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DANIEL ROO DHER MAN MER IVA LES BL A C K L E G E ND : R ET HINKING T H E I N TELLECT UA L H I ST O RY OF FREE T R AD E I MP ER IA L I S MIN TR O D U CT ION In 1839, immediately following the formal end of apprenticeship in the British West Indies, and as debates over free trade continued to swirl in vari ous circles of British and colonial society, the young economist and colo nial bureaucrat Herman Merivale delivered a series of lectures at Oxford University. 1 T he auspiciousness of the moment did not escape him. As a cau tiously optimistic supporter of emancipation and of free trade for the colo nies, 2 Merivale (1967:v) took the opportunity to celebrate the passing of the old empire: During the continental war, and for many subsequent years, our colonial empire had been administered after no very regular pattern, but in accor dance with certain received usages. While most of our colonies had free legislatures, their executive government was jealously retained within the control of the mother country. T heir trade was fettered by the highly artifi cial restrictions of the so-called colonial system. Slavery, though assailed with great pertinacity, was maintained in a large proportion of them; together with the peculiar condition of political society which it engen dered. 1 I would like to thank Bill Maurer for encouraging me to write this piece, and for steering me toward Merivale in the first place. The suggestions of NWIG s anonymous reviewers have helped me to clarify my arguments and put Merivale into context. I would also like to thank Laura Mitchell and Kate Nicholson for their careful readings and con structive criticisms of an earlier draft. 2 Emancipation, taken at the worst, can only have brought this inevitable result [of West Indian ruin] a little nearer; taken at the best, it may have laid the foundation of a new and more solid edifice of colonial prosperity (Merivale 1967:91). New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006):163-189
164 DANIEL ROO D S uch shortcomings, however, he did not wish interpreted as reasons for ending the colonial project altogether. On the contrary, the recent attentions, critical and otherwise, lavished upon the British colonies had provided an opportunity for the fulfillment of the empires universal promise, and the experimental nature of slave emancipation meant that the West Indian territories required British patronage more than ever. For, Merivale was not a believer in the categorical superiority of free labor. Nor did he believe that the unimpeded operations of the market would eventually lead to the extinction of the empires peculiar institution. Influenced by the population-driven arguments of Malthus and E dward Gibbon Wakefield, Merivale believed that the development of a slave economy had been a rational, capitalistic response to plentiful lands and scarce labor in the Americas, and that tropical plantation agriculture was most effi ciently conducted on the basis of slave, not free labor. T hus the emancipation of half a million enslaved people represented a historically unprecedented act of economic self-abnegation and a mighty experiment in human affairs, to the great credit of the British people (Merivale 1967:91, 306-8; Goveia 1980:14043; Drescher 2002:59-161). T he transition from slave to free labor in the West Indies was therefore an event of world-historical import. Upon its success or failure hinged the future of millions of other bonded people, from the Niger Delta to R ussia, and from the Ottoman domains to the sugar plantations of Bahia. S uch was the urgent objective animating Merivales lectures. T he fact that there was no immediate economic motivation to spur the transition to a free labor economy in the West Indies, however, meant that metropolitan oversight was more pivotal than ever in the life of the colonies. He thus asks that his listeners contemplate a reconstruction and great extension of the British dominion beyond the seas, on principles of internal self-government and commercial freedom (Merivale 1967:vi). Wise and prudent political control from the metropole would prove indispensable to the founding of communities that might possess the more valuable characteristics of advanced and well-regulated societies (Merivale 1967:vii). T hese characteristics would include liberalized trade, free wage labor, agricultural exports, and the perpetuation of the plantation complex, all combined with increased political control for colonial elites. With these reforms, Merivale (1967:159) promised a glimmering future: that empires as vast and wealthy still remain to be founded, and new branches of com merce as extensive and as prosperous to be created. T he opening of a vast confederacy of trade would open new territory of employment for the capital and labor struggling in increasingly crowded conditions on the British Isles. In other words, it would be the expansion of colonial possessions that would safeguard the beneficial operations of the free market. In his desire to incor porate the axioms of classical political economy into the continued expansion of the British E mpire, Merivales writings express succinctly the ideology of free trade imperialism which would guide colonial policy after about 1840
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 165 in C aribbean, African, and Asian colonies ( S emmel 1970), 3 and marked the reformed empires departure from the second British E mpire. T he second British E mpire, argues C .A. Bayly, arose in the context of a worldwide crisis between 1780 and 1800. 4 During this time of global upheaval, anticolonial nationalism in the Americas, S outh Asia, and the Near E ast, Jacobinism and peasant insurgency in Western E urope, and slave rebel lion in the C aribbean merged into a single, overwhelming threat to elements of the British ruling class. In response, big landowners, financiers, C hurch, and C rown formed a profoundly reactionary alliance to salvage imperial glory. T his reaction featured proconsular despotisms, militant Anglicanism, and viru lent new forms of racism to shore up elite rule throughout the imperial world. Furthermore, Bayly points out, the second British E mpire, known for its world wide hegemony and commercial dominance, was primarily motivated not by the desire to impose free trade conditions on an unwilling world, but by an ide ology of agrarian improvement that valorized a stereotype of the feudal manor as the model, and the end, of financial striving ( C ain & Hopkins 1986:504-5; Bayly 1989:81). T he re-creation of an idealized feudal past, ironically, would be considered a centerpiece of the same British E mpire that was spearheading industrialization in the mid-nineteenth-century world. Big L ondon financiers and industrialists who shared in this cultural mlange looked admiringly upon the West Indian slaveholders who most closely approximated the enviable combination of lordly status and bourgeois economic dynamism that elites of the second E mpire hoped to obtain for themselves ( C ain & Hopkins 1986:505, 508). Bayly observes the decline of this imperial style after 1830, and its replacement by the abolitionist, paternalistic, free trade, and self-government ideals of the reformed empire of free trade. Merivales lectures have been used as evidence of the break between these two sharply opposed discourses and practices of imperialism. In this piece, however, I argue that Merivales immersion in, and use of Black L egend nar rative forms positions him more ambiguously on the cusp of the old and 3 S emmel uses the term free trade imperialism to combat the idea, common in the his toriography of the 1960s, that there had ever been a mid-Victorian anti-imperialism based on free trade ideology. Free trade ideology was, on the contrary, the means to maintaining E nglands status as the Workshop of the World with the peripheries of a formal and infor mal empire relegated to the production of raw materials for the benefit of E ngland. I am less concerned with exposing the ulterior motives behind British free trade ideology, and more with understanding how theories of economic and political liberalism were articulated to colonial domination in the mid-nineteenth century, and the tensions that accompanied it. For a more recent elaboration of the relationship between liberal economics and Western hege mony, see E scobar 1995 and Davis 2001, but also Meek 1976. And for the links between liberal political theory and colonial rule, see Mehta 1999. 4 For other analyses of the second British E mpire, which periodize and conceptualize it quite differently, see Halstead 1983 and Harlow 1952-1964.
166 DANIEL ROO D the new imperial ideology. Merivale depended on themes of S panish cru elty, laziness, and incompetence for two intertwined and contradictory pur poses. On the one hand, he mobilized a Black L egend way of thinking 5 to sketch a caricature of the second British E mpire, thereby justifying sweeping reforms of imperial policy. As an influential Oxford political economist, and later undersecretary for the colonies of the British E mpire, Merivales deploy ment of Black L egend themes was crucial to the successful propagation of the free trade imperialism of the reformed British E mpire. On the other hand, his adoption of Black L egend discourse affiliated Merivales proposed reforms closely with the most characteristic aspects of the second E mpire. T his affin ity compromised the liberalism, reformism, and modernity to which Merivale staked a claim. We are thus confronted with the necessity of rethinking how Merivale has been located historically, and by extension, how we understand the constellation of ideas characterizing British imperial policy between approximately 1840 and 1900; the era of free trade imperialism. S ignificantly, the opening salvo of Merivales famous series of lectures consists in a recounting of the history of S panish colonial rule. He employed this history didactically, suggesting that it held important lessons for his con temporaries. Merivales observations in these opening passages, and elsewhere throughout the Lectures resonate with the critiques of S panish colonialism known collectively as the Black L egend, inaugurated by Bartolom de L as C asass Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies T he curses of the old S panish friar echo throughout Merivales lectures on the history of S panish colonialism, in which he condemns the Other imperialism for its laziness, its cruelty, and more than anything else, its strict mercantilist policies. 6 T he accounts L as C asas offered to the world were later utilized by S pains E nglish, French, and Dutch rivals to concoct the Black L egend. S pains com petitors used the Black L egend to describe the other imperialism, which both shed a forgiving light on their own activities and justified belligerent conduct toward S pains colonial possessions. T ales of S panish brutality, cor ruption, imperiousness, laziness, decadence, and uncontrolled sexuality cir culated among the Atlantic empires of the early modern and modern periods, giving credence and a humanitarian veneer to imperial projects according to the distance they could put between themselves and S panishness. 7 Popish or R omish conspiracy theory, and above all, racial theories associating 5 For an explanation of what is meant by thinking in a certain kind of way, see BenitezR ojo 1992:158. 6 For a comparison to the roles played by Other empires (aside from the S panish) in the constitution of British imperial identity in the nineteenth century, see T urhan 2003 and Bayly 1989:51-62. 7 Keen 1969, Gibson 1971, Maltby 1971, Martnez 1991, Garca Crcel 1992, DeGuzmn 2005.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 167 S paniards with the taint of Arab, Jewish, African, and Indian blood added color to these stories. On the other hand, the Black L egend was used as anti-imperial morality play, and not only, as some scholars have suggested, as disingenuous ad hoc justification for encroachment on S panish posses sions. Whether used as the foil for imperialist or anti-imperialist arguments, the Black L egend has figured significantly in the formation of national and imperial variants of E uropean identity, the British in particular. 8 As an heir of the vibrant Black L egend strains of British imperial thought, Merivale can be thought of as a descendant of the tradition of Caribbean thought initiated by L as C asas. 9 In this piece, I argue that the rhetorical power and the common sense of the doctrine of free trade imperialism relied upon a reinvigoration and reformulation of the Black L egend, a narrative that was built upon the ruins of Las Casass utopian visions of an American New Jerusalem. I will argue that not only the introductory lecture, but Merivales formulations of free trade imperialism as a whole were deeply indebted to the Black L egend tradition based upon the writings of L as C asas. My paper will make a contribution to the genealogy of ideas which under girded Britains liberal empire of free trade after 1840. T his reinterpretation intervenes in a number of important debates. First of all, it complicates the idea of a sharp break between the second and liberal British empires and instead suggests that the second E mpire analyzed so well by C .A. Bayly continues in altered form, and gets articulated to industrial, not just gentlemanly or com mercial capitalism. S econd, scholarly engagement with the Black L egend has focused on S pain, often measuring the legends degree of truth or untruth as a description of S panish imperial policy, or its role in renaissance-era interimpe rial quarrels. 10 T his paper, however, deals with the role of the Black L egend in the ideological construction of the mid-nineteenth-century British E mpire. Furthermore, my essay highlights the interimperial character of intellec tual exchanges that characterized the Atlantic World, challenging a number of recent works that seek to parse Atlantic history back into Dutch, British, Iberian, and Black Atlantic Worlds, to give but a few examples (Gilroy 1993, 8 DeGuzmn (2005) marshals an imaginative and rigorous analysis of nineteenth-cen tury U.S. literature to uncover the prominent, but oft-forgotten role of the off-white S paniard in the construction of Anglo-American imperial identity. 9 T hus it is a set of tropes which has been constantly reproduced, elaborated upon, and creatively re-written. Its very multiplicity suggests its continued efficacy as an imperial trope, but also makes the tracing of its genealogy difficult. See Maltby 1971 and Keen 1969 for some admirable efforts (DeGuzmn 2005:4-5, 27). 10. Keen 1969, Hanke 1971, Martnez 1991, Garca Crcel 1992. Historians of Latin America remain on guard against the efforts of some scholars to relight the once sputter ing embers of the Black L egend (Nesvig 2005:538).
168 DANIEL ROO D C anny 1999, Armitage & Braddick 2002). 11 As Mara DeGuzmn (2005:4-5, 27) perceptively observes, the Black L egend is a fragmented ... story that is contagious and keeps migrating from country, to text, to author, to critic, and so on. T he interimperial travels of the Black L egend, and its continu ing transformation by way of these sojourns, argues against the re-parsing of Atlantic history back into separate imperial histories, which it threatens to do at present. T his paper links the early S panish conquest explicitly to nineteenth-century Anglo-colonial formations of modern knowledge/power. It is this cross-pollination and his comparison among empires that makes free trade imperialism thinkable for Merivale. In fact, he is unable to formulate his philosophy of colonialism without maki n g recourse to other empires and their interactions with the British. Why does the trope of the Black Legend could still make so much sense in the 1840s? The answer lies partly in the recent past of the second British E mpire. Merivale was able to mobilize Black L egend discourse to mark out a break and justify the liberal, free trade empire because the second British E mpire was so amenable to such analogy. T he Black L egend retained its cur rency in the age of the twilight of the second Empire because it provided a still-effective tool for prying open a discursive space that helped the constel lation of values known as free trade imperialism make sense in opposition to the backwards imperialism of the second British E mpire. T he latter was a strawman injected with life, it turns out, by the hated tyranny and laugh able inefficiency of the Spanish Empire of Black Legend infamy. I thus go beyond arguments about the truth or falsehood of, or ulterior motives behind, the Black Legend propagated by English, French, and Dutch intellectuals throughout the early modern and modern Atlantic worlds. T he Black L egend was more assiduously at work in the formulation of British imperial policy and identity than has previously been imagined. At the same time, I explore the ways in which Merivale transformed what he inherited for different uses in a much different era. By importing Black L egend thinking into the logic of political economy, Merivale rewrote it as a story of inefficiency, mismanagement of workers/natives/slaves, the follies of monopoly, and other themes more germane to political economists and parliamentarians of the 1840s. It is no accident that Merivale felt the need to deal at length with the Spanish Empire. The Black Legend was an espe cially significant tool for Merivale during this period because he knew that the most direct challenge to the mighty experiment of slave emancipation 11. S ee also The Atlantic World: America and the Netherlands at http://international.loc. gov/intldl/awkbhtml/awkbhome.html and Rethinking the Iberian Atlantic at http://www. liv.ac.uk/iberianatlantic/; for a compelling exploration of the complexity and hybridity of Atlantic intellectual history, see BenitezR ojo 1992:16-17 and Maurer 2002.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 169 came from the specter of flourishing Ibero-American slave economies: C uba, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. The continued economic success of these Iberian colonies raised the hoary specter of fabulous wealth produced by liberalized trade that was uncoupled from human freedom. T hus the Black L egend dur ing the era of emancipation takes on the guise, more than anything else, of C uba, threatening to undo the entire E nlightenment project. In Part One I will show the ways in which Merivales history of the S panish Empire was informed by Black Legend discourse. Part T wo explores more deeply the colonial theories of Merivale, emphasizing the degree to which they were shot through with Black Legend themes. Part T wo also offers an exploration of some overlooked aspects of the L ascasian Black L egend, and how it put its imprint on Merivales propositions for colonial reform. In the conclusion I follow Merivales updating of the Black Legend to his day. He ends with a discussion of C uba, and this discussion highlights the paradoxi cal nature of Merivales position. His handling of his days Black Legend foreshadows the trajectory of the British E mpire in the late Victorian era.PA RT ONE: HE R MAN ME R IVALES BLA C K LE G EN DMerivales first lecture recounts in detail the history of S panish colonialism in the Americas. He begins there because the Iberian colonial project was to provide the context in which his succeeding lectures, those laying out the relationships among colonial rule, free trade, profitability, and the civilization of primitive races, were to be understood. His understanding of the S panish E mpire and E uropean colonialism in general was deeply informed by Black L egend thinking on the subject of the S panish E mpire in the New World. It would be unfair, however, to accuse Merivale of parroting the worn stereotypes of oversexed and indolent S panish conquistadors. In the body of the first lecture, he reviews the peculiar virtues and vices of the conquista dors, but warns that they have loomed larger in historical memory than their actual influence merits. Their adventures, while epic in proportion, were in fact short-lived, and did not overwhelmingly shape the subsequent course of Spanish colonialism: After their era came that of the peaceful colonist, Merivale (1967:4) points out, whose slow labours founded and consolidated the dominion of the New World. He is also generous in his evaluation of the S panish legal code, which provided for less barbaric treatment of slaves than in British domains, and is complimentary regarding the S paniards protection of Indian communities. On the other hand, he does run down the classic list of the Black L egend. T he distribution of political power was horribly unjust, with all authority concentrated in the hands of S paniards, who themselves labored under a sys
170 DANIEL ROO D tem of colonial government so labyrinthine that it proved impossible to carry into effect any scheme for the amelioration of society (Merivale 1967:11). T he most egregious of the institutional failures, though, was that of the C hurch. T he clergy, left to their own devices in the tropical environment, were notoriously lazy and corrupt and sunk in the utmost sloth and prof ligacy ( Merivale 1967 :14). T he torpid lexicon of the Black L egend fills Merivales lecture on the history of the S panish E mpire, as can be seen in his damning depiction of the New World C hurch. Its decadent state was not reached merely though fault of the clergy, however. T he tropical environ ment was a determining factor, and when combined with the oppressive and tyrannical institutions imported from the mother country, led to new lows. 12 While Merivale concedes that the Inquisition was not as brutal or total as it was in Iberia, he proposes that this owed to the general languor which pervaded all things in those regions of indolence ( Merivale 1967 : 14). Under these condi tions, the degeneracy of the C reole race ... was rapid. Instead of civilizing indigenous peoples, as colonial justification demanded, colonists were reduced almost to the level of the Indians themselves. T he courage of the C astilian disappeared, he forgot the use of arms, and when facing other E uropean interlopers, he was almost as powerless and terrified as the Indians them selves ( Merivale 1967 : 14). C owardice in battle, here described, was another entry on the list of the classic Black L egend. It is for the economic policies of the S panish colonial system, however, that Merivale reserves his ire. T he commercial policy of the S panish government towards its continental colonies, he declares, exhibits as perfect a monu ment of systematic tyranny as any age has produced ( Merivale 1967 :8). All imports and exports flowed through the single port of S eville, for the benefit of a small cadre of C rown-affiliated merchants, and as a result, the colonies were never adequately supplied with the goods or currency they required. Because Merivale delivered his lectures in the midst of the emancipa tionist maelstrom of the late 1830s, his discussion of labor aspects of politi cal economy is particularly freighted. Modes of recruiting and disciplining labor are of immense concern to Merivale, and his views are shaped by the Black L egend. T he instatement of a system of rural free wage labor (ensured by coerced importation of non-White labor) forms the centerpiece of hopes for Merivales liberal empire in the West Indies. Thus the peccadilloes of Spanish practices of enslavement, gleaned from the eyewitness accounts of Las Casas and others, play a major role in his first lecture. While coercion 12. T his environmental understanding of racial characteristics was much more important than a gestating, but still less influential biological racism that would arise in the second half of the nineteenth century (Drescher 2002: 73-87, Graham 1990). For another analysis of environmental determinism of racial characteristics within the Spanish Empire, see S armiento 1960:1-23.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 171 is still very much a part of Merivales colonial reform program, slavery itself is quarantined, understood as inefficient, de-civilizing, and illiberal, and attracting much blame for the other perceived failures of the Spanish (and old British) empires. E nslavement is both first cause and ugly conse quence of imperial inadequacy. Native Americans were driven in herds to the mines, forced to supply by their numbers the total want of skill and of capital under which their masters laboured, and their lives were wasted with the same reckless profusion with which the colonist of modern times wastes the powers which are placed at his dis posal the wild animals of the forest and the resources of a virgin soil. (Merivale 1967:5) Merivale thus criticizes the practices of British colonial elites by way of anal ogy with the loathed Spanish. The regime of labor was also foundational in the construction of the Lascasian Black Legend. In fact, enslavement func tions as an Ur-moment of the European conquest of the Americas in Las C asass text. T he first chapter of his account of the destruction of the Indies begins like this: As we have said, the island of Hispaniola was the first to witness the arrival of Europeans and the first to suffer the wholesale slaughter of its people and the devastation and depopulation of the land. It all began with the E uropeans taking native women and children ... as servants. ( L as C asas 2004:14) He insists that, of all the brutality, torture, and savagery introduced by the S paniards into the province of Nicaragua, the most insidious pestilence ... was the system whereby [officers] granted licenses to S paniards to demand slaves from native caciques and nobles ( L as C asas:40). Both thinkers exhibit an ambivalent sense of the relationships between slavery and civilization: for L as C asas, abolition of Indian slavery paired with the importation of African slaves would help to save/create a C hristian utopia. For Merivale, the aboli tion of outright slavery coupled with the forced importation of coolies and expropriation of arable lands from freed people could be used to salvage the Hobbesian, free-market society he sought to bring into being. In Merivales history, mines themselves were partly to blame for the troubled status of the Spanish colonial world. He points out that Indians were slightly better off in areas without silver and gold, although their treat ment was no gentler (Merivale 1967:5). It is an integral aspect of the Black Legend that the plentiful precious metals controlled by the Spanish actually worked against them: with such easily gotten riches, there was little incentive to engage in improvement. Instead of developing dynamic, wealth-pro ducing societies, the Spanish were seduced by the booty capitalism of pre cious metal acquisition. With Indians forced down into the mines, digging up
172 DANIEL ROO D unheard-of riches in silver and gold, S panish colonists had little to do except coerce native labor and expand their personal holdings. 13 A curious addition that Merivale makes to his Black Legend of political economy is his attributing to the combination of abundant precious metals and despotic governmental regulation the unusual propensity of S panish set tlers to gather in towns and cities:T he tendency was increased by the indolent habits of families, whose sub sistence was amply provided for by the labour of others, and which had little temptation to accumulate wealth and embark in profitable undertak ings, hemmed in and oppressed as they were by the jealous policy of their rulers. In this way the government may be said to have collected the people together artificially in towns. (Merivale 1967:8)This kind of social engineering (artificially), and population resettlement is not to be commended, although other approaches to the states wielding of bio-power (Foucault 1990:140-44) form the centerpiece of Merivales hopes for postemancipation colonial societies. The interesting result of this artifi cial and indolent growth of cities is the development of a sprawling outlay of mutually isolated towns, each provided for by its respective countryside and having little intercourse with the outside world: T hus each community dwelt apart, divided at once by natural and artificial barriers; and generation after generation remained as utterly ignorant and reckless of the fortunes of the neighbouring settlements, as of those of the most distant countries of Europe (Merivale 1967:8). Merivale adds another element to his Black Legend of political economy. Classical political economy, which really developed as a set of prescriptions for national economies, emphasized the integration of national markets by the linking of country to city and city to city. Both linkages are necessary to create a market system with consistent prices, a flexible labor supply, and a supply and demand equilibrium. Thus the mutual isolation of cities, and the lack of communications between each S panish American city and its hinterland, functions as negative example. 13. Once again Adam S mith is Merivales source for the construction of his Black L egend of political economy. He cites Smith (for the third time in ten pages) as arguing that S pain and Portugal were manufacturing countries before they had any considerable colo nies. Since they had the richest and most fertile in the world, they have ceased to be so (Smith 1863, Book 4, pp. 249-89, cited in Merivale 1967:9-10). Thus colonial windfalls deindustrialized S pain. T his statement should not, however, be interpreted as representing S miths vaunted anticolonial outlook. According to S emmel (1970), S mith was critical of mercantilism, not colonization per se, and cannot rightfully be deployed as a figurehead of the anticolonial disposition of free traders.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 173 T his lamentable state of affairs shifted in the late eighteenth century. Not surprisingly, the reform of the Black L egend empire began with changes in political economy: T he lightening of commercial restrictions, as usual, pre ceded and introduced every other improvement (Merivale 1967:15). T o their credit, the enlightened Bourbon kings loosened the prohibitive trade regu lations. But they were not to be the heroes of Merivales free trade morality play, for the measures they adopted were forced upon them by the progress of events. T he epochal shift in S panish commercial policy was the work not of enlightened monarchs, but of the British smuggler, whose contraband trade to the S panish possessions drained untold riches from royal coffers, leaving the C rown with little alternative but to open trade, at least moderately. T he British smuggler, then, instituted liberalization by the force of his own eco nomic self-interest (an invisible hand operating on the margins of legality). S imultaneously ... the industry and social condition of the colonies had made a sudden and almost unparalleled advance (Merivale 1967:17). E ven with these wondrous revolutions in economic performance howev e r, Merivale portrays a fabulously rich Mexican oligarchy that nevertheless pro duced no new wealth. Again the labels of the Black L egend are pasted upon C reoles who failed to produce dynamic economies both through their own weakness (the spirit of speculation in mining ... made them the constant prey of needy adventurers) and through their cupidity (the habit of extravagant and ill-regulated establishments ... [and] the prevalence of gambling). But the final burden is always placed at the doorstep of the wretched poli c y of government which earned the wrath of colonial elites by closing in their faces the doors to political power, self-determination, and true wealth by depriving them of education, employment [and] importance in their native country (Merivale 1967:26). T he violence with which peninsulares and C reoles went after each other in the years after 1810, then, comes as no surprise to Merivale. T he S panish have only themselves to blame for the loss of their colonies had they been willing to share power, and above all ... abolish the ancient system of [commercial] restriction ... S pain might have given another turn to the des tinies of the new world, and laid the foundations of an order of things essen tially different from any which has yet existed (Merivale 1967:29). T his new chapter in the Black L egend of S panish incompetence as a colo nial power, composed by Merivale, reduces the drawn-out, complicated con flicts for the emancipation of Spanish America from a struggle for freedom to a struggle for free trade. For, Merivale (1967:32) concludes, tyranny ... falls heavily only on the few, and is often endured for a long time through the acquiescence of the many. But the species of oppres sion which is produced by the spirit of monopoly, and affects the comforts and subsistence of the multitude, fosters that deep-seated discontent which needs but occasion and incitement to overthrow the strongest institution.
174 DANIEL ROO D Thus the Spanish Empires worst offense was its failure to follow the pre cepts of liberal political economy. T he moral of the story from Merivales perspective, is, I propose, twofold. First, he suggests that the opening of South America to British capital and industry is Spains own fault. In this Merivale is merely bringing up to date the use of the Black Legend to justify English encroachment on formerly S panish possessions. T he other lesson a much more significant one for our purposes is that England needs to share political power with colonial sub jects ... we could read this admonishment to the S panish as being a program for the British: by abolishing the ancient system of restriction, and adopting a comprehensive and liberal scheme of commercial government we might be able to maintain our empire. Merivale has rewritten the Black Legend, transposing it to political economy to justify a shift to free trade imperialism and link the latter with free labor and continued colonial rule.PA RT TWO: UT OPIAS DEFE RR E D: SO C IAL EN G INEE R IN G, SO C IAL ORD E R, AN D ST A T ES OF NA T U R EIn this section I will highlight some often overlooked aspects of the L ascasian Black Legend and show how its logic shaped Merivales political economy. Utopian rhetorics tie them together. The historical evolution of Caribbean societies has long evoked for Caribbean thinkers the image of a utopia, or no-place. 14 With the extirpation of indigenous populations, the Caribbean became an empty space/sign, a virgin territory, a tabula rasa ripe for inscriptions of meaning, and amenable to ambitious, indeed unprecedented, projects of social engineering. Going further back in time, the E uropean radi cal/socialist/utopian traditions of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries owe much to the C aribbean, which often provided the setting used to person ify utopia, and by extension to critique the absolutist, or catholic, or capitalist status quo in Europe. In this way, Gordon Lewis believes, the Antillean 14. Patterson 1969, Mintz 1971, L ewis 1983, T rouillot 1995. According to T rouillot, postrevolutionary St. Domingue was a no-place for the West. The West possessed no nar rative tropes, no cognitive structures to absorb an event as radical and unexpected as the Haitian R evolution. T herefore the West was faced with a failure of categories, and, bar ring the creation of new categories, had no language with which to speak the R evolution. The ontological crisis produced by the slaves revolution was resolved, simply enough, by the silencing [of] the [revolutionary] past. I am hesitant to accept T rouillots decla ration that Western thought simply refused entry to the troubling realities of the Haitian R evolution. I think that a more productive question would be to ask how the Western order of things was affected, uprooted, pushed, pulled, and contorted by the Haitian R evolution ( T rouillot 1995:88, 106).
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 175 reality became the raw material for the construction of the E uropean radical dream ( L ewis 1983:86). At the same time, C aribbean and mainland American colonies facilitated the growth of utopian visions advocating capitalism and the modern state. T he utopianism of classical political economy and political theory was inspired by the possibilities of state power having complete sway in colonies. 15 In fact, some scholars have argued that the institutional and ideological appara tuses characteristic of the E uropean nation-state originated as a set of instru ments for imperial administration. These scholars propose that the colony be understood as a specie of political space where more intrusive forms of government action have been possible, as a laboratory enabling ambitious experimentation in new technologies of governance (Bayly 1989:123-24). 16S uch fantasies of colonial possibility have Iberian roots ( S ilverblatt 2004). Before the colonial projects of the other E uropean powers, the Inquisition in the Americas taught the S panish C rown that it could consolidate colonial state power in ways that would have been unthinkable in E urope ( S ilverblatt 2004:4). In particular, inquisitors hoped to strip away all illusory social bonds to reach the essential truth of race and descent, thus embroidering race thinking into the fabric of state power at the outset. E uropean state-making can be tracked ultimately to sixteenth-century Iberian colonies in the Americas. It was here that the dance of bureaucracy and race characterizing operations of modern state power was first traced out ( S ilverblatt 2004:4, 23). It was not merely the Inquisition that helped give rise to modern state power, however. I would like to suggest that it was also the critique of the Inquisition and the other characteristics of Iberian colonial rule that were linked to it by way of the Black Legend that gave meaning to the imperial and state-building projects of the other European powers. The Iberian colo nial project should be seen as an enabling condition in the rise of a E uropeancentered era of modernity defined by the intersection of various reasons of state: bureaucratic rationality, race thinking, and capital accumulation. T he utopian thrust of modern state projects (the fateful intersection of liberal 15. Karl Polanyi has observed the strong utopian elements in classical political economy. As a perfect, self-regulating system of markets, governed only by its immanent rationality and the human nature of utility-maximizing individuals, the world envisioned by such thinkers as Mandeville, Mill, Malthus, and S mith resembles what Polanyi aptly described as a stark utopia: a world where the exigencies of hunger and cold would make redun dant the political and social lives of real people. He also points out that, historically, it has required statecraft and repression to impose the logic of the market and its attendant risks on ordinary people, who have ... acted to protect themselves from the vagaries of the market. T hus laissez-faire was planned; planning was not (Polanyi 2001:135). 16. As William Beinart (1989:144) notes, in the authoritarian environment of the colo nial world, officials could have more influence than in Britain where private landowners were more powerful in relation to the state.
176 DANIEL ROO D political economy and imperial glory) must also trace its genealogy ultimate l y to the Iberian conquests (and commentary about them) in the C aribbean and the rest of the New World (Mignolo 2000:50; S ilverblatt 2004:4, 23). Indeed, the utopian projects associated with the C aribbean began with L as C asas on Hispaniola. C onvinced that he was in the presence of a prelapsarian people, L as C asas undertook the conversion of the Indians with the weight of Biblical prophecy on his shoulders. His concern for the Indians well-being and C hristianization was not rooted only in what scholars have identified as his medieval humanism, although his outrage was certainly inflamed by the tremendous suffering and cruelty he witnessed. He was motivated by the possibility that a new C hristian civilization could be cultivated among the innocent people of a new world the kind of world no longer possible in E urope. L as C asass self-fashioning as a trustee for Indian peoples, and his complaints about the excesses of the conquistador and the encomendero were rooted in his utopian vision for the New World, as was his early support for the African slave trade. His initial recommendation to import African slaves as substitutes for Indian ones is indeed hypocrisy, but it is also much more. L as C asass advocacy of the slave trade was grounded in his utopian dreams for the New World. Because Africans were considered by S panish thinkers of the time to be implicated in the violent late-medieval and early modern worlds of Muslim conquest, the C rusades, and the Reconquista they could not be cat egorized as innocents people who had not heard the C hristian Word. On the contrary, in the minds of Reconquista intellectuals, Africans had been offered salvation, and flatly refused it (Hiskett 1984:202-6; R obinson 2000:88-89). T hus Africans, unlike Indians, could be justly enslaved, and for L as C asas did not require the same care because they did not hold the same promise as obedient, faithful, and unsullied protoC hristians. T hrough the importation of Africans, who were more polluted by sin than E uropean C hristians, he could appease the conquistadors clamoring for laborers and save the Indians from destruction, thus shepherding his flock to safe pastures. Indians, in stark opposition to fallen Africans, made L as C asas positive l y rapturous. T he austere simplicity of their lives evoked comparisons to the Desert Fathers of the Old T estament ( L as C asas 2004:10). L as C asas repeat edly refers to them as gentle lambs or like sheep ... waiting patiently to be slaughtered. Hoping to convince the King to intervene on behalf of native Americans, L as C asas (2004:11, 46) adopted language that the New T estament uses to describe Jesus C hrist. T heir innocent and pure natures made them the ideal object of proselytizing efforts, for they were open ... as can be imag ined, unassuming, long-suffering, unassertive and submissive ( L as C asas 2004:9-10). In L as C asas gruesome narrative, his crushed utopian hopes for a New Jerusalem were shockingly embodied in the battered, burned, diseased, and crucified figure of the noble savage of America.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 177 Interestingly, the well-organized social order that existed among C aribbean Indians was as enticing and promising to L as C asas as the primitive C hristianity he discovered among these Americans. L as C asas looked at the New World and saw large towns, dense populations, and fecund nature. Unlike other early observers ( C olumbus, C orts, and others), however, who focused on the plen tiful gold and silver circulating among different Indian groups, it was the hier archical order of C aribbean (and later, mainland American) societies which really made the S panish friar blush with pleasure. He missed no opportunities to emphasize the finely articulated and robust status hierarchies into which American kingdoms were organized. L as C asas wrote effusively of the kingdom of Xaragu, which the conquistadors encountered on Hispaniola. While the common folk of the kingdom were utterly faithful and obedi ent to their own native lords, the nobles of the kingdom displayed refined language and cultivated court discourse. Indeed, nowhere else were the people of such quality and breeding, the leading families as numerous and as liberal ... nor the inhabitants as handsome ( L as C asas 2004:21). In the Aztec empire, Las Casas and his companions encountered yet greater nobility. He writes that local citizens entertained their imprisoned lord by dancing for him. What Las Casas chose to report of this impressive areito is significant: T he entertainments were organized with close attention to rank and station, the noblest of the citizens dancing nearest the building where their lord was being held. Close by this building, then, danced over two thousand youths of quality, the flower of the nobility of Montezumas whole empire. ( L as C asas 2004:50)Explicit concern for the destruction of nobility, and the social hierarchy as a whole, is repeated throughout Las Casass narrative. Witnessing the enslavement of Indians in Guatemala, his indignation is most aroused by the thoughtless humbling of nobility: I myself saw the son of one of the leading citizens of the city branded with His Majestys mark as a common slave ( L as C asas 2004:61). Conquistadors upsetting of natural social hierarchy was not limited to indigenous social classes. Las Casas evinces well-known concern for the terrible conditions under which Indians were forced to work in mines, but the gendered aspect of his accounts are important. He reports a situation in which gold-hungry Spaniards put the women to labour in the fields ... properly a task only for the toughest and strongest of men. He reacts with indignation to the treatment of women and men as equals: the men died down the mines from overwork and starvation, and the same was true of the women who perished out on the estates ( L as C asas 2004:24).
