aribbean migration impacts cultural identity. It is generally argued in the literature on C aribbean migration that C aribbean migrants to the United S tates, especially in the early phases, tended to down play their ethnic difference and assimilate into a Black American racial identity (see, for example, Safa & Du T oit 1975, Sutton & Chaney 1987, and Kasinitz 1992). For example, Philip Kasinitz argues that the C aribbean migrants who came to the United S tates after 1965 were able to retain more of their ethnic identity than their earlier counterparts for whom, accord ing to Kasinitz, race, not ethnicity, was the most crucial factor shaping both where they lived and their political identity (Kasinitz 1992:41). C onstance S utton and S usan Makiesky-Barrow (1987:105), in an earlier study that looks at Barbadian immigration before and after World War II, likewise suggest that the experience of the earlier migrants led to an emphasis on racial rather than ethnic identity. While acknowledging the importance of these studies, I believe that this view of C aribbean migration and its effect on cultural identity might be use fully complicated. More specifically, it would be productive to rethink our understanding of cultural identity itself, as well as the related concepts of race, ethnicity, and nation. Our understanding of cultural identity, and the understanding that is implicit in Kasinitz (1992), Sutton and MakieskyBarrow (1987), and other studies of C aribbean migration, typically presumes identity as an already accomplished fact, in Stuart Halls words. In con trast, we might think of cultural identity as a production, which according to Hall (1990:222), is never complete, always in process and always con stituted within, not outside, representation. Understanding cultural identity as a production would entail a recognition of the fact that ethnic and racial identity are not static or fixed concepts, but rather fluid, open-ended ones subject to constant negotiation, modification, and transformation, a process that the either/or option between racial and ethnic identity seems to belie. In his study Kasinitz (1992:35) states that, in contrast to the post-1965 Caribbean immigrants, ethnic ties ... remained private for the pre-1965 immigrants. He argues that ethnicity plays an increasingly public role in the lives of the post-1965 immigrants and that the new West Indian iden -4. S ee, for example, BryceL aporte 1972, S afa & Du T oit 1975, BryceL aporte & Mortimer 1976, S utton & C heney 1987, S utton & Makiesky-Barrow 1987, and Kasinitz 1992.
66 TIMOTHY S. CHIN tity that has emerged in the post-1965 period is distinctive both in terms of the transnationalism that it reflects, as well as the uncertainties and contradictions that mark it as an identity that is constantly being redefined (Kasinitz 1992:7, 2). 5 E vidence from recent scholarship on C aribbean migra tion suggests that transnational loyalties of the kind Kasinitz (1992) ascribes to the post-1960s migrants were not uncommon in the earlier period. 6 This scholarship also suggests that Caribbean migrants in the pre-1965 period negotiated a complex range of ethnic and racial identities and expressed these identifications through a variety of public as well as private institutions. T he split between private and public identities can be somewhat mislead ing, particularly in terms of the way in which it reinscribes a dichotomy between domains conventionally associated with the private and the personal and those associated with the public and the political. This reinscription of a split between private and public might have unintended consequences in terms of the reinforcement of what Marshall herself identifies as the triple invisibility of C aribbean immigrant women. 7 I would like to suggest, in the close reading of the novel that follows, that Brown Girl, Brownstones enables a more complex and nuanced understanding of how cultural identities were, in fact, produced (through experiences that were both private and public, personal and political) in the context of C aribbean migration and the crucial role that C aribbean immigrant women played in this process. Although Marshall herself is U. S born (of Barbadian immigrant parents), the protagonists in Brown Girl, Brownstones are C aribbean immigrants and first-generation C aribbean Americans. T he novel is set in the 1930s and 1940s and, thus, deals with the pre-1965 C aribbean migrant experience. One thread of my argument explores how Marshall thematizes issues of migration and cultural identity in the novel. I argue, for example, that Marshalls representa tion of the Barbadian immigrant community reflects the central, if not predominant, role that women played in the production of C aribbean identity in the United S tates. I suggest that Marshalls representation of C aribbean immi grant women problematizes the supposed split between the public and the political, on one hand, and the private and the personal, on the other. In addi -5. Kasinitz (1992:32) states that for contemporary West Indian immigrants, the idea that loyalty to one nation contradicts loyalty to another is fast disappearing. 6. In addition to James 1998 and Watkins-Owens 1996, see Von Eschen 1997 and Hathaway 1999. 7. Marshall (1987:81) uses the term in an essay: If African Americans have suffered from a kind of invisibility (a subject which R alph E llison brilliantly explores in his 1952 novel The Invisible Man ), and if the Black foreigner has been treated to a double invis ibility (as BryceL aporte, 1972, suggests in an article on Black immigrants), then the West Indian immigrant woman might be said to suffer from a triple invisibility as a Black, a foreigner, and a woman.
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 67 tion, I discuss how the novel thematizes a debate within the C aribbean immi grant community over the social and political efficacy of various forms of racial and ethnic identification. My reading suggests that, rather than becom ing Black or assimilating into a pre-existing racial identity, C aribbean migrants also helped to shape and re-position various historically conditioned Black and diasporic identities. Another thread of my argument analyzes the discursive intervention that Marshalls novel itself performs. In other words, Brown Girl, Brownstones not only reflects the historical realities of the Caribbean migrant experience and its effect on cultural identity, it also constructs cultural identity by repositioning and reformulating prevailing discourses of race and ethnicity. My reading suggests, for example, that Brown Girl, Brownstones explicitly and implicitly invokes both James Baldwin and Marcus Garvey, Black nation alism and U.S. Black nativist racial discourse, West Indian dialects, and African American vernacular speech forms. T he discursive positionality that the text thus constructs operates between and across established racial and ethnic boundaries and consequently reflects Marshalls attempt to imagine new (that is, diasporic and transnational) subjectivities and generate new nar ratives of identity and belonging. In her much-reprinted essay, The Making of a Writer: From the Poets in the Kitchen, Marshall (1983) pays homage to the Barbadian immigrant women of her mothers generation, those unknown bards, as she calls them. Marshall (1983a:4, 12) attributes her first lessons in the narrative art, to these women and acknowledges the rich legacy of language and culture they so freely passed on ... in the wordshop of the kitchen. Marshall further immortalizes these women in her novel Brown Girl, Brownstones where S illa Boyces kitchen becomes the central meeting place and privileged domain for the women in the Barbadian immigrant community. Marshalls emphasis on this female-centered domain identifies not only a discursive matrix that serves as one of the chief sources of her narrative art but also as an important site for the production of C aribbean diasporic identities. In the essay, Marshall (1983a:6-7) emphasizes the essential role that talk played in these gatherings of immigrant women talk as a cheap and readily available form of therapy, as an outlet for creative energy, and as a kind of portable homeland: Confronted ... by a world they could not encompass ... and at the same time finding themselves permanently separated from the world they had known, they took refuge in language. The passionate, inci sive, and metaphorically rich talk that the Bajan women engage in thus serves as one of the concrete social practices around which a sense of Bajanness can still be maintained within the metropole. Insofar as this cultural practice tends to fall within the realm of what is conventionally considered private, its importance can perhaps be easily overlooked or discounted, especially in analyses that depend on unexamined dichotomies between private and
68 TIMOTHY S. CHIN public, personal and political. However, the emphasis that Marshall gives in her novel, as well as the essay, to the Bajan womens talk compels us to rethink these categories and the way that their use as analytical concepts can work to elide crucial questions of gender and consequently marginalize the role that immigrant women have played in the migration experience and the production of C aribbean identities. 8 Within the shared space of the kitchen, the Barbadian women are free to express perhaps in ways that are not possible or at least not as con strained as when they find themselves in contexts that are male-dominated or Eurocentric, or both not only the distinctive opinions and attitudes but also the unique (in this case, linguistic) forms and structures that define their Bajanness. Within this intimate, domestic space, C aribbean identity coalesc e s around the positions that the immigrant women take on a wide range of both public and private issues child-rearing, marriage, religion, the war, the colonial status of Barbados, Roosevelt and the New Deal, etc. and, per haps more significantly, around the distinctive sounds, cadences, and accents of Bajan E nglish itself: Florrie had listened rapt, respectful to S illa, and now she said solemnly, T alk yuh talk, S illa! Be-Jees, in this white-man world you got to take yuh mouth and make a gun (Marshall 1959:70). As Marshall (1983a:7) points out in her essay, it wasnt only what the women talked about the content but the way they put things that made them poets. Whats at stake here is not only the artistry of the Bajan women, what Marshall (1983a:8) refers to as their poets inventiveness and daring with language, but also the ways in which linguistic forms and structures can express, embody, and, indeed, produce cultural identity. As consummate practitioners of such forms, these women play a conspicuous and crucial role in sustaining C aribbean identity within the immigrant community. A similar argument can be made for other kinds of cultural practices that tend to fall within the realm of what is conventionally defined as private. Culinary practices, for example represent another site wherein Bajan iden tity is reproduced: Silla prepares various Barbadian delicacies (including black pudding, souse, and coconut or sweet bread), which she sells to the Caribbean community as a way of augmenting her income. In fact, it is through such practices that a Caribbean identity, and the cultural heritage, communal values, shared ethos, and so forth that such an identity implies, is often passed on to a second, third, and beyond, U.S.-born generation. T o delimit the effects and potential importance of these cultural forms and prac tices by confining them to a narrow category of private experience is to miss the fact that such practices can often be profoundly political, especially 8. See Bryce-L aporte 1976, Watkins-Owens 1996, and James 1998 for discussions of the role C aribbean women played in C aribbean immigrant communities and in the UNIA and the Garvey movement.
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 69 to the degree that they mutually reinforce and serve as a foundation for other articulations of cultural identity. 9It must be said, however, that the Caribbean identity that is produced through the cultural practices enacted within the female-centered space of Sillas kitchen is not a static, ahistorical identity. Rather, it is an identity constituted within the context of specific historical circumstances and conse quently marked by all of the ruptures, disjunctions, ambiguities, and contra dictions that are associated with such circumstances. T o begin with, the Bajan identity that is enacted in Sillas kitchen is an identity marked by displace ment, a deterritorialized identity defined by its interstitial position between home (Barbados or Bimshire, in this case) and this man country (the United States). This Caribbean diasporic identity is also characterized by a profound ambivalence toward the Caribbean itself. Barbados is simultane ously the object of the immigrants nostalgic longing, a locus for memory and reminiscences of home, wherein Barbados is recalled as a place that is poor, poor, but sweet, and the site of brutal colonial oppression, abject poverty, and the lack of possibility (Marshall 1959:11). In response to a comment made by Iris Hurley about England and the crown, Silla delivers the following scathing indictment of Barbados colo nial legacy: Iris, you now what it is to work hard and still never make a head-way? Thats Bimshire. One crop. People having to work for next skin to noth ing. The white people treating we like slaves still and we taking it. The rum shop and the church join together to keep we pacify and in ignorance. T hats Barbados. (Marshall 1959:70)Caribbean identity, as it is lived by these Barbadian immigrant women, is characterized not only by the discontinuities of the migration experience itself but also by the contradictions of the regions colonial history. Bajanness is something that the immigrants simultaneously cling to and want to distance themselves from. 10 At the same time that Marshall suggests in the novel that culinary practices function as an important site for the reproduction of Bajan identity, she also reveals how such foodways and the ethnic identity they embody are often seen as a sign of backwardness by the immigrants them selves. When Deighton, S illas husband, mocks S uggie, their tenant and fel -9. S ee Hathaway (1999:103-4) for additional discussions of how C aribbean immigrants used foodways and language to both re-create homeland and to provide comfort and protection in an often hostile environment. 10. For an analysis of the contradictions and ambivalences of home in Brown Girl, Brownstones especially in terms of how such contradictions and ambivalences are condi tioned by gendered experiences, see the essay by Nair 1999.
70 TIMOTHY S. CHIN low Bajan immigrant, for stink[ing] down [the house] with codfish, Silla agrees, Like codfish does smell that sweet! She got to let the world and it wife know she ain long off the boat. S ome these Bajan does come to this man country and get on worse than they did home (Marshall 1959:23). In contrast (but clearly related) to the intimate, domestic space that S illas kitchen represents, the Association of Barbadian Homeowners and Businessmen reflects a formal, institutionalized structure through which C aribbean identity is reproduced in the novel. T he association, which, accord ing to Percy C hallenor, was going to be the biggest thing since Marcus Garvey, serves as a conduit for the Bajan communitys economic and politi cal aspirations (Marshall 1959:196). Here Bajan identity is asserted and orga nized around a common set of economic goals: the ownership of property, the establishment of business interests, and the professionalization of the immi grants and their U. S .-born children. Predicated on a philosophy of self-help, the associations strategy is to establish a fund to which all members contrib uted and which in turn made small loans to members (Marshall 1959:220). In her study, Irma Watkins-Owens (1996) documents the prominent role that churches, benevolent associations, lodges, and fraternal orders played in the advancement of the C aribbean immigrant community and the formation of larger Harlem community during the early decades of the twentieth centu r y. According to Watkins-Owens (1996:56-74), these organizations fulfilled sev eral important functions for the immigrants, including providing mutual aid, assisting with economic and political adjustment in the United S tates, and enhancing status and influence. Watkins-Owens (1996:60,168) also discusses the role that these voluntary associations played in perpetuating island tradi tions and sustaining the immigrants continuing identification with home land. T he fictional representation within Marshalls novel of the Barbadian Homeowners Association implicitly acknowledges the important part that these kinds of social institutions played in the lives of the early C aribbean migrants and at the same time reflects the complex ways in which questions of identity were negotiated within both public and private arenas. 11 11. T he case of Marcus Garvey and his UNIA is an interesting and instructive point of ref erence here. Watkins-Owens (1996:71) suggests, for example, that the UNIA functioned in many ways as a mutual aid society, at least in its early formation. In addition, although the research done by Watkins-Owens as well as other scholars such as James (1998) clearly demonstrates that the UNIA was not by any means a predominantly Caribbean organization (in terms of the make-up of its membership and/or the focus of its political agenda), Garveys ethnicity was definitely a factor in the rise and fall of the UNIA and of Garvey himself. Garvey was variously constructed (by the native African American intelligentsia and the U.S. government, for example) as a foreigner, a West Indian, a Jamaican, as well as a Black, a Negro, and his self-presentation was certainly complex enough to encompass ethnic and cultural as well as racial identifications. See also Martin 1976, Hill 1983, and L ewis 1987.
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 71 In addition to revealing one of the social mechanisms through which Caribbean traditions and identities were sustained by migrants in the pre1965 period, Marshalls representation of the Association of Barbadian Homeowners and Businessmen, perhaps even more significantly, regis ters the degree to which such traditions and identities were being actively contested and redefined during these years. In other words, ethnic identity and racial identity were not static, pre-given, unitary categories to which the migrants either conformed or rejected. Rather, these categories, like all identities, were fluid, malleable, in process, as Stuart Hall would say. Furthermore, these early C aribbean migrants played an active part in contest ing and remaking the boundaries of various ethnic and racial identities and in creating the social and cultural conditions from which other configurations of identity could emerge. One of the more contentious debates within the association revolves around the question of whether or not to change the name of the organiza tion from Barbadian to Negro. This debate is sparked in the novel by a controversial speech that Claremont Sealy makes during an association meeting:You need to strike out that word Barbadian and put Negro. T hats my pro posal. We got to stop thinking about just Bajan. We aint home no more. It don matter if we don know a person mother or his mother mother. Our doors got to be open to every colored person that qualify... He paused and shook his head tiredly. I know it gon take time. Wunna gon have to ruminate long, but I ain gon return till I see that word Barbadian strike out and Negro put in its place. I thank you! (Marshall 1959:222)On one level, Sealeys speech can be read as a critique of the values that the association represents. This critique, advanced elsewhere in the novel through the increasing ambivalence of S elina, S illas U. S .-born daughter and the novels protagonist, toward the value system that the association and S illa both affirm, questions the associations enshrinement of a materialistic ethos and its bourgeois vision of ownership and acquisition. Although this value system is often characterized in critical assessments of the novel as the Bajan communitys internalization of the dominant cultures capitalist value system (i.e. the American Dream), Marshalls depiction of the exploitative economic arrangements that characterize Barbadian society does not seem to suggest that she is positing an uncorrupted C aribbean communal ethos in contrast to a corrupted Western ethos of rampant individualism (see, for example, C hristian 1980 and Harris 1983). Marshalls concern is not so much the reassertion of an authentic C aribbean identity as it is the attempt to imagine a more inclusive and egalitar ian set of values around which a cultural identity might be organized. When S elina rejects the association she is not rejecting a C aribbean or C aribbean
72 TIMOTHY S. CHIN migrant (an ethnic) identity per se, but rather the value system that underpins that particular iteration of C aribbean identity. Marshalls depictions of the Bajan migrant community reveal the contingent nature of ethnic and racial identities, that is, the way they are always subject to contestation and transformation. In addition to interrogating the bourgeois values associated with the asso ciation, Marshall questions the restrictive nationalist terms around which the association constructs its version of Barbadian identity. 12 C laremont S ealys appeal to the association represents an argument for rethinking the ques tion of cultural identity in ways that go beyond the national, or at least the nation a l as it is narrowly conceived and expressed in the associations found ing principles and organizational rationale: in terms of exclusive membership based on birth, kinship, family, and country of origin. However, Claremont S ealys statement should not be interpreted as an argument for the C aribbean migrants assimilation into dominant forms of racial identity. As Selina points out to her soon-to-be lover, C live S pringer, S ealys speech was meant to take the association to task for excluding other West Indians and American Negroes (Marshall 1959:230). Once again, Marshalls concern here has less to do with privileging racial over ethnic identity than with exploring alter native forms of identification that are inclusive rather than exclusive and that bridge rather than erase cultural differences. Her depictions also reflect the fact that ethnic and racial identities were constantly being contested and redefined during this period. Studies by Sutton and Makiesky-Barrow (1987) and others have sug gested that the migration experience often served to heighten the sense of a shared West Indian identity among immigrants from the English-speaking islands as well as to foster a wider C aribbean consciousness that encompassed immigrants from the S panish, French, and Dutch-speaking islands as well. 13 12. Given that the period with which the novel is concerned (the 1930s and 1940s) also saw the emergence of C aribbean and other T hird-World nationalisms, its also possible to read this episode as a commentary or critique of nationalism conceived of more broadly. In this sense, the representation of World War II, which figures centrally, at least as a meta phor, in the novel, might also be relevant to this critique, particularly in terms of what it implies about Hitler, Nazism, and the potential dangers of a nationalist ideology taken to its illogical extremes. Indeed, Marshalls (1969) subsequent novel, The Chosen Place, the Timeless People directly takes up the question of T hird-World nationalism and the unfin ished project of liberation that remains even in the wake of independence. Nevertheless, the specific immigrant milieu that forms the setting of Marshalls novel constitutes the most immediate reference for the C laremont S ealey episode, and Marshalls reflections on nationalism resonate most directly in the context of the nationalist discourses that posi tioned the characters as immigrants, diasporic C aribbeans, Negroes, Blacks, and so on. 13. Sutton and Makiesky-Barrow (1987:98) state that New York offers opportunities to build common understandings among West Indians not available in the Caribbean. They also state that just as England provides a unique context for merging West Indian
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 73 This insight is already implicit in Marshalls novel insofar as Brown Girl, Brownstones suggests that West Indian and pan-Caribbean identities were also a part of the social and cultural milieu that shaped the early Caribbean migrants. These migrants were positioned by discourses that marked them as Black, or Negro, but also as Bajans, Jamaicans, T rinidadians, or other wise, as well as West Indians or Caribbeans. The contentious debate that Claremont Sealys proposal sparks in the association reflects the degree to which questions of cultural identity remained a heavily contested terrain for Caribbean migrants a terrain where both ethnicity and race mattered and where categories of race and ethnicity often overlapped, intersected and, in addition to being fluid, were subject to constant redefinition. There is a very telling scene that occurs toward the end of Brown Girl, Brownstone The scene also marks a major turning point for Selina who has been struggling throughout the novel with conflicting feelings about her Bajan heritage as well as her identity in general. In this scene, Selina has a profoundly unsettling interaction with Mrs. Benton, the mother of one of her white college acquaintances. Among other things, the scene reveals how a dominant discourse of race serves to position Selina and how she, in turn, positions herself within and against this discourse. On one level, Mrs. Benton appears to recognize and acknowledge Selinas ethnicity. In other words, she is convinced there is something different that distinguishes Negroes from the West Indies from other Blacks African Americans, presumably. But this ethnic difference soon turns out not to make a difference at all. In Mrs. Bentons repertoire of racist stereotypes Selinas ethnicity matters only in terms of the qualities that make West Indian Negroes better ser vants and the delightful West Indian accent that she prods Selina to say something in (Marshall 1959:287-89). Selina thus finds herself trapped by a cultural discourse wherein the articulation of race is based on a BlackWhite bina r y with no intermediary position recognized or privileged to any notable degree by the white ruling class (James 1998:110). 14As a result of the traumatic encounter with Mrs. Benton, Selina experi ences a painful but instructive vision of community: concerns with broader notions of Black Commonwealth and Third-World issues, New York C ity nourishes a C aribbean consciousness that has not been actively promoted in the Caribbean. In a similar vein, James (1998:121) suggests that not only is it in the dias pora that fellow C aribbeans learn about their similarities and differences, it is also only in the diaspora that some of these similarities and differences are ever knowable at all. 14. In addition to discussing the ways in which the Caribbean differs from the United S tates in relation to race, James also discusses the differences in the articulation of race between Hispanic and non-Hispanic C aribbean societies. According to James (1998:101), these differences account for the distinct political path trodden in the United States by black Hispanic C aribbeans compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts.