178 DANIEL ROO D Finally, his concern for social order colors his judgments of his own countrymen. In fact, the raison dtre of L as C asass famous book the mis treatment and murder of native Americans is refracted through the prism of social status-as-divine order. The reason the Christians have murdered on such a vast scale, he reports, is purely and simply greed. T hey have set out to line their pockets with gold and to amass private fortunes ... so that they can then assume a status quite at odds with that into which they were born ( L as C asas 2004:13). The repetition of these themes in the Brief Account could be interpreted as a stratagem to convince the C rown that Indian societies would make great contributions to the Crown as they were, and that the conquistadors should be stripped of their power and removed at once, for they were only destroy ing an already glorious, wealthy, and pious addition to the expanding empire. Others have argued that L as C asas was simply a man of his time. Anthony Pagden tags Las Casas as a social conservative committed to ideals of divinely ordained kingship, and orderly, hierarchical structures with nobility and clergy in leadership roles (Pagden 2004:xiv). But it seems apparent that the upsetting of social order, the reduction of leading citizens to slaves attracts comment more than the infinite number of atrocities L as C asas claims not to have had the time to include in his account. T he question remains: why do these episodes in particular wield instructive power in his mind? L as C asas, unlike other social engineers who followed, did not desire to create a virgin territory upon the bones of indigenous people. T o the contrary, L as C asas argued that a just government must accommodate itself to the peculiar conditions and the disposition of the governed; the new pos sessions are not a tabula rasa upon which S pain may imprint its own reli gious and cultural character ( L ewis 1983:53). T he New Jerusalem L as C asas hoped to culture in the New World would be built upon the political and social foundations of the indigenous people. At the same time, the ambitious social engineering project of L as C asas (2004:87) called for social planning ... town planning, community organization of work, eugenics, state-sponsored arts and education. T hus Indian society, as a state of nature, was innocent, clean of sin, and ideal, but also required serious intervention to bring on the New Jerusalem, starting with mass religious indoctrination and conversion. Las Casas pairs his contentions about the Indians naturalness and inno cence with descriptions of their highly articulated class structure. The latter is precisely the characteristic upon which he focuses his utopian hopes. More important than the innocence, purity, or submissiveness of the Indians, was the existence of what later Caribbean thinkers would call a natural leader ship (e.g. Patterson 1969). The native elites upon whom the Crown and the Church could depend as indispensable mediators and forces of order in the Hispanicizing and Christianizing process would eventually fulfill the promise of a true community of believers on par with the Desert Fathers of
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 179 the Old T estament, or the sheep-like apostles of Christ in the New. That the S paniards colonization policy has been above all committed to suppressing the native leaders ( L as C asas 2004:13), only proves the necessity of ending the rule of the conquistadors. Their greed and ambition pollute the eschato logical air of the new world. The dialectic between seeing utopia as natural and as the outcome of social planning suffuses the utopian tradition. 17 The particularly colonial aspect, I propose, lies in the concern with cultivating a natural leadership or native elite. T he projects of L as C asas stand as an early example and are taken up by Merivale. T he trope of a utopia deferred (by the destruction of the native elite) formed one of the sturdier pillars in L as C asass anti-con quistador edifice, constituting a particularly cogent argument. As such, the tragic trope of the destruction of a racialized natural leadership became an important part of the Black L egend narrative and was available to Merivale, who used it to great effect. 18I do not propose that Merivale was directly in thrall of L ascasian embel lishment such an unmediated relationship to L as C asas was neither necessary nor possible in nineteenth-century E ngland. T he legend had by then seeped into E nglish thinking and become endemic to national culture in a variety of ways (Maltby 1971). In fact, Merivale depends entirely on modern historical sources to build his account of the S panish E mpire, especially German histori ans like Alexander von Humboldt and L eopold von R anke. 19 R ather, this partic ular element of Black L egend discourse, because of the utopian projects of L as C asas, and two centuries of intellectual work that kept these ideals alive, was not only available, it confronted any kind of historical thinking on the Atlantic world, thus profoundly informing Merivales transposition of Black L egend 17. Neil Smith (1990) points out that the ideological naturalization of various socially constructed realms of human experience, Nature in particular, is a characteristic aspect of western colonizing logic. 18. David Scott (2004:168) suggests that the tragic mode of emplotment comports best with an era of postcolonial crisis in which old horizons have collapsed or evaporated and new ones have not yet taken shape ... [the tragedians, for C.L.R. James] wrote in ambiguous moments of historical crisis and transformation, when old certainties were coming apart, when old securities were disappearing, and their tragedies capture the para dox of conflicts that offer no guaranteed resolution. The appearance of tragic elements in Merivales story, seen from this perspective, certainly makes sense, considering the paradoxial nature of his attempts to write the transition from slavery to freedom within the conceptual confines of continued capital accumulation. 19. This direct dependence on German historians highlights the need to think across empires, nations, and national cultures that I have tried to emphasize here. T he connec tions between the genesis of the modern discipline of history, formulated by such scholars as Ranke and Humboldt, and the Black Legend of Spanish colonialism which these his torians in one way or another bequeathed to Merivale, would be an interesting project to pursue.
180 DANIEL ROO D thinking to the realm of political economy (in its colonial guise). In fact, the rationality of the Black L egend is tacit, enabling him to assume knowledge of its fine points by the reader. When beginning his historical account of S panish colonization, he explains that the miseries which that discovery entailed upon the defenceless inhabitants of America have been too often and too vividly described to need any recapitulation (Merivale 1967:5). 20 T his availability facilitated his criticism of the second E mpire, and his signal elaboration of free trade imperialism. Nevertheless, Merivales evaluations of the S panish E mpire are built upon L ascasian themes with remarkable exactness. The political administration of the Spaniards, in Merivales mind, had been an unmitigated disaster, with power ... exclusively in the hands of Spaniards. He proceeds to make the interesting point that while the same has been true in British colonies, these have a good reason for excluding colonials from the halls of power: within each colony reigned a democratic social structure which would be ruined by elevating certain members of that society to high official ranks, artificially creating an undemocratic elite by bestowing self-government upon West Indian Whites. In the Spanish colonies, on the other hand, there had been a landowning aristocracy and an otherwise ranked society that could easily have accommodated home rule adjustments while maintaining order. Alas, the chance was squandered, for efforts to improve Spanish colonial society were frustrated at every turn by overregulation (Merivale 1967:12). It is one of the worst features of the policy of Spain, he concludes, that having under its hand these elements of orderly and rational institutions, it systematically refused to employ them, and degraded and irritated the possessors of rank and wealth by excluding them from every public trust. C astigating the S panish C rown for its neglect and eventual alienation of its colonial Creole elite, Merivale echoes Las Casass desire to cultivate a natural leadership the instrument through which colonial utopias could be constructed. Merivales state/utopian fantasies are fueled by the promise of unhin dered power in the colonial world. Merivales defense of continued colonial rule is based upon a Malthusian image of E ngland as a container overflowing with capital and with people. What is more natural, he asked, than for those materials to flow into areas of less density? Merivale quotes E dmund Burke approvingly: It is as natural ... for people to flock into a busy and wealthy country, that by any accident may be thin of people, as it is for the dense air to rush into those parts which are rarified (Merivale 1967:138). Moreover, 20. Referring to an English book of 1660, Maltby (1971:132) points out that the Black Legend was by then so widely accepted that citation of authorities had become unneces sary, for the author was telling his readers what they already knew, and the millions of dead Indians required no more documentation than did the tyrannies of Alba or the instru ments of torture in the ships of the Armada.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 181 colonial settlement is central to E nglish identity, an instinct that inheres in almost all classes of society. Colonialism, then, is natural in two ways: as an instinct of the AngloS axon, and as a survival mechanism triggered by overpopulation (Merivale 1967:138). While portraying colonialism as the natural movement of Englishmen seeking land, labor, and employment for their capital, Merivale concedes that leaving nature to its own devices is not sufficient in the current, West Indian case. There is much more involved in the English colonial project than the self-regulating mechanisms determining the behavior of molecules under laboratory stimuli. 21 C ivilization itself is at stake: It is by the migration of barbarous tribes that the whole earth has been peo pled; by the colonizing genius of some more refined nations, that its civilisa tion, as far as that has hitherto proceeded, has been effected. E very recorded fact in the history of man seems to indicate these as the appointed means through which his social development takes place. (Merivale:138-39) Merivale presents a sweeping reading of world history that, by conflating crosscultural interaction with colonial rule, and positing colonization as the motor force of history, suggests that civilization itself depends upon the judicious use of colonial-style population control that will be employed to produce a natural society. Although one must concede that the utopia imagined by each of these two thinkers is distinct from the other ( L as C asass C hristian utopia opposes Merivales stark utopia of a marketized ruthless nature) the characteristic dia lectic of colonial utopia, initiated by L as C asas, reappears in Merivale. Let us take a look at how this sweeping view of history will be applied to postemancipation policy in the Caribbean. Merivale assumes that nonE uropean peoples only hope to stem their own decline and eventual extinc tion is through submission to the tutelage and the biogenetic intervention of Europeans. Merivale (1967:320) thus takes to task idealistic abolitionists who say, let the plantations rot! He warns them that a population of inde pendent Negro yeomen who lack the guiding hand and everyday influence of Europeans will slip inexorably back into the savage state of indolence and apathy so natural to their climate and condition (Merivale 1967:320). 22 21. Drescher (2002:88-89) points out the important role that experimental rhetoric played in the postemancipation debates. Figures all along the political spectrum mobilized this rhetoric, and its accompanying fetishization of statistics and empirical evidence, to for ward their arguments. However, see Poovey 1993, which traces the suspect status of the science of statistics in the 1830s. 22. In voicing these concerns, Merivale prefigures the Negrophobic authoritarianism of later writers such as C arlyle, T rollope (1859), and Froude (1888). T he differences between Merivale and these three slightly outweigh the similarities. T hese three are nostalgic both for the era of slavery and for strong rule by the Home Government, while Merivale sees both as evils to be eradicated, although, as I have suggested, problematically so. S ee Holt
182 DANIEL ROO D As of 1841, civilization in Jamaica was holding up despite the smallholder phenomenon, mostly because of the high wages produced by price regula tion on sugar. As a result, the negroes were spending lots of money on their love of luxury and display. The inflated wages associated with price supports on sugar helped maintain the bustle of commerce because the par ticular wants of the negro had been stimulated by the availability of com modities and his possession of cash. 23 T hese artificially high wages eventually had to decrease, however, because they were unnatural. According to Merivale, the survival of economies and societies in the long run depends upon their adherence to the natural laws of the market. Although Merivale considered price and wage supports inadvisable in the long term, the situation they had engendered among ex-slaves never theless illustrates the role that colonial policy would have to play in the con struction of a free market utopia in the colonial world necessa r y, because, in Merivales (1967:276) mind the inclination of men for the ease and indepen dence of pastoral, semi-savage life, a propensity which seems to overcome that of self-interest, even in the most enterprising and industrious races, undoubt edly places great obstacles in the way of civilization. 24 S o the cultivation of needs, and the accompanying willingness to labor for wages that leads to the accumulation of capital and the development of civilization as a whole must be enforced by concerted state action where land is plentiful. Once wages take their inevitable dive with the removal of artificial regulations, these acquired tastes [of freedpeople for consumer goods] will die away, from the utter impossibility of gratifying them. Each negro will be able to support himself in tolerable comfort; but, without the aid of capital, he cannot produce surplus wealth; without it, therefore, he must remain a stranger to both the wants and the refinements of civilization. T he example of Hayti is before our eyes. (Merivale 1967:320) 1992 on the transition to biological racism made necessary by the perceived failures of emancipation, and as a new way (in the absence of the de-civilizing effects of slavery) to explain continued backwardness in the West Indies. This explanation, tied not only to the conundra raised by the problem of freedom, but to the rise of social Darwinism and scientific racism, however, would not become a significant feature of the British intellectual scene until after the 1840s. The Jamaican planter Bryan Edwards, Cubas Arango y Parreo, Argentinas Sarmiento, and the English economist Edward Gibbon Wakefield offer more compelling comparisons to Merivale. The first group is also to be distinguished from the second in that the second tried to integrate L ockean political liber alism with the institution of slavery, while Carlyle and his epigones had no affection for democratic notions ( S armiento 1960; Benn 2004:19; Gomariz 2004). 23. For a compelling take on the cultivation and refinement of desire as an index of civi lization among political economists, see Moloney 2005:237-38. 24. With the benefit of hindsight, Merivale would realize the contradictory nature of this position. The contradiction between political liberalism and systematic colonization is discussed in his retrospective 1861 preface, p. vii.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 183 Haiti, the Black republic, the very negation of modern civilization ( T rouillot 1995) in Merivales mind awaits unless a way is found to return the pro portion of capital, land, and labor to its proper state. For followers of S mith and Malthus such as Merivale, the proper state was meant to suggest a situ ation in which the poor are competing over jobs because there is not enough land for them to support themselves on and too many laborers for them to demand unnaturally high wages. So how does Merivale plan to reinstate a natural equilibrium of land, labor, and capital in West Indian islands such as Jamaica and T rinidad? He advocates a kind of free trade authoritarianism in which laborers would be systematically imported, for their own good: we must not leave emigration to be wholly settled by the voluntary proceedings of individuals. E migrants of the lower orders are among those classes of subjects to whom all govern ments owe the exercise of a sort of protective authority (Merivale 1967:321). Not only will the emigrants, subjected to forced removal from their homes in the East Indies, Ceylon, Hindostan, and the southern United States somehow be objects of philanthropic uplift. Intelligent colonial policy will also save Afro-Jamaicans from the looming threat of atavism which drools eagerly over their peasant freeholds. It may go without saying that Merivale is not merely engaging in disinter ested humanitarian speculation here. His program is of universal importance. As a disciple of Malthus, Merivale realizes that continued economic develop ment and capital accumulation would become more and more difficult in an E ngland crowded with capital. C ontinued accumulation required the continual opening of new, fertile lands for the employment of such capital. Otherwise, diminishing returns on investment would soon bring the capitalist system as a whole to a standstill. 25 T hus, continual colonization and settlement is neces sary to the climb of E uropean civilization. But on each new frontier, the same problems will arise: a plethora of arable land will draw off any labor force, leaving enterprising men with no workers through which to produce surplus wealth. A dispersed colony of settlement, in the colonies with large exslave populations anyway, confronts us once again with the specter of Hayti. Without some mediating mechanism, capitalists would have to pay prohibi tively high wages to employ workers. T he plantation peripheries, supposedly well stocked with laborers furnishing tropical goods to British industry and consuming goods produced by those industries, will never develop into prom ising fields of employment for metropolitan capital unless something is done. Merivale resolves this conundrum, his version of the fundamental contradic tion of modern capitalism, by advocating systematic, state-sponsored immi 25. Merivale (1967:97, 255, 271-72), as a follower of Malthus and the physiocrats, had great faith in the productive powers of good soil, prioritizing it over labor and capital, the other of the classic factors of production.
184 DANIEL ROO D gration and a global indentured labor trade. In the colonial world, the stark utopianism of the dismal science is at full extension. Malthus considered the difference between rates of population growth and rates of agricultural production to be an inescapable limit, acting as a check on economic development, population growth, and industrialization. While Malthus concluded this to be an ineluctable reality of the human condition, Merivale, following Wakefield, saw systematic colonization as a solution: through the simple exportation of the Malthusian cycle to the colonial world, the metropole could finally transcend it. The stark utopia of classical politi cal economy can be realized in the colonial world, thus allowing E ngland to transcend the Malthusian limits that had ruled with an iron hand across the history of human civilizations. 26 T his set of policy proposals complicates Merivales condemnation of the slave trade and slavery. On the surface he seems untroubled by the resem blance between the slave trade and the coerced migration of thousands upon thousands of non-White laborers from other realms of the empire ( L ook L ai 1993, Northrup 1995). 27 Y et, from his realization of the necessity of system atic indenture arose Merivales anxiety regarding the potential of free labor in colonization. For if colonial expansion is a necessary fix for the continued accumulation of capital by E ngland, and historically colonies have depended on slave labor because of the lack of a reserve labor pool in those locations, then labor must be coerced until there is a large enough population to compel people to labor by necessity. S o, if the future of civilization (and its past, as we have seen) depends on colonial expansion, the whole E nlightenment project of linking freedom and free markets to the production of wealth, particularly significant in the age of slave emancipation, is thrown into doubt. S ince the colonies will not populate themselves and will not play their necessary role vis vis the metropole unless they are fully colonized, (possessing the proper ratio of land and labor), coercion is indispensable to capital accumulation. CON C LUSION: SPE CT E R S OF CU B AMerivales Black L egend was not limited to casting aspersions on the distant past of the now decrepit Spanish Empire. Highlighting this decrepitude was 26. The fact that population increases at a much higher rate than agricultural productiv ity implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. T his difficulty must fall somewhere, and must necessarily be severely felt by a large proportion of mankind (Malthus 1999:13). 27. Merivales prescriptions ended up being very influential in West Indian policy. Dennis Benn (2004:37) argues that L ord Grey instituted a Merivalean policy when he used increased land prices, a head tax, the criminalization of squatting, and the cultivation of E uropean consumption habits to force freed people to return to the plantations in T rinidad.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 185 comforting to Merivale, but it remained the Spanish Empire which hovered most threateningly in the face of liberal empire. In mid-nineteenth-century C uba, a barbaric and cruel slave system had replaced the older, benign slave system, because of Cubas rise as the epicenter of global sugar production. Merivale attributed the transformation in slavery that had occurred in Cuba to the coupling of slavery with high-powered capital accumulation. 28 This leads to excessively brutal exploitation. The vices engendered by the increase of slave cultivation, Merivale (1967:40) laments, extend ... through all classes of society. Wealth is now as exclusively and sordidly pur sued by the S panish planter as it ever was by the Dutchman or E nglishman. T he economic self-interest of S paniards, long disparaged as being lacking, or at least fatally compromised by langor and incompetence, has now surpassed the Protestant ethic of the Dutch and the E nglish. It is the intensification and expansion of chattel slavery that has made this shift possible. Although he attempts to spin this fundamental transformation in the C astilian character in a negative direction, there is a deep ambivalence that disturbs his admon ishments of the Cuban elite. They are spurned yet grudgingly admired. He cannot help but compare Cuba favorably to the British West Indies, which are decadent and poor, even before emancipation, but especially after. He seems taken aback and troubled by the wealth produced by the slave econo my. With untouched soil at their disposal, these colonial elites of the S panish E mpire have combined novel industrial technologies, the benefits of liberal ized trade, and the labor of almost half a million slaves. 29 This is why the C uban phenomenon is so profoundly disturbing: T he flourishing slave soci ety of Cuba stands as a living challenge to the linkage between free labor, free markets, and the production of wealth in an empire, and threatens to blur the line between slavery and freedom, which Merivale is trying so des perately to draw, within the colonial logic of capital accumulation. T hus the Black L egend of S panish colonialism continues to haunt not only Merivales text, but the larger text of nineteenth-century political economy, social sci ence, and philosophy. In a small way, Merivale came to realize the paradoxical nature of his posi tion in later years. In 1861, Merivale added a preface to the re-publication of his Lectures contextualizing them in the heated debates over emancipation and self-government for the West Indies that had defined the late 1830s. He 28. Paul L ovejoy (1983) coined the apt phrase to describe a similar series of changes hap pening over a much longer period in various African societies. 29. Arango y Parreo, one of the most important intellectuals of the Cuban slaveocracy, was instrumental in theorizing the modernization and industrialization of slavery. He made sustained attempts at harnessing the principles of political economy and political liberalism to a slave society. For that reason, he makes for very interesting cross-imperial comparison with Merivale ( T omich 2003, Gomariz 2004).
186 DANIEL ROO D admits, in retrospect, that the tide of history has receded from the shores of the C aribbean, and most of the contributors to that debate, the sect of free trade imperialists like Wakefield, are already almost forgotten (Merivale 1967:vii). He does insist that the closet speculations of this sect have had immense effect on colonial policy in the 1840s and 50s, but with the benefit of hindsight sees the essential paradox of his school of colonial reformers: They wished at once to give full municipal freedom to colonists, and to tie down the land system of colonies by strict regulation. T he latter end of their commonwealth forgot their beginning. T hey did not apparently antic ipate that, when they had prevailed on the home government to make their experiment, the first demand of each emancipated community would be to get rid of their favourite land system, and adopt methods of its own; or that the very fulness of that self-government, of which themselves had advo cated the concession, would render it impossible for the mother count r y to resist this demand. (Merivale 1967:vii)Writing on the eve of the imposition of C rown C olony government, it seems that the resolution of the paradox offered by the attempt to incorporate politi cal with economic liberalism has been realized: it is political freedom for the colonies that must be dispensed with, sacrificed to the interest of systematic colonization. T hus the dream, the mighty experiment of marrying political and economic liberalism to colonial rule proved unrealizable. T he utopia was deferred as political liberalism was sacrificed to economic liberalism. But even during the first flush of full emancipation and imperial reform, Merivale could not completely deny this reality. From the start, as I have been arguing, he had one foot in the nostalgic, patriarchal, belligerent dispo sition which characterized the second Empire (ca. 1790-1830). It was thus from the outset embroidered deeply into the theory of free trade imperialism that would define the British Empire between 1840 and 1900. Longing for the social hierarchy and political control of a free market utopia characterizes Merivales Lectures complicating oppositions between the preand postabolition British E mpires, as well as between the free trade empire and the C uban, Brazilian, and southern United S tates slave societies of the period.REFE R EN C ESARMIT AGE, DAVID & MICHAEL J. BRADDICK (eds.), 2002. The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800 New Y ork: Palgrave MacMillan. BAYLY, C.A. 1989. Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World, 1780-1830 L ondon: L ongman.
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188 DANIEL ROO D HANKE, LEWIS 1971. A Modest Proposal for a Moratorium on Grand Generalizations: S ome T houghts on the Black L egend. Hispanic American Historical Review 51:112-27. HARLOW, VINCENT T. 1952-1964. The Founding of the Second British Empire, 17631793 New Y ork: L ongman. HISKETT, MER VYN 1984. The Development of Islam in West Africa New Y ork: L ongman. HOL T, THOMAS 1992. The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832-1938 Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. KEEN, BENJAMIN, 1969. The Black Legend Revisited: Assumptions and Realities. Hispanic American Historical Review 49:703-19. LAS CASAS, BART OLOM DE 2004. A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies L ondon: Penguin. LEWIS, GORDON K. 1983. Main Currents in Caribbean Thought: The Historical Evolution of Caribbean Society in Its Ideological Aspects, 1492-1900 Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. LOOK LAI, WAL T ON 1993. Indentured Labor, Caribbean Sugar: Chinese and Indian Migrants to the British West Indies, 1838-1918 Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. LOVEJOY, PAUL 1983. Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa C ambridge: C ambridge University Press. MAL TBY, WILLIAM S. 1971. The Black Legend in England: The Development of AntiSpanish Sentiment, 1558-1660 Durham N C : Duke University Press. MAL THUS, T.R. 1999. An Essay on the Principle of Population Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Orig. 1798.] MERIVALE, HERMAN 1967. Lectures on Colonization and Colonies New Y ork: Sentry. [Orig. 1841.] METHA, UDAY SINGH, 1999. Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Thought. C hicago: University of C hicago Press. MIGNOLO, WAL TER D. 2000. Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. MOLINA MA RT NEZ, MI G UEL 1991. La leyenda negra Madrid: N ERE A. MOLONEY, PA T, 2005. Savages in the Scottish Enlightenments History of Desire. Journal of the History of Sexuality 14(3):237-65. NESVI G, MA RT IN, 2005. R eview E ssay: R ecent Work on E arly Western Mexico and the R evival of the Black L egend. Journal of Social History 38:531-38. NORTHRUP, DAVID 1995. Indentured Labor in the Age of Imperialism, 1834-1922 C ambridge: C ambridge University Press.
RE T HINKIN G T HE HIS T O R Y OF FR EE TR A D E IMPE R IALISM 189 PAGDEN, ANTHONY 2004. Introduction. In Anthony Pagden (ed.), A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies L ondon: Penguin. PA TTERSON, ORLANDO 1969. The Sociology of Slavery Rutherford NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. POLANYI, KA R L 2001. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time Boston: Beacon Press. [Orig. 1944.] POOVEY, MAR Y, 1993. Figures of Arithmetic, Figures of Speech: The Discourse of S tatistics in the 1830s. Critical Inquiry 19:256-76. RO B INSON, CE DR I C C. 2000. Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition C hapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. [Orig. 1976.] SARMIENT O, DOMINGO F ., 1960. Life in the Argentine Republic in the Days of the Tyrants: Or, Civilization and Barbarism New Y ork: Hafner. [Orig. 1868.] SC O TT, DAVI D 2004. Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment Durham N C : Duke University Press. SEMMEL, BERNARD 1970. The Rise of Free Trade Imperialism: Classical Political Economy and the Empire of Free Trade and Imperialism, 1750-1850 Cambridge: C ambridge University Press. SILVERBLA TT, IRENE 2004. Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World Durham N C : Duke University Press. SMITH, ADAM, 1863. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. E dinburgh: n.p. [Orig. 1776.] SMI T H, NEIL 1990. Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space Oxford: Blackwell. TOMICH, DALE, 2003. The Wealth of Empire: Francisco Arango y Parreo, Political E conomy, and the S econd S lavery in C uba. Comparative Studies in Society and History 45:4-28. TROLLOPE, ANTHONY 1985. The West Indies and the Spanish Main New Y ork: Hippocrene Books. [Orig. 1859.] TROUILLOT, MICHEL-ROLPH 1995. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History Boston: Beacon Press. TU R HAN, FILIZ 2003. The Other Empire: British Romantic Writings about the Ottoman Empire New Y ork: R outledge. DANIEL ROO D 1535 Parkwood Pointe Drive C rescent PA 15046, U. S .A.
ALVIN O THOMPSONS Y MBO L I C LE GA C I ES OF SL AV ERY IN G U Y ANAIN TR O D U CT IONIn 2005 the R oosevelt S tudy C enter and other organizations in the Netherlands sponsored an international conference entitled C onference on S lavery from Within. T he conference brought together some of the leading scholars from the Americas and Europe to discuss the perception of slavery and its legacy in the Americas, largely through the eyes of persons living within the hemi sphere and, more particularly, as the subtheme of the conference indicated, New World S lavery C ompared from an E nslaved Perspective. T he hosting of the conference is symptomatic of new trends in the historiography on slavery in the Atlantic World during the last four decades or so. With few exceptions, up to the 1960s (and to some extent up to the present) governments and political organizations in E urope and the Americas acted as though slavery was a secondary and largely-to-be-forgotten aspect of the development of the New World empires. R ichard Price (2001:60) notes that the silencing of the past has been endemic, while L ivio S ansone (2001:86) writes about the exorcism of slavery out of the pantheon of cultural produc tion. 1 Although the legacies of slavery cultural, symbolic, psychological, and otherwise were quite evident and pervasive throughout the postslavery societies, only relatively few state authorities and nongovernmental organiza tions paid any attention to them. T he relatively few persons who paid serio u s attention to them were like voices crying in the wilderness. However, the slavery past simply would not go away or remain muted forever. Increasingly, with the independence of African and C aribbean coun tries that were most directly and deeply affected by the slave trade and slav ery, there has been renewed attention for this subject. Nationalists in the new postcolonial states, and a vocal minority of Blacks and Whites in other countries in which the Black diaspora is resident, have sought to resurrect 1. On the silence in Brazil, which boasts the second-largest Black population after Nigeria, see dos S antos Gomes 2001. New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006):191-220
192 ALVIN O THOMPSON the slavery past. They have insisted that New World societies can only be fully understood by an intelligent (intellectual) appraisal of the impact of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery on both the sending and host com munities. In recent years a fillip has been given to their endeavors through the UNESCO Slavery Route Project (inaugurated in 1994), which includes research on the general impact of the slave trade, and attempts to identify (and in some instances to retrieve) archival materials, and restore forts and other structures connected with the traffic in human beings. 2Some years before the UNESCO initiative, several governmental and nongovernmental organizations began to establish various institutions for the study of New World slavery and to erect monuments in honor/memory of the enslaved persons as a whole, or of particular groups or individuals. In E urope, also, several initiatives were taken in the last two decades, especially by the main slave-trading nations, to focus attention on the slave trade and slavery. While the governments of these countries have refused so far to endorse the view that the slave trade constituted a crime against human ity, and while they have balked on the issue of reparations, they have con tributed to the financing of studies on slavery, including the establishment of museums and libraries, and the hosting of exhibitions. Perhaps the most well known of these initiatives is the Liverpool Maritime Museum (opened in 1980), a section of which is dedicated to artefacts concerning the slave trade. Other important museums featuring the slave trade exist in Hull and Bristol. In the Netherlands, more recently, a project known as T he Atlantic World and the Dutch, sponsored partly by the Dutch government and partly by private organizations, has been initiated. An important part of that project involves the study of the transatlantic slave trade in all its varied impacts. As for the Americas, in the United States, in particular, a number of museums, libraries, and slavery sites have been established or rehabilitated, and Black S tudies programs have been initiated in several larg e r universities. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is the major project attracting federal government funds, in association with funds from the pri vate sector (Blakely 2001:102-3; see also Drescher 2001:109-12). However, Allison Blakely (2001:102) views these developments as largely symbolic remorse by the dominant White group. In other parts of the Americas such activities have been more modest, partly because of financial constraints, and partly because the Black intelligentsia have been either too steeped in things E uropean or were not sufficiently well organized to undertake them. A plethora of small organizations and groups have emerged in the various countries, often operating on their own and sometimes in conflict with each 2. In 1998 UN ESC O also declared August 23 (1791), the date marking the beginning of the slave revolt in Haiti (St. Domingue), which led to the end of slavery and colonialism in that country, the International Day for the R emembrance of the S lave T rade.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 193 other about the main objectives that they should pursue and strategies they should adopt. Nevertheless, these groups have collectively helped to resur rect the slave past and place it, if not on the front burner, at least within the mainstream of intellectual thought. Various groups engage in a wide range of cultural and symbolic repre sentations of the legacies of slavery in the Americas. Within the C aribbean and some areas of the diaspora, perhaps the most well known of these are the R astafarians (though, curiously enough, their chief iconic figure, the late Haile S elassie I, was emperor of E thiopia rather than of any country that expe rienced the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade on any significant scale). Haiti, the only country in the Americas that abolished slavery entirely through the action of the enslaved, stood as the lone exception for well over a century in relation to the emphasis on things African. Noirism as some scholars dubbed the Haitian Black ideology, had to fight a dogged battle against those who insisted that the slave past was just that: a thing of the past that should not be resurrected or kept alive. However, Franois (Papa Doc) Duvalier, president of that country (1957-1971), erected a statue to the Black Maroon, regarded by Haitians as the chief symbol of their struggle for independence, freedom, and dignity. S ince that time a number of other coun tries have erected statues or other symbolic representations in honor of their enslaved ancestors. S tatues or busts, for instance, have been erected in Brazil to Zumbi of Palmares, Jamaica to Grandy Nanny (Granny Nanny, Nanny of the Maroons), Barbados to Bussa, the Dominican Republic to Sebastian Lemba, and Guyana to Cuffy (Kofi) and Damon. A much larger number of symbolic representations have emerged in every country in which the Black presence in the Americas became significant (and in several instances not very significant) C uba, Belize, Honduras, E cuador, Martinique, Venezuela, C olombia, Panama, Mexico, etc. (Price 2001:59-61; T hompson 2006:4-5). Viewed in this wide context, the symbolic representations/expression of the legacies of slavery in Guyana are somewhat more understandable. However, the nationalist government in Guyana under Forbes Burnham went much further than any other government in the Americas in using the slavery past as its ideological foundation.GEO GR APHI C AL AN D HIS T O R I C AL BA C K GR OUN DGuyana comprised two Dutch colonies, Berbice and Essequibo, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Around the mid-eighteenth century the boundaries of the latter colony were extended to include Demerara, which lay to its east, and by the end of the century Demerara had outstripped E ssequibo in both population size and the quantity of sugar produced. The Dutch also shifted the headquarters of the colony from Essequibo to Demerara. The
194 ALVIN O THOMPSON British captured the two colonies, Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo (for the third time) in 1803, and retained them in the T reaty of Paris in 1814, which brought an end to the Napoleonic Wars. In 1831 the colonies were amalgamat e d into one under the name British Guiana, by which it was known until it achieved independence in 1966, under the new name of Guyana. Guyana, though consisting of a land mass of 214,969 square kilometers, was never a large-scale plantation enterprise in comparison, for instance, to Cuba, Haiti, Brazil, and the southern United States. Nevertheless, it pos sessed as draconian a slavery system as any of these countries, and arguably slavery left as indelible marks on its body politic as in most other places in the Americas. This can be seen today in the nature of its economy, which is almost completely agrarian; its concentration on sugar as the main export crop; its heavy emphasis on cash (export) crops rather than food crops; the location of its population almost completely along the coast and the lower reaches of the two main rivers (Berbice and Demerara), precisely in those areas that the slaveholding interests had opened up to produce sugar and cof fee; and its infrastructure of dikes, sea defenses (sea walls), and mud dams, which were all typical of Dutch and British enterprise during the slavery period. While the population has changed significantly since the end of slavery, in several respects race relations were similar to what existed during the slavery period. T oday there is only a small E uropean segment, and there are large African and East Indian segments. The East Indians were introduced immediately after the end of slavery as indentured workers to meet planter needs for a large labor force, consequent on the departure of a significant number of Africans to other parts of the country. T he Indians fitted into basi cally the same physical structure of the plantation economy that the Africans had vacated, were given almost the same allowances, worked as hard, and were treated as less than human. The introduction of the East Indians resulted in conflicts between them and the Africans (often referred to as Creoles in the early postslavery perio d ). T he Whites orchestrated these conflicts carefully in order to exploit both groups and maintain what they perceived as necessary security in the colo n y. T his was done partly through keeping the groups physically apart as far as possible, and partly through stereotyping them. Unfortunately, these oppressed groups adopted the White stereotypes of each other (and some times of themselves). For instance, the Whites viewed the East Indians as clannish and unwilling to integrate into the wider society. At the same time, the Whites viewed them as hardworking and claimed that they had saved the sugar industry from collapse and the colony from the financial ruin that the Blacks had threatened through their laziness, idleness, and greed for unrea sonably high wages (Williams 1991:148, 163-6; Thompson 1997:217-21; Moore 1999:141-56). In the early postindentureship period, though Blacks
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 195 and Indians experienced increasingly greater contacts with each other, they nevertheless performed largely different occupational roles (Moore 1999:156; see also Despres 1969:40; Williams 1991:150). Dale Bisnauth (2000:187) claims that up to around 1930 the E ast Indians were largely indifferent to what was happening in the wider society and only began to take an active interest in politics from then on. Blacks, of course, had begun to take an interest in politics in the late nineteenth century, though they were thwarted in their political aspirations by the White and Colored groups. In the post-World War II period, when the British initiated the first major efforts at democratization of the political process, Blacks and Indians began to jostle for political space and precedence, though for a decade or so this was largely restrained through the emergence of the PPP as the major political party, in which Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham were the prin cipal leaders. However, when the political break between them occurred in 1957, the contest for power broke out openly. As Robert Moore (1997:157) states, in the early 1960s, as Guyana approached independence, Indians and blacks came into conflict over who would inherit the British mantle of government. T he conflict in some parts of the country became intense and brutal. What was very significant was how the old, distinctly derogatory, stereotypes given a twentieth century veneer were brought forth to justify each sides hostility to the other.T hough not all agree that this conflict should be regarded as a legacy of slav ery, within Guyana it is clearly viewed as such. T he issue as to who suffered most and on whose blood and sweat the country was mainly built assumed prominence during the struggle for political power (Bartels 1977:401; Williams 1991:160). L argely muted in the early postindentureship period, it became prominent in the postwar years. 3 Afro-Guyanese were quite sure that they had suffered for a much longer period, had to excavate millions of tons of earth to lay the foundations for the plantations from the mid-seventeenth century, and continued to be exploited in the postemancipation period. T hey argued, also, that it was their money that helped to subsidize Indian immigra -3. Controversially, Thomas (2004:15) asserts, that current processes of globalization have reinscribed racial and cultural hierarchies within and between nations, communi ties, and regions in ways that recall the centrality of racial categorization and racism to processes of modernization, nationalism, and state formation. However, most writers on Guyana are likely to take issue with this viewpoint, and argue that racism was muted at certain periods in the history of that country, was always just below the surface, and simply needed a catalyst (found in the political arena in the postwar period) to bring it to the surface once again.
196 ALVIN O THOMPSON tion, and that the Indians undercut their efforts to secure a better deal from the Whites. T hus many Afro-Guyanese see themselves as the natural inheritors of the countrys political and economic kingdoms because of the sufferings of their ancestors. In 2000 David Hinds stated unequivocally that the sufferings that Afro-Guyanese underwent during slavery and beyond, and their tremendous contribution ... in humanizing, nurturing, and holding Guyana together ... must always guarantee them a permanent role in the governance of the country. T o be fair, he makes it clear that his comment refers to power-sharing rather than domination by any ethnic or other group: As is the case with other races, there is no Guyana without the African-Guyanese. T hats why those politicians in the PPP and the PN C who in the name of Majoritarian-Winner-take all Democracy try to deny them their place at the table of governance are flying in the face of history and risking trouble; and again, T he Indian in Guyana has not robbed the African of anything; the African has robbed himself/herself. 4 S till, a number of Afro-Guyanese saw nothing wrong with the PN C s rigging of several elections to keep Blacks in power (or Indians out of power). T hey intensely resented what they viewed as President Desmond Hoytes capitula tion to pressure, particularly from the United S tates, to hold ostensibly fair elections in which voting largely along racial lines was likely to ensure that the predominantly Indian PPP would capture and remain in power indefinitely. Indians, on the other hand, emphasized that they had suffered at least as much as the Blacks, if for a shorter period, that they also rolled back tons of mud and in other ways felt the exploitative hands of colonialism and rac ism, that they saved the colony from ruin, and that these factors gave them a preferential right to run the country (Williams 1991:163-5, 171-2; T hompson 1997:219). Many of them accept Hugh T inkers view that Indian indentureship constituted a new system of slavery ( T inker 1974). 5 Janet Jagan, (American) wife of C heddi Jagan and the person whom a number of scholars believe was the real ideological mind of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), at least in its formative years, asserted boldly that indentureship was another form of slav ery. In many aspects, it was equally brutal [as African C aribbean slavery]. 6 4 David Hinds, 2000, Emancipation and the African-Guyanese Reality. http://www. guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com/commentary/hinds_080200.html. Accessed April 8, 2005. 5 See also Moses V. Nagamootoo, Fruit of African Resistance and Sacrifies, Guyana Chronicle August 3, 2003. 6. Eternal Glory to our Ancestors by the PPP, 1989, p. 1. For a rejection of the view that indentureship was a form of slavery see C R .B. E dwards, S lavery and Indentureship Were Not S imilar in Nature, Stabroek News May 19, 2002. It is important, however, to heed the warning of S eymour Drescher (2001:112), in the context of the debate on United States slavery, that there is always a temptation for some to argue as though one could arrive at a hierarchy of collective suffering or radical evil so that only one such process reaches the apogee of uniqueness.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 197 Although contemporary Afro-Guyanese also often dubbed the newcomers the new slaves, today they generally reject the idea that indentureship replicated the conditions of New World slavery. T he statement by C heddi Jagan and his followers that democracy was restored to Guyana on October 5, 1992, when the PPP came to power for the first time since independence, rubs salt into the wounds of these Blacks. It was also alleged that in a speech in C anada on October 30, 1996, C heddi Jagan declared that Black people are at the lowest scale of the social ladder. 7COMPE T IN G ID EN T I T IES Many present-day Afro-Guyanese have sought to reinterpret their history, especially their resistance to enslavement, in nationalist and/or ideologi cal terms. However, while Indians generally view themselves as national ists, or committed to national development, they are slow to embrace an ideology that places Black/African slavery at its center. Deborah Thomas (2004:3) refers to the competing identities of Blackness, Africanness and Jamaicanness in forging a national identity that all Jamaicans locally and within the diaspora could embrace. Arguably, the main social divisions among Jamaicans are those of class and color; among Guyanese there is also the division of ethnicity. Although Guyanese view non-Guyanese as foreign ers, most of them still hold strongly to their ethnic identities. It might even be argued that for some of them ethnicity is primary among their competing identities. Guyana is, of course, unlike Jamaica, in that over 90 percent of Jamaicans trace their ethnic roots directly or indirectly to Africa, whereas about 50 percent of Guyanese trace theirs to India, and a little over 30 percent to Africa. Thus, instead of referring simply to Guyanese, scholars often refer to Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese, or to East Indians and Africans in Guyana. Given the added competition for economic, social, cultural, and political space, the implications for disunity are enormous. Hamilton Green, former prime minister under the Peoples National C ongress (PN C ) government and now mayor of Georgetown, the countrys capital, declared that slavery was the most significant and pervasive event in the life of the nation and that all other events that followed explain contem porary Guyana. 8 C olonial heroes such as William Wilberforce and Fowell Buxton (British antislavery campaigners), and S ir Benjamin DUrban (gover nor in the early 1830s) have been replaced by C uffy (Kofi, leader of the 1763 7. President Not S urprised at PN C Fuss, Guyana Chronicle November 19, 1996. S ee also Gibson 2003:40, 42. 8. Colonial Slavery was the Most Significant, Pervasive Experience Says Mayor Hamilton Green, Guyana Chronicle August 3, 2000.
198 ALVIN O THOMPSON Berbice revolt), Quamina (a deacon in L e R esouvenir C hurch presided over by R ev. John S mith and one of the leaders of the 1823 Demerara revolt), and Damon (leader of the 1834 E ssequibo revolt, the last servile revolt in the col ony). T he dome of the Guyana Bank for T rade and Industry (GB T I), on Water S treet, Georgetown, houses a very interesting mural, completed in June 1974, when the bank was called Barclays. T he mural pays homage to several per sons who played seminal roles in the countrys political, social, medical, and labor history, and includes not only some colonial officials, but also C uffy and Quamina. While the latter is dubbed a S lave-Deacon, Passive R esister, the caption relating to C uffys image is titled S lave, R ebel, Diplomat, Visionary (see Figure 1, p. 201). 9 National monuments have been erect e d in honor of C uffy and Damon, while Murray S treet (named in honor of a British gover nor) in Georgetown has been renamed Quamina S treet. C uffy has officially been declared a national hero, as is the case with Zumbi of Palmares in Brazil, Gaspar Y anga in Mexico, and Grandy Nanny in Jamaica. In Guyana, the gov ernment under Forbes Burnham (the prime minister who led the country to independence and later declared the country a republic) decided virtually to forget Independence Day (May 26, 1966) as a day of national significance, and to focus attention on R epublic Day (February 23, 1970), the same day on which the Berbice revolt, which C uffy led, is deemed to have commenced (though he did not actually initiate the revolt). 10 It remains a matter of conjecture as to why Burnham chose to focus on the 1763 revolt rather than on any other circumstance or event to ground his own revolution. He might have chosen scientific socialism, but a num ber of persons believe that he was not a genuine socialist. C heddi Jagan, who became his archrival, dubbed his economic philosophy state capitalism parading as scientific socialism. Others attribute to him a keen sense of history, an understanding of the connection between the past and the pres ent, and intuition that slave iconography would become a major aspect in reconstructing the hemispheres historical past. Burnhams supposed insight and radicalism were displayed not only in this regard, but also in relation to his firm embrace of the Non-Aligned Movement, and his permission to C uba to transship troops to Angola, in the fight against the apartheid regime in S outh Africa. Finally, Burnham might have taken his cue from Fidel C astro, already an iconic figure in L atin America and the C aribbean, who linked his own revolution with T he 26th of July Movement (the date of his assault on 9. http://www.gbtibank.com/art_dome_murals.html. Accessed April 20, 2006. 10. One of the inaccuracies (some would say myths ) that have crept into nationalist dis course on Cuffy is that he was on Magdalenenburg plantation when the revolt started on February 23. Actually, that plantation was on the Canje River, a tributary of the Berbice River. Cuffy lived on Lilienburg plantation on the Berbice River; the revolt on that river started a few days later (see T hompson 1987:156-58).
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 199 Fulgencio Batistas regime, at the Moncada Barracks). Burnham might well have wished to ground his own revolution in a national date and circum stance of some historic significance. P.H. Daly, a well-known nationalist historian, sees the February R evolu tion of 1763 as the ideological cornerstone on which the C ooperative R epublic of Guyana was laid. According to him, the co-operative revolution is the inevitable extension of the February R evolution to the economic level; and again, the C o-operative R evolution is the real challenge handed down to the independent nation of Guyana by the leaders of the February R evolution (Daly 1970:86). R epublicanism, opined Daly, was the logical outcome of the emancipation process, since it implied not only the overthrow of colonial slav ery but all vestiges of colonialism. It was a fundamental psychological break with the fettered past, symbolized in British monarchism (Daly 1970:91). T Aston Sancho, at that time a PNC member of Parliament, gave the widest interpretation to the 1763 revolt, asserting that it not only preceded the Haitian Revolution but pointed the way toward that revolution and, by implication, to liberation in the C aribbean. In his words:With the rebellion the first flicker of light glowed across a dark frontier. T he beams of its light gleam[ed] brighter in the deeds of the Haitian R evolution, in the eyes of T oussaint L Overture [sic] and his men. T oussaint and his men understood perfectly dialectics and the science of revolution. But it is the Berbice R ebellion that points the way ... T he ashes always smouldered. It became a flaming torch with this Independence we, their heirs, have gained ... They were the first slaves who from the midst of the filth and misery in which they lived dreamt of Independence. ( S ancho 1966:12) 11This interpretation of the revolt became the standard or official one during the Burnham regime. He, himself, declared that the revolution was the forerunner to what followed in Haiti (Burnham 1970:69). 12 It has become quite popular among the modern-day admirers of C uffy to refer to his abort e d revolt as a revolution. 13T he citation of C uffy in the GB T Is mural, referred to above, includes the description:11. Buying into the mythology of the broad significance of the 1763 revolt, E usi Kwayana (1999-2000:17) writes that Thompson almost timidly confines the Berbice uprising to Berbice. Our historians should not be shy of making global judgments, even though new information may cause these to be modified. 12 Ovid Abrams (1998:34) referred to the revolt as the first major revolution by Africans in the Western Hemisphere. 13. S ee, for instance, Burnham 1970:68; Abrams 1998:34.
200 ALVIN O THOMPSON Sensitive and imaginative, blessed with a diplomats shrewdness and a statesmans vision, he planned to set up an independent state in Upper Berbice, conceived in protest and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created free. Frustrated in 1763, his dream was fulfilled in 1966 when Guyana became independent and thus completed the job he began. In 1970 he was declared Guyanas first national hero and the honour denied him in life was paid to him two centuries after his death. 14Cuffys Monument (statue and plinth) stands about 10 meters tall, along Vlissingen Road, one of the main thoroughfares in Georgetown, about 800 meters from the National Cultural Center, 400 meters from the Botanical Gardens and National Zoo, and a shorter distance from the official residence of the president. Designed by Guyanese sculptor Philip Moore, it is officially called T he 1763 Monument, but it is widely recognized in the country as a monument in honor of C uffy. It is important to elaborate how the image of C uffy in statuary and other forms is being used today, especially among Afro-Guyanese, as a reference to all things that are deemed noble in the struggle for dignity, progress, devel opment, and positive self-image. On R epublic Day, Afro-Guyanese organize celebrations to commemorate the revolutionary struggle of this iconic fig ure. Actions that some scholars formerly regarded as flaws in C uffys charac ter have been explained away or reinterpreted in positive ways. His letters to Governor Van Hoogenheim of Berbice offering to divide the colony between the Whites and those Blacks who chose to identify with the revolt have been reinterpreted as attempts to achieve a negotiated resolution through compro mise rather than strife (Daly 1970:21, see also pp. 33-34). He is therefore seen as representative of the spirit of compromise that Guyanese are exhort e d to seek in order to resolve the many political, social, cultural, and racial proble m s that periodically beset the nation, especially since the 1960s. P.H. Daly has interpreted C uffys rape of a White woman whom the insur gents had captured as an act of retribution for the rape of Black women by their White overlords during slavery, rather than as an attempt to gratify his sexual desires. In Dalys (1970:47) words, thus the derogatory weapon of the triumphant underdog went into action. And thus sex in the Revolution was used penally. And thus the moral defilement of African women by white men for centuries was throbbed back into them, full measure, pressed down, running over and overflowing. 15 Thus he attempts to sanitize this deed by the revolutionary leader. 14. http://www.gbtibank.com/art_dome_murals.html (accessed April 20, 2006). T he view of Cuffy as a warrior-statesman and a psychological strategist had been promoted a few years earlier in Daly 1970:20, 26, 61-64. 15. See also Daly 1970:19, 20, 38; Paul N. T ennassee, The Race Problem 1965-1992: Part II: T he Post Independence E ra: Alienation and Insurrection. http://www.guyanajour nal.com/race2_pt.html. Accessed April 2, 2005.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 201 T he physical image of C uffy has also been enhanced or rehabilitated considerably in some instances. Although no image of how he actually looked exists, we can be reasonably certain that his clothing and general appear ance resembled those of the typical enslaved man. However, in 1970 when the Guyana government under Burnham minted a silver coin to commemo rate the founding of the C ooperative R epublic it bore an image purported to be that of C uffy. T his image showed him with a beautifully cultured beard, something inconceivable for the typical enslaved man in Guyana at that time. In Vere T Dalys book (1974:88) he is depicted as a bodybuilder, his upper body rippling with muscles, though much less so on his thighs and legs. However, in P.H. Dalys book (1970:60) his general bearing is much closer to what we would expect of the average enslaved man. T he GB T Is image of him is even more questionable. Here, he is depicted in immaculate clothing, which includes a white, long-sleeved, decorated shirt, blue trousers tucked at the knee into long golden-brown boots, a leather belt around his waist with a golden belt buckle, and a sword in a scabbard at his left side.Figure 1. C uffy in GB T Is DomeT he much more well-known bronze statue (the main part of the 1763 monu ment) of C uffy depicts an individual that does not really represent an enslaved person, and most will probably agree that it does not portray an image of any living being (see Figure 2, p. 202). It is a highly imaginative work, and seems to depict forms of gods that are widely represented in African, Asian, and Native American art. But, perhaps, that is exactly how the artist intended it to appear. Attached to this anthropomorphic image are representations of animals, while the body itself is incised with representations of human faces. In an interpretative essay, Dennis Williams (1994:6-7) submitted that
202 ALVIN O THOMPSON the sculptor shows a deliberate disregard of the natural proportions of the human figure and, in true African fashion, focuses on immateriality and spirituality, on the psychic and organic truth of 1763. In this sense the statue is mythological and ideal, not naturalistic. He identifies the faces around the statues body as those of Cuffys corevolutionaries, and declares that the sculptor initiated a revolution of vision requiring the spectators to undergo a similar revolution in order to understand the work. More revolu tionary, perhaps, in this interpretation is Williamss view that by breaking out of E uropean artistic conventions, and to some extent even those of Africa and Asia, the sculptor attempts to get Guyanese to break away from the old conventions of the past associated with slavery and colonialism: to be freed from the self-doubt and self-contempt implanted in our peoples during the 19th [sic] century.Figure 2. C uffy Monument When the statue was first erected many who expected to see a traditional human figure found difficulty in associating with it, and even rejected it as being too repulsive for a revolutionary hero. 16 As noted above, whether initially intended or not, the government did not call the statue Cuffy, but rather The 1763 Monument, although over time it has become known as the image of C uffy or the C uffy Monument. Whatever the truth of the matter 16. S ee, for instance, Ugliness R ules, in Guyana Blog, November 20, 2003. http://blo guyana.weblogs.us/archives/003414.html. Accessed April 6, 2005.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 203 concerning this representation, Cuffy looms tall, not only in statuary form but also in symbolic imaging, at least among his hardcore followers. Damon has come in for much less attention but he is also gaining recogni tion as a freedom fighter. His protest or revolt in 1834, though quite different from that of Cuffy in that it was intended to be nonviolent, took place in Essequibo county in response to the inception of the apprenticeship system that the British introduced in their colonies on the very day that they declared emancipation from slavery. As elsewhere, Damon and a number of his col leagues could not reconcile the notion that they were liberated from slavery with the fact that they were compelled by the Apprenticeship Act to work for their overlords on the same plantations or other locations for a period of four to six years, depending on whether they had worked in nonpredial or pre dial tasks at the time of emancipation. They therefore laid down their tools and engaged in passive forms of resistance. However, according to Hugh T ommy Payne (2001), former Guyanese archivist and the writer of the only detailed study of this revolt, the plantocracy, in association with certain members of the colonial government, goaded them into physical confronta tion that led to bloodshed, and in the sequel a number of apprentices were killed or imprisoned, and Damon was tried and hanged. For years Damon, or rather his iconic symbol, languished in a grave yard on Devonshire plantation in Anna Regina, Essequibo, represented by a large cross that some persons had tried to maintain; but it had suffered badly from neglect. In 1986 the situation came to public attention when Rovin Deodat published details of the cross and the revolt in a newspaper. 17 However, it is said that one year earlier the Regional Development Council of Pomeroon-Supenaam had made a decision to erect a monument in honor of Damon (Wiltshire 1994:5). This monument, which the Guyanese Ivor Thom sculpted, was some five-and-a-half meters tall, including its plinth, and was officially unveiled in 1988 at a site now known as Damons S quare (Damons Park) in Anna Regina. The square has become the focal point for commemorative events, especially those involving struggle and martyr dom, in E ssequibo county. For instance, in October 2003 when R egion T wo (comprising PomeroonS upenaam) commemorated the sugar workers strike of 1872, which had led to the killing (or martyrdom, according to one viewpoint) of five Indian workers Kaulica, Beccaroo, Auckloo, Baldeo, and Maxidally by the police, among the activities on that occasion was a cultural performance and the laying of wreaths at Damons S quare. 18 17. Deodat refers to his 1986 article on the subject in Why is Damon Important in Guyanese History? Guyana Chronicle August 8, 1999. 18. Devonshire C astle Uprising S et an E xample, Guyana Chronicle October 1, 2003.
204 ALVIN O THOMPSON Payne feels that the erection of a monument in honor of Damon and the creation of a square only constitute a small part of the just desserts of this freedom fighter. He makes it clear that he wrote his book about the liberation struggles of that individual with the positive intent of promoting both a pub lic awareness of their existence and the consequential acknowledgement that they constitute a seminal landmark in the panoply of human rights struggle (Payne 2001:v). Payne explicitly links Damons struggle with the C olombian advent in the Americas in 1492, which he sees as the first efforts at enslave ment of, and resistance by, the indigenous peoples. Thus, implicitly at least, he views Damons revolt as a continuation of that struggle for freedom. But Payne goes much further, by likening the martyrdom of this insurgent to that of Christ, both of whom gave their lives to set free a multitude of captives. He states that like Christ, he, Damon, was laying down his life on behalf of his brethren and their vision of a world that they would shape once full freedom came, and notes that Damon himself committed his soul to God through C hrist: I forgive everybody, and I hope Gad sa [sic] forgive me too. I put my trust in Jesus (Payne 2001:264, 266). Payne takes upon himself the burden of persuading his readers, if not throughout the world at least in Guyana, that In truth, those 10 Days in August were of major consequence to the struggle for a world in which freedom and human rights would be legally guaranteed to all: they were as such TE N DA YS T HA T C HANG E D THE WORLD (Payne 2001:255). The remarkable aspect of all of this is that before the publication of Paynes work few Caribbean historians knew anything about Damon, and fewer still actually placed him in the gallery of freedom fighters. 19 The most well-known Guyanese works also had little or nothing to say about this individual. 20 It may be argued, therefore, that it is the need to find national icons going back to the days of slavery that has spawned the works of such persons as Daly and Payne, who seek to interpret or rewrite aspects of the history of slavery in nationalist terms. 21 19. The following well-known Caribbean writers on the subject of slavery said nothing about him: Augier, et al. 1960, Williams 1970, Dookhan 1971, Parry, S herlock & Maingot 1971, Green 1976, Greenwood & Hamber 1980, Knight 1990, R ogozinski 1992, Brereton 1998, Ferguson 1998. 20. S ee, for instance, Daly 1974, McGowan, R ose & Granger 1998. 21. An important footnote to this discussion is the Muslim (largely Indian) attempt to associate their religion with the 1763 uprising, arguably to create/provide a longer his torical foundation for their presence in the country and their contribution to national development. Thus, contrary to all existing documentation on the subject, one group of Muslims opined that it is also said that in the 1763 rebellion led by Guyanese national hero C uffy, that [sic] the terms and conditions for peace that C uffy sent to the Dutch were written in Arabic and this would indicate that there were Muslims among Cuffys group or that Cuffy himself might have been a Muslim (see Raymond Chickrie, Muslims in Guyana. http://www.guyana.org/features/guyanese_muslim.html. Accessed March 28,
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 205 At the same time, it is important to stress that a number of Guyanese of all ethnic and social backgrounds have questioned Dalys interpretation espe cially of the role of C uffy in the 1763 revolt. While they admit that he was the leader, they consider it weakness on his part that he sought to divide the country between the slaveholders and his own followers; they also argue that it was his weakness and failure to act decisively that led his chief lieutenants to seek to sideline him. T hey see his suicide, after hiding the firearms, as an act of betrayal of the rebellion. Paul Nehru T ennassee provides one of the most strident criticisms of what he calls the Daly thesis of the revolt and argues that while Daly used the Berbice R ebellion of 1763 to rationalize the role of the PN C in the 1950s and 1960s, Forbes Burnham used the distorted interpretation to mould and deepen the ideology of racism and to give historical credibility to his dictatorial stance on a number of national issues. 22 In a fictional work, R uel Johnson has four of his characters from different ethnic groups discussing the fact that Burnham had erected a monument to C uffy in Georgetown, the nations capital, while choosing the countryside to erect another one to those Indians who were martyred at E nmore in 1948 (in Birbalsingh 2005). In spite of such observations and criticisms, some Afro-Guyanese have sought to merge the commemoration of Emancipation Day (Freedom Day) with that of the martyrdom of Cuffy, Quamina, and Damon, viewing the whole process as one continuous and heightened struggle against the forces of enslavement and in favor of national liberation. One writer describes some ways in which the event was commemorated in Essequibo in 2002, begin ning on E mancipation E ve: Dressed in traditional African styles and holding bottle lamps, the partici pants sang old-time African folk songs in an atmosphere of joy, peace, love and togetherness as they slowly made their way to Damons S quare, where a grand cultural show was held ... On T hursday, E mancipation Day, scores of persons attended a church service at the Anna R egina Anglican C hurch and then participated in a cultural street fair at Damons square. 23 In Georgetown, the annual commemoration is orchestrated much more elabo rately. T he grounds of the Parliament Buildings (also called Public Buildings), which once housed the court of policy or colonial government, where Damon 2005). For a critical discourse on a similar development in Jamaica see Warner-Lewis 2003:294-316. 22. Paul T ennassee, The Race Problem 1965-1992: Part III: Who Was the Architect of Independence? http://www.guyanajournal.com/race3_pt.html. Accessed April 2, 2005. 23. Rajendra Prabhulall, Colourful Emancipation Celebrations Held in Region T wo. Guyana Chronicle August 13, 2002.
206 ALVIN O THOMPSON was hanged, are the scene of the E mancipation Vigil. 24 T his vigil, involving speeches, historical recollections, poetic readings, African drumming, danc ing, the pouring out of libations to the ancestral spirits (presumably of the martyrs) and so on, is a very powerful symbolic representation because it incorporates a number of features of the liberation ethos. First, it testifies to the wrongness or iniquity of the conduct of the enslavers at the highest levels of government, one that should have protected all persons within the society, especially the poor and powerless. Although the colonial government failed to do so, present-day nationalists are interpreting the revolts as early strikes against the colonial administrations, which finally led to independence and local control of parliament. Second, the ceremonies associate the national government directly with the forces of liberation as defined by the struggles of the martyrs, and by implication also calls on that government not to fail like its colonial prede cessors in protecting the rights of all citizens within the nation. Third, the ceremonies might be interpreted as a warning (or symbolic threat) to the gov ernment, now dominated by Indo-Guyanese, that if they do not shape up and recognize those rights, especially as regards the Afro-Guyanese, they might also face revolt and perhaps revolution. Finally, the strong African orienta tion of the ceremony underlines the African (read Afro-Guyanese) contribu tion to national liberation and national development.THE POLI T I C IANS AN D T HE SPOILSPoliticians on both sides of the divide, those of the PN C and the PPP, seek to make political capital out of these developments, by identifying with the revolutionaries on public occasions. Burnham did so on several occasions, most notably in the months leading up to the inauguration of the C ooperative R epublic on February 23, 1970. S peaking at this partys congress in July 1969, he declared, the significance of the date chosen is well-known ... It is felt that our achievement of independence coupled with our ceasing to be even 24. Damons Monument was first displayed at his execution site in front of the Parliament Buildings before being taken to its permanent site in E ssequibo. On August 1, 2000, E mancipation Day or Freedom Day, Hamilton Green, mayor of Georgetown, turned the sod ceremonially at the execution spot in Georgetown of Quamina and the other martyrs of 1823. For Green, the martyrdom of Damon is significant not only for its testimony to his commitment to freedom, but also to the evils of racial bigotry, ethnic cleansing, social inequality, hate, poverty, cultural aggression, ideological arrogance, and oppression in general, some of which Green views as still present, in more muted forms, in presentday Guyana ( L inda R utherford, C olonial S lavery was the Most S ignificant, Pervasive E xperience: S ays Mayor Hamilton Green, Guyana Chronicle August 3, 2000 and E mancipation Vigil at Public Buildings T onight, Guyana Chronicle July 31, 2001).
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 207 fictionally one of Her Majestys Dominions is the culmination of C uffys first thrust at Magdalenenburg [early center of the revolt] in 1663 [i.e. 1763]. 25In one of his speeches Burnham blamed C uffys followers for his failure to bring the revolution to a successful conclusion. Paul T ennassee quotes him as asserting that Akara who thought he knew more than C uffy and should be the leader ... was the architect, along with his Dutch bosses of the physical defeat of our forefathers in their struggles ... [H]e started the division in the ranks; and looking at it from this perspective, was the architect of the physical failure. He goes on to say that Burnham also argued that physical failure was due chiefly to disunity; to those who thought they knew better, to Akara who may be compared with some of our ultra leftist today; and (still quoting Burnham) C uffy ... had problems with some of his followers, some of them wanted to spend their time dressed in the fineries in which they had seen their mistresses dressed; and some of them complained that C uffy made them work harder than the white man made them work. 26 Burnhams message was clear: disunity among Guyanese and challenges to his leadership were important factors in preventing the country from achieving greater material and social progress, and were even threatening to derail the new revolution that he had started. Shirley Field-Ridley, a history graduate of the University of the West Indies and a former minister of education under the PN C also used the occa sion in her book titled Co-op Republic to reinforce the view that the 1763 revolt was foundational in the history of the nations struggle for political, economic, and other forms of redemption. She went on to say that every nation and generation has to interpret its present and carve its future from the relics of its past and in this process, so well begun, we have identified C uffy, whose memory was almost obliterated as our national hero ... [H]e, in fact, was concerned with ending a system which had been dehumanizing his followers and replacing it with what he saw to be disciplined freedom. 27Under Burnham, Cuffy was also viewed as the ideologue of the new revolution that the president claimed was unfolding. T o promote this transformation, the government laid the foundation stone for the Cuffy Ideological Institute in 1974 and started instruction there on August 1, 1977 ( E mancipation Day). 28 Daly (1970:97) had pointed the way to the establish 25. T owards a C o-operative R epublic: Address by the Hon. L .F. S Burnham to the 12th Congress of the Peoples National Congress. Georgetown 1969:11; see also Burnham 1970:68-69, 156. 26. Paul T ennassee, T he R ace Problem 1965-1992: Part II: T he Post Independence E ra: Alienation and Insurrection. http://www.guyanajournal.com/race2_pt.html. Accessed April 2, 2005. 27. Quoted in T ennassee, T he R ace Problem 1965-1992: Part II. 28. Economic Liberation Through Socialism, Leaders Address: 2nd Biennial Congress of the P.N.C., August 12-20, 1997, by the Office of the Prime Minister, Georgetown, Guyana, 1977.
208 ALVIN O THOMPSON ment of such an institute as the main pedagogical instrument to promote the cultural revolution that the new era would spawn: The cultural revolution needs ... a spiritual home an intellectual and artistic centre as the focal point for generating cultural activity. S uch a centre should be set up by government and named the Institute of Guyana. While the PPP has used the image of C uffy and of the 1763 uprising much more discreetly than other groups, it has recognized the need to associate with some popular interpretations of the revolution. S enior members of the PPP are often present on ceremonial occasions honoring the martyrs. In 1988 C heddi Jagan and Moses Nagamootoo produced a statement on the hun dred and fiftieth anniversary of emancipation in which they declared that in the face of great odds [,] superior forces and arms, our early revolutionaries proved they could not easily be intimidated. L eaders such as C uffy in Berbice, Quamina in Demerara and Damon in E ssequibo laid down their lives in heroic struggles for freedom. 29 Moses Nagamootoo, 30 in another publication, pro duced one of the most articulate pieces of writing for the popular press that we have come across. However, at that time he was no longer a member of the PPP cabinet, but an attorney-at-law in private practice. He traced the history of Black struggles during slavery in Guiana and other parts of the Americas and referred to C uffy and Quamina as our early revolutionaries who laid the foundation for a free Guyana. He concluded by saying, All the more [reason] why E mancipation should be a sweet word on the lips of every Guyanese of African ancestry. He also linked these struggles with those of the later struggles of Indian indentured people in the country, and declared that inden tureship was a euphemism for wage-slavery. The PPP has used Damons Square in Essequibo for political purposes. During the 2001 electoral campaign the main PPP leaders, President Bharrat Jagdeo and Prime Minister (and first Vice President) S amuel Hinds, addressed a gathering there. 31 Jagdeo has attended a number of E mancipation Day events, mixed with the celebrants, and spoken positively about the value of maintaining Afro-Guyanese cultural expressions, as also those of all other ethnic groups in the country. 32 On the occasion of the celebrations in 2002 he regurgitated the myth that the Berbice revolution was a success (even if temporarily) and that it pointed the way to the Haitian R evolution: Guyana holds the honor in the history of this hemisphere of holding the first suc 29. Eternal Glory to Our Ancestors by the Peoples Progressive Party, Georgetown, Guyana, 1989. 30. Fruit of African R esistance and S acrifices. Guyana Chronicle August 3, 2003. 31. Elections Campaign T empo Steps Up: Rallies Continue, GAP-WPA Launches Manifesto, Guyana Chronicle February 18, 2001. 32. Preservation of Every Ethnic Culture Vital to Guyanas Society: President Jagdeo Joins National Park E mancipation C elebrations, Daily News August 1, 2003.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 209 cessful slave rebellion which overthrew the Dutch and were in control of [Berbice for] over a year before it was brutally and ruthlessly smashed. Our ancestors courageous rebellion was the precursor for the Haitian revolu tion which established the first free state led by black people in 1801. 33 Hinds has also customarily addressed the groups gathered at the commemo rative ceremonies on the lawns of the Parliament Buildings on the eve of Emancipation Day. In 2002 he accepted an impromptu invitation from the head of the National Emancipation T rust (a private organization spearhead ing the event), to sit as one of the traditional elders during that event and to participate actively in the libation ceremony. 34 In a situation of racial tension in the country, some Afro-Guyanese ques tion the sincerity of the identification of the Indian political leaders with the Afro-Guyanese national celebrations and other landmarks in Afro-Guyanese history. (Of course, the same comment might be made about the AfroGuyanese commitment to commemorating Indian Arrival Day on May 5, 1838 anoth e r national holiday and other Indian secular and religious events on the nation a l calendar.) Periodically, certain ambivalent statements, such as the one that C heddi Jagan made on Independence Day, May 26, 1993, following his accession to power on October 5, 1992, seem to add some conviction to their viewpoint. On that occasion Jagan declared: L et us remember our own heroes. For C uffy, a monument has already been built. L et us also honor the real heroes, not those who signed the Proclamation but those who struggled before May 26, 1966 to make Independence a real ity those who launched the Political Affairs C ommittee in 1946 ... [ T ]here is a nexus between C uffy in 1763, 1946, 1966 and October 5th 1992. 35 T his statement was clearly aimed at excluding the PN C leaders from nation a lhero status. It declared that the connections between C uffys revolution in 1763 and the post-World War II struggle for freedom were the formation of the political group that Cheddi Jagan founded in 1946, the attainment of independence in 1966, and his accession to power for the third time in 1992. He deliberately excluded 1970, the date of the declaration of the C ooperative Republic, as one of the milestones in the nations history, though he was clearly not a monarchist. While that part of his statement about honoring the real heroes could be interpreted by some persons as a verbal slip that 33. Guyana Monthly Update, August 2002 A Monthly Publication of the Embassy of Guyana, in Washington D C 34. Linda Rutherford, Prime Minister Creates Stir at Libation Ceremony, Guyana Chronicle August 2, 2002. 35. Year of Rediscovery: Souvenir Magazine of Guyanas Independence Celebrations 93 by the Ministry of Information, 1993.