74 TIMOTHY S. CHIN She was one with Miss Thompson, she knew, as she pulled herself up the subway steps to Fulton Street and saw the closed beauty shop. One with the whores, the flashy men, and the blues rising sacredly above the plain of neon lights and ruined houses, she knew, as she stumbled past the White Drake Bar. She paused across from the darkened Association building, where the draped American and Association flags billowed from the cor nice. And she was one with them: the mother and the Bajan women, who had lived each day what she had come to know. (Marshall 1959:292-93)In some ways it is tempting to read this passage as a sign of S elinas acceptance of and perhaps even assimilation into a dominant racial identity. Her identi fication with Miss T hompson, the older African American woman who serves as a surrogate mother of sorts to S elina, as well as with the resonant cultural symbol of the blues certainly seems to invite and support such a reading. It is significant, however, that S elinas experience of communion also includes her mother and the other Bajan women, and the flag of the association as well as the American flag. C onsequently, the episode does not represent a rejection of ethnicity in favor of race so much as it does an attempt to locate the common ground shared by various, sometimes disparate, identities. Although it can reasonably be argued that Marshalls representation of an identity that encompasses Barbadian and other Caribbean migrants as well as African Americans is somewhat idealistic, her depiction does not repre sent a denial of the conflicts that have often characterized historical relations among these groups so much as it reveals a desire that the narrative attempts to enact. Although they are not necessarily foregrounded in the novel, these conflicts are acknowledged in Sillas disdain for Miss Thompson as well as the associations exclusion of African Americans. The fleeting and inchoate nature of Selinas vision marks the Black diasporic identity that she dimly perceives as a potential that has yet to be achieved. As many critics have noted, S elinas search for identity has not been com pleted by the end of the novel. Dorothy Denniston (1995:32), for instance, suggests that the resolution of the novel remains deliberately open-ended. 15 T he vision of community that S elina experiences in the aftermath of her encounter with Mrs. Benton marks an important step in a journey that contin ues beyond the end of the novel. In addition, it is also significant that S elina 15. In her study of Marshalls fiction, Denniston (1995:7) points out that while Brown Girl, Brownstones can be read as a Bildungsroman in terms of how the novel relates the story of S elinas growth and development, her coming of age, at the same time it also moves beyond Western literary paradigms by focusing on the development of the collective body as well as the individual consciousness. I would suggest, in basic agreement with Denniston, that the meaning of S elinas coming of age within the novel cannot be prop erly understood apart from the larger questions about cultural identity that the text poses.
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 75 is about to embark on a trip to the C aribbean when Brown Girl, Brownstones closes. Instead of a turn away from ethnicity, Marshalls text signals an imma nent retracing of C aribbean roots and routes in a continuing search for more inclusive and expansive forms of cultural identification. T he protagonists of Marshalls subsequent novels (Merle in The Chosen Place, The Timeless People and Avey in Praisesong for the Widow ) pick up the journey where S elina leaves off, and these texts make it increasingly clear that the construc tion of a Black diasporic identity is a central preoccupation in the trajectory of Marshalls oeuvre. Moreover, Marshalls fiction demonstrates both the endur ing appeal and the difficulties of invoking such an identity. In addition to the thematization of these issues through various charac ters in the novel, Brown Girl, Brownstones attempts to enact, on a discursive level, the diasporic consciousness that S elina begins to envision at the end of the novel. Marshalls novel re-positions African American literary discourse by articulating constructions of C aribbean ethnic identity alongside African American constructions of race. T he simultaneous deployment of these discourses of identity within the narrative highlights the points of contact between such discourses, the degree to which they overlap, and the ways in which they inflect and amplify each other. In this sense, the novel explores the potential and attempts to establish the discursive framework for a diasporic Black identity. Of course, the narrative also unwittingly reveals the points of disjunction between such discourses, the degree to which they diverge, and the ways in which they contradict or conflict with each other. In other words, Brown Girl, Brownstones once again, reflects both the practical challenges and the ideological efficacy of enacting a Black diasporic identity. The studies by Watkins-Owens (1996) and James (1998) suggest that, at the same time that the identities of the early Caribbean migrants were inevitably reshaped by their experience in the United States, the presence of the migrants also helped to reshape the meaning of race and the nature of racial discourse in the United States. 16 These studies show that Caribbean migrants had a marked impact on radical politics and a range of social insti tutions (both formal and informal, public and private) that affected the larger Black community. The nature of this impact can be broadly characterized in terms of a more pronounced and clearly articulated anticolonial stance and the cross-cultural, transnational perspectives Caribbean migrants and their descendants frequently brought to the table. Marshalls novel makes an analogous impact on African American literary discourse by redefining the meaning of race in the context of a C aribbean migrant experience.16. Watkins-Owens (1996:10) states that, as a result of the entry of Caribbean migrants during the early years of Harlems formation as a community, new definitions were forced upon historic conceptions of race which previously defined the boundaries of black communities.
76 TIMOTHY S. CHIN I would like to briefly illustrate this point by demonstrating how Brown Girl, Brownstones invokes the key figures of James Baldwin and Marcus Garvey. My contention is that Baldwin and Garvey function as metonyms for an African American discourse of race, on the one hand, and discourses of Caribbean ethnic identity, on the other. The juxtaposition of these figures in the narrative works to redefine each discursive position in the context of the other. The invocation of Baldwin, for example, expands African American constructions of race to include the experience of Caribbean migrants. This re-signification of Baldwin within Marshalls novel works to position the discourse of Blackness as a diasporic, and ultimately transnational, cultural identity. This positioning of Black identity is reinforced by the concomitant invocation of Garvey, which once again foregrounds the anticolonial and dia sporic dimensions of the racial discourse. Garvey himself is re-signified in Marshalls text, not only to emphasize his cultural meaning for the C aribbean immigrant community, but also in terms of placing him within a diasporic and transnational pantheon of Black leaders. The key references to Baldwin in Marshalls novel take up the African American writers profoundly insightful formulations regarding the psycho logical dimensions of Black-White race relations in the United States. The first instance is an explicit reference that occurs in the context of a conversa tion between Selina and her lover Clive. When Selina attempts to explain the uneasiness she felt in the company of a group of White classmates, C live paraphrases Baldwin: He gave a short laugh that was hollow at its center. Maybe our dark faces remind them of all that is dark and unknown and terrifying within them selves and, as Jimmy Baldwin says, theyre seeking absolution through poor us, either in their beneficence or in their cruelty. I dont know. (Marshall 1959:253) 17T he second instance is an implicit allusion that occurs in the aforementioned episode with Mrs. Benton. T he emotionally charged and ultimately explosive interaction between S elina and Mrs. Benton reenacts one of Baldwins para digmatic interracial scenes:17. Here is the relevant passage from Baldwins (1955:28-29) essay, Many Thousands Gone: T ime has made some changes in the Negro face. Nothing has succeeded in mak ing it exactly like our own, though the general desire seems to be to make it blank if one cannot make it white. When it has become blank, the past as thoroughly washed from the black face as it has been from ours, our guilt will be finished at least it will have ceased to be visible, which we imagine to be much the same thing. But, paradoxically, it is we who prevent this from happening; since it is we, who, every hour that we live, reinvest the black face with our guilt; and we do this by a further paradox, no less ferocious help lessly, passionately, out of an unrealized need to suffer absolution.
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 77 Oh, please say something in that delightful West Indian accent for us! T he woman was standing over her now, brightly smiling, insistent. As she gave Selina a playful shake the punch glass slid from her limp hands to the floor and broke, splintering the womans brittle voice and its hold on S elina. L eaping up S elina savagely flung off the womans hand; the woman fell back, her startled eyes arcing past S elinas, and struck the lamp, which teetered and then crashed to the floor. Just before the darkness exploded in the room, Selina was at the door, viciously shoving aside the dazed Margaret, then rushing out, down the hall, veering sharply into the living room. (Marshall 1959:290) 18 Baldwins analysis of the dynamics of race, especially as they are played out within the Black-White binary system that is unique to the U.S. context, is an essential part of the novels ideological framework. T his analysis informs not only S elinas encounter with Mrs. Benton, but also the character of Miss Thompson, the African American hairdresser who bears the physical and emotional scars of racial violence. But the racial discourse that Baldwins formulations epitomize also encompasses the experience of Silla and all the other Bajan characters, including Deighton, who admits with bitterness that here and in Bimshire theys the same. T hey does scorn yuh cause yuh skin black (Marshall 1959:83). If the references to Baldwin function as a metonym for the texts engage ment with African American racial discourse, then the allusions to Garvey rep resent a sign of its investment in C aribbean discourses of ethnic identity. Aside from Percy C hallenors comment about the association being the biggest thing since Marcus Garvey, Garveys presence remains largely implicit, his legacy reflected in the distinctive political views of the immigrant characters, in their hopes and aspirations, and in the cultural traditions they try to maintain in this man country (Marshall 1959:196). Marshall makes this implicit reference to Garvey explicit in her essay, From the Poets in the Kitchen:If F.D.R was their hero, Marcus Garvey was their God. The name of the fiery, Jamaican-born black nationalist of the 20s was constantly invoked around the table. For he had been their leader when they first came to the United States from the West Indies shortly after World War I. They had contributed to his organization, the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), out of their meager salaries, bought shares in his ill-fated Black 18. The scene from Brown Girl, Brownstones appears to enact the explosive racial ten sion that Baldwin (1984:28-29) so eloquently evokes in his essay: In our image of the Negro breathes the past we deny, not dead but living yet and powerful, the beast in our jungle of statistics. It is this which defeats us, which continues to defeat us, which lends to interracial cocktail parties their rattling, genteel, nervously smiling air: in any drawing room at such a gathering the beast may spring, filling the air with flying things and an unenlightened wailing.
78 TIMOTHY S. CHIN Star Shipping Line, and at the height of the movement they had marched as members of his nurses brigade in their white uniforms up Seventh Avenue in Harlem during the great Garvey Day parades. Garvey: He lived on through the power of their memories. (Marshall 1983a:5) Garvey also lives on in the anticolonial perspectives he did so much to promul gate. T hese distinctive political views are often expressed through S illa and the other Bajan characters. T hey constitute, like Baldwins analyses of race, an ideological framework that underpins Marshalls novel. T his framework informs, for instance, S illas vivid recounting of her childhood in Barbados: School, ha! Her sardonic laugh twisted the air. Yes, you might call it a school, but it ain the kind you thinking of, soul. T he T hird C lass is a set of little children picking grass in a cane field from the time God sun rise in his heaven till it set. With some woman called a Driver to wash yuh tail in licks if yuh dare look up. Yes, working harder than a man at the age of ten ... Her eyes narrowed as she traveled back to that time and was that child again, feeling the sun on her back and the whip cutting her legs. More than that, she became the collective voice of all the Bajan women, the vehicle through which their former suffering found utterance. (Marshall 1959:45)The juxtaposition of this anticolonial discourse and the discourse of racial identity that the references to Baldwin invokes reflects Marshalls attempt to construct a narrative that positions both discourses within a framework for Black diasporic identity. The connections between the two discursive posi tions are admittedly not fully articulated in Marshalls first novel, except per haps for the implied linkage of a shared Blackness. In subsequent novels, The Chosen Place, The Timeless People and Praisesong for the Widow Marshall explores the idea of common ancestral culture as the basis for this diasporic linkage. Of course, this idea of a shared diasporic culture both historically and in terms of Marshalls fictions has had both its successes and its problems. Garveys legacy is also implicit in the West Indian identity that the Bajan immigrants continue to assert. This West Indian identity, sustained and reproduced through a variety of formal and informal institutions and public and private practices, co-existed alongside racial identities with which they sometimes overlapped and sometimes conflicted. Watkins-Owens (1996:81) quotes A.M. E minister William Ferris who noted that the Garvey movement, by marshaling the West Indians en masse, made manifest the characteristics in which the West Indians differed from the American Negroes. WatkinsOwens (1996:81) further states that the presence of the UNIA leader helped to focus ethnic awareness in ways not so apparent before his organization
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 79 galvanized such spectacular appeal in Harlem. 19 T he representation of these West Indian and C aribbean identities in Brown Girl, Brownstones highlights the role these C aribbean migrants played in the formation of a range of ethnic and racial identities in the early part of the twentieth century. T he interweaving of these discursive threads Garvey and Baldwin, African American racial discourse and C aribbean discourses of identity with in Marshalls novel reflects her attempt to construct a discursive framework that unifies and connects these sometimes disparate and dissimilar experi ences. Marshalls hybrid novel encompasses C aribbean, C aribbean immigrant, and African American experiences. T he novel reveals the gaps and disjunc tions that exist between these experiences at the same time that it explores the commonalities that might be found between them. If, as Hall (1990:225) suggests, identities are the names we give to the different ways we are posi tioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past, then Brown Girl, Brownstones attempts to provide a new narrative of identity, one that imagines a community that transcends narrow national and ethnic boundaries. Marshalls first novel thus prepares the discursive and ideological ground for what emerges more clearly in her subsequent novels as a transnational Black identity organized around the concept of the African diaspora. T his identity, in all of its historically contingent forms, obviously continues to be a productive and powerful idea for Black intellectuals, artists, and writers.19. Watkins-Owens (1996:81) also claims that Garvey and the controversies surround ing him helped to shift the nature of traditional politics to encompass ethnic as well as racial concerns.REFEREN C E SBALDWIN, JAMES, 1984. Many Thousands Gone. In James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son Boston: Beacon Press, pp. 24-25. [Orig. 1955.] BRYCE-LAPORTE, ROY S ., 1972. Black Immigrants: The Experience of Invisibility and Inequality. Journal of Black Studies 3:29-56. & DELORES M. MORTIMER ( eds.), 1976. Female Immigrants to the United States: Caribbean, Latin American, and African Experiences Washington, D. C .: S mithsonian. CHRI STIAN, BARBARA 1980. Black Women Novelists: The Development of a Tradition, 1892-1976 Westport CT : Greenwood. DAVIES, CAROLE BOYCE 1990. Writing Home: Gender and Heritage in the Works of Afro-Caribbean/American Women Writers. In Carole Boyce Davies & Elaine Savory Fido (eds.), Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature. T renton NJ: Africa World Press, pp. 59-73.
80 TIMOTHY S. CHIN DENNI S TON, DOROTHY HAMER 1995. The Fiction of Paule Marshall: Reconstructions of History, Culture, and Gender Knoxville: University of T ennessee Press. GILROY, PAUL 1993. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness C ambridge MA: Harvard University Press. HALL, STUART, 1990. Cultural Identity and Diaspora. In Jonathan Rutherford (ed.), Identity: Community, Culture, Difference L ondon: L awrence & Wishart, pp. 222-37. HARRIS, TRUDIER, 1983. No Outlet for the Blues: Silla Boyces Plight in Brown Girl, Brow n stones. Callaloo 18:57-67. HATHA W AY, HEATHER 1999. Caribbean Waves: Relocating Claude McKay and Paule Marshall Bloomington: Indiana University Press. HILL, ROBERT 1983. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Berkeley: University of C alifornia Press. JAME S, WIN S TON 1998. Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century America L ondon: Verso. KASINITZ, PHILIP 1992. Caribbean New York: Black Immigrants and the Politics of Race Ithaca NY: C ornell University Press. LE W I S, RU P ERT 1987. Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion L ondon: Karia Press. MAR S HALL, PAULE 1959. Brown Girl, Brownstones New York: Feminist Press. , 1969. The Chosen Place, the Timeless People New York: R andom House. , 1983a. The Making of a Writer: From the Poets in the Kitchen. In Paule Marshall, Reena and Other Stories New York: Feminist Press, pp. 3-12. , 1983b. Praisesong for the Widow New York: Dutton. , 1983c. Reena and Other Stories New York: Feminist Press. , 1987. Black Immigrant Women in Brown Girl, Brownstones In C onstance R S utton & Elsa M. Chaney (eds.), Caribbean Life in New York City: Sociocultural Dimensions New York: C enter for Migration S tudies, pp. 87-91. , 1991. Daughters New York: Penguin. 2000. The Fisher King New York: S cribner. MARTIN, TONY 1976. Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Westport CT : Greenwood Press. NAIR, SU P RIYA 1999. Homing Instincts: Immigrant Nostalgia and Gender Politics in Brown Girl, Brownstones In Belinda J. E dmondson (ed.), Caribbean Romances: The Politics of Regional Representation C harlottesville: University Press of Virginia, pp. 183-98. PETTIS, JOYCE 1995. Toward Wholeness in Paule Marshalls Fiction Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
MI G RATION AND THE CON S TRU C TION OF IDENTITY 81 SAFA, HELEN I & BRIAN M DU TOIT (eds.), 1975. Migration and Development: Implica tions for Ethnic Identity and Political Conflict T he Hague, the Netherlands: Mouton. SUTTON, CON S TAN C E R & EL S A M CHANEY (eds.), 1987. C aribbean Life in New York City: Sociocultural Dimensions New York: C enter for Migration S tudies. SUTTON, CONSTANCE R. & SUSAN MAKIESKY-BARROW, 1987. Migration and West Indian Racial and Ethnic Consciousness. In Constance R. Sutton & Elsa M. Chaney (eds.), Caribbean Life in New York City: Sociocultural Dimensions New York: Center for Migration S tudies, pp. 92-116. VON ESCHEN, PENNY M ., 1997. Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957 Ithaca NY: C ornell University Press. WATKIN SOW EN S, IRMA 1996. Blood Relations: Caribbean Immigrants and the Harlem Community, 1900-1930 Bloomington: Indiana University Press. TIMOTHY S. CHINDepartment of E nglish C alifornia S tate University, Dominguez Hills C arson C A 90747, U. S .A.