210 ALVIN O THOMPSON suggests that C uffy was not a real hero, none of his other comments seem to justify such an interpretation. Many Afro-Guyanese express concern about the booklet that Janet Jagan, the wife of Cheddi Jagan, produced in 1995. In that work, titled Childrens Stories of Guyanas Freedom Struggles she makes no mention whatsoever of Cuffy, or indeed any of the trinity of Black freedom fighters. Instead, in the first chapter, titled The Legend of the Enmore Martyrs (1948), her heroes are the Indo-Guyanese Rambarran Surujballi Harry Jug Pooran and Lala Bagee S he places their names in italics and admonishes her readers to remember their names well. T he following chapter, titled A C hildrens S tory of Independence, is about C heddi Jagan (whose name was also placed in italics in the previous chapter) and the PPPs political struggles. Her third chapter focuses on Kowsillia A Brave Woman Who Gave Her L ife In the Freedom Struggles, and deals with an Indian woman by that name, also called Alice (neither of whose two names is in italics in the text), who died in 1964 during a strike on plantation Leonora, when strike-breakers drove a tractor through the midst of the strikers. T he next chapter deals with Michael Forde (not in italics in the text), a Black man to whom she referred as a true hero, who died in a bomb blast at the PPPs bookshop in 1964. The final chapter, which deals with the PPPs attempts at winning back democracy, chastises the PN C for political nepotism, electoral fraud that led to the deaths of Jagan Remessar and Jack Bhola Nauth (whose names are italicized), and admonishes readers, remember their names for they were martyrs in the freedom struggle. Walter R odneys assassination in 1980 is also mentioned in this chapter, but his name is not italicized nor is he declared a martyr. 36 It seems clear that Janet Jagan, if not the other leaders of the PPP, sought through this booklet to reduce the emphasis that the PNC placed on their Black revolutionaries and promote Indian revolutionaries and martyrs. This article does not seek to justify the PPP or PNC in placing their martyrs in specific positions in the iconography depicting the nations freedom struggles. Rather, it seeks to show (in part) how the legacy of slavery was promoted or muted, depending on the particular party in power. Thus, the analysis of Janet Jagans booklet should not be seen as a criticism of the PPP government, but rather as one of the realities of the multiracial society that constitutes Guyana. However, this also helps to throw into relief the tensions in discourses on important national issues. Afro-Guyanese have increasingly had to share not only political space but also cultural heritage and festival days with Indo-Guyanese. At a more concrete level, both the Cuffy and Damon monuments were neglected badly, especially during the early years of the PPP regime in the 36. S ee especially pages 4 and 19 of this work. In it the author refers to Kowsillia, Forde, and R odney as heroes but not as martyrs in the struggle for freedom.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 211 1990s. Whether this was deliberate or not remains a moot point. However, the reality is that the Cuffy Monument was rehabilitated in 1999 (and since then maintained) largely through the initiative of Afro-Guyanese, led by the Movement for Economic Empowerment, and with valuable assistance from the African C ultural and Development Association and other Afro-Guyanese organizations. Some Indo-Guyanese also provided assistance. It was also alleged that government information booklets on the Cuffy Monument that had been available during the PNC regime were no longer being produced (Dow 2000-2001:40). In 2001-2002 the Damon Monument was refurbished through the joint efforts of the National T rust of Guyana (a government organization), the Ministry of T ourism, Industry and Commerce, and the Organization of American S tates, as part of a larger effort to identify and pre serve sites of cultural and historical significance in the country. 37 Arguably, this monument, more than any other in the country, has been a meeting point of various ethnic groups for commemorative events involving struggles against oppression under colonialism.NON G OVE R NMEN T AL ORG ANIZA T IONS AN D PR IVA T E IN D IVI D UALS As intimated above, it is not only governmental organizations but also private ones that have emerged as important vehicles for commemorating the resistance efforts of the enslaved (and wider African cultural activi ties). Such organizations have existed since the early postemancipation period, but since independence a growing number of them have emerged. Among the current ones are the African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa (ASCRIA), founded in 1968. There are also the Pan African Movement (Guyana Branch), the African C ultural and Development Association, the National Emancipation T rust, the Kingdom of Manumitted Africa (founded originally as the Descendants of Africa), and the House of Nyabinghi (Guyana Branch). ASCRIA is the most well known and argu ably most respected of these organizations. Under its leader Eusi Kwayana (formerly known as S ydney King), who was once a member of both the PPP and the PNC, it has played a seminal role in the development of a Black or African diaspora consciousness in the country. The main activity of the National E mancipation T rust, under its leader L orri Alexander, has been the organization of the E mancipation vigil, which it has succeeded quite well in doing. T he T rust has managed to bring together politicians from the various political parties in the country both as spectators and participants (though the PPP is usually represented by Samuel Hinds, the Black prime minister). It 37. Wiltshire 1994:5; T he Damon Monument, Daily Chronicle November 3, 2002. S ee also T hompson 2002:336-45.
212 ALVIN O THOMPSON has also engaged in an annual Miss Guyana African Heritage Beauty Pageant since 1994. 38The African Cultural and Development Association has been involved since 1995 in the organization of Emancipation Day celebrations at the National Park in Georgetown, where thousands attend annually. 39 The 2002 celebrations were a colorful spectacle of African dress, as Linda Rutherford notes: Indeed, looking down from the stage at the swell of humanity gathered on the tarmac to savour the cultural presentations, one could have easily been misled into believing that they were in a country in Africa. 40 Participants at the celebrations came from Suriname, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, and as far away as South Africa. Events included a church service, storytelling, facepainting, a craft exhibition, drumming, dancing, singing, and a wide range of sports. 41 T he association is also the main local organizer of African Holocaust Day, commemorated annually on October 12, the date of C olumbuss advent in the Americas. 42 The events usually include a libation ceremony, invok ing the ancestral spirits, on the Atlantic coastline. Bishop Atu Balon Gemu, who presided over the proceedings in 2003, explained that libation is a cer emonial outpouring and an exercise of atonement with our ancestors. This exercise is a sacred act; it helps us realise our kinship with our ancestors and must be done as the occasion warrants. Participants were provided with the opportunity of washing themselves, symbolically cleansing their spirits, in order to be able to pay acceptable tribute to their forebears who perished during the transatlantic crossing. Among the invited overseas guests in 2003 were Maulana Alhassan Bashir Annan, a visiting Ghanaian missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, who was the guest speaker on the occasion; Shabaka Kambon of the Emancipation Support Committee of T rinidad and T obago; and David Commissiong, director of the Barbadian governments C ommission for Pan-African Affairs. 43T he Kingdom of Manumitted Africa was established much more recent l y and is less well known than the other groups, but seems to be gaining greater recognition, at least among Afro-Guyanese. In March 2004 it held a ceremo n y commemorating African Martyrs Day in honor of Cuffy and 209 of his fallen comrades. T he organizers made it clear that the event was intended to 38. Rutherford, Prime Minister Creates Stir, 2002; Emancipation Vigil at Public Buildings T onight, Guyana Chronicle July 31, 2001; R utherford 2002-2003. 39. On the recognition and celebration of E mancipation Day in T rinidad and Jamaica, see Brereton 1983:69-83; Henry 2003:73; Higman 1979:55-74. 40. R utherford, Prime Minister C reates S tir, 2002. 41. R utherford, Prime Minister C reates S tir, 2002. 42. Guyana seems to be one of the few countries in which this day is commemorated elaborately. 43. R utherford, C olourful African Holocaust Day, 2002; Never Again! 2003.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 213 ensure that the government and wider society recognized the contribution of Africans to the countrys development. 44 Apart from Guyana-specific events, the various organizations mentioned above are collectively involved in commemorating/remembering internation a l events relating to the African Diaspora, such as African C ivilization Day, Black History Month, African Holocaust Day, and the UN ESC O S lave R oute Project. T hese activities are carefully crafted into the local ones, stressing freedom, lib eration, and emancipation from the residual legacies of enslavement. Outside the organizations already discussed, a much larger number of Guyanese view slavery and various dates and events relating to it as impor tant matters for public discourse. One of the most important of these occa sions is Emancipation Day, which a number of them have come to view not only as a day of celebration, commemoration, and emphasis on things African through music, song, dance, cuisine, and so on, but also a time of reflection, of assessing what Afro-Guyanese have achieved and what remains to be achieved. In 2000 David Hinds, a Guyanese born in Buxton, an assistant professor at the Arizona S tate University, and a regular writer to the popular press, wrote:T his E mancipation anniversary is a good time to start correcting some of those wrongs. T he African in Guyana must begin the task of self-love today. He must begin sending his children to school again. He must begin to engage in economic activity both individually and collectively. He must support Black endeavors, not out of spite against another race, but out of genuine intra-group solidarity. He must join African cultural organizations. 45 Prime Minister Hinds voiced somewhat similar sentiments on a similar occa sion two years later. 46 It is also largely nongovernmental organizations and private individuals that campaign for reparations. As in other areas of the Black diaspora, repa rations by the former colonial powers have become a burning issue among the more Black-conscious groups within Guyanese society, though much of the discussion is linked with the international discourse on the subject. For instance, a local newspaper, the Guyana Chronicle printed a letter to the editor by R akesh R ampertab, 47 taking to task certain U. S senators who cam paigned for reparations for Jewish Holocaust survivors but not for Blacks. In 44. Cuffy and 209 Others Remembered, Daily Bulletin Guyana Government Information Agency, March 31, 2004. The organizers promised to hold an annual ceremony in honor of the martyrs and did so again in March 2005. 45. Hinds, E mancipation and the African-Guyanese R eality, 2000. 46. R utherford, Prime Minister C reates S tir, 2002. 47. E nough is E nough, Guyana Chronicle S eptember 15, 2001.
214 ALVIN O THOMPSON 2002, on the occasion of African Holocaust Day, Violet Jean-Baptiste spoke to a gathering in Georgetown about the significance of the occasion, and in closing stated, I want to urge you as you leave here today, that you embark on a campaign within your group; within your homes; within your families; even at the street corners, to bring to mind this great tragedy, and to join the growing movement and add your voices to the call for reparations thats going out globally. 48 Colin Moore, a Guyanese lawyer now living in New Y ork, is among those who argue that the enslavers received reparations for the loss of their enslaved charges but the latter did not receive anything but elemental freedom, and therefore their descendants have a right to demand reparations. 49 Guyanese generally realize that reparations can only be achieved through global rather than local agitation, though Hamilton Green once asked President Jagdeo not to request debt forgiveness by former E uropean colonial powers but to do the dignified thing and discuss reparation. 50 Nevertheless, many AfroGuyanese are not convinced that this is an important issue in the minds of the Indian-dominated PPP government, especially since there are no (or, at least, only feeble) voices calling for reparations for the Indian indentured workers who went to Guyana and elsewhere in the immediate postslavery period. It was out of the womb of A SCR IA that the famous Y oruba S ingers were born in 1971. They began by focusing mainly on African-style folk songs but widened their repertoire to include reggae and other Caribbean musical forms. Garbed in traditional African costumes, they have traveled widely around the world and performed on a number of important occasions in the C aribbean, United S tates, C anada, Britain, and elsewhere. T hey performed at the R ingbang Millennium C oncert in T obago on December 31, 1999, which the British Broadcasting Company transmitted to about 2.5 billion viewers worldwide. They are said to have over 300 songs to their credit and numer ous music albums. T he Guyana government has awarded them the Medal of S ervice for their outstanding contribution to the countrys musical culture. 51T he Burnham government placed strong emphasis not only on the wearing of African-style clothes and accessories, but also on establishing meaningful relations with the African continent. It was well known that he held great admiration for Kwame Nkrumah, incontestably the greatest pan-Africanist of the early postcolonial era. While not actually articulated by Burnham, as 48. R utherford, At C olourful African Holocaust Day, October 13, 2002. 49. Colin A. Moore, Emancipation A Dream Deferred. http://www.guyanajournal. com/ E man_ C M.html. Accessed April 18, 2005. 50. Colonial Slavery was the Most Significant, Pervasive Experience Says Mayor Hamilton Green, Guyana Chronicle August 3, 2000. 51. Kross Kolor Records, Y oruba Singers. http://www.krosskolor.com/yoruba_bio.htm. Accessed April 28, 2005.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 215 Nkrumah did, it seems that Marcus Garveys Universal Negro Improvement Association also impacted heavily on him. Both Nkrumah and Burnham were deeply involved in the Non-Aligned Movement. T he Burnham govern ment erected monuments in the country to the African L iberation Movement and the Non-Aligned Movement. 52 February and August are the two months in which special emphasis in the country is placed on things African. February is the date of the Berbice revolt (or February Revolution) and the inauguration of the Cooperative R epublic. T hat month is also Black History Month (African History Month) universally and especially in the United States. August is emancipation month. During these periods lectures, celebrations, ceremonies, festivals, arts and crafts, and so on emphasize the achievement of Black peoples locally, in Africa, and in the wider diaspora. However, arguably the vast majority of Afro-Guyanese do not embrace these specific African or Africanderived activities owing to class biases and socialization that continue to point to things European as the expression of high culture. 53 Still less do the Indians and other, smaller groups spend time, money, and energy on such occasions, though they do relish the bank holidays on E mancipation Day and R epublic Day to relax, go picnicking, and so on.ED U C A T ION AN D LI B E R A T ION In Guyana, as in most countries connected with the slave trade and slavery, the true significance of the African Holocaust remains largely unknown, or only vaguely known among their rank-and-file members. Richard Price (2001:60-61) rightly declares that one challenge then, is how to bring this knowledge, and its significance, to the descendants of the millions brought to the New World as slaves, to the descendants of those who however much at arms length trafficked in human flesh (and, in some cases, continue to profit directly from the economic arrangements plantation slavery established), and to the rest of humanity and again, my thoughts on memorials run less to bricks and mortar than to knowledge and its diffusion. What if we tried to make sure that every schoolchild in E urope, the Americas and Africa is exposed as fully as pos 52. T he National T rust of Guyana, National Monuments. http://www.nationaltrust. gov.gy/natmonuments.html. Accesses April 13, 2005. 53. Al C raighton, African Heritage in Guyana. http://www.guyanaunderseige.com/ C u l t ural/African heritage G T .htm. Accessed April 25, 2005.
216 ALVIN O THOMPSON sible to the history of slavery and the complexity of its legacy? Price, as many other writers, view such knowledge as essential to our understanding of the present and as a guide to the future, in terms of Black self-esteem, cultural heritage, 54 race relations, international relations, and so on. For instance, Flavio dos S antos Gomes (2001:81) asserts that discourse about black ethnology in Brazil was partially constructed using the quilombos [Maroon settlements] as a paradigm. The close association of the acquisition of knowledge or (re)education with true freedom or liberation appears frequently in works dealing with the legacies of slavery in Guyana, and Walter R odney becomes the chief icon of liberation through such a process. On the twentieth anniversary of his assas sination, the Working Peoples Alliance, of which he was a member, referred to Bob Marleys declamations against mental slavery, and called upon all Guyanese to honor R odney, their martyr and prophet of self-emancipation. They should apply this Rodneyite principle of self-emancipation to all the debilitating circumstances, diseases, economic, gender, cultural and spiritual influences which limit the generations in growth and healthy development into a self-respecting, human family in which all parts accept and respect one another. 55 Rodneys How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972) and The Groundings With My Brothers (1969) 56 are the two works cited most often by the liberation school; but works by other Guyanese (and Black African and diaspora) writers are also mentioned. Among these is the pioneering work of Norman E. Cameron, titled The Evolution of the Negro (1929 and 1931). All the main Afro-Guyanese organizations have some sort of educational program, ranging from instruction in academic subjects to handicraft, food preparation, farming, and general discussions on African history and mat ters relating to Africa and the African diaspora. The African Cultural and Development Association has a youth arm called the C enter of L earning and Afrocentric Orientation.CON C LUSION In a largely uniracial society it is much easier than in a multiracial one to develop national symbols that are likely to be accepted by the vast majori t y. The situation becomes even more difficult when symbols are developed 54. S ansone (2001:86) defines heritage as the preservation of the past for the sake of the future of the nation. 55. WPA Statement on the 20th Anniversary of Walter Rodneys Assassination. http:// www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com/wpa/wpa_statement21.html. Accessed March 29, 2005. 56. For a detailed study of R odney and his writings see L ewis 1998.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 217 in a society where two large ethnic groups are competing for precedence on nearly every front: political, economic, religious, cultural, and so forth. David T rotman (2006) has demonstrated the accuracy of this observation in the case of T rinidad. Guyana has basically the same ethnic configuration as T rinidad. However, while much of the symbolism developed in that country was done through private agency, in Guyana the national government under Burnham took the leading role. Of course, within the wider context of the Americas Burnhams initiative, though perhaps somewhat extreme in comparison to what other countries have done, falls within the broad pattern of attempts to elevate slave reb els to national hero status. Burnham could therefore count on strong sup port at the regional and hemispheric levels for his initiative in this respect. East Indians, though constituting significant elements in the Guyanese (and T rinidadian) population, are a tiny minority in the Americas as a whole, and their struggles under indentureship are even less known than those of the Africans. This is why, perhaps, on the issue of reparations for the sufferings of their ancestors, they have been virtually silent. Some may argue, therefore, that in order to appear progressive in the face of the recent international resurrection of the slavery past (an activity involving Africa, North America, L atin America, E urope, and the C aribbean subregion), the East Indians in Guyana have embraced to a greater or lesser extent the establishment of monuments to slave heroes. However, it is equally plausible to argue that most E ast Indians in that country have no real problem with those slaves who have been elevated to national hero status, and that what concerned them is the almost complete neglect by the (predominantly Black) PN C regime to give due respect to Indians whose ancestors deserved a place in the national pantheon of gods.REFE R EN C ESABRAMS, OVID 1998. Metegee: The History and Culture of Guyana Queens Village N Y : Ashanti Books. AU G IE R, F .R. et al ., 1960. The Making of the West Indies E ssex, U.K.: L ongmans. BA RT ELS, DENNIS, 1977. C lass C onflict and R acist Ideology in the Formation of Modern Guyanese S ociety. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 14:396-405. BIRBALSINGH, FRANK, 2005. Review of Ruel Johnsons Ariadne and Other Stories Trinidad and Tobago Review 27:26. BLAKELY, ALLISON, 2001. R emembering S lavery in the United S tates. In Gert Oostindie (ed.), Facing Up to the Past: Perspectives on the Commemoration of Slavery from Africa, the Americas and Europe Kingston: Ian R andle, pp. 102-8.
218 ALVIN O THOMPSON BR E R E T ON, BR I DG E T, 1983. T he Birthday of Our R ace: A S ocial History of E mancipation Day in T rinidad, 1838-88. In B.W. Higman (ed.), Trade, Government and Society in Caribbean History 1700-1920: Essays Presented to Douglas Hall Kingston: Heinemann, pp. 69-83. , 1998. A S ocial History of E mancipation Day in the British C aribbean: T he First Fifty Y ears. In Hilary McD Beckles (ed.), Inside Slavery: Process and Legacy in the Caribbean Experience Kingston: C anoe Press, pp. 79-95. BU R NHAM, FO RB ES 1970. A Destiny to Mould L ondon: L ongmans. CAMERON, NORMAN E. 1929. The Evolution of the Negro Vol. 1. Georgetown: Argosy. , 1934. The Education of the Negro. Vol. 2. Georgetown: Argosy. DALY, P H ., 1970. Revolution to Republic Georgetown: Daily C hronicle. DALY, VE R E T. 1974. The Making of Guyana L ondon: Macmillan. DESPRES, LEO A. 1969. Differential Adaptations and Micro-Cultural Evolution in Guyana. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 25:14-44. DOOKHAN, ISAAC 1971. A Pre-Emancipation History of the West Indies London: C ollins. DOW, MELISSA, 2000-2001. S ave the National Monument. Emancipation 1(8):40. DRESCHER, SEYMOUR, 2001. Commemorating Slavery and Abolition in the United States of America. In Gert Oostindie (ed.), Facing Up to the Past: Perspectives on the Commemoration of Slavery from Africa, the Americas and Europe Kingston: Ian R andle, pp. 109-12. FE RG USON, JAMES 1998. The Story of the Caribbean People Kingston: Ian R andle. GI B SON, KEAN 2003. The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana New Y ork: University Press of America. GREEN, WILLIAM A. 1976. British Slave Emancipation: The Sugar Colonies and the Great Experiment 1830-1865 Oxford: C larendon Press. GREENWOOD, R. & S. HAMBER 1980. Caribbean Certificate History 2: Emancipation to Emigration L ondon: Macmillan C aribbean. HENR Y, FRANCES 2003. Reclaiming African Religions in Trinidad: The Socio-Political Legitimation of the Orisha and Spiritual Baptist Faiths Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. HIGMAN, B.W 1979. Slavery Remembered: The Celebration of Emancipation in Jamaica. Journal of Caribbean History 12:55-74. JAGAN, JANET 1995. Childrens Stories of Guyanas Freedom Struggles Georgetown: New Guyana C o.
SYM B OLI C LE G A C IES OF SLAVE R Y IN GUYANA 219 KNI G H T, FR ANKLIN W 1990. The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Orig. 1978.] KWAYANA, EUSI, 1999-2000. R eview of Themes in African Guyanese History McGowan, Winston F., James G. R ose & David A. Granger (eds.). Emancipation 7:16-17. LEWIS, RUPERT CHARLES 1998. Walter Rodneys Intellectual and Political Thought Kingston: T he Press University of the West Indies. MCGOWAN, WINS T ON F ., JAMES G. ROSE & DAVI D A GR AN G E R (eds.), 1998. Themes in African-Guyanese History Georgetown: Free Press. MOO R E, RO B E RT J. 1999. C olonial Images of Blacks and Indians in Nineteenth C entury Guyana. In Bridget Brereton & Kevin A. Y elvington (eds.), The Colonial Caribbean in Transition: Essays on Postemancipation Social and Cultural History Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 126-58. PA RR Y, J. H ., P M SHE R LO C K & A P MAIN G O T 1971. A Short History of the West Indies L ondon: Macmillan. PAYNE, HUGH TOMMY, 2001. 10 Days in August 1834: 10 Days that Changed the World Brooklyn N Y : C aribbean Diaspora Press. PRICE, RICHARD, 2001. Monuments and Silent Screamings: A View from Martinique. In Gert Oostindie (ed.), Facing up to the Past: Perspectives on the Commemoration of Slavery from Africa, the Americas and Europe. Kingston: Ian R andle, pp. 58-62. RO D NEY, WAL T E R 1969. The Groundings with My Brothers L ondon: Bogle L Ouverture Publications. , 1972. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa L ondon: Bogle L Ouverture Publications. ROGOZINSKI, JAN 1992. A Brief History of the Caribbean: From the Arawak and the Carib to the Present New Y ork: Facts on File. RUTHERFORD, LINDA, 2002-3003. African Heritage Pageants. Emancipation 1(10):6465. SAN C HO, T. ANSON, . Highlights of Guyanese History Georgetown: n.p. SANSONE, LIVIO, 2001. Remembering Slavery from Nearby: Heritage Brazilian Style. In Gert Oostindie (ed.), Facing Up to the Past: Perspectives on the Commemoration of Slavery from Africa, the Americas and Europe Kingston: Ian R andle, pp. 83-89. SANT OS GOMES, FLVIO DOS, 2001. The Legacy of Slavery and Social Relations in Brazil. In Gert Oostindie (ed.), Perspectives on the Commemoration of Slavery from Africa, the Americas and Europe Kingston: Ian R andle, pp. 75-82. THOMAS, DEBORAH A. 2004. Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica Durham N C : Duke University Press. THOMPSON, ALVIN O 1987. Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Guyana 1580-1803 Bridgetown, Barbados: C arib R esearch & Publications.
220 ALVIN O THOMPSON , 1997. The Haunting Past: Politics, Economic and Race in Caribbean Life Kingston: Ian R andle. , 2002. Review of Hugh T ommy Paynes 10 Days in August 1834 Journal of Caribbean History 36:336-45. , 2006. Flight to Freedom: African Runaways and Maroons in the Americas Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. TINKE R, HU G H H 1974. A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labor Overseas 1830-1920 L ondon: Oxford University Press. TR O T MAN, DAVI D, 2006. Public History, L andmarks and Decolonization in T rinidad. The Journal of Caribbean History 40:39-63. WA R NE RLEWIS, MAU R EEN 2003. Jamaicas Muslim Past: Misrepresentations. Journal of Caribbean History 37:294-316. WILLIAMS, BR A C KE TT E F 1991. Stains on My Name, War in My Veins: Guyana and the Politics of Cultural Struggle Durham N C : Duke University Press. WILLIAMS, DENNIS, 1994. T he 1763 Monument. Emancipation 2:6-7. WILLIAMS, ER I C 1970. From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 14921969 L ondon: Andr Deutsch. WIL T SHI R E, SY B IL 1994. Damons Monument. Emancipation 2:5. ALVIN O THOMPSON Department of History and Philosophy University of the West Indies C ave Hill C ampus Barbados
RIVKE JAFFEA VI E W F R OM T H E C ON CRETE JUNG LE: DIV ER GING E NVI R OM E N T A L I S M S IN T H E U R BAN C A R IBB E AN E nvironmental issues throughout the C aribbean have been attracting increas ing concern from academics and policy makers in recent decades, especially given the vulnerability of many territories as small island developing states and the emphasis of many donor agencies on sustainable development. Nevertheless, surprisingly little is known about local perceptions of the envi ronment and of relationships between humans and nature. While attempts are made to integrate sociocultural aspects of environmental management with technical and legal solution strategies, the focus has largely been on the rural and marine environment, notwithstanding large and growing urban popula tions and the urgency of urban environmental problems. Urban C aribbean perceptions of the environment and nature are not only significant from an anthropological perspective, but they also have impor tant implications for environmental management and policy. Effective gover n ment action is crucial to preventing and solving urban environmental problem s. But where governments lack funds and skilled manpower, they cannot function without the cooperation and involvement of groups and indi vidual citizens at the local or municipal level. T o achieve civic engagement, supralocal groups the government and environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs) must ensure that their approach is relevant to the citizens emic understanding of their environment. Environmental organi zations and policy makers tend to operate from expert viewpoints, while lay perceptions of environmental problems exist on the local level of urban communities. As Y vonne R ydin (1999:473) asserts, it becomes difficult to achieve policy goals when a substantive gap in viewpoints exists between expert and lay constituencies and trust is absent, in part due to the previous exercise of power by the expert groups. Various factors have served to create the gap between official readings of environmentalism and versions articulated by those living in various con crete jungles throughout the region. In addition, the classed and often politi New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006):221-243
222 RIVKE JAFFE cized nature of environmental problems in these cities complicates collective action. Professional environmentalist discourse often fails to reflect the worldviews and concerns held by the sizeable urban population living in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica, or the marginal barios of Willemstad, C uraao. In this article I examine the disconnect between supralocal environmental dis course and policy and local understandings and articulations of environment and nature among urban residents in Kingston and Willemstad, speculating that this disconnect might be applicable throughout the broader C aribbean. ME T HO D S AN D RESEA RC H COMMUNI T IEST he research on which this article is based is a study of actors at two general ized levels: supralocal and local. On the supralocal level I inventoried gov ernmental and nongovernmental organizations and studied their develop ment over time, specifically their real or potential influence on policy and on urban and environmental discourse. T his research was conducted through interviews 1 with strategic individuals and supplemented with an extensive analysis of written sources including numerous policy documents. Local-level ethnographic research was conducted in four low-income neighborhoods. 2 The selection of the fieldwork locations was based on their socioeconomic status and their proximity to environmental problems. Fieldwork in C uraao took place in two locations: Wishi/Marchena and S eru Fortuna. The first neighborhood, or bario is an area downwind from the Isla oil refinery, where rates of respiratory diseases are significantly higher than elsewhere on the island, and the second is on the edge of the city and experiencing degradation of its social and physical infrastructure, character ized by solid waste management problems and high rates of violent crime. In Jamaica, fieldwork was carried out in Riverton and Rae T own. The first community is adjacent to the islands largest landfill, while the other is an urban fishing community bordering on the citys polluted harbor and expe riencing grave sewerage problems. Other criteria for selecting research sites 1 I conducted 38 interviews with a total of 43 persons in 2000, 2002, and 2003. In addi tion to interviews and document analysis, I took part in NGO activities such as meetings, lectures, and nature hikes. I also worked with an urban environmental NGO in Kingston in 2004 to organize a stakeholder meeting, coordinating activities and raising funds for the construction of a solid waste barrier in a gully in the downtown community of Rae T own. 2 I conducted fieldwork in 2003 and 2004. In-depth semi-structured interviews were held with a total of 118 residents (60 in Jamaica, 58 in C uraao), supplemented by a number of unstructured interviews and numerous informal conversations. In C uraao this took place in Wishi/Marchena in April-May 2003 and in S eru Fortuna in S eptember-November 2004; in Jamaica in R iverton in January-March 2003 and in R ae T own in January-April 2004.
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 223 were their physical accessibility and safety, as well as social accessibility through area leaders and key informants. Fieldwork in these four neighborhoods consisted of participatory observa tion as well as semi-structured interviews with around thirty respondents per area. In one of the interview methods on which this paper is based, the photo elicitation technique (Harper 2002), respondents were presented with photos of environmental scenes and asked to describe how they felt about them so that I could tap into their associative thinking on some aspects of nature and environmental problems on their own island. Pictures included tropical veg etation, litter, garbage dumps, gullies, polluted beaches, and an oil refinery. The other method relevant to this paper relied on a quantitative instrument intended to roughly measure environmental consciousness. T his instrument, the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale (Dunlap et al 2000), is a scale designed to measure five hypothesized facets of an ecological worldview. 3 T he presumed facets are those relating to limits to growth, anti-anthropocen trism, balance of nature, rejection of human exemptionalism, and the possi bility of an ecological crisis. T he responses to these methods allowed insight into local perceptions of local nature and environmental problems, and into views on human and nature relationships in the abstract.ENVI R ONMEN T AL PE RC EP T IONS Urban citizens are often seen as alienated from nature; in the Jamaican con text, E lizabeth M. T homas-Hope (1996:10) depicts the situation as follows:Children in Kingstons so-called garrison communities, where green is the colour of a political party, not of vegetation, grow up in an environment devoid of nature. T he power which they assert over their own environment reflects inner anger rather than positive interaction. 3 T he instrument consists of 15 statements, and respondents are requested to indicate whether they strongly agree, mildly agree, are unsure, mildly disagree, or strongly disagree with these statements. E ach hypothesized facet is tested with three statements. R esponses to the statements were coded from 1 to 5, so that a higher score denotes a pro-N E P response. With 15 statements this means that a total score of 75 indicates a complete endorsement of the N E P, and 15 indicates complete rejection. Despite quantitative limitations, the N E P scale is useful because of its extensive use and the consequent comparability of samples. During my second period of fieldwork I used an adapted version of the scale, incorporating several changes that I believed would improve it for the C aribbean context. T hese changes basi cally simplified some of the language and added a dimension measuring religious beliefs. C ombining the data from all communities (including only those items used in both scales) results in larger samples and allows comparisons between Jamaica and C uraao as well as a C aribbean sample of all respondents combined, as displayed in T able 1 on p. 229.
224 RIVKE JAFFE I believe this to be an overly pessimistic portrayal; urban settings, even those that are poor or violent, can foster positive attitudes toward nature and the urban environment. On the whole residents in all four research neighborhoods had definite ideas on the natural and urban environment in their concrete local manifestations, with a number of prominent themes. T hose discussed here are evaluations of wild nature and brown environmental problems. Wilderness A salient theme was the mixed attitude respondents had toward wild nature, generally qualified as bush in Jamaica and mondi in C uraao. T he bush is seen simultaneously as dirty and dangerous, a place of beauty and peace, a national symbol, and an economic resource. Many Jamaican respondents, especially in R iverton, displayed an aversion toward wild nature such as mangroves and cacti, and feel that bush is bad or dirty, full of mosquitoes. T hey feel that these places wan develop or would look good if it clean up. It is inter esting to note that wilderness is seen as dirty, it jus look bad, not clean. In this sense bush is a negative valuation, thus a scene can look nice although it bushy. In C uraao, Wishi/Marchena residents in particular displayed a marked aversion to the mondi exemplified by wild and undeveloped nature such as the islands cactus landscapes. T his wilderness was associated with danger, whether it was the prickly plants, wild animals, or lurking rapists and drug traffickers. In addition, a number of respondents portray themselves as people who do not venture outside the urban area. S peaking of the desolate seaside on the islands north coast, one resident explained that I dont go those places, Im more a city person, while anoth e r concurred that he did not really go to these places, with nature. S ome Wishi/Marchena residents ascribed positive qualities to the mondi and other natural tableaux, while excluding themselves in this appreciation. T hey did note that others, namely nature lovers or tour ists, would value it: this is nice if you like flora and fauna or this is a place where nature is intact its good for animals and nature lovers. T his noninclusion of the self in the appreciation of nature might mean that respondents recognize its value but feel no personal attachment to it. However, many Jamaican and C uraaoan respondents do value wild or not spoilt non-urban places. R espondents on both islands voice their appre ciation for the beauty, coolness, fresh air, and quiet provided by tropical veg etation. R esidents also realize the growing scarcity of wilderness wi would like some of our environment to remain like this. T his sentiment is reinforced by their urban perspective. In Jamaica, natural, green areas are also seen as an integral, symbolic part of the nation and are associated with country and nice, quiet places. Jamaicans in R ae T own praise the ecological functions of wild nature; mangroves, for instance, are appreciated for protecting young fish and birds, presumably due to the communitys close relationship with the harbor and the sea. In C uraao, the mondi is also appreciated by some for its
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 225 utility value, as a good place to hunt iguanas. R esidents in the C uraaoan community of S eru Fortuna displayed the most positive attitude toward bush or mondi T hey nearly unanimously described the mondi as pretty and nice ( dushi ). Moreover, bush is seen as being symbolic of C uraao as a nation: when you see it you know youre in C uraao. T he mondi and its plants represent C uraaoan traditions and heritage. Many people were able to name various typical mondi plants and their medicinal and culinary uses. L ike other forms of heritage, we need to conserve it. T his lack of a negative associa tion with bush is probably due to residents proximity to and interaction with it. T hese barios are basically surrounded by bush, and the residents interact with it in differing ways. Many men and boys go fishing along the coast for fun and to supplement their diet and income, while women praise the calm ing effect of being amongst nature and plants. In addition, S eru Fortuna has a rural past that involved intimate use of mondi resources. Many respondents in all neighborhoods acknowledge and emphasize the instrumental value of natural resources, the green environment, above their intrinsic value. T he C uraaoan mondi is a good place to hunt iguanas, a place that provides medicinal products and is attractive for tourists. Its attraction for tourists is reflected in the statements respondents made about garbage piling up on beaches: this is dirty, its not nice for tourism and tourists shouldnt see this. 4 Jamaicans know that mangroves can be used to make mats and hats, cacti are used to make medicine or wash hair, trees are valued for their fruit. R esidents place a high value on self-sufficiency, and knowing how to make the most of ones environment is integral to this. Despite the utility value of the bush or mondi the preference for devel opment above unspoiled nature is reflected in the overwhelmingly positive evaluation of industry, such as an oil refinery, which is associated with jobs and development, progressive, money-making thing. Industrial develop ment is associated strongly and positively with economic progress, though it is noted in C uraao that the sociospatial distribution of benefits (money) and disadvantages (pollution) is skewed. Brown Environmental Problems Respondents in the research neighborhoods in Curaao and Jamaica were unanimous in their aesthetic, hygienic, and environmental objections to brown environmental problems, most prominently litter and garbage. They expressed strong objections to the omnipresence of garbage and litter and 4 These references to tourism and utility value somewhat replicate the findings of De Kruijf and Arends in Curaao three decades ago. They noted that there is not interest at all in nature except for practical aspects and also observed the tendency to place the blame and responsibility for environmental management and mismanagement almost completely on the government (De Kruijf & Arends 1975:211).
226 RIVKE JAFFE reacted emotionally to its visibility in both urban and rural areas throughout the island. It is considered a visual disturbance through its ugliness, but more importantly it is a health hazard: the cause of rats, roaches, and disease. In Rae T own, where garbage-clogged gullies flood following heavy rain, resi dents worry about the drains smell and pathogenic qualities, as well as the danger to people living on their banks. They do recognize the hypocrisy of outcries that follow such a flood: people a go cry same likkle people who literally do this [dump garbage in the gullies]. Respondents also recognize the ecological impacts of improper solid waste management as it is simply wicked to the environment. Many link waste management issues to socioeconomic factors such as poverty, crime, and social disintegration. Curaaoans call this type of pol lution illegal and unhygienic and associate it with neglect and social decline: crime, drug addicts, prostitution, and houses abandoned following large-scale migration to the Netherlands. In urban areas, litter is associated with the bad name certain barios have and is blamed on poverty and some times foreigners, especially Dominicans. In less populated areas, where ille gal dumping is very common, the blame is placed on a lack of civic feel ing. Respondents also place a strong emphasis on the importance of image in a tourism-dependent country, wishing that the people who dump illegally would at least hide their dead dogs and old appliances in the bushes rather than leaving them by the wayside where tourists can see them. Jamaicans 5 condemn litter and illegal dumping as nasty, awful or very, very slopp y and associate it with poverty and crime: these [rundown urban] places need refurbish, build back, beautify the city. Dis a safe haven for criminals. Unclean surroundings are linked with poverty, abandonment, and a lack of development, and look like it condemn. C leanliness is also associated with wealth. For instance, the commercial area of downtown should look better cause money mek dung deh, because money is made down there. There appear to be strong normative ideas about what belongs where in Jamaica: rubbish should not be in evidence in rural areas, just as cows are not sup posed to roam on garbage dumps: dem cow fi deh inna pasture, those cows should be in a pasture. E specially given respondents positions in the heart of urban Jamaica, strong value is placed on clean, green spaces that are removed from the citys poverty and filth. 6 Pollution does not fit well in respondents views of the countryside. They assume that is same people from Kingston do this and find it improper fi a place weh tourist always go.5 S ee C hevannes and Gayle 1998 for a detailed report of inner city perspectives on solid waste management. 6 Notwithstanding the prevalence of rural poverty in Jamaica, urban Jamaicans often speak highly, and with some wistfulness, of the country areas. Though people down a country are seen as a little backwards, rural Jamaicans are also seen as more peaceful, with traditional values (see Headley 2002:60-62).
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 227 Garbage and litter are accepted as a part of urban life, but are nevertheless regarded as plain wrong and dirty. This strong condemnation appears hypo critical given that all neighborhoods have vacant lots or empty houses that function as places where garbage is dumped freely. Riverton borders on the dump, and the presence of garbage there is noticeable at all times. 7 However, residents strong emphasis on hygiene is evident in the care they take of their own houses, yards, and personal belongings, pointing toward different atti tudes regarding public and private space. T he data presented above emphasize the interconnectedness of ecologi cal issues and social, economic, and political concerns, including poverty and crime. E cological, social, economic, and health concerns are seen as inter woven, while a good environment encompasses the social, physical, and natural environment. 8 R esidents underline the instrumental value of natural resources: this too is an expression of the interconnectedness of environmen tal and other concerns, in this case economic. In C uraao, garbage is linked to poverty, social disintegration, and crime; the oil refinery is associated with economic and social inequality; and a deficient infrastructure, ranging from overflowing cesspits to unpaved streets, is seen as indicative of the communi ties marginal social and economic position. In Jamaica, residents also recog nize the role of urban politics in the consistent neglect of ghetto areas: the bad reputations of their neighborhoods are the reason that environmental problems are not tackled, and this is why improvements in the physical infrastructure housing, streets, lighting are so slow. Apart from the sociopolitical con text, they see social disintegration as going hand in hand with environmental and physical deterioration, and they display a strong awareness of the social aspects of urban environmental problems. 9 T he relationship between environ -7 A notable tendency in R iverton, stemming from residents informal waste management activities, is to see the economic value of garbage. R iverton residents regard the dump itself and the accumulated piles of garbage lining their own streets as sources of income rather than pollution. Nevertheless, they are disturbed by litter on the streets of other urban neighborhoods, or in rural areas. Objections to garbage are situational, affirming Mary Douglass (2002) well-known categorization of pollution or dirt as matter out of place. 8 The linking of environmental problems to socioeconomic issues is reflected in a qualitative study conducted amongst lower-income Jamaican youth in the context of an environmental education campaign. T he study also found that any interpretation of envi ronment includes social aspects; all definitions of good environment referred to peace and unity. T o the majority environment was defined as what they saw in their sur roundings: their community, people and their behaviour (including war), the state of the infrastructure, living conditions, flowering plants, painted and decorated corners, build ings, trees and animals ( NEEC Campaign Protest Report: A Qualitative Assessment Hope E nterprises, Kingston, 1999). 9 Dodman (2003:311) also found that in Kingston, citizens from across the socio-eco nomic spectrum shared the perspective of these environmental problems as problems of social organisation.
228 RIVKE JAFFE mental degr a dation and human health was stressed repeatedly. R esidents on both islands displayed a considerable awareness of the health impacts of dust, smoke, and other air pollution, and of the unhygienic circumstances of a dys functional sewage system. R espondents see environmental and other urban concerns as interwoven, basing their view on concrete experiences in their personal surroundings; an example from R ae T own is as follows. T he gullies are clogged and full of vermin because people throw garbage into them, either because they are bad mind (social) or because they do not receive proper garbage collection (envi ronment). Others dump bags of feces there because they have no proper toilets (infrastructure, poverty). C hildren in R ae T own become ill (health) because they play in the polluted gullies (environment). However they might not be playing there if there were better places to play (infrastructure) or if their mother had enough money (economy) to send them to school. But it is hard for adults to find work because of area stigmatization (crime). T his inability to secure a legal income forces people to look to their family and friends (social) or politicians (politics) for support, or to resort to illegal options (crime).FOLK EC OLO G IESC uraaoan and Jamaican residents display coherent folk ecologies or general beliefs about the E arth and human-environment relationships ( S tern et al. 1995:738). T hese sets of beliefs, also known as environmental worldviews, are intimately connected to religious beliefs and a fairly pessimistic view of humanity in general. T here was a large measure of concurrence between responses on both islands and in all four neighborhoods. Quantitative data on various facets of an environmental worldview, obtained using the N E P scale, are displayed in T able 1 (p. 229), while I discuss the qualitative data gener ated by the same scale in this section. A higher score on the scale indicates a stronger presumed support of each of the five dimensions of the hypothesized pro-environmental paradigm, that is, a higher level of environmental aware ness according to this standardized scale. T he idea that there is a limit to the space on earth and to its resources is met with resistance by nearly all those interviewed. T he earth is viewed as being a vast expanse, and nature is conceived of as limitless, an endless horn of plenty. In the words of Jamaican respondents, Father God nah put no limits innit and If it neva nuff wi woulda died long time. S imilarly, respondents do not envision a looming limit to the number of people; over population is not an issue. T he sense of overcrowding and fear of overpopu lation encountered in other densely populated or highly urbanized regions is remarkably absent. S everal people stressed that scarcity throughout the world stems not from overpopulation, but from the fact that its natural wealth is not
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 229 shared, not distributed equally by those in power. T here is a strong trust in technology, which will enable humans to continue to utilize natural resources; most believe that eventually people will be able to control nature, though not necessarily for the better because people abuse their knowledge and power. T he perfidious nature of humans, who are severely abusing the environment, is not subject to much debate. In C uraao, they chop down trees, beat iguanas, burn down the mondi build houses indiscriminately, all without thinking of the consequences, and sometimes they do it even when they dont have to. On both islands, humans are seen as wicked, greedy, and envious. Along with this misanthropic view of mankind, residents on both islands presented an anthropocentric view of nature. The general opinion is that humans were created by God to rule over the rest of nature. Quoting the Bible on this (and many other issues), respondents state that God or Jah granted man dominion over all things. 10 T his hierarchy is seen as a natural logical order. As one Jamaican respondent put it, lion rule di jungle, man rule di earth. This dominion entails humans right to use and change the natural environment to suit their needs, though some Jamaicans demur that some places haffi remain [untouched] or even that Father put dem deh so dem nah fi change it. 11 Their view of nature is largely utilitarian: most are convinced that plants and animals exist in the first place to be used by people, though many add the restriction that humans need to make use of them in a prudent manner, as dominion entails a certain responsibility or stewardship. These convictions have a religious basis: God created animals to be eaten, but you need to use them for good things, you cant just kill them for fun. 10. Bob Marleys song We and Dem, quoted by one Jamaican respondent, talks of humans God-given right to rule over nature and their subsequent abuse of this right: But in the beginning Jah created everything/giving man dominion over all things/but now its too late, you see men have lost their faith/eating up all the flesh from off the earth. 11. T hat is, God made those places so people should not change them. Jamaica (n = 60) Curaao (n = 56) total (n = 116) mean SD mean SD mean SD limits to growth 1.81 1.00 2.05 1.04 1.93 1.02 anti-anthropocentrism 2.80 1.11 3.10 1.30 2.94 1.21 human exemptionalism 3.55 1.03 3.58 0.82 3.56 0.93 balance of nature 4.00 1.03 3.75 0.98 3.88 1.01 possibility of an ecocrisis 4.28 0.91 4.46 0.72 4.36 0.83 NEP score total 48.31 8.28 49.22 8.94 48.75 8.58 Table 1. Means of dimensions of NEP scale (1 = strongly anti-NEP and 5 = strongly pro-NEP)
230 RIVKE JAFFE C orrespondingly, many feel that humans have the right to change the natural environment to suit their needs, but only if these changes are made with con sideration: not without a good plan, you cant hurt nature. Most respondents rejected the idea of human exemptionalism. Are humans seen as special and different from the rest of nature? In the main, C uraaoans and Jamaicans saw humans as part of nature in the same manner as plants and animals, and as comparable to animals in many ways. Many explained their stance by saying that all were created by and under God or Jah. According to them, there is a hierarchy, though: people are the part of creation God loves most. S everal people were quick to provide examples of animals commu nicating with them, while one C uraaoan was emphatic that trees cry just like us. Animals were said to have feelings and thoughts similar to people dem come in jus like wi 12 as one Jamaican put it but lack speech. T he endowment of animals with a spirit concurs with Barry C hevanness (1994:26) statement that the Jamaican view of nature is concrete rather than abstract, manifesting itself in important animistic beliefs about natural objects and products. T hese beliefs do not just apply to animals, as Jamaican artist S izzla sings: every flower in the garden, every tree in the forest represents a living person. 13 R espondents also stress the interconnectedness between humans, animals, trees: If air polluted, they die, we die. Still, nature is generally conceived of as strong enough to cope with human impacts. Many see nature as unalterable, uncontrollable, and inde structible: it is Gods work, and only Him up there can change it. Along the same lines, nature is generally envisioned as being very robust, stronger than humans and with a powerful regenerative capacity. In the case of fisher men in Rae T own and Seru Fortuna, this reasoning is perhaps the result of frequent interaction with the wild elements out at sea. The link respondents make between the natural and the supernatural, which is evident in the idea of nature as imbued with an uncontrollable, divine strength, also emerges in discourses on natural disasters. There is a strong belief in the threat of an ecological crisis, a somewhat millenarian expectation of environmental catastrophe. 14 Respondents believe disaster is imminent as a result of human interventions in nature, but they also explain their concern as the fear of a reproving deity. They illustrate the direct rela tionship between interference with nature and disaster with the example of 12. T hat is, they act just like us. 13. In the song Jah Will Be There, from the 2002 album Ghetto Revolution on the Greensleeves label. 14. I am inclined to attribute this in part to the more general, religiously inspired, C aribbean belief that disaster will not be long coming, a certain apocalyptical preoccupation combined with the regions history of natural disasters including devastating earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding. For more on the cultural construction of natural hazards, see Bankoff (2004).
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 231 Curaaoan land reclamation, which is followed by regular flooding, or the drought that follows deforestation in Jamaica. But respondents are fervent in their explanations of natural disasters as indications of divine wrath, as pun ishment for moral failure. For C uraaoans, God is angry because of the lack of values, the murders. Visions of an apocalypse were perhaps strengthened by Hurricane Ivan, which swept a devastating path through the C aribbean in September 2004 but barely missed Curaao. Jamaicans also link hurricanes and the murder rate, explaining that [God] nah like weh wi do. But the direct relationship between interference with nature and resulting disaster, without divine intervention, is also recognized. Illustrations of this included the concrete Curaaoan example of land reclamation followed by regular flooding, or in Jamaica the drought that follows deforestation. Religion, whether Rastafari, Protestantism, or Catholicism, obviously plays an important role in shaping ideas on the relationship between humans and nature. 15 Nearly everyone feels that God is a determining factor in the relationship between the two; the hierarchical relationship between humans and nature is mediated by a God figure. God is seen as laying the founda tions for the relationship between humans and their environment, though He leaves the responsibility to humanity; there is an equilibrium between structure and agency. As C uraaoans noted, theres a balance between what God made and what we do with it. Humans decide God put man here but its up to man to choose wisely, is how one Jamaican respondent put it. Another had a slightly more pessimistic view: God nah stop us, he lef us to mek wi own destruction. R eligious views are expressed in a worldview that links the natural and the supernatural. 16 We find related views expressed by C hevannes, who describes the view of mankind in Jamaica as dialectical. Humans are seen as actors capable of mastery over the supernatural, the natural and the human world, mainly through the acquisition of knowledge. But simultaneously, they are seen as passive and subject to supernatural and natural forces, the latter being interpreted as instruments of divine action ( C hevannes 1994:3215. Despite the dominance of especially Protestant C hristianity in Jamaica, it is likely that R astafari, as a socioreligious movement, has had a substantial impact on environmental thinking. A central idea for R astafari is ital livity a commitment to using things in their natural or organic states with an emphasis on harmony between humans and nature and a rejection of the artificial in favor of the natural ( E dmonds 1998:354). While only a minority of Jamaican respondents were R astas, in their discourse on nature and environment many of them expressed conscious attitudes and opinions akin to those propagated by R astafari. 16. Despite considerable religious diversity amongst respondents who included C atholics in C uraao and, in Jamaica, R astafari and adherents of different Protestant denominations there was remarkable agreement on these issues, across islands and faiths. For more on various religious traditions and thought on these and other C aribbean islands, see for instance Austin-Broos 1997, T aylor 2001, Desmangles et al. 2003, S treefkerk 2003.
232 RIVKE JAFFE 33). T his idea of natural forces as wild, infinite, animated powers ties in with more general animist ideas, which are also apparent in the perception of plants and animals as having spirits or communicative powers similar to humans. S imultaneously, respondents display an anthropocentric view of humans, whom they see as operating at a level superior to that of nature. T hey are destined to rule over nature and are capable of destroying it and can develop all kinds of technology in order to manipulate their surroundings, sometimes to ill effect, as with genetic manipulation, which was strongly condemned by those respondents who spoke of it. Humans greed and disregard results in environmental abuse, as witnessed for instance by widespread pollution. T hese seemingly contradictory beliefs are structured in a trinity of humans, nature, and God/Jah, in which nature and humans are positioned under God/ Jah who is the C reator of both. As a result, respondents display a worldview shaped by AfricanC aribbean C hristian and R astafari beliefs, distinguished by a creolized mixture of misanthropy, anthropocentrism, and animism. S uch a worldview corresponds partially with western concepts of environmental consciousness, though it excludes the dimensions of limits to growth and to a lesser extent anti-anthropocentrism (see also T able 1, p. 229). In their folk ecologies, respondents in both cities consistently demonstrate signifi cant environmental awareness. T hough they may not always use western or scientific terminology, they have strong ideas on what is and is not pretty for the environment. PE RC EP T IONS OF T HE ENVI R ONMEN T AN D NA T U R E IN T HE CA R I BB EAN AN D BEYON DIn Caribbean studies an extensive debate on the meaning of land, with spe cial reference to the case of family land, has developed. 17 A number of works dealing with this debate have associated Caribbean attitudes toward land with attitudes toward the environment (see Potter 1992, 2000, S kelton 1996). Abramson (2000:1-2) notes that land can be seen as a resonant expanse of distinctive representations, meanings and experiences; his statement that in all of its human settings, land appears both as an object with use-value and as a symbol with meaning could not be more apposite in the C aribbean. T he data presented here support the argument that dual, ambiguous attitudes toward land are replicated in attitudes toward nature and the natural envi ronment. Furthermore, these attitudes are entangled with religious and other supernatural beliefs. Literature on this topic is rather scarce, but tends to confirm my premise. On the one hand, nature has a friendly face. The 17. See Clarke 1957, Lowenthal 1961, Besson & Momsen 1987, Crichlow 1990, 1994, Barrow 1992, S kelton 1996.
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 233 natural environment is represented as a bountiful cornucopia, there for the purpose of human utilization and development, a perspective with roots in Judeo-Christian religious thought. Concurrently, nature is seen as threaten ing and unpredictable, a wild force over which humans cannot exert control. S upernatural elements are a factor in the construction of this view. T he sea, a prominent element of the natural environment in any C aribbean country, is illustrative of this relationship. T he sea is seen as an inexhaustible source of fish, and thus of food and wealth. A lack of expensive high-tech equipment and the absence of economies of scale have meant that most fish ing in the C aribbean is of an artisanal or subsistence nature, rather than taking the form of large-scale commercial enterprises (McKee & T isdell 1990:12324). As a recreational domain, the sea finds far less favor. Although many people live close to the shoreline and may frequent the beach regularly, swim ming is not a popular pastime, especially not in areas with a lot of waves, and many do not know how to swim. Despite a traditional attitude of trepidation, the economic mandates of tourism have brought about a greater involvement with the sea, while individuals employed in seaside tourist activities attest to the enjoyment it can bring (see Gmelch 2003). Bert Verheij (2001) encountered a similar situation in S aba, where an eco nomic mindset combines with an attitude of respect toward nature. S abans articulate a three-tiered, context-dependent perception of nature. At the most abstract level, nature is pictured as an encompassing system and a godlike entity. At a less abstract level, nature manifests itself in hurricanes and other weather phenomena. T hese manifestations are seen as direct proof of the exis tence of the godlike entity. At the most concrete level, nature is conceived of as things that are supposed to be, including S aba itself, the sea, and the sky. Gail Ringel and Jonathan Wylie (1979) found in Dominica that foreign, western concepts of environment including ideas of conservation and natu ral beauty were not easily accepted. The researchers found that attitudes toward nature are shaped by religion: nature is seen as part of a system which focus e s on humankinds relationship with God. T he environment consists of three realms: the natural, the social, and the supernatural, the latter controlling all. Fishing, for instance, has both social and religious aspects: a good catch is proof of the generosity of God, but too much fish will inspire the jealousy of neighbors. T he sea is again seen as abundant, inexhaustible: overfishing is inconceivable. S urely God could send more fish if He wanted ( R ingel & Wylie 1979:44). Undeveloped areas are seen as ugly and/or sources of profit. This attitude toward wild areas is similar to ideas I encountered decades later in C uraao and Jamaica. T heir results led R ingel and Wylie to view the church as the institution most likely to foster an environmental ethic. Jean-Luc Bonniol (1979), studying the tiny, arid island of T erre de Haut des Saintes, near Guadeloupe, found perceptions of the island environment were related to material activities. S imilar to my respondents, residents held
234 RIVKE JAFFE a pessimistic view that their island would eventually be submerged. In a recent study researchers examined environmental attitudes among univer sity students in T rinidad, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. T hey found that T rinidadians and Dominicans held strong pro-environmental attitudes, indicating stronger feelings of ethical responsibility and a greater appreciation of beauty in nature than North American students. However, the two Caribbean groups also believed strongly that natural resources existed for human use; they understood humans to be rulers over nature and users of animals (Rauwald & Moore 2002). Though the study used an elite sam ple, the seeming contradiction in environmental attitudes seems typical of a C aribbean duality in thinking on nature and the environment. C aribbean environmental values, attitudes, and worldviews diverge from environmentalism as conceptualized, and compartmentalized, in E urope and North America. Environmentalism, both as a movement and a set of val ues, displays a large measure of variety, but a majority of authors concep tualize the diversity within environmentalism as a continuum (Williams & Millington 2004, Nadasdy 2005). The spectrum of environmental discourse and practice, seen as akin, but not tied, to the range of political orientation, extends from a more conservative to a more radical pole with intermediate positions between the two extremes. Caribbean environmental thought, as presented in the data here and as encountered in the literature, does not conform to a scaled format. In cer tain respects, perceptions parallel the western concept of environmental consciousness: humans are seen as part of nature, while spiritual and com municative powers are attributed to plants and animals. Nature is revered in the sense that it is seen as strong and wild, and associated with supernatural powers. The degradation of the natural environment that humans cause is a serious concern, in particular the ecological catastrophes that may follow. However, Caribbean worldviews place a strong emphasis on the instrumen tal value of natural resources; the concept of a limit to growth is largely absent; and humans are seen as possessing a God-given right to dominion of the earth. Relations between humans, nature, and God/Jah are articulated in worldviews characterized by a combination of misanthropy, anthropocen trism, and animism. Western academic and policy discourses on environ mentalism do not generally intertwine religious and environmental beliefs in such a way. T he fact that C aribbean beliefs do not fit on a certain scale or into an extraneous mold does not automatically mean that respondents to my interviews should be classed as environmentally unconscious. Rather, it implies that, as research on environmentalism is expanded to studies address ing sociocultural diversity, the idea of the spectrum and of the fixed con stellations of values, attitudes, and beliefs must be reconsidered. As Linda Kalof et al (2002:14) assert, no longer can we assume that there is one set of values, beliefs, and perspectives that represent human concern for and
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 235 maintenance of the environment but rather [we] must look for structural dif ferences in environmentalism.GR EEN PR OFESSIONALSThe perceptions of and discourse on nature and the environment encoun tered in Jamaica and Curaao, so similar to those observed elsewhere in the Caribbean, diverge from professional versions of environmentalism. The latter, expert versions, circulate both globally and nationally, within what can be termed an ecological epistemic community. Such communities are knowledge-based networks whose members are linked by specific technical often environmental expertise, but who will also share a set of normative and principled beliefs, causal beliefs, discursive practices, and a policy proj ect. They influence policy through the diffusion of technical knowledge, and of norms, values, and specific terminology (see Haas 1992). 18 C aribbean environmental professionals within governmental and nongovernmental organizations may themselves be part of such ecological epistemic commu nities, or at least be influenced by the environmental values, attitudes, dis course, and policy strategies these knowledge-based networks disseminate nationally and internationally. The divergence between professional and lay environmentalism in the Caribbean lies in a number of factors. A first difference relates to the envi ronmental worldviews encountered in the research communities. Caribbean lay environmentalisms should not be located automatically on a continuum from environmentally aware to environmentally unaware. While certain aspects of C aribbean environmental thought coincide with western concepts of what environmental awareness is, others strongly reflect a specific, cre olized cosmology in which the natural and the supernatural are entwined. Y et environmental professionals continue to echo the Euro-American idea of a continuum, stressing the necessity of local awareness-raising and environ mental education. The professional notion of environmental consciousness is based strongly on scientific fact or consensus, such as measurable ecosys tem degradation or pollution levels and established causal patterns in human and nature interactions. While detailed science-based analyses of degrading natural resources will be more effective in spurring government action, the religious beliefs that guide much of lay environmentalism are negated in such rational, technical discourse. 18. S ee also George Kemi, Framing S cientific C laims to R esonate with Developmental Pressures in L esser Developed C ountries: Biodiversity Management in C ockpit C ountry. Paper presented at UWI, Mona conference Global C hange and C aribbean Vulnerability: E nvironment, E conomy and S ociety R isk? Kingston, July 17-21, 2006.
236 RIVKE JAFFE A second difference is that supralocal actors tend to articulate environmen tal problems as a separate domain, rather than integrating these issues with social and economic issues. Additionally, their emphasis remains on green environmental problems. At the level of Jamaican and C uraaoan government and environmental organizations, most efforts go toward green issues, includ ing biodiversity, the marine environment and coral reefs, and nature conserva tion within a framework of sustainable tourism. T he disposition toward this type of environmental problems is clear in governmental policy documents 19 and E NGO campaigns and websites. T he islands governments do attempt to tackle issues related to wastewater, energy, waste management, and industrial pollution. However, both governments have had financial interests in industry, utilities, and environmental services, which have greatly complicated matters. Most E N G O s tend to focus on less dirty, more attractive issues. For the most part, government and E NGO portrayal of environmental problems and sus tainable development remains distant from the specific priorities of the lowincome urban population. 20T he strong accent placed on the green environmental problems reflects the importance of tourism, a sector which in the C aribbean relies heavily on an image of pure, unspoiled nature and the appeal of mainly coastal and marine natural resources. Apart from economic concerns connected to the tourist industry, supralocal actors support and are influenced by the global l y predominant green agenda, which generally prioritizes environmental issues with effects that are dispersed, in that they are not merely local, and delayed, in that they will affect future generations. Problems ranking high on this green agenda tend to be those that impact mainly on ecosystem health, and the scale at which they operate is global or regional. Its focus stands in contrast to the brown agenda, which prioritizes local, more immediate environmental issues. Brown environmental problems affect main l y the poor and their influence is primarily on human health (McGranahan & S atterthwaite 2002). Whereas 19. For relevant policy documents see Nota duurzaam toerisme van het natuuren milieu beleid van de Nederlandse Antillen 1996-2000 1998; Voortgangsrapportage van de Contourennota van het natuuren milieubeleid van de Nederlandse Antillen 1996-2000 1999; Natuurbeleid van de Nederlandse Antillen: Aan de dageraad van een nieuw mil lennium 2000-2005 2000; Meerjarenplan milieuen natuurbeleid Nederlandse Antillen 2001-2005 2001; Nature and Environment Policy Plan Netherlands Antilles, 2004-2007 2004, Vomil/Mina (Ministry of Public Health and Social Development, Department of the Environment); JANEAP (Jamaica National Environmental Action Plan) 1999-2002 1999; JANEAP : 2002 Status Report 2002; National Environment and Planning Agency; Jamaica State of the Environment Report 1998, National R esource C onservation Agency, Kingston. 20. T he prioritization of conservation by Jamaican and C uraaoan organizations appears to be typical of the C aribbean (see Jcome 2006).
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 237 professional environmentalis t s principally pursue green agenda issues, urban residents tend to be far more concerned with brown agenda problems. The next important difference relates to socioeconomic and ethnic fea tures associated with the proponents of different forms of environmentalism. The green environmental concern of professional environmental actors in C uraao and Jamaica reflects the elite status many of them have; a consider able number are foreigners, while others have enjoyed foreign education or training. T heir discourse and activities indicate an awareness of, and engage ment with, terminology and priorities that are dominant in global or perhaps western environmentalism and that are dispersed by ecological epistemic communities. At the ENGO level, a gap between their members and the majority of the urban population is evident. Actors are mostly middle-class or foreign, and often light-skinned. In Jamaica, many environmental orga nizations are headed by either foreigners (including a number of expatri ate Americans) or by unmistakably upper-middle-class, often light-skinned Jamaicans (see Carrier 2003). In Curaao, the number of Afro-Curaaoans in the environmental movement is fairly limited, certainly as the leaders of organizations. S ome environmental NGOs have White C uraaoan members, while a significant number of groups were founded by E uropean Dutch who were not born on C uraao but settled there for various reasons. It is plausible that displaying an interest in, and commitment to, conservation and other green issues has become a local form of Bourdieuan class distinction or sym bolic capital acquisition. Additionally, supralocal prioritizations result from the green pres sure exerted by donor countries and international financial institutions on Caribbean governments and NGOs. Environmental protection has been a popular donor target for earmarked aid, including debt-for-nature swaps, a construction applied in Jamaica. E nvironmental organizations in C uraao are to a large extent dependent on the Dutch government for funding, whereas in the Jamaican situation the best-funded organizations are those with access to international funding, whether bilateral, multilateral, or nongovernmental. The implications are similar on both islands: the interests of these interna tional organizations determine which of the NGO activities are funded, and by extension which NGOs survive at an operational level. 21 Increasingly, international aid is directed from government to nongovern ment organizations. T he channeling of donor funds to NGO s is based in part on the assumption that these organizations work more effectively through participation and are more representative of the communities the funds are supposed to assist. Patricia L undy (1999) argues that in the case of Jamaica, these are mistaken assumptions because E NGO members are overwhelming l y 21. M. Witter, Report on a Survey of NGOs in Jamaica. CSE DN ET ( C aribbean S ustainable Development Network), 2002.