JEAN STUBB STH R OUGH TH E LOOKING GL A SS O N CUBA State Resistance to Globalisation in Cuba ANTONIO CARMONA BEZ S terling VA: Pluto Press, 2004. vii + 264 pp. (Paper U S $ 29.95) La Lucha for Cuba: Religion and Politics on the Streets of Miami MIGUEL A. DE LA TORRE. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. xi + 181 pp. (Paper U S $ 21.95) By Heart/De Memoria: Cuban Womens Journeys in and out of Exile MARA DE LO S AN G ELE S TORRE S (ed.). Philadelphia PA: T emple University Press, 2003. vii + 192 pp. (Paper U S $ 19.95) Looking at Cuba: Essays on Culture and Civil Society RAFAEL HERNNDEZ. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. vii + 145 pp. (Cloth US$ 24.95) In the politically charged world of scholarship on C uba, it is salutary to com ment in one review essay on four quite different volumes, each complement ing the others. Three are single-authored, two on island Cuba (by Antonio Carmona Bez and Rafael Hernndez) and one on Miami (by Miguel A. de la T orre). All three draw on theory and concepts and are male-authored and place-centric (Cuba/Miami). The fourth (by Mara de los Angeles T orres) is an edited collection of the personal testimonies of women seeking a place in between the hardened politics of C uba and Miami. C armona Bez, Puerto R ican, is the only nonC uban. At the T ransnational Institute in the Netherlands, he is among leading opponents of neoliberal globalization, and State Resistance to Globalisation in Cuba sets out to track Cubas record in resisting the 1990s neoliberal trend. The introduction sets out the tenets of neoliberal globalization, anti-imperialism, socialism in a sea of capitalism, state capitalism, and the implications for studying Cuba, especially its party/state apparatus, after the collapse of the E astern E uropean socialist bloc. The concept of Gramscian hegemony is invoked to explain
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 84 global acceptance of neoliberal thinking and Cuban counterhegemonic dis course in maintaining a state-led economy. C armona Bez identifies four pillars of the C uban R evolution unity, con tinuity, state supremacy, and popular participation. Analyzing the causes and consequences of C ubas 1991-96 economic crisis, he describes the gradual dis integration in the 1980s of a working model of C uban economic integration in the E astern E uropean socialist trading bloc C M E A forerunner to C uba losing its S oviet backer in the 1990s and simultaneously having to withstand a tightened, then thirty-year, U. S embargo. T he R evolution was transformed to a mutated social, political and economic project that is struggling to survive with new formulas for maintaining state control (p. 37). His analysis of radi cal changes legalizing citizens use of hard currency (especially remittances from family abroad), building up tourism, opening up to foreign investment, and formalizing cuentapropismo (self-employment), embraced in the name of safeguarding the gains of the R evolution is spot on. For the period 1996-2000, when Cubas social and economic indicators pointed to recovery, he draws similarities between some of the trends typi cal of neoliberal globalization and C ubas new policies regarding production and capital accumulation in the ways cuentapropismo and the sistema de perfeccionamiento empresarial (restructuring of state enterprises) impacted economically, socially, and politically, repositioning military and civilian forces. He points to close connections between those from military and civil ian bureaucratic circles (and families abroad) and a new technocratic-entre preneurial bloc, or proto-class, accumulating money and property, often at the expense of state resources and cementing new divides and inequalities, tourism-related prostitution, and racism. He ends by returning to two major questions posed at the outset: Why does the C uban C ommunist Party/state apparatus continue to exist? T o what extent is the process of social, political, and productive restructuring in C uba shaped by global trends and pressures? The study of Cuban socialism, he concludes, reveals that states do have the capacity to resist and denounce global trends, yet no matter how hard the state leadership may try, some global trends are hard to resist (p. 225). S hifts in C uban society have made the political and economic structure more vulnerable and created cracks in the four pillars. What are possible future scenarios? Carmona Bez would like to see a new world order grounded on socioeconomic justice and more popular participation. In the meantime, will the Cuban party/state apparatus disintegrate from rising contradictions from within, resulting from post-1989 policies, as much as, if not more than, those from abroad? T urning our attention to Miami, de la T orre examines the role of religion in the ascension of Exilic Cubans (his term in contradistinction to Resident C ubans) to unmask structures of oppression from within. For many C ubans in the Miami community, everything good, holy, pure, true, and sacred is
85 REVIE W ARTI C LE S the antithesis of C astro and his regime. Belonging is measured by the inten sity of righteous indignation directed toward C astro (p. xvi). La Lucha (the struggle) is a religious dichotomy between the E xilic children of light and R esident children of darkness. He begins and ends La Lucha for Cuba with the Elin Saga that hit world headlines in 2000. The struggle between father/Resident Cuban and great-uncle/Exilic Cuban for custody of five-year-old Elin Gonzlez, res cued from the sea, fast assumed biblical proportions. Pray for Elin was the Exilic Cuban slogan. Elin became the miracle child, poster Christ in street vigils and at the shrine of Our Lady of Charity (Miamis Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cubas patron saint). Santera followers claimed Ochn had spared E lians life. E xilic C uban Jews proclaimed E lin the Moses of the year 2000 who would lead his people to the promised land ( C uba). Adventists claimed him the Messiah. De la T orre conceptualizes this as an ajiaco Christianity borrowing from Cuban ethnographer Fernando Ortizs metaphor of the Cuban stew, or ajiaco As a theology of the diaspora, he argues, it is deeply rooted in the theoretical constructs of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and liberation theology, subverted to Miamis Exilic Cuban religious and political fervor. The religious dimensions of political battles reveal a continuing dichotomy between good (Exilic Cubans) and evil (Resident Cubans/Castro), the latter infidels in a holy war. Biblical invocations justify E xilic C uban armed secret organizations, bomb attacks, and assassinations, including attempts on Fidel C astro himself. All but E xilic C ubans and their supporters surely cannot fail to see the parallels with modern-day fundamentalism and terrorism. De la T orre uses the biblical story of Babylonian captivity in Psalm 137 to explore ethnicity in the construction of a C uban identity in Babylon designed to protect power and privilege. R ich and powerful caudillos (strong men) fos ter a siege mentality parallel to that on the island and E xilic intra-oppression. In a cursory view of male-dominated phases of Cuban history (Amerindian conquest, African slavery, Chinese indentureship, U.S. emasculation), he eschews machismo as the metaphor for Exilic Cuban business and political elites to wield male, white, sexist, ethnocentric, class privilege to effeminize and domesticate the non-elite male Other. Will there be a post-Exilic Miami? The rise of Generation counter part to E uro-American Generation X light-skinned, middle-class, bilingual, well-educated, successful, more moderate professionals is one marker of change. But the hold of la lucha cloaked in religiosity, only stiffened with E lin. De la T orre concludes, Nothing else, for now, matters (p. 139). By Heart/De Memoria is a poignant antidote. A moving collection of womens testimony to the heart wrenching that can accompany exile and migration, the book is dedicated to their mothers and the memory of L ourdes C asal, Ana Mendieta, and R aquel Mendieta C osta who, despite their deaths,
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 86 continue to form part of our bridges (p. v). The journeys and forbidden spaces begin in Miami, looking toward the island, and end with an island gaze on exile. E ditor Mara de los Angeles T orres pens a thoughtful introduction situat ing the contributors in their post-revolutionary exile generation: 1960s Pedro (Peter) Pan, 1970s Freedom Flights, 1980s Mariel boat lift, and 1990s low intensity exiles. In Where Ghosts Dance el Guaguanc she highlights her 1960s experience as a Pedro Pan child, sent by her parents under the U.S. State Department-coordinated operation to save children from com munism; 1970s intense island homecomings and sense of mission with the Antonio Maceo Brigade, formed by radicalized offspring rejecting their par ents exile generation; and 1990s deep disillusionment: I did not want to renounce the island, my nation, nor did I want to accept exile on its terms, but rather to seek a place where nations are fluid, where they are sustained by collective and personal recollections (p. 5). Contesting exile/nation boundaries and the right/left imaginary defines this anthology. T he women carry traumas of a divided C uban/U. S existence, though not all experienced exile in a strict sense, as they returned some times frequently. Those who became part of a politicized 1970s generation did so against the wishes of their parents, identifying with the Revolution. Others, friends of fleeting returnees, left later; for them, return had different connotations. Through their poetry, prose, and art, they express their fears, hopes, dreams, frustrations, and longing. Achy Obejas opens her poem The Boat : we dont seem to leave the country/you and I, always with an open map (p. 16). T he island for L iz Balmaseda, growing up in 1960s Miami, became a fantasy, poetic place between memory and reflection. Nereida Garca-Ferrazs family made the decision to leave in the early 1960s but were only able to do so on a 1970 Freedom Flight. Her return to the island from Chicago, where she was already a figure in the art world, was a major creative influence. T eresa de Jess Fernndezs experience was born of watching childhood friends leave, becoming the other who stayed. Her title From this S ide of the Fish T ank refers to the glassed-in passenger waiting area of Havanas airport. Daughter of writer Pablo Armando Fernndez, she became close to those returning, her family home becoming theirs in Havana. She and her father having experienced political marginalization, she now has a university post in Italy, returning to her family every summer. She is the only one not caught in the C uba/U. S divide. Josefina de Diego, daughter of writer E liseo Diego, whose home also became a second home for returnees, grew up with her grandmothers childhood memories of living in New York. Her fam ily almost left in the 1960s, but were prevented by her mothers ill health. Her essay, Through Other Looking Glasses, draws on her grandmothers love of the classic Alice in Wonderland
87 REVIE W ARTI C LE S Mirta Ojito was sixteen when she and her parents left in 1980, her uncle coming for them in the Mariel Boat Lift. La Salida: The Departure docu ments the traumatic process of being stripped of identity and treasured possessions where does self end and home begin? Carmen Daz also left through Mariel. T he R ecurring Dream reflects on youthful dreams of revo lution and joining the guerrilla before she became a physics scholar in what she describes as 1970s authoritarian political culture: I left because that world became too narrow for me (p. 121). Now, in her dreams she says goodbye to revolution. In Only Fragments of Memory, the late Raquel Mendieta Costa wrote of the excitement of 1960s revolution. While relatives left in the 1960s, her immediate family stayed; it was only decades later that her break with offi cial history took her into exile. Madeln C amaras Words Without Borders describes her journey as part of the 1980s generation, coming of age in search of philosophical positions beyond the Havana/Miami divide. S he was one of many C uban intellectuals and artists to seek this in neighboring Mexico, later moving to the United S tates. T he collection ends with island resident T ania Bruguera expressing in her art the loss felt when people left. Exile severed contact, and to explore that loss violated official political stands. Drawn by the work of Ana Mendieta, a Pedro Pan child who returned to work in Cuba, she recreated Anas work, and this led her to a multifaceted project on the longing for those who leave nostalgia in reverse. Looking at Cuba: Essays on Culture and Civil Society takes us back to the island. The 1999 Cuban edition was a compilation of think-piece articles by Hernndez, one of Cubas leading contemporary political thinkers, some published in C uba, some abroad, in the years 1993-99. T he E nglish-language edition includes a subsequently published text of 2001. In the first defining essay, L ooking at C uba ( Mirar a Cuba ), Hernndez sets out to debunk four myths: First: T o be credible the author of a work on Cuba must be outside the country or be a dissident within(p. 11). How can it be, he asks, that the identity card that certifies an intellectual free spirit is more available to escaped officials, repentant Stalinists, turncoat functionaries, ex-professors of dogmatism, and former straw men of cultural conformity than it is to those who always sought and fought for room to think and act on behalf of free dom, independence, and the progress of the nation? (pp. 12-13). Second: Fidel Castro is the source of the [Cuban] revolution and all its evils (p. 13). Revolution is more than the imprint of leadership and ideol ogy. Politics is the art of winning external and internal support and forg ing consensus. In the 1990s, a decade of lessening consensus and increasing discontent, Fidel Castro, having fine-tuned the art, was, he argues, the only one who could spearhead a viable transition to a more decentralized and
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 88 democratic system with the least trauma. S ignificantly, Havana, Miami, and Washington all recognize this. T hird: C uban socialism consists of a political system and an ideological discourse. C ivil society has been suppressed (p. 15). C uba is not the trans figuration of a doctrine or reification of a totalitarian philosophy (pp. 15-16). He celebrates C ubans political culture and asks, doesnt that population have knowledge, maturity, and culture enough to face and understand the real changes the country needs? (p. 16). T he corollary question is, S hould we regret having created these demanding citizens? (p. 18). Fourth: C uba is the same as ever. Its just going through a process of sur face or contemporary changes (p. 19). Will C uba need more than one party in the future? T he answer, he declares, will depend on the partys capacity to push through change without losing touch with people. Subsequently, he explores multiple concepts of civil society, from the classical Hegelian to the modern, and the role of intellectuals, with a critique of Jorge Castaedas Utopia Unarmed and the Latin American cultural left. On Cuba, he concludes the net result of foreign policy relations, especially regarding the former USSR and the United States, has been that Cubas external policies are more open, pluralist, and flexible than domestic ones (p. 97). The gradualist line taken by the reform process in Cuba has been recovering zones of consensus from the bewilderment provoked by the shock of the crisis. But this process does not evolve free of outside interference. The main external factor is the nature of the relationship with the United S tates (p. 109). On Discourse opens with a quote from Lewis Carrolls Through the Looking Glass when Alice asked whether you can make words mean differ ent things. The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, which is to be master thats all. Musing on popular and political language, he concludes, A stereotyped discourse is caught on the horns of a dilemma. Either it must undergo a profound transformation, or else it will go on reproducing itself as before, condemned to lose its way, fall out of daily use, and be ignored or abandoned because it has ceased to communicate (p. 126). Political debate or monologue? T hat is the final question. He argues con vincingly that there has been real debate in 1990s C uba on thorny, previously isolated or ignored topics and that in academia and in literature, art, film, and theater, what is under thorough review today is the very foundations and meaning of socialism as a social order and culture in Cuba (p. 132). The more charged the international atmosphere, the greater are the limitations, yet debate grows. Nor is it limited by geographical or political frontiers, with a certain convergence between C ubans onand off-island. C learly, the intricate relationship between civil society and state is crucial to Cubas future. Summer 2005 saw a palpable popular mood change, not least among the majority sector in Cuba that is non-White and has experi
89 REVIE W ARTI C LE S enced exclusion as a result of 1990s reforms. A sobering final thought, as one who has studied and written on race in Cuba in a Caribbean context, is how far race is central to Carmona Bezs cracks in the pillars, marginal to de la T orres postE xilic Miami (where non-Whites are a minority), and thus accorded little space in Hernndezs convergence and de la T orres bridges to that place in between. A question for each of the authors, all of whom come from broadly similar White middle-class/intellectual back grounds and gloss over the race issue, is whether this might prove a driving force for future change. T his does not, however, detract from the significant intrinsic value of each.JEAN STUBB SC aribbean S tudies C entre L ondon Metropolitan University L ondon N7 8DB, U.K.
MIMI SHELLERTOWA R D A CA R IBB E AN CU LT U R A L P O L I T I C A L E C ONOMY The Caribbean Postcolonial: Social Equality, Post-Nationalism and Cultural Hybridity SHALINI PURI New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. ix + 300 pp. (Paper U S $ 24.95) Miraculous Weapons: Revolutionary Ideology in Caribbean Culture JOY A I MAHABIR. New York: Peter L ang, 2003. ix + 167 pp. ( C loth U S $ 58.95) T he relation between cultural production and political struggle, and between the aesthetic and the material as expressions of social relations, are abso lutely central themes within Caribbean studies in all of its disciplinary and interdisciplinary guises. A key question for the field as a whole is what role it might play in generating new approaches to cultural political economy, which is emerging as an effective bridging concept at the intersections of anthropology, sociology, economics, political theory, and literary and cul tural studies. Both of the books reviewed here navigate the distinctively Caribbean confluence of two theoretical traditions: a class-centered tradition of anticapitalist political theory and praxis and an aesthetics-centered tradition of anticolonial cultural theory and praxis. Joy Mahabir describes her approach as historical materialist while Shalini Puri describes hers as grounded in Marxist cultural theory. Both also incorporate questions of racial, gender, and sexual hierarchies. Each book engages with a wide range of cultural objects and sites: literary and theoretical texts, musical lyrics and perfor mance, C arnival and public festivities. T hus while focused mainly on literary studies, these texts contribute to the increasingly prevalent transdisciplinary C aribbean cultural studies methodology that encompasses high art and popu lar culture, performance and politics, theory and history. Indeed, the very relation between the aesthetic and the political is at the core of each authors concerns.
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 92 Equally importantly, each book not only attends to the interaction of African and European cultural elements in the making of Caribbean moder nity, but also gives significant weight to the complex inclusion of IndoCaribbean, Chinese-Caribbean, mixed race, and other underexamined elements. Puri, in fact, makes this central to her argument. The Caribbean Postcolonial is an important contribution to recent debates on hybridity, not because it offers a new grand narrative of Caribbean hybridity (in fact it argues explicitly against such projects) but rather because it demonstrates the need for a carefully historicized, contextual, and conjunctural analysis of dis courses of cultural hybridity. Drawing on the wealth of such discourses in the C aribbean, it examines how different understandings of cultural hybridity have been contorted into very different national and transnational projects, often with conflicting implications for the resolution of racial, ethnic, class, gender, and sexual inequalities. Poised between Marxist cultural theory and Caribbean postcolonial theory, Puri ultimately offers a feminist postcolonial vision of a progres sive Caribbean future that might connect a poetics of hybridity to a poli tics of equality (p. 1). In contrast to the tendency in canonical postcolonial theoretical statements to claim hybridity or creolization as either an abstract principle or a new master narrative of the postnational condition that now prevails everywhere, she convincingly calls for a further specification of par ticular Caribbean elaborations of hybridity (such as mestizaje creolization, douglarization, jibarismo etc.) in order to explore the specificities and his tories of each term (p. 3). T his alone makes this a valuable book, which will contribute to teaching in this area. Part I offers a trenchant critique of contemporary postnationalist claims for hybridity and a careful comparative reading of late nineteenthand twen tieth-century discourses of hybridity in the work of Caribbean writers and theorists including Jose Mart, Jose Vasconcelos, Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, Oswald de Adrade, Wilson Harris, and Edouard Glissant. These chapters, though difficult going at times, reward the reader with a much bet ter understanding of the political, cultural, and historical distinctiveness of different discursive contexts for the circulation of ideas of cultural hybrid ity. Puri masterfully compares and contrasts diverse manifestations of (and manifestoes for) magical or marvelous realism, transculturacin mulatto aesthetics, cultural cannibalism, mestizaje and antillanit as expressions of Caribbean nationalist modernity. She shows how, far from destabilizing the nation as postcolonial theory might imply, these discursive complexes in fact have served historically to consolidate the nation by glossing over social inequalities. In Part II, Puri turns from theory to textual readings of the aesthetics and poetics of hybridity in a wide range of Caribbean texts. Several chapters focus on AfroE uropean creolization including readings of Glissants forced
93 REVIE W ARTI C LE S poetics, Brathwaites poetry, Walcotts play Pantomime and a novel by E rna Brodber. The two final chapters highlight the tension between creole and dougla hybridities in T rinidad through an analysis of the relation between Afro-Creole Carnival and Indo-Caribbean Hosay, and readings of a novel by Ismith Khan, a chutney-soca song performed by Drupatee Ramgoonai, and a short story by R amabai E spinet. Finally, Puri calls for a dougla poet ics, which references the dis-allowed mixture of Afro-Creole and IndoCaribbean cultural identities, opening up a space of challenge not only to colonial racial orders but also to postcolonial nationalist projects (both AfroC reole and pan-Indian) of purification, separation, and control. L ike other recent work on Black sexual politics, Puri defends the opening up of spaces of public articulation of female sexual agency and acknowledg ment of intra -racial inequalities including domestic violence. Her work is distinctive in terms of its combination of theoretical complexity, geograph i c breadth, and fine-grained analysis of particular texts. It is also valuable because it gives sustained attention to L atin American, AfroC aribbean, and Indo-Caribbean identities, and the relation between them, while at the same time keeping in sight indigenous peoples, C hinese, and other C aribbean eth nic minorities. Mahabirs tools for combining class analysis and cultural analysis are somewhat more blunt-edged than Puris. Her historical materialist perspec tive means reading texts to uncover their ideological relationship to history, since they inevitably reflect the economic, social, and political conditions of their production, while offering an ideological view of these conditions (p. 2). She describes her area of interest as progressive Caribbean artists whose work is centered on class struggle, resistance, and revolution (p. 2) and includes in her scope the paintings of Wifredo Lam, the poetry of Martin Carter, Edouard Glissant, and Ramabai Espinet, writings by Jacques Roumain and Merle Hodge, and the calypsos of David Rudder. In this body of work she identifies a multiplicity of resistant discourses that might be described as underground, subaltern, or as she argues in the first chapter, contrapuntal. Although Miraculous Weapons offers a compelling overview of the traditions of resistance and revolution that run through a diverse range of Caribbean artistic works, at times the reading seems overly reductive. For example, Lams paintings are situated in terms of a brief social history of Chinese indentured migration into Cuba and a brief biographical history including his initiation into Afro-Cuban sacred knowledges and the recep tion of his work in E uropean avant-garde circles. Mahabir then proposes that Lams contrapuntal visual rhythm, Afro-Caribbean iconography, and stylis tic techniques function as an Althusserian interpellation of revolutionary subjects. In a belabored critique of Judith Butler, she argues that the viewers responses to the paintings are based in materiality or class relations rather
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 94 than psyche and individual existence (pp. 27-28). Politicized visual culture in this materialist interpretation is a direct reflection of ideology, and ideol ogy is a direct reflection of class position. By drawing together everything from the Haitian R evolution, to marron age and Carnival, Mahabir risks collapsing all Caribbean resistance into a singular anticolonial, anticapitalist, anti-imperialist modality, losing some of the nuances and internal conflicts that Puri so carefully identifies in her conjunctural and contextual readings. In theorizing a common thread of intellectual marronage in the poetry of Carter, Glissant, and Espinat, for example, Mahabir contends that she concretely establishes links between Caribbean texts whose correspondences are often sensed but not yet ade quately elaborated within [postcolonial] literary criticism (p. 36). Yet the notion of marronage as a cultural and ideological process of anti-imperial ism (p. 38) seems overly broad for the task. Not only does it gloss over the complex social and political histories of various Maroon communities, but the readings of specific poems do not convincingly uphold the argument. It is difficult to follow Mahabirs argument when she ventures into claims that the unmasking of capitalist relations is not stated directly in some poems, but is somehow implied by subterfuge simply by an alignment of the poetic voice with the peasantry and proletariat. In a chapter on the Caribbean peasant novel Mahabir reads Jacques R oumains Gouverneurs de la rose through the lens of his communist idea l s as a novel about peasant class struggle and Marxist social transformation, rejecting other readings that have emphasized elements of religious or cultur a l struggle. In the next chapter she reads Merle Hodges Crick Crack, Monkey as a critique of the postcolonial system of education, positing the academy as a site of class struggle. In both of these chapters, we find a strong program of Marxist-Althusserian literary interpretation and a kind of ahistorical reading of revolutionary class struggle as a uniform project across time and space, whether under colonial capitalism or todays global capitalism. Mahabir explicitly rejects Puris advocacy of a dougla poetics on the grounds that progressive discourses of creolization have left out IndoCaribbean contributions to this process (p. 58). Yet this is precisely Puris argument: her concept of the dougla is specifically contrasted both to the nationalist ideology of creolization and to the purist cultural separatist movements, whether African, Muslim, or Hindu. Mahabir instead argues that the fusion of calypso and chutney rhythms in recent soca music in T rinidad is used to effectively convey an ideology that is anti-capitalist (p. 121). In her analysis of David Rudder, Mahabir proposes that rhythm itself plays a transgressive role as a part of a C aribbean culture of resistance and can be ana lyzed apart from lyrics as an ideological language of class struggle. A brief epilogue on Carnival as a counter-space that threatens capitalist relations (p. 142) also seems to foreclose the possibility of alternative and contested
95 REVIE W ARTI C LE S meanings of C arnival in specific times and places, such as those explored by Joseph R oach in Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance After reading these two books one is haunted by the larger question of how to understand the relations between art and politics, aesthetics and ideol ogy, cultural production and material relations. This is an old question, but it still elicits continuing debate. In considering the emergence of a dougla poetics and its political implications there is a question that begs to be asked after the L ondon bombings of July 2005. Is there not a difference between a performance of chutney soca by a communist artist in T rinidad, a diasporic politics of African and Asian cultural fusion performed in L ondon by Apache Indians, and the strange new cross-fertilization of C aribbean anti-imperialist revolutionary ideologies with the anti-Western terrorist tactics of Al Qaeda practiced by Jamaican bombers R ichard R eid and L indsey Germaine? Mahabirs trans-historical materialism leaves us unable to specify the dif ferent ways in which a postcolonial revolutionary ideology grounded in the inequalities of global capitalism might be put to very different uses. Puris conjunctural understanding helps us to think about how and why each of these cultural projects is distinctive, but her call for a dougla poetics is not yet specific enough to enable us to disentangle the relation between aesthetic form and different varieties of dougla politics. Both authors nevertheless give us a glimpse of an emerging field of Caribbean cultural political economy which might allow us to fruitfully bridge nineteenth-century debates about slavery and emancipation, twen tieth-century debates about imperialism and national independence, and twenty-first-century debates about the future of the Caribbean. Caribbean history offers a rich and complex legacy of diverse theoretical, political, and cultural projects that have grappled with the nexus of the aesthetic and material realms, as well as the economic nexus of the spiritual and physical realms, the mundane and the transcendent, the bodily and the eternal. Thus C aribbean studies has a crucial contribution to make to enriching contempo rary understandings of the ontological projects of the arts and social sciences as a whole. MIMI SHELLERDepartment of S ociology and Anthropology S warthmore C ollege S warthmore PA 19081, U. S .A.
BILL MAURERTOU R I S M S I N T IMA TE E C ONOMI ES Whats Love Got To Do with It? Transnational Desires and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic DENI S E BRENNAN. Durham N C : Duke University Press, 2004. ix + 280 pp. (Paper U S $ 21.95) Behind the Smile: The Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism GEORGE GMEL C H. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003. x + 212 pp. (Paper U S $ 19.95) New research on C aribbean tourism solidly locates it within the regional shift from incentive-induced exports like bananas to service-based exports like data processing, offshore finance, and novel forms of mass tourism (Mullings 2004:294; Duval 2004). E arlier studies may have made mention of the similarities between plantation economies and tourism development, but new models like the all-inclusive resort demonstrate a near identity of form and structure with plantation systems: foreign dominance over owner ship and profit leaves little multiplier effect for the C aribbean islands playing host to enclaved resorts. Agricultural exports have been in free fall since the end of preferential trade protocols, and export manufacturing after the North American Free T rade Agreement is in steep decline. If new service economies seemed to offer a solution to economic and social disorder, the reaction to the events of S eptember 11, 2001 demonstrated the fragility of service-based exports and, in particular, of new kinds of tourism. It took four years for inter national tourism to rebound to pre-9/11 levels; 1 with the perceived threat of S A RS and avian flu, as well as the Iraq war and the weak U. S dollar, official projections of the industrys near future are cautiously optimistic. 21. World T ourism Organization, Worlds T op T ourism Destinations, 2004. World Tourism Barometer 3(2). Also available at http://www.world-tourism.org/facts/menu.html. 2. Arley Sobers, 2005, CT O Release: Caribbean T ourism Performance in 2004, on the website of the Caribbean T ourism Organization: http://www.onecaribbean.org/informa tion/documentview.php?rowid=3052 (last accessed July 29, 2005).
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 98 Fortunately, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the state of Caribbean tourism research as well. The pages of the two books under review here spring to life with characters that readers will not soon forget. Denise Brennan and George Gmelch provide compelling accounts of the hid den worlds and innermost thoughts of people involved in C aribbean tourism, bringing to light the diverse desires, disappointments, strategies, and failures offered by the regions dominant industry. While Brennan focuses exclu sively on the sex trade and Gmelch does so only partially, the commonali ties across the range of experiences described in these books between the Dominican sex worker performing love in the hope of securing a relationship that will lead to a visa and the Barbadian bank teller who trucks in congenial ity as much as currency exchange give pause to the distinctions one might commonly draw between different kinds of emotional labor without effacing the specificities of laboring in any kind of tourism. These two works thus complicate negative assessments of tourisms impact on the C aribbean (e.g., Patullo 1996) while adding to a growing body of literature on Caribbean tourism that illuminates the intimate side of neoliberal economic restructur ing (e.g., Kempadoo 1999, C abezas 2004, Kingsbury 2005). That said, these are very different books. Brennans is an ethnographic monograph buttressed by theoretical arguments about gender, work, and globalization and illustrated with richly described third-person narratives of the lives of individual sex workers in the city of Sosua in the Dominican Republic. Hers is the work of a sole researcher who was affiliated with an HIV/AID S -prevention NGO and who conducted outreach among sex work ers while undertaking classic ethnographic fieldwork. Gmelchs book takes the form of a series of first-person narratives recounting twenty individuals histories and experiences in the tourism sector in Barbados. The research is rooted in his long record of study on Barbados, and took the form of collect ing oral histories and editing them so that they would be topically coherent and interesting for readers (Gmelch, p. 38). Interview subjects were then asked to review the edited histories and suggest changes. Brennan develops a number of important theoretical arguments along the way; Gmelch seem ingly sidesteps them, although his reflections pack a solid analytical punch. Perhaps because of these stylistic and formal differences, the books comple ment one another extremely well, and would work nicely together in classes on tourism and C aribbean studies. Gmelch opens his book with one of the most succinct and engaging over views of the history of tourism I have ever read, beginning with Thomas Cooks 1841 chartering of a train to carry passengers to a temperance rally. He traces the development of Cooks enterprise and the rise of the travel agency, and shows how the C aribbean emerged as an important tourist desti nation for E uropean elites. He also discusses the cultural history of the beach first shunned, later embraced as a cure-all, and, by the 1920s, as a site for
99 REVIE W ARTI C LE S tanning and seaside holidays. The advent of jet air travel permitted the rise of mass tourism as distances shrank and costs dropped. Gmelch describes the decline in export agriculture, the effect of free-trade agreements and structural adjustment, the rise of the all-inclusive resort and the debates over tourisms economic impact on local economies. There is a brief account of the history of Barbados, and a chapter about the relationships between hosts and guests on which tourism is founded, interactions in which one party is at leisure while the other is at work (p. 25). T he bulk of the book consists of individual personal accounts of tourism. These are grouped into five chapters based on the location of the encounter with the tourist: the airport, the hotel, the beach, the attractions (bus tours and the like), and government offices. E ach chapter generally contains a number of narratives from representatives of different occupations within each site (the bartender, the chef, the head housekeeper, the head of security, the man ager, and so on). Many of the narratives are followed by a short epilogue in Gmelchs voice, a sort of where are they now account of the persons life after the initial interview. E ach chapter is also preceded by a short introduc tion by Gmelch. A concluding chapter draws out some of the main themes that emerge from these narratives. Reading the book from start to finish is very much like arriving in Barbados as a tourist: we encounter the people we would meet and interact with in pretty much the same order as if we were to step off a plane, go through immigration, find a porter for our luggage, and then exchange some money. I took a guilty pleasure in reading some of the narratives, for they afford a behind-the-scenes look at aspects of the hospitality industry with which we are all familiar yet which those of us who have never worked in it routinely take for granted. Reading a housekeepers assessment of the class position or slovenliness of guests she may never meet face to face is a humbling reminder of the privileges conferred upon travelers when they become guests, for example. It is humbling, too, to learn that many of the people Gmelch interviewed take from their experience in tourism a sense of the wideness of the world as well as wonder at it, a desire to learn more and perhaps travel more themselves, and an appreciation of the mixture of bless ing and curse that tourism has become for many C aribbean people. Brennans book, consisting of an introduction, six chapters, and a con clusion, is organized in four sections. In the introduction we meet Elena, recently released from two days in jail and reconnecting with her German boyfriend/client Jurgen, whose promises of love eventually translate into cohabitation and something approximating heterosexual marriage. Despite the economic advancement E lena gains from the relationship, things rapidly go sour as the extent of Jurgens alcoholism is revealed and as he comes to resent Elenas repeated requests for money. In the end, Jurgen leaves, and Elena is left just as destitute as she began. The introduction thus tracks the
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 100 continuum from sex work to consensual marriage and back again, a pattern that permeates the lives and hopes of the women involved in sex tourism in Sosua who pin their fortunes on the promise of transnational ties and the wealth that can flow from them. Indeed, one distinction between sex tourism in Sosua and elsewhere is the importance of transnational connections involving wire transfers of money from abroad, clients return visits, faxes (but not yet email), and the hopes of women sometimes realized of following their clients-cum-hus bands to Germany and other northern countries (Brennan, p. 22). Another important distinction, which in many ways facilitated Brennans research and helped ensure her own safety while in the field, is the absence of pimps or direct coercion into the sex trade. Perhaps more significant in comparison with other sites of transnational sex tourism like Thailand is the fascinat ing, already-globalized history of Sosua itself. The first section of the book describes Sosuas transformation from a quiet farming community into a commercialized, tourist hot spot (p. 52). Sosua has a long history as an expatriate enclave, first when the United Fruit Company set up a banana plantation there and later, during World War II, when it became a resettle ment site for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. The latter gave the town lasting ties to Germany, including locally produced German-language newspapers, which later sparked the complicated relationships of fantasy, desire, and money that connect this town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic with Germany. A postcard announces, Welcome to the DDR: the Deutschen Dominikanischen Republik (p. 54). The settlement of German Jews also led to a spatial segregation that structures tourism and the sex trade, dividing Dominicans who live in poverty-level conditions on one side of town from expatriates and descendants of the Jewish settlers who live in a modern enclave, across a small bay to the east. T he bifurcation of the town, its pull for internal migrants and internation a l sex tourists, and the booming businesses on both sides of Sosua led to its being perceived as a source of both wealth and moral depravity, fueling any number of contradictory dreams of prosperity or penury for the Dominicans, expatriates, and tourists who end up there. Sosua is a place to make money but also, for Dominicans, a place of danger. Random police arrests and the threat of AIDS and other diseases complicate Dominicans assessments of the benefits of tourism, sex or otherwise. Expatriates bemoan the loss of a simpler way of life and the tropical serenity that they say brought them to Sosua in the first place. For many, Sosua has become a paradise lost (p. 73) and everyone blames others for this decline, even as S osua maintains its mystique and attraction. Brennan does an excellent job discussing the racial ized hierarchy of labor, belonging, and attachment to S osua, and the manner in which Dominicans have become de facto criminalized by the politics of racial insecurity that many expatriates and corrupt police officers promote.
101 REVIE W ARTI C LE S The pithiest part of the book is the second section, on what Brennan calls transnational courting practices and the performance of love. Here she documents how sex workers seeking more lasting transnational connec tions and the monetary gain that comes with them enact love, devotion, and desire in the hope of turning their clients into more lasting boyfriends or even husbands. The relationships and emotions here are complicated, she shows, not simply crass or calculating. Communication technologies, in particular the fax machine, stand out as central to womens strategies. The distinction between relationships por amor and por residencia or a visa becomes quite blurry at times, and the continuum between tourism, sex tourism, marriage migration, and migration (p. 17) animates a continuum from performed love to real love and back again that characterizes marriage in a sexscape (p. 94), and creates headaches (p. 100) for Dominican women migrating abroad, who are all presumed to be gold-diggers. T he section includes a brief discus sion of the history of Dominican migration abroad, as well as the books main material on male sex workers. The third section consists of two ethnographically dense chapters on the everyday lives and advancement strategies of Sosuas sex workers. There is an important distinction between what Brennan terms dependents (women who work with Dominican men) and independents (those who work with foreigners) (p. 132). Dependents work in groups under the authority of bar owners while independents essentially freelance. Dependents are often housed in cramped dormitory-style rooms behind a bar, while independents maintain rooms in boarding houses. Dependents and independents dress and do their make-up differently, partly because of their class background and/or aspirations and partly because of what the market that is, Dominican versus foreign mens tastes demand of them. Brennan characterizes the depen dents strategies for working and advancing as less risk-taking than those of the independents, who, as lone agents, sometimes must actively pursue their clients and often have little social support to fall back on should they encounter violence or other difficulties. It is striking that a womans ability to save money is more determinant for her success than whether her clients are Dominican or foreign (p. 162). Brennan pays brief but competent and con vincing attention to the connections between sex work and the feminization of poverty brought about by structural adjustment and the changing political economy of the Dominican R epublic. Interestingly, one of the many transac tions that constitute sex work includes the education, of sorts, of the foreign tourist in the ways of global poverty. For some men, this surely adds to the mystique, but for others it seems genuinely to spark concern or a desire to aid that the men and maybe the women sometimes experience as love. Despite the affective ties that sometimes develop between women and their clients, the independents who secure transnational ties and even visas or marriage abroad generally find that disappointments and a return to poverty
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) 102 in the Dominican R epublic lie in store for them. T here is interesting material in the fourth section on transnational disappointments on the increase in German internet attention to Dominican sex tourism and the stereotypes that have accreted onto the transnational imagination of Dominicanidad in com parison to other sites of sex tourism like Brazil or Thailand. What emerges here is that sex tourism is a market; and it is an international, competitive market where various sites, in effect, vie to demonstrate their comparative advantage. C lients learn, too, that women perform love for visas; and so cli ents, sharing tips over the internet, learn to perform, too hoping that their own performance of love will garner them free sex (p. 200). Brennan began conducting fieldwork in 1993, and the conclusion of the book discusses changes that have occurred in Sosua since then, including a general decline in tourism along with the development of all-inclusive resorts, which have hurt the small-scale tourist sector. T he police forced bar closures after her main period of fieldwork, and the sex tourism business has taken on a less visible public presence. What becomes apparent in her discussion is the extent to which sex tourism is like any other internationally driven tourism market, subject to the same whims, shocks, and shifting styles as any other product. Despite Brennans emphasis on womens agency, she presents an overall narrative of returning to the same place one started from: some women may get ahead in the end, but most of the ones we hear from end up back in the Dominican R epublic, often less secure than they were when we first encoun tered them. Brennan is critical of research on globalization that emphasizes the crossing and recrossing of things to the neglect of social and econom ic facts (p. 46). She seeks to provide an account of real peoples experi ences in a real place, not free floating people in an imaginary third space (p. 15). But what experiences are not on the ground? I agree that we need to discuss transnational processes in places and histories but this does not ground the discussion any more or less than attention to imagination. T his is a recurring issue in C aribbean studies, womens studies, and anthropology the mythology of the material and it paradoxically reinstates the equiva lence between the categories woman, sexuality, and materiality that feminist theorizing has long sought to displace. T he overall narrative in Gmelchs book is somewhat different: it is more a movement along a trajectory, transforming the tourist worker along the way, and destabilizing any assessment of the multiplier effect of the industry and leaving open the question of whether real people in real places do not simul taneously traverse the figments and fantasies that tourist encounters generate in both hosts and guests. T aken together, the two books provide rigorous and sensitive analyses of the biggest business on the planet on small islands that loom large indeed in the touristic imagination.
103 REVIE W ARTI C LE S REFEREN C E SCABEZAS, AMALIA L., 2004. Between Love and Money: Sex, T ourism and Citizenship in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 29:987-1015. DUVAL, DAVID TIMOTHY (ed.), 2004. Tourism in the Caribbean: Trends, Developments, Prospects. New York: R outledge. KEMP ADOO, KAMALA (ed.), 1999. Sun, Sex, and Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean L anham MD: R owman and L ittlefield. KINGSBURY, PAUL, 2005. Jamaican T ourism and the Politics of Enjoyment. Geoforum 36:113-32. MULLINGS, BEVERLEY, 2004. Globalization and the T erritorialization of the New C aribbean S ervice E conomy. Journal of Economic Geography 4:275-98. PATULLO, POLLY, 1996. Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean. London: C assell. BILL MAURER Department of Anthropology University of C alifornia, Irvine Irvine C A 92697-5100, U. S .A.
B OOK R E VI E W S Ruins of Absence, Presence of Caribs: (Post)Colonial Representations of Aboriginality in Trinidad and Tobago MAXIMILIAN C. FORTE Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xiv + 283 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95)NEIL L WHITEHEAD Department of Anthropology University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison WI 53706, U. S .A.
106 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) tence of local voices on their inherent and indomitable indigeneity continues to challenge the much better publicized declarations of politicians, archae ologists, anthropologists, and historians alike. In the original schematic of colonial ethnology, the cannibalistic and rebellious Carib stood in counterpoint to that other chimera of ethnological categorization, the Arawak, who appear as tractable, pliant, and also conven iently absent. For these reasons any invocation of the notion of the Carib is already a complex statement of identity, historical rootedness, and a particu lar kind of political and social orientation. The truth or credibility of such an invocation cannot be reduced to a positivistic catalogue of historical or archaeological facts, but must be interpreted in light of the long and vicious history of colonial and neocolonial politics in the C aribbean. In such an intel lectual context a study such as Fortes should not be understood as offering a definitive analysis of these issues, but rather as a situated account of how such issues continue to play out in the context of contemporary T rinidad. Forte thus carefully maps the origins and rhetorics of the idea of C arib and shows how this is politically and culturally deployed by the people of Arima and its environs. The strength of this analytical strategy is enhanced by a keen sense of historical change, particularly as Forte follows it from nineteenth-century colonial antiquarianism through to the globalized and networked presence of Carib identity today. Perhaps what is most striking in this historical presentation is the way in which the forms of media and categories of investigation and verification may change but the content of the idea of C arib itself has remained relatively limited in scope and necessarily paired with its counterpoint, the Arawak (or, latterly, T aino). Forte begins with an account of the colonial era in T rinidad, noting the various forces at work in producing Carib identity, and then moves to consider the way in which that identity became spatially and intellectually emplaced within T rinidad, particularly at the Arima mission which has sub sequently become known as the home of the Caribs. This is followed by an extended analysis of how the Carib have been written in the various textual sources in tandem with the way in which the idea of indigeneity itself has also emerged. This sets the scene for a close examination of the politics of indigeneity and Caribness in T rinidad and especially of ways in which the T rinidadian nationhood in part anchors itself in these twin ideas, despite the marginal place that communities such as Arima hold within the modern state of T rinidad. Crucial to this process, as analyzed by Forte, is the role of the cultural broker, preeminently the S anta R osa C arib C ommunity organi zation, which has both spearheaded efforts of cultural revival and acted as a clearinghouse for those seeking to visit and know more about the C aribs in T rinidad. T his presentation is complemented by a more conventional eth nographic account of contemporary C arib festivals and their projection onto the national stage of T rinidad, as well as an examination of the ways in which
107 BOOK REVIE WS global connections with other indigenous revivalist movements and the use of internet websites have allowed an even wider projection of the idea of C arib survival in T rinidad. Despite the interest of these materials it would have been relevant to include some clearer assessment of other Carib cultural movements, such as those in Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Belize, Dominica, and Venezuela, especially given the large populations that such movements represent. Likewise, the invocation of the category indigeneity certainly should have included reference to Alcida Ramoss book on this notion as it has been deployed in Brazil. Nonetheless this is an excellent volume that clearly shows the limits of an overly exoticized anthropology interested only in supposedly pristine natives or isolated forest dwellers and which brings to the fore the modernity of tradition in the C aribbean. Voicing Memory: History and Subjectivity in French Caribbean Literature. NICK NESBITT. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003. xviii + 258 pp. ( C loth U S $ 55.00, Paper U S $ 18.50)H ADLAI MURDO C H French Department University of Illinois-Urbana Urbana I L 61801, U. S .A.