238 RIVKE JAFFE well educated and middle class; E NGO activities reflect the concerns and priorities of local elites, thus inadvertently reinforcing inequality in social relations. This view concurs with what I encountered while researching and interviewing organizations in Kingston and Willemstad. Although the lead ers and members are usually extremely well-meaning, hard-working, ide alistic individuals, it is not hard to discern something of a condescending attitude toward the community. T he president of one E NGO describes how many in Jamaica do not have an appreciation of nature they do not com prehend the relevance of lizards, insects and plants (except in the light of economic gain) and have to be assisted to see the wealth and beauty of our island (Levy 1996:25, emphasis added). In Curaao, one of the more suc cessful E NGO s, led by a Dutchman, has as its slogan konos bo isla know your island. Interestingly, the use of Papiamentu in this motto contrasts with the organizations general orientation toward the Dutch language. More striking l y, the depiction of the local population as insufficiently knowledge able or appreciative of its own island shares similarities with what the Jamaican E NGO leader said about that islands population. T he mandate of educating the masses is sometimes close to being a subtle form of environmental neocolonialism, especially since the difference in environmental prioritizations is added to a difference in actors socioeco nomic and ethnic backgrounds. As a result the environment is seen as the domain of foreigners and the light-skinned elite, especially as long as they focus principally on green issues and refer less to the brown issues to which the majority of urban citizens relate on a day-to-day basis.IMPLI C A T IONS While authors such as Kay Milton (1996) describe environmentalism as a transcultural discourse capable of crossing cultural boundaries, such an approach negates the power grid underlying environmentalist transmis sions and translations. Professional environmental discourse encountered in Jamaica and Curaao is an elite phenomenon, interwoven with the specific socioeconomic and ethnic constellation of these C aribbean societies. T his dis course, with direct implications for environmental policy and management, cannot be considered as separate from international epistemic communities and financial incentives. Global flows of information, power, money, and people impact forcefully on environmental organization and management at the level of C aribbean society, including a progression toward donor-driven sustainability. T o date, locally oriented grassroots environmental groups have not developed a significant presence in the countries studied here, per haps because of their small populations, perhaps through a state tradition of co-opting local-level leadership into the political system. Conversely, a
DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 239 traditionally global orientation on the part of C aribbean elites might explain the locally based, but globally oriented environmental elites of Jamaica and C uraao, who promulgate their version of environmentalism through educa tion, management, and policy strategies. It is my contention that part of the reason these strategies have proved largely unsuccessful, is that this profes sional environmentalist discourse clashes with the worldviews and experi ences of environmental problems related to pollution, poverty, and social disintegration in the bari o s and communities. T he Jamaican and C uraaoan governments and civil society experience a range of economic, institutional, and occasionally technical obstacles to sustainable development, over which they can exert only limited control. However, they do have the responsibil ity, and to a large extent the capability, to formulate and implement policy in a manner that reflects and represents, rather than contradicts, the local sociocultural context. While many supralocal efforts underline the need for awareness rais ing and environmental education, respondents appear to have extensive, intimate knowledge of certain environmental problems and are quite aware of the negative impacts such problems can have. They display a fairly com prehensive outlook on environmental problems such as wastewater and solid waste management, recognizing various aspects of the problems at both the government and the community level, including organizational, technical, and financial constraints as well as the necessity of cooperation between citizens and government. Local-level priorities lie with brown urban envi ronmental problems, which are not seen as isolated from other problems affecting the broader urban environment. Residents of the four research neighborhoods include other local problems which they connect to their class and ethnic position within the city in a model of urban environment I call urban blight (see Jaffe 2006). The disconnect of supralocal policies is compounded by the fact that many NGO and government staff the environ mental messengers are separated socially and spatially from the reality of urban blight. S upralocal environmental perceptions, organization, and action are linked to groups consisting of often light-skinned middle classes or elites, and are shaped by global networks of support and pressure. The data presented here suggest that the incorporation of local-level environmental perceptions and folk ecologies might increase the relevance of environmental policy and campaigns. On both islands, the governments environmental policies and the strategies used by environmental NGOs focus largely on green environmental issues. While the government does to some extent focus on sewerage, solid waste management, and air pollution, E NGOs for the most part ignore these brown issues. Both government and ENGO environmental education campaigns concentrate on protecting and conserv ing the green natural environment, underemphasizing the links between the urban and wider environment as well as connections between the social and
240 RIVKE JAFFE the physical environment. Public education efforts fail to establish the dayto-day relevance of environmental problems for large segments of the popu lation: the danger is that the environment and environmental problems are seen as the realm of a foreign-oriented elite. T ackling environmental problems will need to involve a more integrated approach, which takes emic perceptions of the urban environment into con sideration. C ommunity perceptions of environment and nature imply a shift of environmental policy focus from green to brown problems and to cease seeing these problems as distinct from social concerns. Doing this entails conceiv ing environmental policy and public education campaigns that involve local perceptions of urban social and public space as well as nature, and incorpo rating urban environmental problems with social and economic issues. T his could mean highlighting the fact that clean and safe neighborhoods and public space go hand in hand with progress in health and development. Additionally, emphasis could be placed on the shared responsibility of government and citizens for creating and maintaining clean, healthy, and safe surroundings that contribute to individual, neighborhood, and national development. On the one hand, using such an approach in environmental campaigns will help emphasize the day-to-day relevance of environmental problems, correcting the misconception of the environment as a luxury concern. On the other hand, this strategy will entail tackling environmental problems not separately, but in the context of providing or improving social development (employment and education), physical infrastructure (housing, streets, lighting) and physi cal safety, for instance in an environmental justice framework. R esidents in both Jamaica and C uraao tie views on nature and green envi ronmental issues to religious worldviews, in which a limits to growth concept is conspicuously absent. Government and environmental NGOs must ensure that their approach is relevant to the citizens cultural understanding of their environment. This might imply appealing to religion-based environmental worldviews next to the dominant scientific environmentalist discourse. On the basis of the data presented here, this could mean drawing on the exist ing idea of interconnectedness between humans and nature, or stressing the element of care and responsibility in religiously inspired ideas of dominion over nature. Both religious institutions and popular culture might be logical sites for environmental messengers and messages. In mainstream scientific discourse or environmental education, the findings presented here could be incorporated by making a more convincing case for limits to growth, for instance on the basis of the practical experience of environmental disasters such as floods. T aking into account the instrumental value placed on nature suggests accentuating the health and developmental impacts of environmen tal degradation this might be more effective than trying to persuade the population to change its behavior on account of natures intrinsic value.
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DIVE RG IN G ENVI R ONMEN T ALISMS IN T HE URB AN CA R I BB EAN 243 MCKEE, DAVID L. & CLEM A. TISDELL 1990. Developmental Issues in Small Island Economies New Y ork: Praeger. MIL T ON KAY 1996. Environmentalism and Cultural Theory: Exploring the Role of Anthropology in Environmental Discourse L ondon: R outledge. NADASDY PAUL, 2005. T ranscending the Debate over the Ecologically Noble Indian: Indigenous Peoples and E nvironmentalism. Ethnohistory 52:291-331. POTTER, ROBERT B., 1992. Caribbean Views on Environment and Development: A C ognitive Perspective. Caribbean Geography 3:236-43. , 2000. The Urban Caribbean in an Era of Global Change Aldershot: Ashgate. RAUWAL D, KIM B E R LEY S & COLLEEN F MOO R E, 2002. E nvironmental Attitudes as Predictors of Policy S upport across T hree C ountries. Environment and Behavior 34:709-39. RIN G EL, GAIL & JONA T HAN WYLIE, 1979. Gods Work: Perceptions of the E nvironment in Dominica. In Y ves Renard (ed.), Perceptions of the Environment: A Selection of Interpretative Essays S .l.: C aribbean C onservation Association, pp. 39-50. RYDIN YVONNE, 1999. Can We T alk Ourselves into Sustainability? The Role of Discourse in the E nvironmental Policy Process. Environmental Values 8:467-84. SKEL T ON, TRACEY, 1996. Cultures of Land in the Caribbean: A Contribution to the Debate on Development and C ulture. European Journal of Development 8:71-92. ST E R N, PAUL C., THOMAS DIE T Z & GR E G O R Y A GUA G NANO, 1995. T he New E cological Paradigm in S ocial-Psychological C ontext. Environment and Behavior 27:723-43 STR EEFKE R K CO R NELIS, 2003. Beeldvorming en religie. In R ose Mary Allen, C oen Heijes & Valdemar Marcha (eds.), Emancipatie en acceptatie: Curaao en Curaaonaars: beeld vorming en identiteit honderdveertig jaar na de slavernij Amsterdam: S WP, pp. 35-50. TAYLO R PA TR I C K (ed.), 2001. Nation Dance: Religion, Identity and Cultural Difference in the Caribbean. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. THOMASHOPE ELIZA B E T H M 1996. The Environmental Dilemma in Caribbean Context Grace, Kennedy Foundation L ecture. Kingston: T he Grace, Kennedy Foundation. VE R HEI J BE RT, 2001. Grass between the T iles: Man and Nature on S aba. Masters T hesis, L eiden University, the Netherlands. WILLIAMS, COLIN C. & ANDREW C. MILLINGT ON, 2004. The Diverse and Contested Meanings of S ustainable Development. Geographical Journal 170:99-104. RIVKE JAFFEDepartment of S ociology, Psychology and S ocial Work University of the West Indies Mona, Jamaica
OLIVIA MA R IA GOMES D A CUNHAE MPOW ERE D O BJ ECTS, P OW ERLESS SUBJ ECTS: CI T IZ E N S HIP R EL IGION AND P O L I T I C A L R E P RESE N T A T ION IN TW E N T I ET H C E N T U RY CUBA Measures of Equality: Social Science, Citizenship, and Race in Cuba, 19021940 ALEJANDRA MARINA BRONFMAN. Chapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press, 2004. xi + 234 pp. (Paper U S $ 19.95) Afro-Cuban Religiosity, Revolution, and National Identity CHRISTINE AYORINDE. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. ix + 283 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95) In the last ten years, research topics such as race and nation have been privi leged areas for the historical and anthropological understanding of C aribbean and L atin American societies. R egarding C uba in particular, social scientists have dedicated important scholarship to these issues by mapping concep tions of citizenship and political representation, while situating them within a broader debate on the making of the new postcolonial and republican society at the beginning of the twentieth century. 1 By pursuing different aims and following distinct approaches, Alejandra Bronfman and Christine Ayorinde have made contributions to this academic literature. T hrough divergent theo retical and methodological perspectives, both of their books explore alterna tive ways of interpreting the making of the nation founded upon a multiple and fluid rhetoric of race. The commonalities between these two books involve their focus on the ways in which official discourses on citizenship and rights were manipu lated by both political elites and civilian associations, the strategies that diverse groups and states used, and the discourses they activated in order to negotiate, grant, and debate equal access to cultural, religious, and political 1 Prez 1986; Stubbs & Prez Sarduy 1992; Helg 1995, 1997, 2000; Moore 1997; Castaeda Fuertes & Brock 1998; R. Scott 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005; de la Fuente 2001; Palmi 2002; Zeuske 2002; Zeuske & S cott 2002.
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) 246 forms of representation. The making of the nation was the crucial issue and redemptive end toward which different politics based on religion, race/color, or national origin were aimed. In spite of the ubiquitousness of the themes of race and nation in different debates raised by legislators and political elites in C uba in their attempts to reform and modernize the state, they did not come together in a unified or continuous discourse. Because the discourse shifted, those involved in it were able to reinterpret its uses and power in state prac tices concerning health, law, education, and political representation. Both of the books under review here, by focusing on the place of science and other forms of authoritative knowledge, address these changes over the course of the twentieth century. However, the two authors take on different temporal and analytical perspectives, making their work at once divergent and com plementary, as a quick review of the use of historical chronology in the two analyses will show. At first glance, Alejandra Bronfmans task, as she announces it in the introduction, seems as though it would be too large for a book of less than 300 pages. But by the end of the first chapter, readers will begin to perceive that the historicity present throughout her narrative is rather prescriptive or previously conceived, whether from a C uban early twentieth-century nation alist viewpoint or simply from the somewhat ethnocentric racialist perspec tive that pervades some academic literature on Cuba. As ideas and notions under construction during the beginning of the century, race and nation in Bronfmans book, even in their more elaborate versions and prescriptive formats, are contingent and ambiguous concepts. They were produced as panacea to the contentions of what David S cott (1999) has called the politi cal present. T hus, there is no evidence of a teleological history of its manip ulation and content. What Bronfman describes are contingent and historically based attempts to define the main values of a republican and modern state as, for instance, the idea of equality based on law through the manipula tion of historical rhetoric and organic metaphors. Race-based rhetoric, in its diverse historical approaches, is probably the most persuasive, but not the sole manifestation. The beginning of state-based institutionalization and public appropria tion of the first scientific associations signaled the beginning of a new and modern polity in which science, as an authoritative body of knowledge and discourse of power, represented more than an auxiliary support for the engagements of the republican state. Circulating as a modern token of the modern state, scientific conceptions of race were pervasive in different state institutions, which promoted and implemented policies based on the idea of social defense. Bronfman shows us how initial attempts to produce science locally turned into national projects carried out by state institutions founded upon a liberal and reformist program. It was through a language inspired in organic conceptions of body, health, purity, and pollution that state institu
247 REVIEW ART I C LE tions such as anthropology museums, police bureaus, and medical and edu cational associations designed and envisioned the subject of their healing and organizing policies. S cientific tools were provided for the classification, identification, social reform, and healing of those considered the main sub jects of the newly born and civilized nation. Bronfman offers an inspiring description of these first scientific engagements in the early C uban R epublic without getting lost in the perils and enchantment of official institutional histories that obscure the social practices of their agents. Bronfman goes fur ther by inquiring how these scientific discursive apparatuses were received, used, neglected, and, mainly, reinterpreted by the same subjects of these state reformist policies. Looking at the relationship and dialogue between socie dades or civilian associations composed primarily of non-White veterans of the wars of independence, in their attempts to negotiate the meanings of a republic constructed as shown by, for example, Ada Ferrer (1998, 1999, 2001) and Fernando Martnez Heredia (2000, 2001), through ideas of politi cal pact, gift, and acts of heroism, Bronfman unfolds the rhetorical game in which the differential nature, body, and origins of the Cuban population became the focus of interpretation and contention. Following the seminal analysis of Stephan Palmi (2002), Bronfman identifies lacunae as well as problematic questions left unanswered in works on race and nation, formulated not only by specialists of newly born disci plines such as anthropology, but by the members of the societies themselves, in their attempts to legitimate their practices through the reformist idiom of hygiene and order. Israel C astellano, the early Fernando Ortiz of Los negros brujos (1906), and others envisioned reforming and civilizing as a political project aiming to eradicate all forms of barbarism, although their differ ences are highlighted by Bronfman. Designed as an ambiguous notion, a corollary of specific forms of antisocial behavior associated with poor and non-White practitioners of African-derived religions, barbarism was not only a target of state violence but the very image of the uneducated Cuban as seen by other non-White groups. As Bronfman states, culture and civi lization often came to stand for color as a means of exclusion (p. 11). By using rich archival sources, Bronfman provides an insightful reading of some of the meanings given to barbarous when she accompanies the circula tion of goods seized by police and related specialists forensic anthropolo gists as magical tools used in ritual, human sacrifice, and malignant plots manipulated by brujos Naigos and criminals. By combining readings on the history of Western anthropological history in the late nineteenth century with knowled g e of the literature of social history on early R epublican C uba, Bronfman reveals a fine sensibility in demonstrating how the circulation of these powerful and magical objects through specialists and their alleged con nections to witchcraft, along with their interpretations of their purposes and ritual uses, expose the limits of the egalitarian creed. As Fernando Guerra,
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) 248 member of the Sociedad de Proteccin Mtua y Recreo del Culto Africano Lucumi asserted in a letter to the president of the republic in which the accu sation of brujera appears related to a new wave of criminal events in 1913 in association with practitioners of African-derived religions, freedom of reli gion and respect for the laws of republic were observed in their meetings in which the ultimate aim was to console our suffering on this earth (cited on Bronfmans pp. 94-95). As an open, visible, and dangerous obstacle to the modernization of the state and homogenization of the nation, and due to their potential power to increase social and cultural mixtures (condemned by Ortiz, for instance), diverse African-derived practices epitomized the perils and impossibility of true social equality. The debate about the objects gath ered from real people the practitioners, believers, and those who attended the rituals in which they were displayed and used reveals the key role of the specialists and the police institutions in producing a corpus of knowledge articulated to a moral representation of their existence and uses. The discursive, police, expert, and elite mobilization around the place and the meaning of cultural and religious practices considered incongruous with the modern and civilizing republic that emerges in the first decade of the twentieth century, along with a wider debate concerning the extension of rights and the social meaning of citizenship, as described by Bronfman, raises important questions about an ongoing discussion of the social appropriations of the idea of nation in contemporary Cuba. If the war against fetish ism was somehow won by a process of domestication of its iconic objects through scientifically recognized procedures such as classification, label ing, and translation in the course of the institutionalization of social science and folklore societies, the ambiguous debate about the rights of its users for ends not controlled by the state and its specialists continued to be the subject of convoluted interpretations. It is the understanding of these interpretations, as well as their discursive manipulation, and an analysis of the groups and state politics that made the existence of variants of African-derived religion possible in C uba under a socialist state after 1959 and their place in the con struction of national identity, that are the focus of C hristine Ayorindes book, Afro-Cuban Religiosity, Revolution, and National Identity In Ayorindes book, intellectual elite and official interpretations of AfroCuban religions along with practitioners voices are taken as both ethno graphic material and analytical tools for understanding the place of religious practices in different constructions of national identity. At the same time, under the vague label of practitioners we find not simply babalawos and the initiated, but also members of the Communist Party, Catholic and spiri tualist practitioners, intellectuals, local leaders, and many other ordinary Cubans in their rather exclusivistic relationship with these cults and hetero dox religious practices. At same time, this is a not a book on the almost hegemonic Regla de Ocha or Santera practices in academic and popular
249 REVIEW ART I C LE literature. Narratives on definition, history, and origin of the variety of cults harbored under the Afro-Cuban label and in specialized literature coined as syncretism are analyzed and interpreted as different attempts to address the place of race and nation in everyday personal and religious experience. Given the scarcity of ethnographic works on contemporary C uba, Ayorindes book contributes to a more nuanced view about a topic that surpasses the boundaries of religiosity and territory that has been transformed into a pow erful commodity in multiple realms of the transnational market, both through state propaganda and religious groups. Although Ayorindes introduction gives us an insightful description of her personal background and initial steps, defined as her personal Atlantic circle, to obtain information in exploring a potential research topic on C uba, we dont actually get a sense of this engagement until much later. S he begins by narrating a somewhat official history of the recognition of Afro-reli gion in C uba as reflected in specialized literature, and it is only in the fourth chapter, entitled The Revolution, 1959-1990, that Ayorinde reconsiders the very chronology of transformation of Afro-Cuban religions through contacts with her informants and interviewees. However, even though the material she works with suggests that the Revolution as a critical event (Das 1995) cannot be thought of as a watershed of radical transforma tion toward the social representation that these cults and their practitioners always had in Cuba, the historical framework offered functions more as prefigured context than as a potential historical construction underlying her informants narrative. Before I began my own fieldwork in Cuba, she writes, I had assumed that the revolutionary regime had made it difficult for C ubans to continue practicing any religion. When I carried out the inter views, from 1995 to 1998, there had begun to be a greater tolerance (p. 127). In addition to her own discovery of the possibility of reinterpreting an official chronology, in this same passage, she suggests a more nuanced interpretation offered by an informant, a babalawo and anthropologist from Matanzas, Israel Moliner (p. 127). Following the period 1959-1965, when there was no apparent opposition to popular religiosity, during the 1970s the state began to combat all forms of religiosity through legislation that vir tually prohibited the organization of public meetings. As in the beginning of the century, law was the privileged focus of revolutionary practice and polity. There was no explicit formal prohibition on attending religious meetings or public admission of religious identity. Nevertheless, in everyday relation ships, mainly in political activities promoted by the state, any religious affili ation was seen with suspicion. It was just the need to survive, first under the restrictions of the state revolutionary order and, after the 1990s, the increas ing economic deprivation of the so-called special period that justified the reappearance of what practitioners and intellectuals have called practices and relationships in the religious market and state institutions oriented by a doble
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) 250 moral (p. 133), a kind of dubious and contradictory set of relations and dis courses directed by divergent ethical values. S ometimes in making reference to practices of manipulation and co-option, Ayorinde loses the oppor tunity to ask her informants how they interpret the idea of double moral as an intellectual interpretation and tool for the transformation of religious practices and their questionable relationship with the state, marked by differ ent prescriptions of morality (Wirtz 2004). By the end, consumerism and socialism are credited as causes for this moral entanglement and, at same time, for the current religious revival. Ayorindes book includes a rich description of religious associations, the trends in rituals, and the impact of the phenomenon of Y oruba orthodoxy in contemporary C uba. One of its most important insights lies in showing that despite the presence of the state apparatus in different phases of the post revolutionary period, AfroC uban derived religions not only survived, were transformed, and merged (mainly those practices identified as S antera) into a diverse transnational religious network, but also became an important item of the many popular and official representations of national identity. In the concluding chapter, Ayorinde addresses this question in highlighting the meanings and uses of the idea of African and tradition by state insti tutions and practitioners. Santera is national in the sense of its having spread as a result of internal population movements to areas not historically linked with this tradition (p. 204). Nevertheless, if a double conscious ness governs contemporary social relations toward these practices, which values appear related to their national representations and the growth of their acceptance? How do the practitioners themselves explain them? T he challenging question that arises from reading Ayorindes book is how to overcome semi-official explanations of the contemporary vitality of AfroCuban practices (p. 203) without reproducing a biased chronology of twen tieth-century C uba in which relative opening is substituted by ambiguous policies of state manipulation. What the rich sources raised by Bronfman and Ayorinde seem to indicate is that any attempts to understand the meanings of republican rights in C uba such as equality or religious freedom deserve cautious attention from the researcher. Whether inquiring about social concepts such as race and nation, or apparently less problematic ones such as belief, religion, and society, one needs to observe the multiplicity of meanings at stake in their use as the object of inquiry. History, for instance, and all its derivative terms, through a local language or otherwise, are as much a social construc tion as are race, nation, citizen, or any number of other concepts. As the latter appear to be attached to specific constructions of time, lived experi ence, and historicity, one may inquire about the provisional, local, and per sonal meanings of what historiography has identified as a social context. T o which society are these representations inevitably linked?
251 REVIEW ART I C LE In their attempts to intervene in the debate on the making of the nation and the extension of civil rights to non-Whites, members of societies have shown, in Bronfmans analysis, that they were interested in interpretations within a broader discussion of the boundaries and criteria of inclusion of this society. In the same fashion, by defending the right of the Sociedad Lucumi to maintain its own religious practices, its representatives alluded to suffer ing as a legitimate feeling that could be variously expressed. By referring to the right to cultivate their ancestors, some of Ayorindes informants seem to allude to the existence of a diverse history of Afro-Cubans that does not coincide with the acceptance of the existence of a unique and (trans)culturally formed C uban society. REFE R EN C ESCAST AEDA FUERTES, DIGNA & LISA BROCK 1998. Between Race and Empire: African-Americans and Cubans before the Cuban Revolution Philadelphia: T emple University Press. DAS, VEENA 1995. Critical Events: An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India Oxford: Oxford University Press. FERRER, ADA, 1998. The Silence of Patriots: Race and Nationalism in Martis Cuba. In Jeffrey Belnap & R al Fernndez (eds.), Jos Marts Our America: From National to Hemispheric Cultural Studies. Durham N C : Duke University Press, pp. 228-49. , 1999. Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898 Chapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. , 2001. Raza, regin y gnero en la Cuba rebelde: Quintn Bandera y la cuestin del liderazgo poltico. In Fernando Martnez Heredia, Orlando Garcia & Rebecca J. Scott (eds.), Espacios, silencios y los sentidos de la libertad: Cuba entre 1878 y 1912. Havana: E diciones Unin, pp. 141-62. FUENTE, ALEJANDRO DE LA 2001. A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba C hapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. HELG, ALINE, 1995. Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 18861912 C hapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. , 1997. Race and Black Mobilization in Colonial and Early Independent Cuba: A C omparative Perspective. Ethnohistory 44:53-75. , 2000. Black Men, R acial S tereotyping, and Violence in the U. S S outh and C uba at the T urn of the C entury. Comparative Studies in Society and History 42:576-604. MARTNEZ HEREDIA, FERNANDO, 2000. Nacionalizando la nacin: Reformulacin de la hegemona en la segunda repblica cubana. In Ana Vera Estrada (ed.), Pensamiento y tradiciones populares: Estudios de identidad cultural cubana y latinoamericana. Havana: C entro de Investigacin y Desarollo de la C ultura Juan Marinello, pp. 29-50.
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) 252 , 200l. E l problemtico nacionalismo de la Primera R epblica. Temas 24-25:34-44. MOORE, ROBIN 1997. Nationalizing Blackness: Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920-1940 Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ORT IZ, FE R NAN D O 1906. Los negros brujos (apuntes para un estudio de etnologia crimi nal) Madrid: E ditorial America. PALMI, ST EPHAN 2002. Wizards and Scientists: Explorations in Afro-Cuban Modernity and Tradition Durham N C : Duke University Press. PREZ, LOUIS A., JR. ,1986. Politics, Peasants, and People of Color: The 1912 Race War in C uba R econsidered. Hispanic American Historical Review 66:509-39. SCOTT, DAVID 1999. Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. SC O TT, RE B E CC A J. 1998. R ace, L abor, and C itizenship in C uba: A View from the S ugar District of C ienfuegos, 1886-1909. Hispanic American Historical Review 78:687-728. , 2004. T he Provincial Archive as a Place of Memory: T he R ole of Former S laves in the C uban War of Independence (1895-98). History Workshop Journal 58:149-66. , 2005. Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. , THOMAS C. HOL T & FREDERICK COOPER 2000. Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies Chapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. STUBBS, JEAN & PEDRO PREZ SARDUY 1992. Afrocuba: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics and Culture L ondon: Ocean Press. WI RT Z, KR IS T INA, 2004. S anteria in C uban National C onsciousness: A R eligious C ase of the Doble Moral. Journal of Latin American Anthropology 9:409-38. ZEUSKE, MICHAEL, 2002. Hidden Markers, Open Secrets: On Naming, Race-Marking, and R ace-Making in C uba. New West Indian Guide 76:211-42. & RE B E CC A SC O TT, 2002. Property in Writing, Property on the Ground: Pigs, Horses, and Citizenship in the Aftermath of Slavery, Cuba, 1880-1909. Comparative Studies in Society and History 44:669-99. OLVIA MA R IA GOMES D A CUNHADepartment of C ultural Anthropology Federal University of R io de Janeiro 22251-070 R io de Janeiro, Brazil
B OOK R E VI E W S Transatlantic Topographies: Islands, Highlands, Jungles. ILEANA RO DR G UEZ. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. ix + 265 pp. (Paper U S $ 22.95)ST UA RT MCLEAN Department of Anthropology University of Minnesota Minneapolis MN 55455, U. S .A.
254 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) tions in the history of colonialism and its aftermath. S he begins by examining the representation of the Caribbean islands via the trope of Paradise in the accounts of Columbus and his successors. She then goes on to consider its transformation into the contrasting figure of Inferno by the end of the nine teenth century, when descriptions of the region, alongside accounts of local customs, focus on such factors as soil erosion, agricultural production, land tenure and the organization of labor. These developments are linked both to the ending of slavery and to the emergence of a heterogeneous and mul tiethnic Creole society, with an identity distinct from that of the European colonizing power. T he second part of the book considers the encounter between the S panish conquistadores and the Mayan civilization of highland Central America. Rodrguez considers the linguistic and hermeneutic confusion engendered by this confrontation and the ways in which the conquest itself entailed the forcible remaking of social space, including the attempt to gather hitherto scattered populations under new centers of political authority. She specu lates too on the elusive presence in this history of the indigenous popula tion itself, people who are glimpsed fleetingly in the documents produced by their S panish conquerors as well as in the conjectural reconstructions of their languages and cultures produced by latter-day anthropologists. Colonialera documents and later anthropological accounts are also juxtaposed with the descriptions of nineteenth-century geographers and naturalists, whose writings employ an objectifying rhetoric of quantification and measurement with the avowed aim of addressing the inaccuracies of earlier accounts. Here the principal economic considerations include transport and trade, while the indigenous and mestizo populations of the area are grouped together as potential impediments to economic progress. T he books final section takes as its geographical site the Amazon and is concerned with the imagination of jungle as it is seen to intertwine notions of wilderness, cultivation, and economic development. Jungle is understood as standing for an irreducible excess marking not only the limits of understand ing and representation but also the frustration of entrepreneurial schemes by a landscape that remains stubbornly ungraspable in its seeming disorder liness and prodigality. The range of sources discussed here is particularly wide, stretching from the accounts of the first Europeans to visit the region, via colonial-era travelogues and natural histories to the twentieth-century fictions of Carpentier, Vargas Llosa, and Harris and the films of Herzog. Rodrguez argues that the confrontation between Americas peoples and landscapes on the one hand and European colonial powers on the other has permeated all aspects of cultural production in both E urope and America and that the interplay between resistance and appropriation that has marked that confrontation continues to manifest itself to the present.
255 BOOK REVIEWS R odrguezs central thesis is powerfully stated and abundantly document e d. L ess convincing is the sharp distinction she draws between the intellectual and political agendas of colonial and postcolonial scholarship, the former understood as preoccupied with continuities between E urope and America (and with a tacitly providentialist interpretation of the C onquest itself as a foundational moment in the history of modern science), the latter seen as chal lenging such a view by exposing the underlying rationale of the colonial enter prise as one of economic exploitation and the violent expropriation of native lands and labor. Not only does such a contrast oversimplify the concerns of scholars in both categories, it also risks reproducing a similarly teleologi cal account of the transition from colonial to postcolonial modes of research and writing, whereby the postcolonial present is affirmed and celebrated for moving beyond and rectifying errors of the colonial past. S uch an account seems insufficiently mindful, however, of the tenacity of colonial forms of knowledge and thus the possibility that postcolonial scholarship itself might manifest unwitting complicities with what it purports to criticize. This aside, Transatlantic Topographies is an engaging and valuable contribution both to a now extensive body of scholarship on the European conquest of the Americas and its cultural ramifications and to a burgeoning cross-disciplinary literature on the intersections between histories of moder nity, power, and space. Its arguments are likely to be of interest not only to literary scholars, but also to anthropologists, cultural geographers, and historians. Empire and Nation: The American Revolution in the Atlantic World ELI G A H GOUL D & PE T E R S ONUF (eds.). Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. vii + 381 pp. ( C loth U S $ 49.95)PE T E R A CO C LANIS Department of History University of North C arolina C hapel Hill N C 27599-3195, U. S .A.
256 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) and the Americas were sufficiently integrated to be treated as a single unit of analysis. Accordingly, rather than studying phenomena in one or another of these geographical areas, or analyzing phenomena in one or another colonial system, the current generation of students and scholars increasingly looks for extensions and connections, and focuses its attention on imperial breaches and interstices. Older, narrower approaches, it seems, just wont do. With the above considerations in mind, it is not surprising indeed, it is predictable that this exciting new collection edited by E liga Gould and Peter Onuf would be marketed as a work of Atlantic or, more precisely, transat lantic history. Marketing claims must always be taken with a grain of salt, of course, and today we are all media-savvy enough to realize this. S till, it should be pointed out for the record that only about a third of the fifteen essays included in Empire and Nation employ what might legitimate l y be styled an Atlantic or transatlantic approach. T he others approach early modern his tory more conventionally, which in my view doesnt hurt them a bit. Empire and Nation begins with a short, but valuable introduction by the editors, wherein the volumes principal themes are laid out and its essays sum marized and contextualized. T his is followed by three parts: R econstituting the Empire, Society, Politics and Culture in the New Nation, and The American R evolution and the Atlantic World. The five essays in Part One deal largely with the types of political and constitutional questions one associates with the editors. Indeed, the first is by Gould himself, who offers a thoughtful reinterpretation of the manner in which post-1763 shifts in British imperial policy, particularly the need to enhance the centers power throughout the empire, upset the existing politi cal equilibrium in the American colonies, eventually leading thirteen of them into revolt. T wo fine essays by David C Hendrickson and Don Higginbotham demonstrate among other things that nationalism and a sense of nationhood came about only slowly after the break with Britain. Not until 1787 can it be said that the united States (as the new entity was often identified during the R evolution) began to turn into the United S tates. T his section is rounded out by Richard Alan R yersons thoughtful essay on the evolution of John Adamss constitutional thought (in which R yerson refers to Adams as a republican monarchist) and a piece by E llen Holmes Pearson on the manner in which the English common law was adapted, modified, and republican ized in the United S tates during the early national period. The six essays included in the society-politics-culture portmanteau that is Part T wo are all interesting, even if there is little conceptual unity to the grouping. Mary M. Schweitzer explores why the inhabitants of the Great Valley of the Appalachians split on the C onstitution (those in the north being anti-ratification, and those in the south pro-ratification), while Steve Sarson makes a compelling and empirically rich case that the T obacco South (or at least Prince Georges C ounty, Maryland) was characterized rather more by
257 BOOK REVIEWS continuity than discontinuity across the revolutionary divide. S arsons essay is followed by four valuable essays on politics, broadly conceived to include such topics as the development of civil society and the role of denomina tionalism in regime building, in the early national period by Maurice J. Bric, Melvin Y azawa, Marc Harris, and Robert M. Calhoon. Given my opening comments, it should be noted that Brics insightful essay on the ways in which new immigrants from Ireland opened up political life in postrevolu tionary Philadelphia borders dangerously close to Atlantic history! In Part T hree the volume, at long last, really does move into the realm of Atlantic history per se. The section opens with Keith Masons fresh look at the L oyalist diaspora between 1774 and 1784, followed by an essay in which James S idbury creatively employs early slave narratives to try to get a sense of how Black Anglophone writers thought about and articulated their place in the market culture of the Atlantic world. It concludes with E dward L C oxs brisk survey on the ways in which the American, French, and Haitian revolu tions affected the British C aribbean, and a provocative essay in which T revor Burnard argues, counterintuitively, that the American Revolution set back the cause of freedom in America, while advancing it in the British E mpire. Obviously, a review of this length can only begin to hint at the purview, much less the value of the essays included in Empire and Nation Although most of them do not fit comfortably under the Atlantic or transatlantic history rubric, there is not a clunker in the bunch. At the end of the day, that matters a lot more than marketing hype. Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora. MICHAEL A. GOMEZ New Y ork: C ambridge University Press, 2005. 236 pp. ( C loth U S $ 55.00)JAMES H SWEE T Department of History University of Wisconsin Madison WI 53706, U. S .A.