108 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Nesbitts approach inscribes the regional texts in their historical contexts, showing how they underscore the antinomical status of Antillean existence as part of a literature that calls for a transformation of the subjective and objective dependency it portrays (pp. 46-47). Yet in leading off his discus sion of the French Caribbean historical experience with analyses of such thinkers as Hegel, Marx, Lukacs, Jean Hyppolite, and Alexandre Kojve, Nesbitt in fact implicitly claims that these authors provided the key discur sive tools that French post/colonial writers later appropriated to dismantle the citadel of colonialism. For example, Csaires Cahier is described as a canonical work of resistance which consistently places its own stated inten tions in contact with the forces that would eliminate human freedom, but which also reflects the poetic discourses of R imbaud and L autramont that inform it (p. 81). T urning to La tragdie du roi Christophe Nesbitt points to the key role played by C saires incorporation of aspects of Hegelian philos ophy at a critical juncture, and stresses his mixture of such heretofore-dis tinct discourses: that of European historical and philosophical discourses of the revolutionary period with the mythical figures of the black Atlantic (pp. 137-38). And in his evaluation of Prsence Africaine Nesbitt posits Alioune Diops contribution to the journal as being patently steeped in the engage ment of Sartres existentialist philosophy, diluting the Africanist component implicitly integral to Diops thought and writing. T urning his attention to Maximins LIsol soleil, Nesbitt accords pride of place to the role of jazz in the text, since its grounding in the Black experi ence renders it a counter-model of subjective experience forged in the black vernacular (p. 154). T hrough an extended discussion of artistic parallels between C oleman Hawkins and Maximin, he seeks to suture the latters dis cursive framework and its conjoining of historical processes of both mne monic recovery and imaginative transformation (p. 153) to musical tech niques of improvisation and aesthetic play. Yet this worthy goal encounters its limits when he tries to recount the novels principal project of articulating a C aribbean historical experience (p. 155), for this discussion of the novels genesis and structure appears to sideline the centrality of key C aribbean his torical figures and events to the elaboration of the plot. Perhaps more impor tantly, any analysis of the astonishing capacity for linguistic (re)invention that is the primary characteristic of Maximins groundbreaking reimagining of the C aribbean historical condition here borders on the inadequate. T his duality of perspective continues in his chapter on E douard Glissant, where Nesbitt points both to Glissants call for the construction of an independent national consciousness and politics (p. 173) and to his explicit reappropria tion and reconstruction of dialectical negation, Hegels primary contribution to Western thought (p. 175). In sum, though, this reading does ultimately valorize Glissants oeuvre as a project of social transformation (p. 185) aimed at unearthing and exposing the suffering and lost possibility that are integral
109 BOOK REVIE WS to the departmental experience (p. 183). Nesbitt concludes his C aribbean sur vey with a chapter on C ond and Danticat, framing the formers intertextual excavations of memory as written under the sign of Proust (p. 196) even as they plumb the theme of Antillean alienation and reification (p. 197). At the same time, C onds mastery of irony and caricature is also said to make her a C aribbean Flaubert (p. 195). Danticats The Farming of Bones creates a field of interaction between history ... and a subjective, poetic voice (p. 210), one that seeks to recover the subjective possibilities erased through violence. In setting out to read the multiplicity of Antillean experience (p. 196), Nesbitt provides new and much-needed perspectives on both canonical and contemporary examples of Caribbean writing. In analytical terms, his com mand of theory and the depth of his archival research are beyond question. Yet at the same time, it seems that the pride of place accorded to the met ropolitan perspective shortchanges the conjunction of Caribbeanness, iden tity, and revolt that has long framed writing from the region. By implicitly locating this writing as the product of, or a response to, a European mindset instantiated by Hegel, Marx, Bourdieu, Foucault, and S artre, the innovative ness and spirit of resistance of a Cond or a Csaire, or indeed an articula tion of a more Caribbean-centered appropriation of metropolitan discourses remains somewhat hard to find. What is at issue, ultimately, are the ways in which Caribbean authors draw on intraregional and extraregional patterns of thought and experience to generate techniques and thematics of identity adequate to the complex challenges of Caribbean representation. And while this book effectively locates C aribbean writing within a larger, more canoni cal French framework, as an assessment of the legacy of modernity in the French C aribbean (p. xvii), the claim of transformational force instantiated by these complex entanglements of canon and colonialism might have ben efited from further separation from the metropole.
110 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Family and Identity in Contemporary Cuban and Puerto Rican Drama CAMILLA STEVEN S Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. x + 271 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95)LYDIA PLATNE nglish Graduate Department University of Puerto R ico R o Piedras, S an Juan, Puerto R ico 00931-3356
111 BOOK REVIE WS C ommunity: Performance and Nostalgia in R ecent Puerto R ican Drama, and S cene 2 T ies that Bind: S taging the New Family in R evolutionary C uba. T hese scenes suggest that theater has taken on a role as protagonist in revo lutionary C uba, while in Puerto R ico it is struggling to assert its relationship to subjectivities rather than to one collective imaginary (p. 120). T his latter period benefits from the discussion of the role of realism and experimentalism in theater in the C uban and the Puerto R ican context. In the concluding chap ter, E xit: From the House to the S tage: Haunted Family S cenarios in C uban and Puerto R ican Drama, S tevens finishes her theatrical journey, asserting that the family trope continues to repeat itself in Puerto R ican and C uban theater because the particular circumstances of each continue to present a fer tile scenario for scenes of self-determination and discussions of identity. T here is commendable work in the individual analyses of writings from the 1950s by Francisco Arriv, R en Mrques, and Myrna C asas from Puerto R ico, and Abelardo E storino, Jos T riana Virgilio Piera, and R olando Ferrer from C uba. T he 1980s-1990s selection for C uba work by authors such as R oberto Orihuela and E storino is, likewise, well chosen and the discussion of the role of theater in revolutionary society is well done. In the 1990s in C uba, S tevens depicts the disillusionment and breakdown of the nueva famil i a cubana through the work of Miguel C uartas R odrguez and Alberto Pedro T orriente. Meanwhile, her selection of Puerto R icans for this time peri o d L uis R afael S nchez, Myrna C asas, R oberto R amos Perea, and Antonio Garca del T oro who serve for her particular project, leaves out important voices and parallel theatrical activity that would have helped to contextualize the ongoing discussion of the family drama as the trope of the Nation. One important omission in this book concerning Puerto Rico is Lowell Fiet, whose critical writing appears in the weekly newspaper Claridad and in many journals and reviews in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. He coinci dentally also published in 2004 his rendition of Puerto R ican theater, El tea tro puertorriqueo reimaginado: Notas crticas sobre la creacin dramtica y el performance (Puerto Rican Theatre Re-Imagined: Critical Notes on Dramatic Creation and Performance, Ediciones Callejn, 2004). 1 In this study he points out that when reading certain texts about Puerto R ican theat e r, one often wonders where these scholars (meaning those writing from a dis tance) get their information, since sometimes they do not accurately portray what a play meant when it was performed (p. 275), nor what the reception has been or who is really being followed by the audience. This is important especially when considering the role of theater in the collective imagina tion. It is also a reminder that lesser-known theatrical productions need to be published and documented more aggressively in our islands, so that scholars living outside of the Caribbean may have a fuller picture of how theater is 1. A review of Fiets book will be published in NWIG 80 (3&4).
112 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) actually perceived and passed into collective memory. The points of contact between the books by Fiet and Stevens deserve more dialogue, as do the issues that must be reflected upon when using theater to its maximum expressive capacities on the stage. C amilla S tevenss single focus on drama in the ongoing discussion of identity and nation-build ing in the Hispanic Caribbean is most welcome. Through both its strengths as a scholarly text and its omissions, it underscores the need for studies of reception, criticism dissemination, and translation of theatrical works across the C aribbean. Tempest in the Caribbean JONATHAN GOLDBER G Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. ix + 192 pp. (Paper U S $ 18.95)JERRY BROTTONS chool of E nglish and Drama, Queen Mary University of L ondon L ondon E 1 4N S U.K.
113 BOOK REVIE WS three broad directions. The first is to critique the homophobia of Fernndez Retamars classic essay, Caliban, first published in 1971, through a close reading of Lammings works, and in particular Water with Berries where Goldberg senses the possibility of imagining the generation of C aliban out side of normative modes of social/sexual reproduction (p. 37). In the books central chapter, Calibans Woman, Goldberg fore grounds two striking textual cruxes in the play the Folios reference to C alibans mother S ycorax as he, and the transposition of wife for wise. He contends that such problems suggest how complex a mapping of sex and gender will necessarily be in the volatile context of the plays writing and rewritings (p. 62), following the ways in which the work of Sylvia Wynter and Michelle C liff provide sites of possibility written across diasporic exis tence ... the antidote to the lethal binarisms that pit groups against each other, clinging to older paradigms of exclusive identity (p. 105). Not surprisingly, such statements develop in the books short final chapter into a full-blown critique of western humanism, rationality, and education. T aking his cue from Mirandas attack on Caliban and his vile race (p. 119), Goldberg uses Spivaks Critique of Colonial Reason to launch an attack on Locke, Kant, and Hegel. R eturning to L amming, he argues like the good deconstruc tionist he is that the gift of language, meant as a tool of enslavement, has instead allowed C aliban a being that was thought impossible (p. 136) within western Enlightenment accounts of ontology. However, to ensure that the return to the canonical texts ( S hakespeare, Kant, Hegel) is still seen as valid, Goldberg concludes that old sites of denigration can serve as resources for new social imaginings, new social actors, new ways of thinking. A desirable future may be possible if we can recognize and respect alterities and can refrain from imposing false unanimity (p. 147). T he problem with such conclusions is that they have been made over the last twenty years by historically minded critics working outwards from poststructuralist theory. Goldbergs commendable attempt to cross disciplinary boundaries also threatens to fall between two stools. He is not sufficiently versed in postcolonial theory and Caribbean studies (praise for Spivak and condemnation of Gilroy aside) to be convincing in his close readings of particular texts, while on the other hand his rich but allusive asides into Renaissance studies will not satisfy those working within the field. There are unnecessarily fierce attacks on certain figures, including Rob Nixon, whose key work in the 1980s transformed analysis of the plays colonial reception, and Paul Gilroys Against Race, an ill-named project accord ing to Goldberg, which claims (dangerously, I believe) to be against race (p. 142). At such moments the book veers around, apparently unsure of its approach. Is it a slice of reception theory of a particular S hakespeare play, a theoretical text on queer theory and postcolonialism, or another critique of western Enlightenment thinking? Of course for Goldberg it is all of these
114 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) things. However, in less than 150 pages of prose, this is not possible. By the end of the book, it is not even clear who Goldberg is trying to address within the academy. S hakespeare scholars can find more successful accounts of the plays reception within postcolonial contexts, while postcolonial and Caribbean students and academics can certainly find a plethora of texts addressing the patriarchal and heterosexist bias of the E uropean literary tra dition. Tempest in the Caribbean feels like Goldberg desperately in search of a subject suitable for his talents. Cuban Cinema MI C HAEL CHANAN Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. ix + 538 pp. (Paper U S $ 25.95)TAMARA L FALI C OVT heatre and Film/ L atin American S tudies University of Kansas L awrence K S 66045, U. S .A.
115 BOOK REVIE WS attention given to ICAICs political battles, debates, and creative processes over different time periods. T he production processes of various films, along with their popular reception, are also included. C hanan performed extensive archival research and conducted in-depth interviews with film critics, direc tors, historians, and producers. His level of access was extremely valuable in uncovering the political nuances of I C AI C s inner workings. What is less nuanced is the way Chanan dismisses Cuban cinema made before the revolutionary period (during the studio era of 1930-50). C iting the work of E nrique C olina and Daniel Daz T orres from the 1970s, he dismisses prerevolutionary melodrama as the expression of reductive one-dimensional ethics(pp. 78-81). His critical treatment of the old C uban cinema is reduc tive in that it labels a whole oeuvre as the product of false consciousness and fails to take into account new scholarship that has been written on the sub ject (e.g., by scholars such as Ana M. Lpez and Julianne Burton-Carvajal) since the first edition of his book was published. C hanan may not agree with these newer approaches to conceptualizing melodrama, but he could have acknowledged them. Chapters 7 and 8 discuss the first feature films of the 1960s, and the ways in which Italian neorealism and the French New Wave influenced the new experiments. In interviews with Chanan in 1980, Sergio Giral said that in retrospect he considered his La jaula ( T he cage, 1964) to be too influenced by Godard, and Humberto S ols and Oscar Valdes, who co-directed Minerva traduce el mar (Minerva interprets the sea, 1962), said they looked back on that film as a naive experiment (pp. 164-65). These anecdotes make compelling reading because these early films flesh out the evolution of Cuban cinema but are not often described in the canon of classic works. A book on this subject could not be complete without mention of Julio Garca E spinosas treatise For an Imperfect C inema (1969) which dominat e d the discourse on C uban cinema throughout the 1970s and 1980s. C hanan describes the importance of this essay by linking it to a larger panL atin American cinema movement characterized by a gritty style and militant sense of urgency. T his was a cinema that did not want to foster a glossy aesthetic and lull the audience into passive consumption (p. 305). It was cinema with a purpose, characterized by film director S ara Gmez as inevitably partial ... the result of a definite attitude in the face of problems that confront us (p. 306). C hanan deftly recounts the major debates surrounding the role of art and the artist within a revolutionary socialist state, discusses Castros oft-cited 1961 speech entitled Words to the Intellectuals, and compares differing accounts of the series of speeches given at the National Library. The final speech in that series culminated in the famous statement that within the Revolution, everything, outside it, nothing (p. 140), signaling that if artists were clearly adherents of the revolutionary project, they could be critical (in dialectical fashion) of how society was developing, but that those working
116 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) outside the system should not create art to potentially undermine the revo lutionary project. This debate is central to discussions of films such as T .G. Aleas penultimate film, Fresa y chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate, 1993) (pp. 463-74), and the biggest debate on this topic the subsequent banning of Alicia en el pueblo de Maravillas (Alice in Wondertown, 1991, dir. Daniel Daz T orres) is well rendered in the final chapter. Filmmaking in the face of C ubas S pecial Period is detailed in the final chapter. In addition to issues of co-production, Chanan touches on newer themes found in more recent films, such as what critic Dsire Diaz calls T he Ulysses S yndrome: the trope of the journey, found in these films in a myriad of forms ... migration, departure, return, internal exile, the impossible promise (p. 22). Discourse on Cuban nationalism has expanded to include the diasporic (read: exile) community. This invokes what Ana Lpez calls Greater Cuba, that is, how the exile community is in dialogue (or lack thereof) with artists on the island. Despite a few minor shortcomings Cuban Cinema provides an indis pensable aid for teaching and researching the history and cultural politics of C uban cinema. Gender Equality in the Caribbean: Reality or Illusion. GEMMA TAN G NAIN & BARBARA BAILEY (eds.). Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2003. vi + 247 pp. (Paper U S $ 20.00)A LYNN BOLLE SWomens S tudies Department University of Maryland at C ollege Park C ollege Park MD 20742, U. S .A
117 BOOK REVIE WS and agencies representing governments and regions such as the CARICOM secretariat and assesses successes and uncontested problems in the 1990s. The United Nations declared 1975-1985 the Decade for Women, pro posed a list of policy priorities specifically for women and girls in their mem ber states, and held three conferences designed to address womens issues and gender inequality Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980, and Nairobi in 1985. T en years later a follow-up conference was held in Beijing. Caribbean women became active participants and researchers on the inter national scene and continue to lead the political struggle at home for gender equity and the inclusion of womens rights on individual national agendas. Distinguished Caribbean women served in the position of secretary general for two of the UN conferences: L ucille Mathurin Mair (Jamaica) in 1980 and Dame Nita Barrow (Barbados) in 1985. C ontinuing this tradition of international engagement, all authors in Gender Equality are well-known activists/scholars/academics in the area of womens issues and rights. Among this group are those who also prepared preconference documents for the C A R I C OM secretariat and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIF E M) for Beijing, and crafted materials for the next phase of assessments, known as the Beijing + 5 R eview meet ings. C o-editors Gemma T ang Nain and Barbara Bailey, and the authors of the rest of the essays ( L innette Vassell, Gaietry Pargass and R oberta C larke, Andaiye, Denise Noel-DeBique, S onja Harris, and E udine Barriteau) function as a collective with certain themes echoing throughout this very intense text. The essays look at specific Caribbean government responses to the needs of women. Through data analyses and in-depth discussions of politi cal, social, and economic concerns, the authors contextualize these national affairs in terms of the fiscal constraints resulting from structural adjustment programs, the collapse of primary export markets, and the ongoing process of globalization that often eliminates the domestic share of goods and services produced. Integrated into every chapter are policy recommendations for gov ernments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and regional agencies to consider as mechanisms for transforming the quality of life for women and those who depend on them. Each chapter focuses on a particular issue or set of themes addressed in the Beijing PfA, such as political power and decision-making, violence against women, economic empowerment, health, education, and institutional advancement for women. Further, although some chapters attend to a specific Caribbean country, the general feeling is that all CARICOM nations face similar distresses. On the other hand, there are some explicitly positive outcomes, such as womens political empowerment in Belize, that are not replicated elsewhere. Gender Equality tracks the progress made by using quantitative indicators supported by qualitative research that supports and undergirds the several nuances of gender differentiation (p. xv). T he introduction by Gemma T ang
118 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Nain is indicative of the overall contents of the text. Linnette Vassells dis cussion of redefining power and power relationships argues that these issues cannot be considered without taking account of the context of globalization and the effects on states, social movements and individual women and men in family and community (p. 2). This insightful chapter is a comparative discussion regarding the barriers to womens leadership. Here, the Belize Womens Agenda is showcased as a positive example of how women have been empowered in the region. Gaietry Pargass and R oberta C larke examine the ways in which states and non-states respond to domestic violence. T he recommendations include gov ernments taking responsibility for the eradication of violence against women and being held accountable for failures to do so. Andaiye, a Guyanese activist, writes about womens poverty in the C A R I C OM community, linking it with power and making four critical points that have not changed that the sexual division whereby women and girls continue to provide caring labor continues, that the gap between men and women is not narrowing, that the gender of the household head is not, by itself a significant determinant of poverty, and that the new export sectors pit female labor against that of men while not increasing the access that poor women have to secure employment. Barbara Baileys research shows that education has not proved to be the vehicle for C aribbean womens economic, political, and personal empower ment. Despite overall high achievement and participation at the secondary and tertiary levels, the majority of women continue to be positioned in the lowest sectors of the capital market, earn lower wages than men, suffer higher rates of unemployment, experience greater levels of poverty, are under-represented in decision-making positions, and lack real personal autonomy (p. 136). Ironically, Denise Noel-DeBique states, it is with the spread of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic in the Caribbean that the issue of gender began to feature more prominently in the health sector (p. 166). She argues that maternal mortality and morbidity among young women must be considered matters of social justice, and health systems must be responsive to the rights of women to live free from violence. Perhaps one of the most disheartening signs of the lack of progress is the chapter by Sonja Harris, who points out that reviewing institutional mecha nisms requires an assessment not only of the strengths and weaknesses of existing structures, but of the mechanisms used to create a transformational process. Changing the name of a bureau does not constitute social transfor mation. Further, the national machineries do not seem to have the capacity to respond to new issues brought by the process of globalization, and that carries consequences for women in the region. Eudine Barriteau concludes that the contradictory conditions in the C aribbean mirror developments for women in other regions of the world (p.
119 BOOK REVIE WS 202). While there is a widespread belief that women in the Caribbean have made it, the essays in Gender Equality underscore how fragile and porous any gains have been (p. 203). Future research must target the ideologies that support the status quo. Gender Equality provides the analyses, interpretation, and data for the next step in gendered research in the C aribbean. Dominican Migration: Transnational Perspectives ERNESTO SAGS & SINTIA E. MOLINA (eds.). Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. xiii + 284 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95)RO S EMARY POLAN C OC ommittee on the History of C ulture University of C hicago C hicago I L 60637, U. S .A.