258 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) fied as Gomez to write a general history of the African diaspora. Reversing Sail is not the lengthy, in-depth study that some might expect. Rather, it is a 236-page interpretive overview of the African diaspora, aimed primarily at the undergraduate classroom. T he book is divided into two parts. In Part One, Old World Dimensions, Gomez highlights the contributions of Africans and their descendants in the ancient histories of Africa, E urope, and the Middle E ast, noting that Africans were not always under the heel but were in fact at the forefront of human civilization (p. 8). Chapter 1, Antiquity, is a discussion of Africans in E gypt, Nubia, Greece, and R ome. C hapter 2, Africans and the Bible, con siders the historical role of Africans in the Bible, as well as the influence of the Bible on post-Biblical Africans in the diaspora. C hapter 3, Africans and the Islamic World, concentrates on the role of Africans in the formation and spread of Islam between roughly 600 and 1500 CE Much of Part One seems torn between a desire to note the various con tributions of African-descended peoples and the desire to bring new inter pretive perspectives to their histories. The contributionist aspects of these chapters make for difficult reading, and they sometimes devolve into little more than lists of individuals names. For example, Gomez highlights indi vidual Egyptians and Nubians mentioned in the Bible (p. 20), pilgrims and scholars in the Islamic world (pp. 34-35), and African-descended people in the Prophet Mohammeds immediate circle of influence (pp. 46-47). Here, Gomez seems more concerned with proving African contributions to his tory and civilization than with charting new interpretive ground. When Gomez turns his attentions away from individuals toward groups, he can be brilliantly provocative. For example, after emphasizing the social and cultural connections between Hebrews and Egyptians during the Hebrews 400-year sojourn in E gypt, he describes the E xodus as not unlike the human birthing process, the crossing of the R ed S ea a movement through the amniotic fluids of an African mother (p. 19). Here, using the Bible as his source, Gomez stakes a claim to an African heritage for all of JudeoChristian civilization. Similarly, his discussion of Ethiopian Jews, or Beta Israel, raises intriguing questions about the interconnectedness of the Jewish and African pasts. Alienated from the Jewish homeland during the ancient period, the Beta Israel settled in the mountains of Ethiopia and were only repatriated to Israel in the 1980s. T hough Gomez does not have the space to fully explore the implications of Jewish and African connections, implicit in his discussion is an awareness of overlapping diasporas, a topic that scholars have only scarcely begun to address. Part T wo of the book, New World Realities, consists of five chapters concentrating on the history of Afro-Atlantic peoples from 1500 CE to the present day. Chapter 4, The T ransatlantic Moment, summarizes the con tours of the transatlantic slave trade. C hapter 5, E nslavement, compares and
259 BOOK REVIEWS contrasts the various experiences under slavery in the Americas. The sixth chapter, Asserting the Right to Be, discusses the ways in which Africans and their descendants resisted their enslavement and attempted to claim their freedom in postemancipation societies. Chapter 7, Reconnecting, consid ers migration, Black labor movements, and the renewal of social and cul tural connections to Africa in the first half of the twentieth century. Finally, C hapter 8, Movement Peoples, concentrates on anticolonial and civil rights movements, as well as the music, sports, and literature of the second half of the twentieth century. Though tantalizingly brief, many of the insights in Part T wo are even more provocative than those in Part One. For example, in his examination of runaway slave communities in the Americas, Gomez reminds us that because of the north/south divide in the United States, unlike any other place in the Americas, the enslaved in the United States had the opportunity to run to freedom, joining free Black communities in the north. T his startlingly simple insight raises important questions about the meaning of runaway commu nity, the comparative meanings of freedom, and so on. Gomez is also not afraid to challenge some of the sacrosanct assumptions of African American history. In his treatment of the Harlem R enaissance, Gomez asks, How rep resentative of the black masses was the cultural work of a small Black elite? (p. 184). T hough such an inquiry may seem divisive, Gomez is committed to revealing the impacts of diaspora history on precisely those Black masses. His rendering of the disputes between W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, while rightly pointing out the personal animus between the two men, empha sizes that both placed similar value on diaspora concerns. Gomez concludes that the tempestuous reality of Du Bois and Garvey as pan-Africanist pio neers was symbolically reconciled on African soil under Kwame Nkrumah [who] was directly inspired by both men (p. 179). Here, the ideas and lifes work of Du Bois and Garvey are realized in Ghana through an independence movement that freed the masses from colonial rule. Overall, Reversing Sail is full of suggestive interpretive avenues. Unfortunately, Gomez is rarely able to pursue them to their logical ends. Nowhere is this more evident than in the books conclusion, a three-sentence epilogue that does little justice to the many intriguing questions raised in the text. In the end, the fundamental tension of the book is Gomezs desire to be inclusive (in the way most textbooks are) and to be interpretive (in the way most monographic histories are). T he attempt to cover the breadth and depth of the African diaspora, from antiquity to the present day, in only 200 pages (excluding index and bibliography) is ultimately overly ambitious. T o that end, I am not convinced that Reversing Sail is an ideal undergraduate text. T o my knowledge, few undergraduate instructors actually teach the history of the African diaspora on such a massive scale during the course of a single semester, and even fewer have the broad expertise to push their students on
260 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) many of the fertile conceptual challenges that Gomez raises. S till, it is these conceptual challenges that make Reversing Sail so beautifully frustrating and a must-read for anyone who thinks or teaches about the African diaspora. Heres hoping that Gomez will continue building on the insights in Reversing Sail and provide us with a more thoroughgoing interpretive history of the African diaspora. Neither Led Nor Driven: Contesting British Cultural Imperialism in Jamaica, 1865-1920. BRIAN L. MOORE & MICHELE A. JOHNSON Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2004. ix + 475 pp. (Paper U S $ 35.00)GA D HEUMANDepartment of History and C entre for C aribbean S tudies University of Warwick C oventry C V4 7A L U.K.
261 BOOK REVIEWS further served to confirm their intention to determine for themselves what was culturally apposite and what was not. It was a positive assertion of cultural self-determination in the face of hostile pressure from above (p. 46). This was also the case with folk religions, and Moore and Johnson deal with the significance of Revival movements, Myal, and the Native Baptists for the Jamaican people. Herbal folk medicine was also an important part of creole culture. But for the elite in Jamaica, this aspect of folk religion was problematical. At one level, middleand upper-class Jamaicans sought to distance themselves from anything associated with barbarism. At the same time, since the elite themselves made use of herbs and folk medicine, they were ambivalent on this issue. For Moore and Johnson, this was not the only area of ambivalence on the part of middleand upper-class Jamaicans. The book is particularly acute in dealing with issues of sex, marriage, and the family. It was in this area that Victorian values clashed with local practice, since Afro-Jamaican men and women often lived together infor mally, marrying only later in life. This meant that their children were ille gitimate, a serious problem for Victorian Christian morality. Y et as Moore and Johnson point out, relationships among the Afro-Jamaican population were often stronger than those of their middleand upper-class counterparts. Moreover, the Jamaican middle and upper class also participated in aspects of the creole culture that they criticized so heavily. T here was, for example, a common pattern of elite concubinage in Jamaica, consisting of White men having Black partners outside marriage. Again, the Jamaican people were demonstrating their own cultural self-determination, while the elites were at best ambivalent about creole culture. As Moore and Johnson suggest, there were continuing attempts to civi lize the Blacks and alter existing Afro-creole practices. T he C hurch was part of this civilizing mission, but education also had an important role. Indeed, education and Christianity were meant to help create a new Jamaica in the wake of the barbarism of Morant Bay (p. 205). But there were problems, especially regarding education. In Jamaica, there was no compulsory edu cation system until 1912, which meant that the overwhelming majority of Afro-Jamaicans were not exposed to a colonial education. T he situation was even worse at the secondary level, where the high costs of schooling meant that this education was for the middle and upper class rather than the working class. T here were also attempts to proselytize the immigrants from India and C hina, but Indians and C hinese often reacted with indifference and occasion ally with hostility. E ven the cult of monarchy and empire, so sedulously pursued by the impe rial authorities, was not all that it appeared. Moore and Johnson do well in describing the celebrations for the Queens official birthday as well as the cer emonies marking the Queens Jubilee and the coronations of her successors. But even in this area, the mass of Jamaicans accepted Queen Victoria largely
262 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) because they believed she was responsible for their freedom, not because of the efforts of local officials to convince them that it was their duty. This is an important argument. It emphasizes the British attempts to reform Afro-Jamaican culture and the resistance of the Jamaican people in the face of this onslaught. It is true that some Afro-Jamaicans sought to make accommodations to European ideals, but most Jamaicans either ignored them or refused to engage with the authorities. Moore and Johnson are to be congratulated for their assiduous research in both local and metropolitan archives. T he result is a finely researched and persuasively argued book that adds a new dimension to the historiography on Jamaica.REFE R EN C EBR YAN, PA TRICK 1991. The Jamaican People, 1880-1902. London: Macmillan C aribbean. The Second Generation of Freemen in Jamaica, 1907-1944. ER NA BR O DB E R Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 2004. ix + 225 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95)MI C HAELINE A CR I C HLOWDepartment of African and African American S tudies Duke University Durham N C 27708, U. S .A.
263 BOOK REVIEWS try to find out, in her words, what along with the inherited had this second generation of freemen to face? (p. 19). In addition, she wants to examine the cumulative or aggregative effect of economic challenges upon community and aspects of Jamaicas culture at large. The narratives that Brodber stitches together suggest that history in both the past and then its present configurations heavily weighted down its inheri tors in a way that stymied their creativity. But it wasnt because the second generation of freemen, the subject of this text, did not seek to escape it. For the picture she portrays is of Black men and women struggling beneath the legacies of the plantation and its accompanying ideological conceptualiza tions of their inferiority yet unable to generate the sorts of triumphs by which they would have improved themselves and their communities and ultimately Jamaican culture. T o escape the plantations legacy, at least economically, this second gen eration of freemen needed land, and employment generally, and both seemed scarce, or rather, were made scarce. L and was still controlled by planters and the colonial state, even though much was not in use, and neither one of these groups desired the independence of Black people. T hey both wanted a labor ing class, nothing less and nothing more. S o instead, they hoarded land, and when hoarding became impossible, such as when debt demanded sales or when mob violence threatened to encircle and destroy, they sold it, but in minuscule portions too small for the new owners to eke out an independent existence. This generation then were forced to straddle several different occupa tions, embracing various trades and other casual occupations to support their families. Farming had to be supplemented with other forms of making a living and other ways of eking out a farming existence. This was true not only for men but for women as well. As Brodber asserts, Occupational mul tiplicity, and the high level of mobility within a set of jobs and in space that this required, presents itself as an early twentieth-century strategy for making a living that the ambitious freeman fashioned and passed on to the second generation (p. 64). Occupational multiplicity, the concept popularized in the earlier work of Comitas (1964), highlighting the specificity of Caribbean peasantry, receives much discussion in this text. Brodbers grasp of it, however, goes beyond its simple connotations of multiple livelihoods and encompasses the rural-urban and overseas or migratory patterns as well. Movement was intrinsic to the making of these effete creole cultures. Dwelling involved moving. Or rather, in order to dwell one had to be constantly on the move. S o, for example, a police constable migrated to C uba, then returned shortly after, but not to the police force, a soldier went to war and then migrated to C uba, and a cabinetmaker became a metalworker (p. 72).
264 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) Thus, versatility was the optimal position for freemen. Though not new, this is an important point, and one where Brodber could have staked out the texts originality by engaging some of the more recent literature on move ment, migration, and sovereignty. Still, she provides the raw material with which others could build a case for a different approach to these issues of movement. Though it is generally recognized that the scarcity of gainful employment in the countryside forced Caribbeans to move into incipient towns, thus contributing to the construction of urban spaces and their con gestion as well, this internal dimension is generally ignored when analysts speak of movement. It is nearly always assumed that movement is defined by transnationalism. A transnational focus obscures this veritable remapping of territory, the deterritorialization that occurs as borders between the rural and the urban shift. Dwelling and movement ought not to be conceptualized as a set of binary alternatives. As seen in the text, though not articulated as such, these shifts and move ments transgress the neat categories used to differentiate certain rural and urban identities, so that national constructions of being C reole, Jamaican, even C aribbean, are also challenged by these internal movements and refashioned selectively by them. Although she does not theorize or even give them pri macy in her broader arguments, Brodber richly describes these interconnec tions, and highlights the sorts of relationships that they spawned. S he notes the importance they had for the repositioning of the individual back home. For these moves facilitated accessing the pleasures that were available only to a certain class, color, nationality (as in tourists), or even location. R ich description is Brodbers strength. L ess successful are her attempts at generalizing about man, at defining the correct political weapon or the rela tionship among child-rearing practices, the ideological sway of Eurocentric education, authoritarianism, and cultural instability (something which pre sumably defines Jamaicas sociocultural peoplescape). Moreover the text is laden with loaded vocabulary such as unorganized mobs, distinctions such as brawn characterizing those who migrated to Cuba, as opposed to brains for those who went to the United States, and a strange assortment of blaming the victim assertions. Who were these mobs who apparently boldly challenged the establishment (p. 120) and brought gains to the sec ond generation? Were they of a separate generation? These statements dis turb and contrast with Brodbers details of the mode of life (see Beckford 2003:xxix) of the second generation of freemen who tried to refashion their futures and cultures, in spite of their rough working childhoods in the racist, color-conscious, and, one might add, patriarchal global colony which they inhabited, and called home. T his text could certainly have benefited from the guiding hand of an edi tor, and a rethinking of some of the more potent issues which it raises, in terms of the current debates on citizenship, migration, and freedom.
265 BOOK REVIEWS REFE R EN C ESBE C KFO RD, GEO RG E 2003. Introduction. In E rna Brodber, Standing Tall: Affirmations of the Jamaican Male: 24 Self-Portraits. Mona, Jamaica: S ir Arthur L ewis Institute of S ocial and E conomic S tudies UWI, pp. xxv-xliii. COMIT AS, LAMBROS, 1964. Occupational Multiplicity in Rural Jamaica. In V. Garfield & E Friedl (eds.), Proceedings of the American Ethnological Society S eattle: University of Washington Press, pp. 41-50. MARX, KARL, 1978. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. In Robert C. T ucker (ed.), The Marx-Engels Reader. New Y ork: W.W. Norton & C ompany, pp. 594-617. [Orig. 1852.] The Language of Dress: Resistance and Accommodation in Jamaica, 17601890. ST EEVE O BU C K R I DG E Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2004. viii + 270 pp. (Paper U S $ 25.00)JEAN BESSON Department of Anthropology Goldsmiths C ollege, University of L ondon New C ross, L ondon SE 14 6NW, U.K.
266 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) (p. 1). T his is especially important for Jamaica, where there are no record e d slave narratives, as a means of giving a voice to the voiceless (p. 2). Buckridge sums up his study as the first of its kind in British C aribbean his toriography that focuses exclusively on the dress of colonized women, both slave and freed, and examines dress as a symbol of resistance and accommo dation (pp. 6-7). His time-frame is from 1760 (when sources start) to 1890 (enabling an exploration of the transformation from slavery to freedom), but he also discusses the impact of dress during this period on later patterns and relates his findings to the African cultures from which the slaves came. Chapter 1, The Crossing, explores the complexity of dress, including headdress and hair style, in African societies. From these rich cultural back grounds, enslaved Africans were thrust naked into slave ships and their bod ies branded on arrival in the Americas, where E uropeans discouraged African dress. The adornment of the body and African retentions in dress therefore became a mode of resistance and accommodation among the enslaved. Chapter 2, Dress as Resistance, contextualizes this theme in Jamaican slave-plantation society. Particularly strong is the analysis of slave carnivals, including Jonkonnu and its ritual of the Set Girls. The classic Belisario pic ture of the Queen or Maam of the Set Girls adorns the cover of the book. While the costumes of the S et Girls were predominantly E uropean with the blues and reds ... based on an old rivalry between British [sic] admirals who wore red and Scottish admirals who wore blue (p. 100), this appropriation of ritualized rivalry between the English and the Scots was combined with the use of West African traditions of masking and masquerade and womens age set rituals to reclaim the identity of the self. Chapter 3, Dress as Accommodation, analyzes the Europeanization of dress among freed women as a strategy of accommodation in the aftermath of emancipation, and illuminates the commercialization of dress in Jamaican colonial society and its links to developments in Britain. Buckridge also high lights the failure of the strategy of Europeanization as racism persisted. He therefore criticizes interpretations of creolization by Brathwaite and Glissant, asserting that both their arguments fail to address the social contradictions and conflicts implicit in this process (p. 155). C hapter 4, C onclusion, includes a discussion of the continuity of African aesthetics in dress to the present, such as the head-wraps and turbans of the Revival religion and the subversive dress of male street style, Rastafarians, and dancehall culture in Jamaica, despite the ambiguous strategy of brown ing or bleaching the skin (p. 188). It would, however, have been helpful to include related illustrations in this chapter, and the section on the limitations of the study seems too brief and belated (p. 181). The limitations of the study include points not raised by Buckridge. First, his use of the concept of accommodation is not consistent. S ometimes accommodation is equated with acculturation (p. 11), a usage that needs to
267 BOOK REVIEWS be interrogated especially as he draws on Mintzs point that resistance may be based on accommodation and also states that slaves resisted decultura tion (pp. 7, 26, 140). Buckridge could also have taken on board Burtons (1997:6) distinction between opposition from inside a social system and resistance from outside it. Second, as the book is a study of creolization in Jamaica in slavery and freedom, Buckridge could have drawn on my own work on culture-building in the plantation heartlands and free villages of Jamaica (Besson 2002), for example, to reveal continuities between the slaves marketing system (which provided money for the purchase of dress) and the transnational cloth markets in Jamaica today. Third, it is superfi cial to conclude that dress provided an alternative to access to land among the slaves and ex-slaves (pp. 134, 139), for appropriation of land rights by enslaved persons of both genders and the creation and transmission of family land by ex-slaves and their descendants have been central strategies for the re-creation of identity, kinship, and community in Jamaica (Besson 2002). Fourth, Buckridges use of the concept of peasant as including rural labour ers, domestic servants and road-builders (p. 157) and elsewhere labourers and peasants (p. 159) needs clarification, as does the statement that the peasant class was steeped in a deep-structured world that was African (p. 180). Finally, his review of studies of Caribbean marronage omits reference to the important works of R ichard and S ally Price (p. 5), and there is no refer ence to the work of Kenneth Bilby or myself in the discussion of Jamaican Maroons at various points in the book. Despite these reservations, Buckridges book is a valuable addition to the study of C aribbean creolization and to Jamaican cultural history. REFE R EN C ESBESSON, JEAN, 2002. Martha Braes Two Histories: European Expansion and Caribbean Culture-Building in Jamaica. C hapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. BURT ON, RICHARD D.E., 1997. Afro-Creole: Power, Opposition, and Play in the Caribbean. Ithaca N Y : C ornell University Press.
268 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica DEBORAH A. THOMAS. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2004. xiv + 357 pp. (Paper U S $ 23.95)CHA R LES V CA R NE G IE Department of Anthropology Bates C ollege L ewiston M E 04240, U. S .A.
269 BOOK REVIEWS whose elements, discipline, temperance ... thrift, industry, Christian liv ing, community uplift, and respect for the leadership of the educated middle classes (pp. 65-66), facilitated an anticolonial politics but failed to threaten other important aspects of the status quo. S hadowed constantly by more mili tant counternarratives, such as that of Rastafari, that emphasized continued Black subordination, creole multiracialism has now been eclipsed, Thomas argues, by a modern Blackness, new forms of subjectivity that are transna tional in scope, present-oriented, consumerist, and transgressive of the moral conventions of respectability and patriarchy, and in which the role of Africa is subordinated and a romanticized folk past disregarded. This altered value orientation, she notes, represents a generational shift, hastened by processes of globalization that curtail the ability of the postcolonial Jamaican state to fulfill basic obligations to its citizens. Thomas shows this process of social transformation playing out nation ally as well as locally in the community of Mango Mount, just outside Kingston, where she did fieldwork. At the national level, Thomass analy sis opens up the contested terrain of present-day Jamaican cultural politics through insightful readings of a series of cultural events, texts, and popular performances starting with a book of antiracist, protonationalist essays coauthored by five Black Jamaicans and published in 1888 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of British slave emancipation. Other texts around which she presents her argument include the statement on cultural policy that was pub lished in Jamaicas first five-year development plan and authored by then Minister of Development and Welfare, E dward S eaga, and the governments reinstatement of E mancipation Day as a national public holiday in the 1990s on the recommendation of a special Committee on National Symbols and National Observances. Mango Mount provides instructive ethnographic exemplification of the books larger argument. T he community has long had a significant minor ity of middle-class professional residents (the upper set) who have pro vided leadership and served as intermediaries to national-level institutions and businesses for the areas majority (the lower set). However, as state functions have contracted, the role this middle class formerly played as inter mediaries to assist poorer residents gain access to jobs and state services has declined correspondingly. T he poor, and particularly the younger generation, view these middle-class connections as largely irrelevant to getting ahead and instead seek out avenues for migration and other means of advancement on their own. T homass rich ethnography includes accounts of the formation and ups and downs of the Mango Mount C ommunity C ouncil, established in the 1980s, political campaigning in the community, and the local observance of the revived E mancipation Day celebration. Modern Blackness also offers sat isfying interpretations of the genre of popular theater known as roots plays, a comparison of the films The Harder They Come and Dancehall Queen and
270 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) discussions of dancehall music the soundtrack for modern Blackness (p. 242) and an important arena of cultural-political ferment. What then is the political significance of the set of practices T homas calls modern Blackness? What kind of future does this loose ideological configu ration offer for Jamaica, and how should it be regarded? T homas appropriately views modern Blackness as both oppositional and complicit. It is oppositional in that it challenges the idea that the subordination of black people ... that was established during slavery, [has] persisted throughout the creole national ist era, and has been reestablished ... by globalization, privatization, and struc tural adjustment policies (pp. 269 70, emphasis in the original). However, modern Blackness also embodies and reproduces aspects of dominance such as consumerism, individualism, and timeworn tropes about black vernacular culture (p. 231). In terms of where it might lead, T homas is also ambivalent, suggesting that modern blackness does not present some kind of totalizing and coherent ideological framework for understanding why things are the way they are among poor, black Jamaicans. Nor does it necessarily provide a blueprint for (revolutionary) action (p. 231). S o, for example, while this new ethos enables and supports individuals taking advantage, through migration and other strategies, of opportunities opening up in the global economy, it drains the local community of its most talented young people. In many ways it is the ambiguity and complexity of modern Blackness, and the pluralism it endorses, that Thomas finds appealing. Modern Blackness, she argues, is rooted in the changing ways people define community in this era when the link between territory and nationalism throughout the Caribbean has been profoundly restructured (pp. 259-60). The imaginative universe of modern Blackness allows for surprising collaborations and is coproduced with urban and primarily working-class African Americans who live in Jamaicans social worlds both real and imagined ... as well as in relation to middleand upper-class Jamaicans in Jamaica and West Indians and E uro-Americans in the United S tates and elsewhere (p. 260). While I applaud Thomass call to embrace the pluralism and indetermi nacy central to Jamaicas contemporary popular cultural ethos, her analysis suggests that there is nothing remiss in not having a hegemonic ideological framework to replace that of creole nationalism. S he seems to take the view that a value system that legitimizes and accommodates pluralism cannot at the same time offer coherence and stability. T his position leads her to be less concerned than other scholars have been in recent years about the collapse of the moral and ideological framework of creole nationalism in Jamaica, and to disagree that its downfall constitutes something of a social crisis. For Thomas, modern Blackness, and the new forms of citizenship it affords, embodies not a crisis, but a public power previously unattained (p. 261). Thomas uses Blackness as the stabilizing trope that gives coherence to the Jamaican present her book describes. It allows her to be less con
271 BOOK REVIEWS cerned about the instabilities and contradictions that others find worrisome, and less attentive to the question of how to reconstitute hegemonic order of a sort that might fully accommodate pluralism. Can Blackness any lon ger serve, though, as an appropriate symbolic vehicle either for the shifting and multivalent politics of the present, or for an analytical understanding of them? As Cathy Cohens The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (1999) compellingly illustrates for the United States, for example, the cross-cutting and contradictory political issues that have become ever more conspicuous within the so-called Black community now make that community an enfeebled political force. Thomas is acutely mindful in the book of the instabilities of modern Blackness, but her per sistent use of this trope only serves to belie the thrust of her own findings. Despite my skepticism about T homass uncritical use of Blackness to anchor her discussion of the unstable Jamaican present, this wonderfully insightful book is essential reading for C aribbeanists.REFE R EN C ECOHEN, CA THY J ., 1999. The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics C hicago: University of C hicago Press. Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large. CAROLYN COOPER. New Y ork: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004. v + 348 pp. (Paper U S $ 22.95)JOHN D. GALUSKAFolklore & E thnomusicology Institutes Indiana University Bloomington IN 47404, U. S .A.
272 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) that rival [Jamaican] politicians, area dons/community leaders, and their followers contend for the control of territory, both literal and symbolic (p. 35). Indeed, Sound Clash demarcates many zones of conflict. Coopers introduction offers an updated version of a viewpoint she for mulated in Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the Vulgar Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (1995). She argues that slackness within Jamaican dancehall culture cannot be reduced to graphic sexual behavior. Dancehall is, unquestionably, a dedicated space for the flamboyant perform ing of sexuality (p. 3). However, its DJs and supporters also represent a radical, underground confrontation with the patriarchal gender ideology and the duplicitous morality of fundamentalist Jamaican society (p. 3). Rather than a devaluing idiom, dancehall culture at home and in the diaspora is best understood as a potentially liberating space (p. 17). C ooper mounts evi dence to support this perspective throughout the book. However, document ing additional viewpoints/voices from dancehall supporters and detractors within the Jamaican public would have been useful. In C hapter 1 (co-authored by C ecil Gutzmore) the multilayered lyrics of dancehall DJs are used to exemplify distinct clashes (homo)sexual, reli gious, and sociopolitical within Jamaica. C ooper provides alternative read ings to the controversy stirred by Buju Bantons now famous Boom By By and the fia bun (fire burn) rhetoric of Bobo Dreads like Anthony B. C hapter 2 sheds light on the ongoing culture v. slackness debate by comparing sexual and social themes in the lyrics of Bob Marley with those of S habba R anks. C lose textual reading reveals that a number of parallels can be drawn between Marleys lyrical protest and the sociosexual commentary of contemporary DJs like S habba. Of course, C ooper acknowledges that there are limitations to such textual analogies as well. C hapter 3 confronts the slackness/culture dialectic from the vantage point of dancehall DJ Lady Saw. Cooper argues that scholars, as well as many Jamaicans, fail to comprehend the dynamic range of S aws repertoire. From this perspective, Saws promotion of safe(r) sex in the lyrics of Condom deserve just as much attention as the sexually explicit Stab Out Mi Meat. Additional feminine perspectives are revealed in Coopers analysis of the films Dancehall Queen (1997) and Babymother (1998). The protagonists in each, Marcia and Anita, are empowered through their celebration of female sexuality and imaginative role-play in the dancehall arena. At the same time, the films portray the harsh reality of the womens struggles with self-image, poverty, teenage pregnancy, and mothering. C hapter 5 explores the tropes of the lyrical gun and the Jamaican bad man. Here C ooper documents the interface between the violence portrayed in dancehall lyrics, Jamaican folklore, and films like The Harder They Come (1972). Y et she stresses that a direct correlation between the increasing gun violence in Jamaica and dancehall lyrics is tenuous. T he discourse of the DJs
273 BOOK REVIEWS is often much more metaphorical than literal. Again, misinterpretations of Boom By By are cited as evidence. At the heart of Chapter 6 are two cor rective reminders: The first illusion is that there is no fire in Bob Marleys metaphor; the second is that there is no metaphor in the DJs fire (p. 193). Thus, the branding of Bobo Dread DJs like Sizzla and Capleton as literal arsonists reveals a lack of understanding about a long-standing history of incendiary incantations from Marley to the present. T he next three chapters present the latest lines of scholarly inquiry for C ooper. C hapter 7 is a stinging critique of the attacks projected against Jamaican dancehall performers in Barbados. L ike Jamaican C reole, the vile vocals associated with dancehall are frequently misunderstood in foreign contexts. C hapter 8 celebrates the diasporic connections between reggae, dancehall, and rap/hip hop. C hapter 9 explores the perceptions of a dancehall subgenre, rajamuffin through the verbal artistry and identity politics of DJ Apache Indian. Finally, C hapter 10 portrays national identity in Jamaica from the historical perspective of Jamaican C reole. C ooper and co-author Hubert Devonish argue that the growing sociopolitical significance of Jamaican is due in part to the rise of popular culture and the technologies that allow such expressions to be disseminated more readily to local and global audiences. One of the structural weaknesses of Sound Clash is the recycled nature of most of the essays in the book: no good academic paper should be per formed only once (p. vii). Although the previously published or presented essays have been updated, and are unified under the border clash paradigm, sections of individual chapters come across as redundant. For example, defi nitions and controversies discussed in early chapters occasionally reappear as core components in subsequent chapters. T he diverse origin(s) of each indi vidual essay or chapter may also explain the minor inconsistencies in how Jamaican C reole passages are represented for those unfamiliar with the lan guage. Moreover, C ooper spends too much energy defending her previously documented positions. S he forgets that more than one generation of schola r s has read her work (and the work of others) and already taken informed stanc e s on many of the perspectives she has so vigorously promoted. One of the strongest unifying lessons from Sound Clash may be gleaned from C oopers commitment to embrace an array of interdisciplinary perspec tives. In other words, dubbed into the mix of Sound Clash are multiple critical horizons, including insights developed from collaborations with colleagues and students. T o arrive at a deeper understanding of Jamaican dancehall culture, a culture that is vibrant, alive, and responsive, scholars, citizens, devotees, and detractors alike must be willing to expose themselves to new perspectives and voices. Sound Clash will undoubtedly stimulate new research and provoke ongoing discussion regarding the significance of genres of Jamaican popular culture for audiences at home and abroad.
274 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) REFE R EN C ECOOPE R, CA R OLYN 1995. Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the Vulgar Body of Jamaican Popular Culture Durham N C : Duke University Press. [Orig. 1993.] From Garvey to Marley: Rastafari Theology. NOEL LEO ERSKINE. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xi + 224 pp. (Cloth US$ 39.95)RI C HA RD SAL T E RR eligious S tudies Department Hobart and William S mith C olleges Geneva N Y 14456, U. S .A.
275 BOOK REVIEWS gae has helped spread Rastafari beyond Jamaica. The conclusion reviews R astafaris contribution to Jamaican C hristian theology, especially its call to rethink God in terms of Africa, and criticizes Rastafari theology for various shortcomings, such as excessive individualism and weakness in considering matters of salvation. T he major fault of this book is its lack of clarity on theological intentions and methods. A chapter outlining these intentions would have helped contex tualize subsequent chapters, sharpen the books focus, and clarify Erskines methods. As it stands a historian might read the second chapter as a thin summary of the roots of African-derived religions in Jamaica. On the other hand, as constructive theology the chapter may not be meant as a full histori cal analysis, but instead as the story of Jamaican theology presented from within a particular theological historiography, that is, as a decolonization of Jamaican theology through the lens of Black religion. S imilarly, in C hapters 3 and 4, E rskines decision to focus on certain strands of R asta history (e.g., his focus on Jamaica and the movements linear growth from L eonard Howell and three other early leaders) and certain R astafari beliefs (e.g., the belief in Haile S elassie as the sine qua non of the faith) would have made more sense if they had been presented in the light of a comparative theological method ology that explicitly sought to draw out and explore structural similarities with C hristianity. Without a clear methodology, the focus on Howell uncriti cally privileges one strand of Rasta history over others. The focus on Haile Selassie flattens Rastafari doctrines of God and unintentionally furthers the theological cause of those Rastas who want belief in Selassie to be the sine qua non of the movement (in contrast to those who instead emphasize a dreadlocks, smoking ganja, ital way of life, knowledge of the I, harmonious relationship to nature, etc.). E rskine often makes broad assertions in the form of all Rastas believe X. Although these assertions are always problematic from a historical or anthropological perspective, they are more understand able if seen as an attempt to frame R astafari so as to gain some purchase for comparison with C hristianity. As constructive theology the book succeeds in demonstrating the growth possible for Jamaican Christianity when it takes seriously the theological questions posed by R astafari, e.g., a R asta ontology that asks: Where do you stand with regard to Africa? E rskine writes forthrightly about the strengths of Rastafari as Black theology, placing other Christian thinkers, such as James Cone, in dialogue with Rastafari to try to probe the depths of Rasta talk about God. The book is at its best in the last three chapters, where it is most openly theological. Here Erskine engages Rastafari more critically, demon strating, for example, how Rastafari might make us rethink the role of the body in C hristianity, while at the same time showing how C hristian thought on eschatology might be used to challenge Rasta views of salvation. But even here the question of comparison is thorny, for it is not clear that R astas
276 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) either have a doctrine of salvation (often preferring to speak of redemption instead) or that they need one. One dimension of theological comparison on which Erskine could have elaborated is the Rasta concept of the I and the consequent identification of the individual Rasta with God. There seem to be obvious connections to Orthodox C hristianitys idea of theosis (or becoming God), but to date the published Christian approaches to Rastafari have been Protestant and have left the idea unexplored. I would recommend this book as a Christian attempt to engage and find meaning in Rastafari, but not as a descriptive or analytical account of Rastafari theology as a whole. Erskines focus is too narrow for that latter task. His strengths are pointing out the degree to which Rastafari has given Jamaica a transformative religious practice, and bringing Christianity into contact with that practice. Great House Rules: Landless Emancipation and Workers Protest in Barbados, 1838 1938. HILA R Y MCD BE C KLES. Kingston: Ian R andle, 2004. 210 pp. (Paper U S $ 22.95)O NI G EL BOLLAN D5436 Bartlett R oad E arlville N Y 13332, U. S .A.
277 BOOK REVIEWS ethnically differentiated social groups of free Black and free Colored (p. 2), he does not maintain this distinction consistently, nor does he explore its implication for the development of the political culture after 1838. Instead, he emphasizes a simple Black/White dichotomy, although important nineteenthcentury political leaders, like Samuel Jackman Prescod, were Colored, and most twentieth-century leaders, like Charles Duncan ONeale and Grantley Adams, were middle-class professionals. Subtle social distinctions of color and class were often culturally and politically significant. Chapter 2 examines the landless freedom that resulted from the care fully managed emancipation process between 1838 and 1863. The sugar planters land monopoly, creation of a tenantry system, and control of the legislature ensured an abundant supply of dependent and cheap laborers, and consequently resulted in a poor, unhealthy, and powerless population. Planters continued to perceive workers as servile persons, and colonial administrators and missionaries viewed the vast majority of Barbadians, not just the work ers, as inferior natives. New law and order provisions, including vagrancy laws, the Masters and Servants Act, and the development of police, courts and prisons, along with an educational system that emphasized religious instruction and discipline, perpetuated an oppressive society. Despite having little room to manoeuver, however, workers resisted this oppression because they believed freedom should not mean their virtual re-enslavement in the labor market, and freedom for them also meant time to reconstitute fam ily life, social culture, and devise means to establish independent economic strategies to subsist and survive (p. 74). The plantation sector limited the growth of an independent peasantry, so thousands of Barbadians migrated to seek work in British Guiana, T rinidad and, later, Panama. Some returned with sufficient savings to buy land or open shops, but the basic social struc ture remained unchanged. C hapter 3, T he S truggle for Freedom, covers the period up to 1897, although it ends, curiously, with a section on the consolidation of the planterme r chants economic domination between 1917 and 1934. Widespread famine and reduction of wages in 1863 resulted in arson, food rebellions, and wage riots, as well as more emigration. When the crisis in the sugar industry of the 1880s led to a social crisis the planters responded by slashing wages, mer chants infiltrated the planter elite, and the oligarchy successfully defend e d its power and privilege. A R oyal C ommission recommended in 1897 the expan sion of opportunities for small peasant proprietors, but the planters dug in and prepared to resist reform efforts (p. 175). Chapter 4 turns back to consider the 1876 rebellion, which took advan tage of temporary divisions within the ruling class and was inspired by the slave revolt of 1816. In the final chapter, Democracy From Below, Beckles examines resistance from 1876 to the eve of the 1937 labor rebellion, dis cussing evidence of widespread hardship, the emergence of such autono
278 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) mous popular organizations as friendly societies, landships, and Revivalist church e s, and early political mobilization by leaders such as R awle Parkinson, a teach e r, C lennell Wickham, a journalist, and ONeale, a doctor who creat e d the Democratic L eague in 1924. T he extremely restricted franchise was nar rower than the popular support for this middle-class party, so its candidates were defeated more often than they succeeded. Nevertheless, this party, with its labor arm, the Workingmens Association, along with the impact of Marcus Garveys movement, established a basis for the rapid growth of labor politics after the 1937 rebellion. The absence of a straightforward chronology in this book may obscure the sequence of events in Barbadian history for some readers. The central arguments concerning the system of labor control, the politics of freedom after emancipation, and the origins of democratic politics are not new, and their origins should be acknowledged. I would like to have read a more thor ough study of the history of political culture in Barbados, which parts of this book suggest. How, for example, did pervasive paternalism and individual ism affect ideas of authority, and to what extent did the Anglican clergy, who were social allies of the planters (p. 126), succeed in shaping a subservient political culture? Beckles briefly discusses cricket and cultural apartheid, and it would be valuable to compare with this the ideas and rituals of hier archy that pervade the uniquely Barbadian organizations called landships. We would have a more thorough understanding of popular resistance in Barbados if we also understood the sources and extent of accommodation to the colonial society, but these, and other important aspects of the history of Barbados, remain to be explored.REFE R EN C EBECKLES, HILAR Y MCD 1990. A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State. C ambridge: C ambridge University Press.