120 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) reminds us that Caribbean politics, beginning with the struggles of political exiles for independence and democracy, have always been transnational (p. 54). E xamining the participation of Dominican transmigrants in the political system of their native country, S ags traces their evolution from dominicanos ausentes (absentee Dominicans) to dual citizens who exercise full member ship in their homeland. A central theme of Chapters 4, 5, and 6 is the importance of second ary cities in analyses of transnational migration. Jos Itzigsohns essay on Dominicans in Providence, Rhode Island, details three ways the popula tion maintains ties to the homeland: economic (remittances, import/export of goods), political (participation in Dominican campaigns, support of Dominican candidates in U.S. politics), and sociocultural (organizational participation, sending money for hometown projects, sports clubs). Carol Hoffman-Guzmn finds that middle-class Dominicans in South Florida are less likely to engage in typical transnational behavior, presenting an inter esting twist on this issue. S he argues however for a localized transnational ism to describe migrants increasingly tied to local places and people, while still retaining strong connections with their homeland, both symbolically and through active communication and interchange, thanks to todays advanced technology (p. 99). T hese transnational migrants have not relinquished their cultural identity in the wake of prosperity, but have found ways to utilize their relative positions of privilege to make choices about cultural retention (p. 125). The recent phenomenon of Dominican migration to Spain is the subject of Chapter 6. Domingo Liln (with Juleyka J. Lantigua) notes that this migration is distinct because it consists mostly of Dominican women with little formal education, coming from small towns in the southwestern region of the Dominican Republic. Despite low-paying rigorous domestic jobs, the cultural, social, and even racial alienation of Dominicans in S pain promotes the maintenance and development of narrow transnational cultural practices, and a constant flow of remittances and communications with rela tives back in the Dominican R epublic (p. 151). C hapters 7 and 8 focus on women and the liberating potential of transna tionalism. Karin Weylands essay on the transformative power of womens labor in Washington Heights examines the experiences of Dominican women as they negotiate between cultures and struggle under the burdens of gen der discrimination and exploitative capitalist systems (p. 155). Nevertheless, these women recognize and embrace their increased independence and power derived from transnational positions that allow them to support families back home (p. 158). Nancy L pezs essay on second-generation Dominicans raised in New York C ity considers the distinct experiences of young men and women and their views on education. Lpez argues that changing gender roles are being fashioned and reshaped in a transnational space (p. 178) and
121 BOOK REVIE WS that women, reflecting on the experiences of their mothers, increasingly view education as a means to sidestep burdens placed on them as females. The final three chapters analyze Dominican transnational experiences through literary criticism and ethnomusicology. Janira Bonilla tackles issues of assimilation and identity formation represented in Julia Alvarezs How the Garca Girls Lost Their Accents and Junot Dazs Drown Both texts recount the transmigrants disillusionment with life in America as the authors ques tion the construction of race, class, and gender both on the island and in the United States (p. 201). Daz looks unflinchingly at the daily struggles of economic exiles, while Alvarezs girls bemoan the fact that their upperclass origins and European lineage have little value in their new home. In her essay, S intia E Molina argues that Dominican and Dominican-American writers are in the process of constructing their historical memory and per manently inscribing it in New York City through literature (p. 241). These works express the often harsh realities of life in America as perceived and experienced by their authors. In C hapter 11, T homas van Buren and L eonardo Ivn Domnguez provide a rich overview of Dominican musical life in New York City from the 1920s onward and explain the significance of popular religion, folklore, and contemporary musical fusions as transnational expres sions. These chapters contribute to the multidisciplinarity of this volume by deviating from the sociological perspectives of earlier essays. Dominican Migration poses salient questions about how and why Dominicans migrate while examining the multiple impacts these population flows have on sending and receiving societies. As a multidisciplinary study, it pushes the discourse of transnationalism beyond socioeconomic analysis. Ultimately, this book strengthens transnationalism as a conceptual frame work through which we can better understand Dominican diasporic experi ences and those of transmigrant communities at large.
122 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Images of West Indian Immigrants in Mass Media: The Struggle for a Positive Ethnic Reputation CHRISTINE M. DU BOIS. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2004. vii + 205 pp. ( C loth U S $ 60.00)DW AINE PLAZADepartment of S ociology Oregon S tate University C orvallis O R 97331, U. S .A.
123 BOOK REVIE WS The book is divided into seven well-written and researched chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 outline the research methods and examine the preoccupa tion that West Indians have with respectability. Chapter 3 highlights the stereotypes that are reproduced consistently in the stories that are covered in the news. Chapter 4 sketches some of the ways Chesapeake area advertise ments have portrayed West Indians. Chapter 5 analyzes West Indian char acters in television entertainment with particular emphasis on Hollywood films. Chapter 6 explores the variety of efforts that Chesapeake area West Indians have made to improve their ethnic reputations. Finally, Chapter 7 examines the dilemmas of reputation for West Indians. Du Bois conducted the research for this book between 1992 and 1994 among immigrants from the Anglophone C aribbean, including Guyana, who lived in the C hesapeake Bay region. Using content analysis, participant obser vation, and in-depth interviews, she examines the way in which a small seg ment of violent criminals who come from the C aribbean are portrayed as if they represented the entire community. Her sample included fifty-four people of West Indian origin, mostly middleand lower-middle-class and evenly divided along gender lines. T en countries were represented, though a majority of the interviewees were from T rinidad and Jamaica. Du Bois also interviewed non-West Indians, including several law enforcement officers, social activists, teachers, reporters, employers of West Indians, and workers in the justice sys tem. S he supplemented her research by engaging in a wide variety of social activities, including a trip home to Jamaica with some informants. Du Bois puts forth six reasons for a media bias in the United S tates against Jamaicans. S he notes that (a) the intense market competition pushes some reporters and news editors towards sensationalism; (b) there is a prejudice in the production of images which stretches back to the negative stereotypes that are associated with Blackness; (c) pack journalism encourages reporters to cover a story in a certain way; (d) journalists and law enforcement officers have become partners in the production of images of the criminal; (e) reporters tend to appreciate sources who can do all the summarizing for them about a story; and (f) West Indian criminals strive to enhance their reputations by engaging in activities that leave no question about their hypermasculinity which, ironically, plays into stereotypes that cast them as uncivilized thugs. C ritical discourse analysis of language and text as presented in this book offers readers a good tool to deconstruct ideologies of the mass media and other elite groups, and to help identify and define social, economic, and his torical power relations between dominant and subordinate groups. T he book is particularly important at this juncture because it takes an ethnographic and quasi-quantitative research approach to the intersection of several broad trends of the last century: global immigration, the spread of the mass media, and the stubborn vicious problems of ethnic and ideological hatreds. T his highly readable book makes an important contribution to C aribbean
124 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) and migration studies, particularly with respect to the image of the outsider in North America. It nicely documents the experiences of many C aribbean people living in the transnational diaspora and would be appropriate for undergraduate or graduate courses on C aribbean or migration studies, race and ethnic rela tions, or critical mass media. Undergraduate students in particular will find Du Boiss writing style accessible and easy to replicate using resources like L exis-Nexis, a database freely available in virtually every university library. T he book will be an eye-opener for any undergraduate in the United S tates who likes to believe that the ugliness of systemic and institutional discrimina tion is something that happens only in other parts of the world. With increasing migrations around the world, the proliferation of the global mass media sources, and growing fear of dark migrants among host populations, minority populations worldwide will continue to be vul nerable to media misrepresentations of them. The forms the problems take will depend on who owns, creates, and regulates media products, which dif fer from country to country, as well as on the ways media consumers use, interpret, and react to media products, which differs among cultures. This makes Du Boiss new book a valuable addition to the study of assimilation and acculturation in the international diaspora. REFEREN C EHENRY, FRAN C E S & CAROL TATOR 2002. Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press T oronto: University of T oronto Press. The Phenomenon of Puerto Rican Voting LUIS RAL CMARA FUERTES. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. xiii + 144 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95)ANNABELLE CONROYDepartment of Political S cience University of C entral Florida Orlando F L 32816-1356, U. S .A.
125 BOOK REVIE WS addresses the question of why, given the similarities between formal politi cal institutions in the United S tates and Puerto R ico, elections in Puerto R ico tend to have a much higher voter turnout. This question is interesting given that many of the formal institutions governing elections in Puerto R ico would seem to point to lower levels of turnout. In addition, as C mara Fuertes points out, Puerto R ico also has many of the demographic characteristics that have traditionally correlated with low voter turnout in the United States: a high percentage of young voters, low levels of education, and low income levels. The book begins by looking at Puerto Rican voting behavior from a comparative perspective. Although Puerto Rico is initially compared with European and Latin American countries, the main reference for comparison throughout the book is the United States. This strategy is useful and makes for a quasi-experimental research design that Cmara Fuertes uses quite effectively to pinpoint the variables with the most explanatory power in the Puerto R ican case. He argues that we need to look at three factors: mobiliza tion, political parties, and culture. In Puerto Rico, unlike the United States, political parties direct their mobilization efforts toward all sectors of the population, regardless of socio economic class and age. And while most political party mobilization in the United States is targeted toward the older population, the opposite is true in Puerto R ico. T he implication of this is obvious. In both cases, the young have lower participation rates than older citizens. However, in Puerto R ico the dif ference is much smaller than in the United States. Studies have shown that one of the main factors to influence the likelihood of voting is contact, that is, those who are personally contacted have much higher turnout rates than those who are not. Indeed, one possible explanation that has been advanced in the literature for the low turnout rates of Hispanics is the fact that political parties and other politically active groups tend to contact them considerably less than they do White, middle-class voters. Cmara Fuertes reports that while 32 percent of those sampled in Puerto Rico reported being contacted by political parties, only 24 percent of those in the United S tates did. Clearly, Puerto Rican political parties are more effective at mobilizing voters than U.S. parties are. Cmara Fuertes traces the reason for this to the differing ideologies of the two party systems. While American political par ties identify themselves along a left-right continuum, those in Puerto Rico are very similar in their orientations, having both accepted a similar welfarestate ideology which appeals mainly to the lower and middle classes (p. 103). Because this ideology aims at reducing economic inequalities and, therefore, threatens the wealth of the upper class, political parties have necessarily had to mobilize the lower classes. As Cmara Fuertes notes, the distribution of government funds is especially important to those with lower incomes and, thus, through the distribution of such help they are mobilized into the politi cal process (p. 107).
126 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) The books argument regarding the third variable, culture, is somewhat less convincing. Cmara Fuertes writes that the Islands political culture is more alive and more conducive to electoral mobilization, while in the United States it appears to be more sober (p. 115). He does not present much evi dence to support this view, however, except for a few anecdotes from cam paign workers. In addition, this explanation suffers from the weakness that besets many cultural explanations: is the culture of the vote the cause or the effect of high voter turnout? In other words, the high propensity to vote might not be due to culture at all but rather to factors such as the need for political parties to mobilize all sectors of the population. In addition, if high voter turnout is a cultural characteristic of Puerto R icans, would they not take this with them when they migrate to the U.S. mainland? However, what we find is that compared to C uban and Mexican Americans, Puerto R icans living in the United States have much lower voter turnout rates, even though they do not face the registration barriers that other groups have to cope with, such as proof of citizenship. T he implications of this study go beyond the particular case of Puerto R ico. From the findings it is evident that although institutions and the vot ers demographic characteristics may influence voter turnout, other factors are more important. T he evidence from Puerto R ico suggests quite convinc ingly that the effects of demographic variables traditionally associated with lower voter turnout (lower age and socioeconomic class) can be overcome by increasing the efforts of political parties to mobilize these sectors of the popu lation. It also suggests that the increased participation of lower-income voters encourages political parties to continue to advocate redistribution policies. T his book represents a valuable contribution to the study of voter turnout in general and will encourage an interesting debate on the subject. Because the argument is presented in a clear and concise manner, it should appeal to those who want to use it in undergraduate as well as graduate courses.
127 BOOK REVIE WS Barbaric Traffic: Commerce and Antislavery in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World. PHILIP GOULD. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2003. 258 pp. ( C loth U S $ 45.00)WILLIAM A PETTI G RE WL incoln C ollege University of Oxford Oxford OX1 3D R U.K.
128 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) racial categories for this period. T he books final chapter compares antislave r y literature with contemporaneous discussions of disease to provide another example of the eighteenth-century North Atlantic mind trying to support a lib eral capitalist ideology while appreciating the markets pernicious potential. As an assessment of the cultural topoi of early antislavery, Barbaric Traffic focuses less than other studies of abolitionism on the larger ques tions surrounding the causes of the ending of the transatlantic slave trade. This leads to some misplaced emphases within the narrative. For example, Gould overstates the secularizing impact of the commercial jeremiad on the evolution of abolitionist thought and undervalues the critical part played by religious revivalism in the mid-eighteenth century as a model for personal decision and commitment. As a challenging work of cultural and literary crit icism, his book says far more about the late-eighteenth-century Anglophone Atlantic world of letters than it does about the slave trade, and he should be commended for his geographical and conceptual breadth. While his dis cussion brings fresh interpretations to a vast array of antislavery literature (including work by Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Clarkson, Joseph Priestly, John Newton, Noah Webster, Olaudah E quiano, and Malachy Postlethwayt), his discussion seems, in its presentation, overly subservient to the texts. He often quotes heavily, fails to order the extracts according to his argument, and includes long excerpts that repeat parts of the thesis introduced in previ ous chapters. As a result, Barbaric Traffic sometimes reads too much like an anthology of early antislavery literature. Gould also assumes rather too much about his readers by habitually surrounding contentious terms (such as jus tice, liberty, freedom, and many others) with quotation marks as a substitute for fully explaining their charged meaning. Gould records his texts historical context carefully enough for his work to be genuinely interdisciplinary. It is ironic, however, that he employs such a wide variety of the sophisticated tools of literary criticism on texts with far more historical significance than literary value. As a result, Barbaric Traffic will disappoint and sometimes frustrate historians poorly versed in, or resistant to, cultural studies. Nevertheless, Goulds contention that early antislavery writers attributed the brutality of the slave trade to its lack of regulation suggests the need for a re-examination of the early history of the British slave trade and the reasons why it developed with comparatively little state management from 1712. Unlike other accounts of early antislavery, Goulds exposition outlines far more than the rhetorical strategies of the authors. Barbaric Traffic adds to our understanding of late-eighteenth-century attitudes to commerce, civil ity, and race. Because historians have known for some time that antislavery thought legitimized emerging liberal capitalism (a literature which this book summarizes beautifully), the principal value of Goulds account lies in the nuanced appreciation he brings to the role of race and commerce in discus sions of the slave trade. He argues convincingly that the mutually constitu
129 BOOK REVIE WS tive relations of sentiment and capitalism forged racial and cultural boundar ies. In the process, he reinvigorates early antislavery literature as a subject for discussion, not as a route to understanding the causative role it played in ending slavery but rather as a crucible in which nineteenth-century attitudes to race, manners, and commerce and their interrelationships were cast. This contribution will delight historians and literary critics alike. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. LAURENT DUBOIS. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. 357 pp. (Cloth U S $ 29.95)YVONNE FABELLA Department of History S tate University of New York at S tony Brook S tony Brook NY 11794-4348, U. S .A.
130 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) and forms of slave resistance. C hapter 3 traces the growth of racist discourse and practice in the colony throughout the eighteenth century. With the onset of the French R evolution, free men of color in the colony struggled some times violently with colonial Whites over who deserved citizenship. Many Whites feared that, after enfranchising some free men of color in 1791, the National Assembly would abolish slavery altogether. As Dubois demonstrates, however, slaves in the north did not wait for such a decree. T he fourth chapter details the August 1791 slave revolt, exam ining the slaves organization, motivations, and tactics. Rebels consecrated the revolt beforehand by perhaps two Vodou ceremonies, and once the revolt began, Kongolese-born veterans of civil wars brought valuable fighting expe rience. T hey often claimed allegiance to the king of France as their protector while invoking the language of republicanism. The revolution was indeed a uniquely transcultural movement (p. 5). Chapters 5, 6, and 7 take up the early years of the revolution, from the spread of revolt in the north in 1791 to the French Republics emancipation declaration in 1794. As the insurgency spread, and as the French R evolution grew more radical, French commissioners offered freedom and citizenship to slaves who would join the French forces in fighting the Republics new enemies, Spain and England. Still, one rebel leader, T oussaint Louverture, appears to have waited to join the French until the National C onvention for mally abolished slavery in February 1794. C hapters 8-11 detail L ouvertures subsequent rise to power from a French general to the colonys self-proclaimed Governor for Life. As Dubois explains, Louverture balanced the need to rebuild the plantation system with a desire to preserve freedom, finally militarizing plantation labor and enshrining widely resented labor obligations in a new constitution for the colony. S adly, while committed to defending liberty at all costs, L ouverture had turned himself into a dictator (p. 250). Finally, Chapters 12 and 13 relate Napoleons failed attempt to regain control over the colony and reimpose slavery. After Louvertures capture, insurgent armies led by Dessalines rallied against Napoleons troops in what they rightly understood as a war of independence to preserve freedom. Once victorious, Dessalines and his officers chose to rename the former colony Haiti, a name attributed by the T ainos. Dubois argues that the new name marked more than a break from the past. R ather, Dessaliness use of this and other indigenous imagery indicated the monumental significance of the revo lution as an event that avenged the new world: Haiti was to be the nega tion not only of French colonialism, but of the whole history of European empire in the Americas (p. 299). Though he focuses on the most famous revolutionary figures, Dubois also highlights some lesser-known individuals of the period. T he voices and stories of these people are peppered throughout the book, forming compel
131 BOOK REVIE WS ling threads that enhance the larger political and military narrative and bring to life the everyday struggles of colonial inhabitants. T hus, in C hapter 2, we learn about the complex relationships among slaves, hired plantation manag ers, and plantation owners from letters written by the enslaved slave driver Philipeau. In letters to his absentee master, Philipeau boldly yet unsuccessful l y complained about the managers mistreatment of slaves and poor business decisions. Madame de Mauger, Philipeaus owner, dismissed his concerns (pp. 36-39). However, in Chapter 6 we learn that slaves on Maugers mul tiple plantations, emboldened by the spreading revolt, ousted and replaced their abusive managers (pp. 132-34). As this anecdote illustrates, the revolu tion had altered the balance of power, allowing slaves to respond collectively to their mistreatment by taking control of the plantations. Still, the Mauger slaves continued to work the land; like slaves elsewhere in the colony, rather than destroy the plantations, they began to make them their own (p. 134). By 1802, Philipeau had left the plantation with his family to work his own land, which he had purchased sometime after emancipation (pp. 278-79). Duboiss inclusion of stories like Philipeaus both humanizes the account and vividly reminds readers of the varied forms of resistance undertaken by slaves, some of whom only gradually dared to challenge the slave system. Avengers of the New World is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the revolutionary Atlantic World. Readers new to the Haitian Revolution will especially benefit from Duboiss lucid explanation of an enormously complex period. Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution SIBYLLE FISCHER. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2004 364 pp. (Paper U S $ 24.95)AS HLI WHITE Department of History S tate University of New York, S tony Brook S tony Brook NY 11794-4348, U. S .A.
132 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) this work stands out because of the authors approach: in a field dominated by historians, Fischer turns to literary criticism. Consequently, she brings novel theoretical and methodological tools to bear on interpretations of this seminal event and its aftermath, and the outcome is a provocative study that calls into question fundamental assumptions about this period. Fischer contends that the Haitian R evolution is crucial for understanding the limitations of key concepts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, namely modernity and its political manifestation, the nation-state. S he traces how, in reaction to the foundation of the first free and racially equal republic, radical antislavery ideology was deliberately excised from visions of what constituted a modern nation. Whereas the Haitian R evolution politicized the issue of racial subordination, other countries and colonies in Europe and the Americas consigned slavery to the realm of moral and social action. In this way, the radicalism of Haiti was defused, and its ideals were erased from canonical modernity (p. 33). The act had repercussions throughout the Atlantic world, as this strain of modernity concealed the promise of radi cal antislavery ideology for other nations and colonies. T he process of de-politicizing Haiti is the disavowal of modernity, and the term works in two senses in Fischers analysis. In the first, disavowal means simply denial, while the second has psychoanalytic specificity, referring to the refusal to acknowledge something traumatic. Although Fischer admits that not every case requires the psychoanalytic interpretation of disavowal, she employs the notion of the Haitian R evolution as trauma not to locate its victims (which for her seems an analytical dead end), but rather to grasp the politics behind coping with the R evolutions shocking implications. S he argues that disavowal is a tactic used in certain circumstances, and she seeks to uncover the who, what, and why of each instance when it comes into play. In her inquiry Fischer focuses on three geographical sites: Cuba, Santo Domingo/the Dominican Republic, and finally Haiti itself. The broad scope reflects the transnational character of radical antislavery or, as she puts it, the fact that heterogeneity is a congenital condition of modernity, and that the alleged purity of European modernity is an a posteriori theorization or perhaps even part of a strategy that aims to establish E uropean primacy (p. 22). S o in order to discover what was sacrificed to the E urocentric version of modernity, Fischer must contest its standards at every opportunity. This impulse applies to sources and subjects as well. Finding moments of disavowal, given the nature of the archives, is no easy task, and Fischer draws on a variety of evidence, ranging from the traditional works of her discipline, such as poems, novels, and plays, to more unusual texts, including trial records, constitutions, songs, and wall paintings. T hrough close readings of these sources, she pinpoints the occasions when radical antislavery sur faced (albeit obliquely) and was rebuffed. Among elites in Cuba and Santo Domingo/the Dominican R epublic, Haiti represented what had to be shunned
133 BOOK REVIE WS in these colonies bids for nationhood. T he results were C reole nationalisms that adopted metropolitan criteria more often than those of their nearby Caribbean neighbor. As Fischer shows, even Haiti struggled with radical antislavery as it tried to put its principles into practice. The transition was plagued by powers hostile to the Haitian experiment, yet internal pressures also pushed Haiti to shy away from the transnational aspect of antislavery. In fact, Haitis leaders could not escape the nation-state model when they created their government. With these examples Fischer wants to challenge the notion that the form and content of modernity as codified in the early nineteenth century and persisting through the twentieth has the capacity to resolve the problems (for instance, racial inequality) that still plague us today. This is a powerful message that deserves to be heard and discussed. However, at times, her prose obfuscates the point rather than elucidates it. The work assumes that readers know a great deal about Haiti, its revolution, and the era generally, and this supposition is perhaps best reflected in the organization of the book. Although the Haitian texts come chronologically first, sometimes sever a l decades before those from C uba and S anto Domingo/the Dominican Republic, they are considered in the books final section. Fischer states somewhat opaquely that the sequence was a matter neither of choice nor of coincidence and contends that the customary procedure of following a more structural narrative would compromise her argument (p. 273). But ulti mately, the rarefied organization makes it difficult for the average, informed reader to follow her line of reasoning. As a result, she creates the potential for promulgating the very silences she tries to reveal. Modernity Disavowed even as it seeks to bridge gaps among academic fields and audiences, could end up speaking only to specialists and reinforcing the insularity of the ivory tower and the atomization of its disciplines which, one could argue, are products of the modernity that Fischer wants to overturn.
134 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Black Experience and the British Empire. PHILIP D. MORGAN & SEAN HA WKINS (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. vii + 416 pp. ( C loth 30.00)JAME S WALVIN Department of History University of York Y01 5DD Heslington, York, U.K.
135 BOOK REVIE WS cohered easily. But in the lead editor, Philip Morgan, the publisher found a historian whose intellectual grasp and clear editorial steer is able to provide the critical intellectual and historical foundations to the whole. The editors introduction is a model of clarity and precision, making sense of the mass of detail that follows and arguing for the coherence of the collection. It was clearly not an easy task, but they have carried it off with persuasive aplomb. On the whole, the subjects on offer speak for themselves slavery, free labor, the C aribbean, cultural impacts between Africans and outsiders. Others are less obvious and sometimes more interesting for that. Frederick C oopers exploration of African workers in the imperial design is a powerful and revealing essay of great sweep and thoughtfulness. Appiahs chapter, which is hard to place, is at once less substantial and more thought-provoking than most others in the volume. It is a curiosity of the collection that the essays that seem less empirical, more theoretical, and in some cases speculative belong to more recent years. Scholarship on the twentieth century, oddly, relies less on detailed empirical research than does scholarship on the earlier periods. Yet this also raises another great attraction of the collection. The essays vary greatly in their very nature, from the demographic to the cultural, from the literary to the economic. T his is surely how it should be when trying to create a rounded study of the complex and changing relationships between Africa and the British, between empire and the postcolonial world. Not everyone will be happy with what they find here or with what they fail to find here. Yet it is hard to see how, given the constraints of space and authors interests, a better volume could have emerged. Each chapter has something new to say on important issues, and though they may be uneven, one from another, they manage to cohere into an important and intellectually satisfying whole. Morgan and Hawkins have managed a demanding task with great editorial skill. The end result is an important volume which embraces the best of historical originality and intellectual vigor.
136 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Jamaican Volunteers in the First World War: Race, Masculinity and the Development of National Consciousness RICHARD SMITH Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. ix + 180 pp. ( C loth U S $ 74.95)LINDEN LE W I SDepartment of S ociology and Anthropology Bucknell University L ewisburg PA 17837, U. S .A.
137 BOOK REVIE WS According to S mith, Many white military men believed black soldiers lacked sufficient self-discipline and rationality to be an effective force on the modern battlefield (p. 61). Added to this attitude of contempt was the tenden c y to infantilize Black soldiers. In the end, Black Jamaican men were given the limited options of volunteering and being subjected to official obstruction and discrimination, or being regarded as cowardly and less wor thy to be called men (p. 74). T hese volunteers were often deployed as labor battalions. Despite these challenges, the BWI R became an important part of the war effort on the Western Front and later in Italy, in the process eliciting the pride and admiration of Jamaicans who envisioned themselves as making their mark globally. Indeed, when these BWI R soldiers were deployed on the front line they performed as well as other units in the British army (p. 89). Though Smith is not always maximally attentive to the complexity of male subjectivity in the text, he reserves his best insights in this regard for C hapter 5, T heir S plendid Physical Proportions: T he Black S oldier in the White Imagination. He notes for instance that Blackness signified unre strained expressions of sexuality and emotions, while Whiteness represented emotional and sexual repression, qualities presumably more appropriate to warfare and military discipline (p. 101). Upon the arrival of the West Indian contingents, attention soon focused on their physical form, which tended to objectify them. Not surprisingly, there were expressions of concern about the sexual desires of Black men for White women, which were expressed in terms of threats to imperial order and calls for segregation of the races to deal with unrestrained Black sexuality and what was described as the Black peril, that is, the weakness of Black men for White women (p. 114). In this regard, White women were chastised for ignoring the boundaries of Empire (p. 114). In this context of hostility, volunteers were at times detained in France after being falsely diagnosed as lunatics. In addition to their experiences, these BWI R soldiers were politicized by the discourse of pan-Africanism articulated by C laude McKay and later more pow erfully by Marcus Garvey. T hey remained convinced that their military service deserved more than a return to irregular employment (p. 152). Finally, S mith notes that for veterans who remained in Jamaica, land acquisition, a symbol of black independence since slavery, became the central demand (p. 154). Jamaican Volunteers in the First World War is a useful contribution to the literature on C aribbean men who volunteered to serve in the British regi ments and who experienced humiliating racism. T hough S miths work deals exclusively with the travails of Jamaican men, he does not fully engage, conceptually, the phenomenon of masculinity. T here is an undertheorization of gender, and more specifically of masculinity, in this book. In addition, the relationship between military service and the counterdiscourse on decolo nization in Jamaica remains largely underdeveloped. These points notwith standing, S miths work is a compact and useful contribution to a subject that has long been neglected in the academic literature of the C aribbean.
138 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Sugar Baron: Manuel Rionda and the Fortunes of Pre-Castro Cuba MURIEL MCAVOY. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. x + 337 pp. ( C loth U S $ 27.95)RI C HARD SI C OTTEDepartment of E conomics University of Vermont Burlington V T 05482, U. S .A.
139 BOOK REVIE WS was the first president of C uba C ane, and remained a significant stockholder even after resigning the office. R eaders are treated to R iondas version of the boardroom intrigue and corporate infighting surrounding C uba C ane. As much anguish as the bankers might have caused him, it probably paled in comparison with the actions of the Cuban and U.S. governments. Rionda played a prominent role in Cuban-U.S. sugar relations during World War I and its immediate aftermath, culminating in the collapse of 1921. Then, from 1926 to 1928 the C uban government restricted production and allocated quotas to individual sugar mills, in the hope that by restricting output Cuba would help to support the price of sugar. T his policy was continued under the International S ugar Agreement of 1931. T he U. S adoption of a higher sugar tariff in 1930, followed by the Jones-Costigan sugar quota system in 1934, were regulatory measures with momentous consequences for R iondas busi ness and the Cuban economy more broadly. Through the correspondence of Rionda, McAvoy is able to illustrate the intersection between business and politics in both countries. The depression put Riondas businesses through the proverbial wringer. He and his clan emerged prosperous, although not in the dominant position they had held earlier. Manuel R ionda breathed the rare air of high politics and high society in New York and Havana. McAvoys excellent work provides a fascinating portrait of a dynamic entrepreneur whose experiences illuminate the evolving international sugar industry and C uban-U. S economic relations before the R evolution. Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo. NED SUBLETTE. C hicago: C hicago R eview Press, 2004. vii + 672 pp. ( C loth U S $ 36.00)PEDRO PREZ SARDUY137 Mount View R oad L ondon N4 4JH, U.K.
140 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) people of different cultures and all ages a romanticism imbued with nostalgia for the known and unknown. S tereotypically, this was the musical phenome non of Buena Vista S ocial C lub, which served to heighten the islands attrac tion, its human and musical mix. Few today would doubt that Cubas music and dance have played a vital part, and, as a book on the subject, Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo is vital too. Cuba and Its Music is an ambitious project whose repercussions in a dif ferent genre might be on a par with those of Buena Vista. Grounded in fre quent trips to the island and an extensive bibliography, this book by Ned Sublette is a first for an English-reading public: a didactic and accessible steer through part of Cubas turbulent history and its music, whose parameters embrace cultural anthropology, sociology, politics, and history, as well as musicology and music. Not that long ago I met up with an old friend, Rembert Eges, a Cuban pianist and composer living in Paris, son of R ichard E ges, the famous flute player, composer, arranger, and founder of the memorable Aragn Orchestra. I said I was reading a book that was like a history of C uban music written for non-Cuban readers. Rembert was at the time showing me some of his com positions and, not familiar with the book, his rejoinder was that the history of Cuban music was yet to be written. He challenged me to answer how many knew about the work of Peruchn, one of the greatest C uban pianists of all time. What Rembert was trying to say was that justice hadnt been done to Pedro Peruchn Justiz whom, not by chance, Sublette mentions several times in his book. While not purporting to be the book on the history of Cuban music, this is, at the very least, the most serious in its approach. Ned Sublette, himself musicologist and musician, has delved deep and unearthed the great Cuban musicians forgotten by most C ubans as well as nonC ubans or those on the verge of being forgotten, like Peruchn. T he torrent of chronological detail, scores, anecdotes, and often littleknown, succulent gossip doesnt detract from its being easy to read. Not many authors achieve what Ned S ublette has in writing this book. While his first visit to the island was not until the early 1990s, he has known how to blend aca demic documentation and oral research with respect and authenticity. T o para phrase novelist Gabriel Garca Mrquez, it might be said that C ubas musical history is not how it was lived by the musicians and their fans but how it has been remembered and told. As C uban musicologist Helio Orovio confirmed to me in the gardens of the National Union of Artists and Writers in Havana, sip ping a glass of rum on the rocks, Ned is a serious researcher. T his, coming from Orovio, not given to dispense praise, was high recognition. I had three uncles, my mother Martas brothers, who were self-taught musicians only one still alive today. The elder was Ramn Sarduy, who was a master of improvisation on the guitar and loved boleros Then there
141 BOOK REVIE WS was Miguel, who was inseparable from his patched-up guitar and played as well as sang every kind of music. They called him Categua The youngest was great on the tumba (conga drum), long before it was allowed into the academy, and known as Tito Tumba in our hometown Santa Clara and sur rounding towns of what was then L as Villas province. When I was an adolescent and bent on study, T ito and Miguel did all they could to teach me to play the tumba or sing those 1950s boleros that work ing-class bohemians, sober or drunk, sang with their souls. I did learn some of the really kitsch lines to come out of phonographs of those times, like the song Y en las Tinieblas (And in the Darkness) by Alfredo Gil, made popular in the late 1950s by Jos T ejedor and the inseparable L uis Oviedo: you left me in the darkness of the night ... and you left me losing my way. But when it came to dancing, from an early age I was out on the dance floor at parties wherever I could. How could I forget the famous matinee dances of the L as Villas societies for people of color of those days? I danced to Beny More (I write it C uban-style with one n). T he most memorable was back in 1951 at the dance hall in C aibarin, on a hill overlooking the pretty coastal town. I danced to Aragn at S anta C laras Bella Unin S ociety my parents were members, which gave me rights as their son. T hat was the club for Blacks, while mulattos had their club E l Gran Maceo, named after C ubas famous nineteenth-century L iberation Army general. I danced at the societies in Quemado de Gines, R anchuelo, E speranza, Placetas, R emedios .... And so, after meticulously enjoying all 600 pages of Cuba and its Music, subtitled From the First Drums to the Mambo I recommend this book with immense pleasure. Ned Sublette knows what he is saying and how to say it, to the beat of the drum, ratifying the African in C uban music, on and off the island. I, for one, await that second volume Ned confessed is in the making, perhaps to be subtitled from cha-cha-cha to timba, or hip-hop a lo cubano, as performed by the group Orishas.
142 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture FRANCES NEGRN-MUNTANER New York: New York University Press, 2004. v + 337 pp. (Paper U S $ 22.00)HALBERT BARTON Department of Anthropology L ong Island University Brooklyn NY 11201, U. S .A.
143 BOOK REVIE WS followi n g the 1898 Gunica invasion. L atin L eftists came to see Puerto R ico as a queerly docile colonial mistress while Cuba became vigorously and stubbornly independent, leading developing nations in health care, medicine, adult education, athletics, and anti-imperial bellicosity. Part II shows Puerto R icans going beyond actively feeding U. S national and foreign policy aims and subtly spearheading the L atinization of American culture, directly under the stuffy nose of Anglo hegemony. T his influence on American culture is pervasive, but also largely invisible, often because of American bipolar racial categories that tend to erase Puerto Rican ethnonationality, as in the cases of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Harold Santiago Danhakl (aka Holly Woodlawn of the Warhol film Trash ). This erasure helps American popstars like Madonna appropriate, with impunity, aspects of Puerto Rican aesthetics and cultural creativity, such as vogue dancing. Negrn-Muntaner, however, lets Madonna off the hook and glosses over how Puerto Ricans, such as the late Angel Segarra, aka Angie Xtravaganza, from the film Paris is Burning ( C unningham 1998), developed vogue from la figura the ensemble of percussive gestures that constitute Afro-Puerto R ican bomba dancing. In Part III, Negrn-Muntaner draws out contrasts between Boricua pop icons and real-life events that result in shame, humiliation, and exploitation for countless Puerto Ricans. She exposes how Boricua experience has been reduced to a litany of synecdoches: the forked tongue of Ferr, the curly locks of Puerto Rican Barbie, the sashay of J. Los butt, and the wiggle of R ickys hips. All of it, queer as folk, she argues, producing highly visible, desirable, and consumable icons. T he books few shortcomings, besides the vogue oversight, include its heavy emphasis on the shame trope and its neglect of abundant scholarship on the ethnology of honor/shame dialectics (e.g., Pristiany 1966, Bourdieu 1977). It also does not substantiate the assertion about Boricuas perverse desire for colonial torment and thus downplays the effect of cold war tactics on suppressing the independence movement. Negrn-Muntaner, moreover, ignores issues of cultural creativity and decolonization altogether, apparently assuming a laissez-faire world of mindless consumers. Nevertheless, Boricua Pop makes a quantum leap over previous studies of Puerto R ican identity. By starting, however tentatively, with an ethnology of shame informed by queer theory Negrn-Muntaner can explore the oddities of this crypto-colonial relationship without blinking. S he disagrees (p. 26) with QuinteroR iveras position that Puerto R icans have nothing to be ashamed of, arguing instead that under current conditions, colonial shame is endemic, immune to consciousness-raising, neither reducible to the individual, nor to an inferiority complex that can be psychologized and cured through progres sive therapy. S hame is a byproduct of conflict within asymmetrical power relations, not privatized pathologies (p. xiii). Without the shame of being
144 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) Puerto R ican, there would be no boricua identity, at least not as we know it (p. xiii). Her salty description of the queerness of Puerto R ican ethnonational identity involves a heightened awareness of the sexualized, erotic dimensions of asymmetrical power relations, including violence the paradox of people perpetuating the terms and conditions of their abuse and settling for less than what is possible. Flag-waving displays of pride are common to patriots across the political spectrum, but the flipside condition of collective self-doubt, the ay, bendito expression of mutual self-pity, is equally common. S he also parts with Juan Flores and his barrio-centric response to colonial shame, showing less interest in down-home authenticity than in the doubleness of commodification from the standpoint of racialized minorities, in which ques tions of visibility and worthiness of consumption are burning issues, imply ing visceral spit or swallow value judgments about whether a person or a product of ones labor may be tasteful and/or assimilable. Having worked in the Puerto R ican community for most of the past twen t y years, and performed (shaking a bon-bon and a tambourine) on stage with R icky Martin, I can vouch for Negrn-Muntaners claims about the underly ing pride/shame dialectic, as well as the abundance of odd pleasures to be found in the practices of Boricua pop. Overall, she has written a ground breaking piece of work on the persistence of colonialism irreverent, tragi comical, and bittersweet. Though a delightful read, the books reliance on lit-crit jargon may make it too dense for most undergraduates. Highly moti vated students and fellow researchers interested in the intersections between popular culture, queer theory, colonialism, and Caribbean mass media will find it most rewarding.REFEREN C E SBOURDIEU, PIERRE 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice New York: Cambridge University Press. CUNNIN G HAM, MI C HAEL, 1998. T he S lap of L ove. Open City Magazine 6:175-95. NEGRN-MUNTANER, FRANCES & RAMN GROSFOGUEL (eds.), 1997. Puerto Rican Jam: Rethinking Colonialism and Nationalism Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. PRISTIANY, J.G. (ed.), 1966. Honor and Shame: The Values of Mediterranean Society C hicago: University of C hicago Press.
145 BOOK REVIE WS A Scuffling of Islands: Essays on Calypso GORDON ROHLEHR. San Juan, T rinidad: L exicon T rinidad, 2004. 486 pp. (n.p.)STE P HEN STUEM P FLEHistorical Museum of S outhern Florida Miami F L 33130, U. S .A.
146 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) innovations with East Indian music and soul were crucial in this regard, Rohlehr emphasizes that soca was diverse, multi-layered and many-ances tored (p. 415). Shadow, Calypso Rose, Blue Boy, Penguin, and others also played key roles. Since the 1980s, chutney soca has become an important style, one that has reflected shifting African-Indian relations in T rinidad. Another major trend has been the increasing number of female calypsonians, which, in turn, has sparked new debates about gender issues in calyp s o. C alypso R ose, for example, began performing in the 1960s and, by the 1970s, was a prominent figure who countered the chauvinism of the likes of S parrow with assertions of female concerns and desires. During the 1970s, S inging Francine, C alypso Princess, and other female artists also established independent voices. In one essay, R ohlehr focuses on S inging S andras T he Equalizer, written for her in 1998 by Christophe Grant. In the context of a growing number of rapes and murders of women during the 1990s, the song offered violent reprisals as a solution. R ohlehr suggests that a sense of social chaos and a lack of confidence in the law have contributed to harsher forms of rhetoric and humor in calypso. Widespread perceptions of social decline and catastrophe are, in fact, another salient theme in calypso in recent decades. Following the rise of Williams and the Peoples National Movement in 1956, many calypsos by Sparrow and other calypsonians articulated public optimism about an inde pendent T rinidad. S ince the emergence of C halkdust in the late 1960s, how ever, calypsonians as a whole have become increasingly skeptical about the nations political system. Rohlehr argues that they often serve as prophets who exhort the community and offer visions of hope. He asserts that David R udder has become calypsos most articulate and intuitive prophet, an art ist who combines transcendent optimism and pessimistic realism (p. 358) in compositions such as Another Day in Paradise (1995). Several major strengths of Rohlehrs calypso scholarship are evident in these essays. First is his detailed knowledge of seemingly thousands of calyp sos. He frequently demonstrates that calypsonians offer a wide range of opin ion on any topic and that even a single singers oeuvre often includes various perspectives. Rather than rush to generalizations, Rohlehr always examines a variety of examples and counterexamples. Also notable is his deep under standing of diverse forms of verbal and musical expression. He often com ments on calypsos ongoing connections with oral traditions, such as kalinda songs, Orisha music, S piritual Baptist hymns, and C arnival Jab Jab rhythms. At the same time, he discusses the poetics of calypsonians in relation to the work of such writers as Louise Bennett, Martin Carter, and Derek Walcott. A final strength of R ohlehrs approach is his insightful analysis of the social and political contexts of specific calypsos. He carefully explains the relevant issues and players, and maintains a keen sense of the moral vision of calyp sonians in their commitment to creating a more just society.
147 BOOK REVIE WS In the course of his career, Rohlehr has consistently written for and engaged a broad audience. Just as parts of Calypso & Society originally appeared in the journal Tapia and in radio programs during the 1970s, sev eral articles in A Scuffling of Islands were first published in the Trinidad and Tobago Review This latest collection of Rohlehrs thoughts on calypso will be of great interest to scholars, students, and anyone who cares about art and politics in the C aribbean. REFEREN C EROHLEHR, GORDON, 2004. Calypso & Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad S an Juan, T rinidad: L exicon T rinidad. [Orig. 1990.] Carnival Music in Trinidad: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. SHANNON DUDLEY Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. vii + 114 pp. with C D (Paper U S $ 17.95) DONALD R HILLDepartments of Anthropology and Africana/ L atino S tudies S tate University of New York, C ollege at Oneonta Oneonta NY 13820, U. S .A.
148 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) toward the current scene, especially the sound of the steel orchestra. Dudley relies partly on the vast Carnival scholarship to frame his study, but the real strength of this work is his continuing field experiences and his musical sen sibility. For Dudley the words, the masquerades, the parties, and the parading all point toward the massive sound of the modern Carnival. The Carnival music that interests him most is calypso (e.g., lyrically oriented songs for contemplation performed in tents or arenas), pan (which is both the sin gular name of an instrument and the name for a group of such instruments, the steelband), and soca (party or soul calypso). His approach is to understand C arnival music in terms of tradition, social identity, and performance context and function. T raditions are not static, but constantly changing. S ocial identities in T rinidad are affirmed and reinvented during C arnival performance. C arnival performance is understood by docu menting the setting of the performance and its purpose. In C hapter 1, C arnival and S ociety, Dudley puts T rinidads C arnival in time and place. C hapter 2, T he Man of Words, traces the development of reflective calypso (calypso in the tents for listening) and profiles five contemporary singers: the Mighty S parrow ( S linger Francisco, usually considered the greatest calypsonian of all time), the Mighty C halkdust (Hollis L iverpool, heir to Atilla the Hun and the greatest calypsonian-intellectual), L ord Kitchener (Alwyn R oberts, now deceased, the most musical calypsonian ever and author of many tunes favored for steelband performance), David R udder (one of the few singers who makes a year-round income singing), and S inging S andra ( S andra Des Vignes, who, along with Denise Plummer and C alypso R ose, is one of the most important female calypsonians in this male-dominated field). C hapter 3, T he T ent and the R oad, begins by making the contrast between calypso appropriate for the tents and the music that is played to move the masquerade bands through the streets, concentrating on the latter. C hapter 4, T he National Instrument, focuses on the history and musicality of pan, and C hapter 5, S teelband R epertoire, illustrates the contexts in which pan is key. T he final chapter, Bacchanal T ime, briefly reviews contemporary C arnival musical styles (soca, rapso, raga soca, and chutney soca) and offers a conclusion. S hannon Dudley clearly grasps an essential point of calypso and C arnival in this fine little book, and that is that through tradition the people of T rinidad at least C arnival devotees are continuously asserting and reformulating their individual and social identities by singing, playing, and acting out mas querades. I see certain folkways constantly asserting and reasserting them selves through time and through different media in C arnival over the years and over the decades. T he dynamic of C aribbean culture is always there: the concerns of race and ethnicity, class, gender, and the issues of the day. As R uth Benedict might have put it had she lived in todays hi-tech world, C arnival is culture, played out on a giant screen, the making of the peoples blockbuster cinematographic extravaganza, a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
149 BOOK REVIE WS Before ending, there are two minor corrections Id like to put on record. It is clear that Dudley used (on p. 24) a rendering of the lyrics to Iron Duke in the Land made by Dick Spotswood and me. 1 Since then John Cowley (1996:194 95) has updated the lyrics with a better transcription: At my appearance upon the scene Julian come down with blazing sword And see him shouting the order C alling, screaming to all agony And see his magnetizing mantle S ee its glinting, gleaming, and swaying Jumping this way, bawling, C lear de way, Whiterose joli Djab rere-o. It was a modern manifestation Of that elder civilization T hat in the C arnival celebration Of the S ocial organization Which causes the minds and extension Of all the population I Julian singing a S ocial recording With White R ose Union Sans humanitThis correction is important. Julian Whiterose, one of the greatest chant wells (a singer who leads a masquerade band) of his day, understood that his legacy would be assured by making a record. On this record (recorded in T rinidad in 1914), he is telling us about his role in developing what turned out to be the origin of the modern masquerade band movement in the 1890s (especially pointed out in a verse not transcribed in Dudley). We need to do our best in transcribing these lyrics. The errors, like so many other errors one makes these days, become immortalized on the internet, and wherever calypso freaks google the information, they come up with the wrong tran scription. You cannot completely get rid of cockroaches and you cannot entirely wipe out misinformation in a digital age. The truth is obliterated by the sheer volume of a replicated error. This is my small attempt to feed the corrected version into the digital whirlpool. My second correction is also important, especially for historically minded scholars. On page 23 Dudley identifies the two foreign record companies active in T rinidad as Decca and Sony. (The era is not identified, but it was in the late 1930s.) Decca did record in T rinidad then (and they recorded calypsos in New York a few years earlier), but Sony did not. It would have been strange for Sony to own an American company in a British colony 1. S pottswood & Hill, notes to L P record, C alypso Pioneers, R ounder R ecords 1039, 1989.
150 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) when Japan and the United States would soon be at war. RCA Victor, using its Bluebird label, recorded in T rinidad. Decades later Sony bought a more recent incarnation of RCA Victor. No doubt Dudley knows this, but the stu dents who read this book should be taught a sense of history as they learn about C arnival music in T rinidad. T hese criticisms are small considering the overall merit of this book.REFEREN C ECO W LEY, JOHN, 1996. Carnival, Canboulay and Calypso: Traditions in the Making. C ambridge: C ambridge University Press. La ronde des derniers matres de bl JEAN-MARC TERRINE. Paris: HC JULIAN GER S TINS chool of Music and Dance S an Jos S tate University S an Jos C A 95192-0095, U. S .A.
151 BOOK REVIE WS refus e s because we moderns are disrespectful, because we only want to steal his secrets, because he is sad. In fact there is a growing segment of young Martinicans who are interested in exploring their musical traditions, and who have created several grassroots organizations ( associations ) devoted to learning, maintaining, and spreading these arts. M. Flix dismisses most of these because they are changing the music. He opens up to this books author in part only because T errine is related to one of Bezaudins great departed drummers, Galft. Not to pick on M. Flix. His sentiments are widespread among the rural elders with whom I have worked. Some of their suspicions are warranted. T errines book recounts a few well-known incidents in which city folk have exploited country musicians. For example, rural artists reacted to the first commercial recording of their music, in 1958, by accusing the young people who made it of stealing their work. A chapter late in this book gives the man behind that recording project, Franck Hubert, the chance to tell his side of the story. (T errine is obviously sympathetic with both sides.) Nonetheless, my feeling is that the elders suspiciousness and, in particular, their frequent ref erence to artistic secrets that they alone know and could share (but wont), is due less to such incidents than to cultural capital. Most of them have not been to school, they have seen their art disrespected most of their lives, they have struggled to maintain it, sometimes they have been able to make a little money from it, and in their old age they are unwilling to see others (espe cially people outside their families) take custody of it. Superior aesthetic knowledge is the about the only thing they can lay claim to, and if they can cloak that knowledge in an aura of mystery, so much the better. 1 When M. Flix gets around to giving artistic criticism, as he does periodically through out the book, the mystery vanishes and he is direct, lucid, and detailed. Do not read this book for full descriptions of the Martinican musical tra ditions bl danmy kalenda or lalin kl You will find some information on these, but nothing comprehensive. Occasionally there are minor errors in the elders accounts that a more ethnomusicologically minded editor might have corrected. T errines purpose is rather to paint verbal portraits of some very interesting people. In addition to Flix Casrus and Franck Hubert, we hear from Vincent Chevignac, a koumand or dance caller (a role that has since disappeared); Jean Mico T errine, son of Galft; Vava Grivalliers (now deceased), a superb dancer; Marie-Victoire Persani, another great dancer (how nice to find one woman, at least, represented in this book!); and DArtagnan L aport pre et fils drummakers. T his is by no means a complete picture of the world of Martinican musical tradition, but it is a start. Far too little writing on that world is generally available.1. For a fuller account of relationships between rural elders and urban music revivalists, see Gerstin 1998.
152 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) T he recent history of Martiniques musical traditions the complex phe nomenon of revitalization that has emerged over the past quarter-century deserves a more complete, well-rounded hearing than this book gives it. Overall I am more impressed by how well elders and revivalists have worked together than by any tensions between them. But a mood of decline and loss in the face of modernity is a familiar theme in Martinique. T his mood may well be the aspect of Les derniers matres that most resonates with local readers, whose response to the book could be as interesting as the book itself. I hope that this is not the case. Martinican traditional music deserves to be known (not least to Martinicans). But it deserves to be known in its fullness, as a livi n g art, not only as something passing away with its eldest practitioners.REFEREN C EGERSTIN, JULIAN, 1998. Reputations in a Musical Scene: The Everyday Context of C onnections Between Music, Identity, and Politics. E thnomusicology 42:385-414. Race in Mind: Race, IQ, and Other Racisms ALEXANDER ALLAND, JR New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. 219 pp. (Paper U S $ 15.95) Blackness Without Ethnicity: Constructing Race in Brazil. LIVIO SAN S ONE New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. vii + 248 pp. (Paper 13.99)AUTUMN BARRETT Department of Anthropology C ollege of William and Mary Williamsburg VA 23187, U. S .A.
153 BOOK REVIE WS that most abolitionists viewed Whites and Blacks as intellectually equal. He quotes a British biologist, reacting to abolition in the United States, who endorsed the ultimate superiority of the whites so that whatever the posi tion of stable equilibrium into which the laws of social gravitation may bring the negro, all responsibility for the result will henceforward lie between nature and him. T he white man may wash his hands of it, and the C aucasian conscience be void of reproach for evermore (p. 3). Alland links scientific racism to the justification of White privilege through a proclaimed belief in social mobility via merit that seeks to make all social inequity a matter of nature. He shows how attempts by scholars to demonstrate a genetic expla nation for disparity between social groups employ the authority of science and their position as scholars to influence social and educational policies, viewing class status as a product of social selection (which is compared to natural selection) (p. 81). Alland often quotes contemporary praise and criticism within academic and popular publications, thus demonstrating the circulation of racist ideas among a society in which too many are too ready to accept any biological argument concerning race and IQ providing that they fall into the superior group (p. 136). T he introductory chapter is followed by an overview of theoretical prem ises behind studies of evolution and human variation as well as key terminol ogy. Alland builds on this background in the third chapter by explaining why race is a flawed category for understanding human biological variation while continually stressing the importance of race as a sociological reality. He refers to Chapters 2 and 3 throughout the remainder of the book when demonstrating inappropriate applications of terms and concepts. Chapters 4 through 9 critique theories and data that have been employed to support argu ments for a racial hierarchy. C hapter 4 shows how the theories published by C arlton C oon in the 1960s cannot be understood apart from his political and ideological perspective. Coon stands as an example of a man whose inter pretations of the then-available evidence for human evolution were driven by ... the notion that blacks are inferior to whites in intelligence [which] colored his interpretations of both fossil and living hominid forms and led him to speculations that were far from justified by the data (p. 57). Along with a brief history of the problematic development of intelligence testing, the IQ argument as developed by Arthur Jensen and Cyril Burt is more fully explored and dismantled in Chapter 5. Alland traces genealogies of ideas as he demonstrates problems within each study and the misapplica tion of flawed data in Jensens (and subsequent authors) analyses. Robert Ardrey (a playwright and the only non-academic discussed) and Konrad Lorenz (the father of ethology) are the focus of Chapter 6, Biological Determinism and R acism. Both are well known outside academia, as Alland points out, and three of Ardreys publications were bestsellers. Lorenz and Ardrey, he writes, attempt to explain differences among human cultural
154 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) groups on the basis of genetics (p. 106) which are used to establish notions of inferiority and the consequent necessity for racial purity (p. 105). C hapter 7 discusses the theories of William S hockley (a physicist), L eonard Jeffries (a political scientist), and Michael L evin (a philosopher), with the first criticism being that these individuals are amateurs, professors all. Shockley was a true believer in the IQ superiority of whites over blacks (and of Asians over whites) (p. 121) a viewpoint endorsed by L evin as well. In contrast, Jeffries argued for the superiority of Blacks in IQ, culture, and emotion (p. 122). The respective views of Levin and Jeffries are critiqued for content, but Alland also demonstrates how racism influenced public opinion on their views and the controversy surrounding Jeffriess removal from his position as head of the Black Studies Department at City College, City University of New York. For Alland, all three men abused their positions to promote flawed and ill-informed arguments. Chapter 8 examines Richard Herrnstein and C harles Murray, concluding that their key error is a replay of Jensens systematic misuse of heritability as a concept (p. 149) and showing how they purposefully present their data in a manner that misleads readers in order to bolster their political position against social programs including affirmative action. C hapter 9 examines the studies of two psychologists, J.P. Rushton and H.J. Eysenck, the key tenets of sociobiology, and the counter ing arguments of cultural determinism. Alland extols the unique ability of a four-field anthropological approach as the only social science capable of dealing in a professional way with racist arguments that reflect pseudoscien tific reasoning and research (p. 171). The books epilogue offers a series of discussions on racism encountered by Alland during fieldwork within and outside the United S tates. Blackness Without Ethnicity incorporates Livio Sansones fieldwork over ten years in Brazil, primarily during the 1990s, to adroitly argue for a more complex analysis of the interactions between globalization, local race rela tions, and conceptions of race and ethnicity. S ansone contextualizes his work within the Black Atlantic, focusing on communities in the states of Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. The book is organized in an introduction, five chapters, and a conclusion. Sansone offers a multifaceted analysis of race and ethnicity as dynamic and locally specific processes, proposing an alternative to U. S .-centric per spectives. He contrasts his work to that of scholars who regard AfroL atins ... as worse off than in more racially polarized societies, in particular the United States and presume that at some point race relations in the region will or should evolve toward some of the traits of the North American situation (p. 9). For Sansone, the Brazilian situation sheds new light on the creation of racialized identities in modern cities, providing a truly uni versal picture of the construction of blackness and its alter ego whiteness in different contexts and regions (p. 17).
155 BOOK REVIE WS While socioeconomic statistics and descriptions of color and race terms are often cited in publications on Brazil, Sansones contribution lies in his attention to class as contextualizing change in color terminologies and their meanings within historical and sociopolitical perspectives that include local, national, and international discourse. His second, third, and fourth chapters examine the use and abuse of Africa which has resulted from the interplay and struggle between white intellectuals and black leadership, popular and elite culture, conformity and protest, and political ideas developed in the West and their reinterpretation in Latin America (p. 59). Sansone explores the globalization process through the changing use and meaning of commod ities and symbols that are viewed by Afro-Brazilians as inspired by Africa but are produced largely in English-speaking countries such as the United S tates, Britain, and Jamaica (p. 98). He argues that Brazilians draw from and contribute to a growing source of symbols, interpreted and expressed within specific local contexts, reflecting local race relations. S ansone claims that a new black identity in Bahia is based on ... color consciousness, black pride, the management of original presentation of the black body rather than on identification with and participation in the more traditional aspects of black culture such as candombl (p. 99). However, his informants viewed the practice of black culture as an escape ... a way to elude racism rather than as a way to fight it in organized ranks (p. 100). T he Bahian example shows a new usage of black symbols [that] need not be associated automatically with an increase in ethnic polarization (p. 108). Funk music in R io and S alvador is discussed as an example of how globalizing forces end up being instrumental in the creation of local varieties of black youth culture (p. 140). T he fifth chapter compares youth in S alvador, Brazil with S urinamese C reoles in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. R ecognizing that what is black in one context or country may be brown or even white in another, S ansone defines black youth in these two cities as people who, in some specific context, see themselves and are seen by outsiders as being of African or partly African descent (p. 141). He provides examples of contrast and similarity in tech niques employed by youth in Amsterdam and S alvador to attain social mobility despite the limitations of racism, continuing to focus on global interaction and local specificity. T he concluding chapter argues for self-determination and the legitimacy of alternative models for social justice in the Black Atlantic rather than mobilization around ethnic identity as in the United S tates. Sansones work is important in demonstrating the constant exchange occurring throughout the Black Atlantic and the hierarchical and dispropor tionate contribution made by the United States to this discourse. Alland and Sansone both call for greater attention to cultural context and historical per spective in studies of race. Their work encourages further analysis into the mechanisms by which, and the extent to which, racist academic publications inform perceptions of race and racism as well as varying models for social justice in the African diaspora.
156 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) In the Shadow of the Oracle: Religion as Politics in a Suriname Maroon Society H.U.E. THODEN VAN VELZEN & W. VAN WETERING. Long Grove I L : Waveland Press, 2004. xiv + 298 pp. (Paper U S $ 18.95)GEOR G E L HUTTAR & MARY L HUTTART ranslation S tudies Department Nairobi E vangelical Graduate S chool of T heology Nairobi, 00502 Karen, Kenya
157 BOOK REVIE WS pluralis t s. But for the Ndyuka, as for members of the other Maroon societies of Suriname, a range of beings from avenging spirits and demons to local and supreme gods provide a framework for making sense of the fortunes of life and for maintaining some degree of well-being in the face of com petition from ones neighbors (including military advantage, as illustrated during the civil war of the 1980s and 1990s). At the same time, the Ndyuka also pragmatically acknowledge the efficacy of human efforts (including manipulation of supernatural powers) in the struggle to survive and prosper: Although the belief in spirit mediums and witches is just as strong now as it was a century ago, and although the protection of supernatural agencies is just as avidly sought, that does not keep Maroons from struggling for full economic participation and political rights (p. 277). Imagine yourself growing up in a society where resources are by defini tion assumed to be limited: there is only so much money, so much food, so much political power and influence. If someone has more of these than you do, it must be that they have deprived you of your due, very likely with the aid of spiritual forces. What can you do? E nlist the help of such forces your self, both for protection and to retaliate, causing loss to others so that you can gain. Small wonder that in times of increasing visible economic inequality among the Ndyuka, as during their late nineteenth-century monopoly of river transportation for gold and rubber exploiters, development of religious insti tutions to deal with witchcraft became especially prominent. But not only then: in the early 1960s, when economic inequalities were less obvious, one out of every three deaths was still attributed to the deceased having engaged in witchcraft. Manipulation of politico-religious power is illustrated clearly by the pro cess for determining that someone has died because of being a witch. This decision has been the prerogative of Ndyuka religious leaders, through their control of oracle consultations to find out the cause of death, including inter pretation of the oracles responses. S ince the possessions of a person declared to be a witch are then distributed according to the same leaders interpreta tion of the oracles wishes, with many possessions going to themselves, this institution has had obvious potential for serious abuse. Periodically such excesses both the economic impoverishment and the pervasive atmosphere of mutual suspicion encouraged by a high percentage of ones fellows being posthumously identified as witches have led to iconoclastic reform move ments in which a prophet arises to challenge the authority of the cult dom inant at the time. Often begun with apparent benevolent intentions, these movements frequently developed into a mere shift of power and a displace ment of its abuse from one regime to another, as the prophet-deliverer gained more and more power and then succumbed to the temptations to abuse it in various ways. Further, when the antiwitchcraft institutions were thoroughly weakened without other control mechanisms put in their place, the atmo
158 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 1 & 2 (2006) sphere of fear was replaced by a malaise arising from too few constraints on antisocial behavior as Da Asawooko [an important source of the authors understanding of Ndyuka sociopolitical history] expressed it: We are like dogs without a master, and those sleep on empty bellies (p. 276). In developing specific topics through time, the presentation is not strictly chronological, yet this complexity reinforces the pervasiveness of supernatu ral concerns in Ndyuka life. The resulting impression readers are given of this highly religious society is further enhanced by the well-chosen photo graphs, maps, glossary of Ndyuka terms, and a bibliography of some two hundred items.