279 BOOK REVIEWS I Speak for the People: The Memoirs of Wynter Crawford WOODVILLE K. MARSHALL (ed.). Kingston: Ian Randle, 2003. xviii + 180 pp. (Paper US$ 18.00)DOU G LAS MI DG E TT Department of Anthropology University of Iowa Iowa C ity IA 52242, U. S .A.
280 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) cious involvement in business and public affairs, not only in Barbados, but throughout the region. He traveled widely, worked on different islands, and embarked on ventures on behalf of others and on his own, rubbing shoulders with some of the most illustrious public figures of the time. During this early period family ties and class affiliations were important in easing his trajec tory. C rawford was born into a comfortable family and received an excellent education, leaving school at the age of sixteen with an assured career as a civil servant. T he names of relatives, friends, and other acquaintances iterated in the first chapters of the book suggest an individual whose connections would pave a course of little resistance and certain middle-class comfort in colonial Barbados. Although C rawfords development took quite a different turn with his entry into politics, it remains that he and his contemporaries were destined for increasingly significant roles in the emerging modern Barbados. Crawfords departure from the promised comforts of the upper echelons of the civil service is particularly marked by his editorship of the Observer Again, certain advantages of his class position made this transition possible. He had purchased a small press and, on return to Barbados, was able to launch the paper. Most of the writing, certainly all of the editorial content, was by his own hand, and the paper soon developed a reputation for taking on some of the more egregious aspects of colonial rule and class and race discrimina tion. C rawford repeatedly confronted the pillars of a society planters, mer chants, colonial officials known, as Gordon Lewis has pointed out, for its reactionary attachment to tradition, albeit British tradition. T he emergence of the paper as a progressive voice in such a social formation inevitably thrust him into more active politics. Perhaps the signal event that triggered Crawfords entry into the devel oping labor/party politics that came to characterize the era throughout the British colonial C aribbean was the 1937 riots. C rawfords anecdotal descrip tion of the events as they played out in Bridgetown makes for some of the most interesting and revealing reading in the narrative. As in other instances during the turbulent period of the late 1930s, the response of authorities was heavy-handed and insured a greater degree of turmoil. The aftermath of the riots also brought the first of Crawfords many interactions with Grantley Adams, and the beginnings of a relationship which would be alternately col laborative and combative. A good portion of the book is interlarded with instances of confrontations between the two, the opposition of the parties each one founded, and their ultimate political incompatibility. In these, Adams, admittedly through the accounts of his rival, frequently comes off as petty, disingenuous, and manipulative. Whether delineating his personal struggles with political figures or his participation in legislation and other policy initiatives, C rawford rhetorically draws attention to himself as the primary actor in any number of political dramas, much like the trickster figure Anancy of West Indian folktales. T his
281 BOOK REVIEWS Anancyism, a stylistic device foregrounding the heroic persona, is some thing that I have often heard in campaign speechmaking. It has a counter part in the elevation of self in policymaking, in the conduct of the affairs of unions and parties, and in dealings with presumed comrades in these institu tions so-called one-manism. Wynter C rawfords narrative includes numer ous instances of this kind of style and behavior. His descriptions of projects and transactions elevate his role to such a degree that we cannot imagine the scheme succeeding without his agency. This seems to have been a critical flaw in his own limited success as a union organizer, manager, and party leader. The mere presence of his forceful personality and intellectual gifts could not overcome the schisms to which he contributed through his auto cratic inclinations. This slim book is a rich read, offering a vivid picture of an important period in the history of the region. Myths of the Plantation Society: Slavery in the American South and the West Indies NA T HALIE DESSENS Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. x + 214 pp. ( C loth U S $ 55.00)LOMA R SH ROOPNA R INEDepartment of S ocial S ciences University of the Virgin Islands S t. C roix, Virgin Islands 00850, U. S .A.
282 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) was under British influence as well as a weaker S panish and French influence in Florida and L ouisiana, respectively. T he Spanish government was rigidly organized in the C aribbean, which explained the uniformity across different areas of the S panish C aribbean. By contrast, the British and French model of political/colonial organization was patterned after three models: charter com pany, propriety colony, and crown colony. Demographically, the American South had more Europeans and fewer African slaves than the Caribbean mainly because more E uropeans migrated to the American South to settle while in the Caribbean, Europeans migrated to exploit. The Caribbean experienced more absentee landlordism. Although the American S outh was, like the C aribbean colonies, a plantation economy, it relied main l y on cotton while the C aribbean depended more on sugar. T he latter needed a larger labor supply to function effectively, and this explained the larger influx of Africans in the C aribbean through the slave trade. T he second part of the book examines the slavery systems and ideologies, as well as the abolition of slavery in the American S outh and the C aribbean. Dessens provides important statistical information on the forced migration of Africans through the transatlantic trade and argues that there were more native-born Africans in the American South than in the Caribbean. The rea sons for this were harsher climatic conditions, a higher importation of slaves, and a higher mortality rate in the C aribbean. Out of the slave system emerged a two-tiered society in the American South and a three-tiered society in the Caribbean. The consequence was that the three-tiered societies permitted relatively easier access to freedom, and there was much more social fluidity (p. 70). Furthermore, she argues, slave codes were harsher in the American S outh than in the C aribbean but were counterbalanced by paternalism because S outhern Whites displayed a residential attachment to the United S tates. T his difference produced a better form of slavery and meant more humanity and affability [in the American S outh] (p. 92). Dessens points out that the movement toward the abolition of slavery in the American South was based on home-grown sentiments while in the Caribbean, except for slave insurrections, it emanated from and revolved around European ideals such as the Enlightenment, Christianity, and Humanism. Another interesting difference was that the abolition of slavery was a protracted and peaceful process in the C aribbean (except in Haiti) while in the American South it took a four-year war and claimed over 600,000 lives. T he aftermath of the abolition of slavery led to two different societies. Caribbean ex-slaves were subjected to the apprenticeship and the planters were compensated millions of dollars for the loss of slaves. The Caribbean colonies also experimented with indentured labor. E x-slaves in the American South had some rights but were subjected to legally sanctioned segregation which led to a southern cultural distinctiveness. Much of this southern cul tural distinctiveness was found in mythmaking and cultural exceptions. Free
283 BOOK REVIEWS Blacks approached and expressed their circumstances through literature and poetry more in the American S outh than in the C aribbean. But this literature was counteracted by those who glorified the pre-Civil War period, an idea that was guided by Manifest Destiny. Dessens concludes: Fiction writers ... progressively built a literary, legendary antebellum South. The defeat of the South added a nostalgic dimension to legend, and the lost cause turned the legend into myth (p. 171). The first half of the book adds little to the existing literature on slavery in the New World. Dessens leans heavily on secondary data to compare and contrast the colonial American South and the Caribbean. Most of this infor mation is found in C aribbean history books, and to a lesser degree, histories of the American South. The second half of the book highlights differences between the Caribbean and the American South in how slavery was prac ticed, how it was abolished, and how the postemancipation period evolved. This is a major contribution to the understanding of contemporary differ ences and, to some extent, similarities between Blacks in the American S outh and in the Caribbean. The book will be of interest to anyone who wants to advance their understanding of why two slave societies, in two parts of the hemisphere, and subjected by the same nations of Western Europe, evolved so differently. The Jewish Community of Early Colonial Nevis: A Historical Archaeological Study MICHELLE M. TERRELL Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. ix + 182 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95)MA R K KOS TR O Department of Anthropology C ollege of William and Mary Williamsburg VA 23187, U. S .A.
284 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) archaeological and archival evidence with fictional vignettes, Michelle T errell pieces together the communitys one-hundred-year history from the late sev enteenth century to its disappearance at the end of the eighteenth century. T he result is an engaging account of the Jewish experience in the C aribbean that should appeal to both Jewish cultural scholars and C aribbeanists. T errell situates her research in the context of previous work that depicts the colonial Caribbean as sanctuaries in the sand where Jews enjoyed religious tolerance, economic opportunity, and prosperity a good start ing point, though she offers only brief mentions of the works she contrasts with her own. Given the relatively few texts on the Jewish experience in the Caribbean, a more in-depth discussion would have strengthened her argu ment. T errell characterizes previous archaeological investigations as largely oriented toward recording the standing ruins of overgrown synagogues with out consideration of the communities that built them (pp. 8 9). T his is a valid criticism, and one that could be applied more generally to some early efforts of historical archaeologists in the region. In contrast to these works, T errell effectively weaves the results of her archaeological and archival research into a chronological narrative of Neviss Jewish community, incorporating the interplay of the religious and economic components to show how the community functioned within the larger social network of the overarching British colonial system (pp. 9 10). The first two chapters summarize the projects background and goals. Chapters 3 and 4 describe the circumstances of the Sephardic Jews expul sion from Spain and their resettlement on Nevis. The rest of the book turns on an interplay of archival and archaeological records. C hapter 5 reconstructs the one-hundred-year history of the islands Jewish community on the basis of archival research. Chapters 6 and 7 run through the same period on the basis of archaeological evidence. In C hapter 8, T errell plunges back into the archival record, this time to explore ways in which the archaeological evi dence contradicted long-held assumptions. By this archival/archeological alternation, T errell effectively illustrates how scholars using multiple kinds of resources can tease out the details of the past in a way that is not always possible on the basis of a single line of investigation. T he final two chapters synthesize the evidence and relate it to the broader themes of community, island, region, and diaspora. The book centers on two sites: a Jewish cemetery and a set of ruins sus pected to be those of an early synagogue. T errell writes clearly and suc cinctly, avoiding jargon and extended technical discussions that are better suited for excavation reports, and accompanies her text with site maps and artifact illustrations. T he investigation of the cemetery site consisted of a geophysical survey, a noninvasive technique that measures disturbances below the surface without excavation. This is a good example of its effective application for anyone
285 BOOK REVIEWS unfamiliar with geophysical surveys in archaeology, though for others it may lack sufficient technical discussion. T he investigation of the suspected synagogue began as a test of the sites assumed history. T errell determined that this history was incorrect, and that the ruins were those of Merton Villa, a residential complex dating from the late eighteenth century through the first decades of the twentieth century. T he evidence, gathered through conventional excavation techniques, included the stratified deposits of household refuse attributed to the successive occupants. Unfortunately, T errell does not take full advantage of the richness of her excavated data, using it only to refute the sites assumed history and to estab lish the chronology of the propertys development, and offering only minimal discussion of what it might suggest about these families lives on Nevis. A series of fictional vignettes, inserted as prefaces to Chapters 3 through 10, vividly reconstruct the voices and viewpoints of the Pinheiro and Pemberton families of Nevis, two of the families whose pasts T errell encountered in both the archaeological and archival records. As she acknowl edges, these vignettes were inspired by a series of recent attempts by his torical archaeologists to give flesh to the excavation results (e.g., Deetz 1977, 1993; Noel Hume 1991; Spector 1993; Y entch 1994; Schrire 1995). S he uses these first-person accounts effectively to contextualize her archival and archaeological evidence. The Jewish Community of Early Colonial Nevis is a welcome contribu tion to studies of Caribbean history, and a well-executed example of how to write engagingly about the past on the basis of archaeological and archival evidence. T errells candid reflections, which she inserts throughout the text, describe how she confronted local politics, conflicting memories, and incon sistent archival evidence in her effort to reconstruct the communitys history, illustrating how the processes of archaeological and archival research are linked to the present as much as they are to the past in the production of his torical knowledge. The result is a highly recommended example of detailed scholarship on an under-studied aspect of C aribbean history.REFE R EN C ESDEETZ, JAMES F ., 1977. In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life Garden C ity N Y : Anchor Books. , 1993. Flowerdew Hundred: The Archaeology of a Virginia Plantation, 1619-1864 C harlottesville: University Press of Virginia. NOEL HUME, IVOR 1991. Martins Hundred Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
286 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) SCHRIRE, CARMEL 1995. Digging Through Darkness: Chronicles of an Archaeologist C harlottesville: University of Virginia Press. SPECT OR, JANET, 1993. What This Awl Means: Feminist Archaeology at a Wahpeton Dakota Village S t. Paul: Minnesota Historical S ociety Press. YENTCH, ANNE 1994. A Chesapeake Family and Their Slaves: A Study in Historical Archaeology C ambridge: C ambridge University Press. Sampling Many Pots: An Archaeology of Memory and Tradition at a Bahamian Plantation LAURIE A. WILKIE & PAUL FARNSWORTH. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xii + 354 pp. ( C loth U S $ 65.00)GR A C E TU R NE R Department of Anthropology T he C ollege of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA 23187, U. S .A.
287 BOOK REVIEWS in regions from the Bight of Biafra to Angola. Enslaved and apprenticed Africans at C lifton plantation represented this range of ethnicities. Wilkie and Farnsworth argue that the social worlds constructed by enslaved Africans for themselves and their children were heavily influenced by memories of cultural life from their homelands. As archaeological evi dence for this claim, they point to two cases in which a coin was deliberately buried in a backyard as a protective device (a practice also documented in S outhern states) and suggest that this represents an African-derived practice possibly developed in the United S tates and transferred to the Bahamas. Wilkie and Farnsworth tend to underrate the role and influence of the L iberated Africans at C lifton, describing them as being trapped in the limbo between freedom and enslavement (p. 76). For people whose lives had already been subjected to so much tumult, minute details could be monu mental because, unlike slaves, apprentices could not be sold. T he apprentices were part of the Clifton community at least until Wylly left the Bahamas in 1821, so it is likely that their material culture would also reflect strong cultural memory. A brass button embossed, VI West India Regiment was recovered at the house designated L ocus L West India R egiments were com posed of free Black soldiers. Liberated African apprentices were the main source of recruits after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, so one of the four Liberated African apprentices must have lived at Locus L during the plantation period. T his locus also had the most beads. Wilkie and Farnsworth consider bead use an indicator of African cultural memory. T he combination of these artifacts at L ocus L seems to support their hypothesis. T he book examines the dynamics of social life at multiple levels to under stand how these residents characterized social relations within the household, the plantation community, and in the wider, market-based island community. Wilkie and Farnsworth make a strong case in demonstrating the variance between Wyllys perception of how the lives of his slaves should be orga nized and the reality of how the enslaved and apprenticed people actually structured their lives. T hough the seven houses in the slave village were built of materials provided by Wylly, and in a general form specified by him, they all had slightly different floor plans. The communal kitchen at the drivers house apparently functioned more as a distribution point for foods shared among village residents. E ach house had its own food preparation area in the backyard. T hese yards also served as social spaces for each household. Wylly allowed his slaves to sell extra produce from their gardens in the town market. C liftons enslaved workers participation in a cash economy is reflected in the material remains of their households. The types of buttons, pipes, and ceramics excavated within the slave village showed little over lap with similar categories from the planters house. Wilkie and Farnsworth point out that the objects purchased did not generally represent the cheapest categories of items available. For example, the relatively expensive transfer-
288 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) printed and annular wares were preferred to the cheaper plain and minimally decorated shell-edged wares. T herefore factors other than cost contributed to these consumption decisions. C ertain pipe designs might have been associated with specific individuals as multiple examples of some designs were recovered from just one household site. S imilar assumptions based on ceramic patterns prove to be much trickier. Wilkie and Farnsworth assume that overlapping ceramic patterns between households represent evidence of meal exchanges between these households. T his presumes that African peoples purchased matching sets of ceramics as E uropeans did. While there appears to be a larger context of individual identity, other cultural factors affected consumer choice. T herefore the limited number of overlapping ceramic patterns between neighboring households could just as easily indicate preferences solidifying individual household identities. T his book illustrates the constant challenges archaeologists face in attempt ing to interpret the material archaeological context. Because Wilkie and Farnsworth are aware that interpretation can be imprecise, they incorporated their brainstorming into the narrative. Ideas for interpretations are presented and argued, ending with what seemed to them most feasible. T hey write, As archaeologists, we may not always be able to understand or recognize the meanings associated with particular objects or materials in terms of identity construction, but we must acknowledge their potential existence (p. 310). Black Skins, French Voices: Caribbean Ethnicity and Activism in Urban France. DAVID BERISS. Boulder CO: Westview, 2004. xx + 156 pp. (Paper U S $ 19.00)NA D INE LEFAU C HEU RC entre de recherche sur les pouvoirs locaux dans la C arabe C N RS /Universit des Antilles et de la Guyane F 97275 S choelcher, Martinique
289 BOOK REVIEWS S ince the early 1960s, Antilleans have been recruited in large numbers by the French government to work in metropolitan France in public sector jobs that are not open to noncitizens. T hey have for many years been there in significant numbers (close to a third of the people who consider themselves Antillean live in France), but they constitute a population that has remained largely invisible, dispersed throughout the Paris region, organizing little as a community and rarely engaging in political activism. On the other hand, these French citizens are marked by the color of their skin as a visible minority. T hey are more and more often mistaken for immigrants from subS aharan Africa, and are not pro tected by their citizen status from the growth of racism in France. R ather than focusing on ordinary Antilleans living in metropolitan France, this ethnography provides snapshots of the lives and activities of particular activists in Paris, revealing the experiences that led them to become advo cates by developing different strategies to assert ethnic difference in a French context. David Beriss started his field research in Martinique in 1988. Chapter 1 tells about his initial search for creole identities and describes his discov ery of a place in which culture itself had become the main stage for politi cal action, in which educating the Martinican public about its culture has become a central objective across the local political spectrum, and in which French practices and institutions were increasingly present. Continuing his field research in metropolitan France, he found distinctions between the two French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe fade away, with Martinicans, like Guadeloupeans, becoming Antilleans, faced with the challenge of inventing an Antillean identity. In becoming Antilleans, they also become Black : instead of attending to the nuances of descent or shades of skin current in the C aribbean, French policymakers, along with employers, landlords, and police, lump Antilleans with Africans and other immigrants. Although French citizens for decades, they become part of the immigrant problem in French society. Framed by two spectacular events, the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989 and the Soccer World Cup victory by a multicultural French team in 1998, and dealing with the affair of the Muslim scarves, the books second chapter examines the price of Frenchness and the culture of French culture. Historically, two versions of French cultural identity are in competition: the idea of a French people homogenized through education in the values of the republic and representative of a universal ideal and the idea of French national identity based on concepts of history, tradition, and religion. Both define the nation as one unified culture rather than a collection of subcultures. Inspired by one or by the other, the postwar French policies have promised assimilation to immigrants at the price of abandoning pub lic attachment to their culture of origin. But color and colonial origin make acceptance in the French nation difficult. Beriss then raises questions about
290 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) the different uses of the word race in American and French and Antillean public discourses, and points that, although explicit racial ideologies lack legitimacy in France, color often serves as a marker of difference from a putative French ideal, and culture is often used as a substitute of race. The next chapter examines the skepticism expressed by Antillean activ ists and intellectuals regarding the commemoration, in 1998, of the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. They were concerned that the government would primarily celebrate the role French leaders, like Schoelcher, took in liberating the slaves, ignoring the actions the slaves took to liberate themselves. In Paris on May 23, this skepticism translated into a large street demonstration, organized by an alliance of more than three hundred associations demanding that the government recognize the enslavement of Africans as a crime against humanity. Chapters 4-6 focus on the variety of strategies Antilleans in Paris have developed in their efforts to demand recognition. These include two groups that chose cultural performance to assert their cultural distinctiveness, either to recover a lost Antillean authenticity, or, alternatively, to show how Antillean culture is the cutting edge of creolization in France. We also meet a group of Antillean social workers, psychologists, and social scientists who use their research to try to shape public policies toward Antilleans in France. And there are lay Catholic groups that work to make the French Church more responsive to Antilleans by an explicit assertion of creole practices in the Church this in sharp contrast to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Paris, whose members, mainly Antilleans, have banished all visible Antillean practices from the church (if not from their lives, since they dont drink rum, dont listen to zouk music, and rarely speak creole), and are steadfast in their insistent demand to be Adventists first, Antilleans second. In the concluding chapter, Beriss examines the concepts of creole, croli t and creolization. Faced with the contradictions and failures of assimilation, Antilleans have long experimented with alternative ideologies with which they can build their claims for recognition. Among these, the development of crolit has proven especially popular among Antillean activists in France. It legitimizes their cultural difference but also asserts that their difference is unlike other differences, since Antilleans are at the same time both cul tural insiders and outsiders. It also allows Antilleans to claim that their iden tity transcends France. Beriss himself appeals to the creolization of French socie t y and of social sciences. At a time when the Black question, or the postcolonial question, is page-one news in France, and is gaining ground in the French political agen da, challenging the republican refusal of communautarism, this book will help its readers understand how the Antillean question fits into the Black/postcolonial/immigrant question, but also how these French citizens of the C aribbean vieilles colonies have a very special place in the debate.
291 BOOK REVIEWS Migration and Vodou KA R EN E RI C HMAN Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xxi + 356 pp. ( C loth U S $ 65.00)NA T A C HA GIAFFE R IL aboratoire dAnthropologie S ociale 75005 Paris, France
292 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) the currently lively field of invention of tradition studies, she demontrates how fidelity to a ginen tradition as opposed to maji (magic) can reflect a certain social, and more specifically familial, organization involving overex ploited workers kept at a distance both physically (by their status as migrants) and morally (through accusations of selfishness and greed). Richmans study is grounded in a long-term relationship with a variety of actors both here and there including her involuntary tragic hero, Pierre Dioguy, nicknamed Ti Chini (Little Caterpillar), who spent his life working on Floridas plantations, only to be rejected in the end by the lineage he supported and die of an illness he attributed to a familial spirits ven geance. But she has also done an excellent job presenting the confrontation of different points of view. Richman explores some issues so insightfully that they could easily have provided the stuff of separate studies in them selves. One is her analysis of the semantics of feeding in Haitian society, where serving means taking care of the spirits and the daily distribution of food among the familial community means ranking. Another is her treatment of the pwen (enriched by her reading of Michael T aussigs 1980 study of fetishism), which takes off from Karen Mc C arthy Browns 1987 definition of the term as anything that captures the essence or pith of a complex situa tion (p. 15). S hes also particularly on-target in her discussion of the chante pwen the sung version of a typically Afro-American form of social criticism, and its medium, the portable cassette-radio that stands as an epitomizing symbol, or a model of and a model for their long-distance society (Geertz 1973:93) (p. 4). Another strength of this book is its wider theorization of the transnational performance space (p. 11) that was formalized partly by for mer President Jean-Bertrand Artistides 1991 addition of a [diasporic] T enth Province to Haitis nine internal provinces (p. 29). With little angels (Vodous spiritual directors) like Karen McCarthy Brown, Alex Stepick, Sidney Mintz, Gerald Murray, and Ira Lowenthal, Karen Richman is able to take the baton from her predecessor in Logane, S erge L arose (1975) and build usefully on Parry and Blochs Money and the Morality of Exchange (1989). Just as Fijians drink cash as a way of ritu ally purifying tainted money (p. 20), Haitian ritual pratices reformulate a displaced system of traditional peasant morality, carved out of the very dis rupted, monetized processes it tries to conceal (p. 22). Migration and Vodou offers a unique ethnographic enquiry into the rarely mentioned mating of economics and religion. Beginning and ending her book with a homage to Ti Chini Richmans sensitive treatment gives the ordinary heroes whose lives she relates a posthumous dignity.
293 BOOK REVIEWS REFE R EN C ESBROWN, KAREN MCCARTHY, 1987. Alourdes: A Case Study of Moral Leadership in Haitian Vodou. In John S tratton Hawley (ed.), Saints and Virtues Berkeley: University of C alifornia Press, pp. 144-67. GEERTZ, CLIFFORD, 1973. Religion as a Cultural System. In Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays New Y ork: Basic Books, pp. 87-125. LABRECQUE, MARIE-FRANCE, 1982. Les intellectuels et le proltariat rural : Le cas de T emax au Y ucatan, Mexique. Anthropologie et Socits 6:99-129. LA R OSE, SE RG E, 1975. T he Meaning of Africa in Haitian Vodou. In J. L ewis (ed.), Symbol and Sentiment L ondon: Academic Press, pp. 85-116. MA R IE, ALAIN, 1981. Marginalit et conditions sociales du proltariat urbain en Afrique: Les approches du concept de marginalit et son valuation critique. Cahiers dEtudes Africaines 81-83:347-74. MINTZ, SIDNEY W ., 1953. The Folk-Urban Continuum and the Rural Proletarian C ommunity. American Journal of Sociology 59(2):136-143. MURRAY, GERALD, 1984. Bon Dieu and the Rites of Passage in Rural Haiti: Structural Determinants of Postcolonial R eligion. In T homas C Bruneau et al. (eds.), The Catholic Church and Religion in Latin American Montreal: Centre for Developing Area Studies, McGill University, pp. 188-231. TAUSSIG, MICHAEL T., 1980, The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America C hapel Hill: University of North C arolina Press. WOLF ER I C R. 1969. Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century New Y ork: Harper & R ow. Le monde des marrons du Maroni en Guyane (1772-1860): La naissance dun peuple: Les Boni. JEAN MOOMOU Matoury, French Guiana: Ibis KENNE T H BIL B Y3 Mount R utsen R oad R hinebeck N Y 12572, U. S .A.
294 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) of a Five-Years Expedition, Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam pub lished in 1796 and soon after translated into several European languages, ensured the ancestors of the Aluku, and their early leader Boni, a prominent place in the European annals of antislavery struggles. It also became one of the main sources through which later generations would access the early his tory of this people. Now, some two centuries later, the young Guyanais historian Jean Moomou comes with the promise of a fresh look at this history. What dis tinguishes this book from all previous writings on Aluku history is that its author is himself an Aluku (like other Francophone writers, he favors the appellation Boni), and though he is comfortable with conventional historio graphical methods, he aims to (re)write history from the perspective of his own people. That a book departing from this promising premise should end up adding so little to our knowledge or understanding of Aluku history or of Guianese Maroon history more broadly is perplexing and disturbing. Moomou maintains that the history of the Aluku remains virgin ter ritory (p. 26). Unlike their European enemies, the Aluku kept no written records. However, these people do, according to the author, possess archives of their own the archives of orality (p. 201). Consequently, we are told, a great part of [this book] uses the oral tradition of the Aluku, in which are preserved the outlines of the past of this people (p. 201). Moomou proposes to put into writing this history that is sung, told through tales, in prayer formulas, during major council meetings, in art, and even during con flicts between lineages (p. 27). In his view, this untapped body of oral infor mation transmitted through drumming, songs, and dances constitutes an essential source for knowing the Aluku past (p. 33). S o far so good. Establishing and enumerating the forms of orality through which the Aluku preserve and pass on their history is one thing; actually gaining access to this historical knowledge is another. In practice, Moomou seems to have been much more successful at the former than the latter. For in the end, the book does not deliver on its promise to give Aluku oral tradition its due. From one chapter to the next, we wait in vain for the wealth of oral historical data that we have been led to expect. What we get instead is a rather meager smattering, a portion of which is lifted from previously published sources. T he book is divided into three sections. T he first, consisting of three chap ters, raises various methodological issues and provides an overview of the sources available to the author. In the final chapter of this section, Moomou compares some oral and written evidence and weighs correspondences and differences, using the well-known story of Bonis death (according to written sources, at the hands of his Ndyuka Maroon enemies) as a sort of test case that might allow us to decide whether the truth resides in the written records or the oral traditions that contrast with them. T he results appear to be incon clusive. T he second and third parts of the book, each divided into three chap
295 BOOK REVIEWS ters, recount in more or less chronological order the struggles of the Aluku ancestors during the late eighteenth century and their eventual emergence as a unified people over the course of the next hundred years a major thesis of the book being that the Aluku did not exist in the sense that they do today, as a distinct, cohesive society, until the year 1860, when French and Dutch recognition of their status as a free and independent people removed the threat of domination by their Ndyuka neighbors and made possible a sedentary exis tence. Along the way to this conclusion, Moomou intersperses his account with a number of interesting, though sometimes convoluted, digressions. What is surprising about this account of Aluku history, once again, is that it is based almost entirely on written sources. T his over-reliance on writ ten records is compounded by other problems. For instance, scant attention is given to sources written in E nglish or Dutch, which are among the most important; at the same time few if any new French sources are used. Y et more worrisome is Moomous sometimes cavalier treatment of the existing litera ture. In this book, the scatter-shot observations of an odd assortment of nonMaroon writers whose acquaintance with Aluku or other Guianese Maroons is at best superficial seem to carry the same weight as the work of scholars such as Wim Hoogbergen (author of by far the most comprehensive histori cal study of the Aluku to date) and R ichard Price, who receive only passing mention here. S imilarly, Moomous occasional comparisons with Jamaican Maroons and their Kromanti religious tradition are made on the basis of a single two-page article in an E U publication on national minorities, by a writer who appears to have published nothing else on the subject. But to return to the most glaring deficiency of this study: we do not hear Aluku voices (other than the authors) nearly enough. Ironically, those whose observations dominate in this document are the same writers (most of them French, and involved in the project of colonization) through whom the past has been almost exclusively filtered in previous studies of Aluku and French Guianese history (Jacquemin, Sibour, Ronmy, Vidal, Crevaux, Coudreau, Bouyer, Brunetti, to name a few). Why should this be the case? One explana tion can be found in the list of oral sources at the back of the book. There it can be seen that of the twenty-one individuals consulted (presumably for their expertise in orally transmitted local knowledge), only half are actuall y Aluku (the rest being a curious mlange of Ndyuka acquaintances, Creole and metropolitan French culture brokers, and visiting African intel lectuals, including a Senegalese historian and a Congolese legal scholar). Of the eleven Aluku contributors, six were interviewed for this study only once, and the other five twice. After discovering this, I was better able to understand how Moomou could state, for instance, that the name of the eighteenth-century Aluku leader known to Europeans as Baron has been forgotten in Aluku oral tradition (p. 54, 78) or that, likewise, the important nineteenth-century Aluku settlement
296 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) of Pobiansi (known to Europeans as Providence) is no longer spoken of in Aluku oral tradition (p. 76). In contrast, in my own work as an ethnographer among the Aluku during the 1980s and 1990s, I found that a number of elders were well aware of Baron whom they knew as Balon and that knowledge of Pobiansi was quite alive, at least among men over a certain age, who often invoked the settlements name, as well as detailed oral traditions regarding its social composition, in contemporary debates about relations between Aluku matriclans and other local political issues. At several points, Moomou mentions the difficulty of seeking insights into the past among the Aluku. He bemoans the loss of local historical knowl edge caused by the neocolonial policy of francisation and other pressures facing the young (pp. 28, 37); he laments the recent deaths of some of the most revered Aluku elders and oral historians, before he could draw on their knowledge (p. 35); and he acknowledges the secrecy and the defensive bar riers that any investigator among the Aluku must face (pp. 38-39). It would not be surprising if these factors were partly responsible for the unexpected ways in which this work is partial. Nevertheless, it is likely that a consider ably richer and more nuanced picture of this past one more reflective of an inside view would have emerged had it been possible for the author to spend a much longer time working with a broader selection of Aluku elders. I hasten to add that this study does contain fragments of orally transmitted historical knowledge that have yet to appear elsewhere in print; but these are few and far between, and most of them will be detectable (and meaningful) only to the reader with enough of a specialized background to place such minutiae in context. Disappointing as this book is (and it displays other faults that I cannot detail here, ranging from linguistic navet in its discussions of language and etymology to errors in its depiction of traditional Aluku political structure), Moomou deserves credit for providing the Francophone world with a muchneeded overview (partial though it is) of one of the great historical episodes of resistance to slavery in a part of the Americas colonized by both the Dutch and the French. One hopes that this promising young scholar will continue to build on these beginnings, and will go on to produce a series of more mature works that might better convey the distinctive consciousness of the past the Aluku have maintained to the present.
297 BOOK REVIEWS Wayana eitoponp: (Une) histoire (orale) des Indiens Wayana JEAN CHAPUIS & HE R V RIVI R E. Matoury, Guyane: Ibis R ouge, 2003. 1065 pp. DOMINIQUE TILKIN GALLOIS Departamento de Antropologia / FFL C H Universidade de S o Paulo 05508-900 S o Paulo S P, Brazil
298 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) consist of the disappearance of Wayana clans, which has opened up space for exogamy and increased exchange. Categories of identity and alterity and of the relationships they produce are of course fundamental to Amazonian soci eties and cosmologies, and this is an area that recent literature has addressed amply, but C hapuis provides little if any significant dialogue with these stud ies and regional comparisons. And one can only be surprised at his suggestion that while clans (territorialized, with eponymous clans, etc.) existed in the past, they have now disappeared or are in the process of disappearing. Other studies of the Wayana e.g., Eliane Camargo (forthcoming), Lcia Hussak van Velthem (2003), and Paula Morgado (2004) show the continued use of identifiers of origin to mark differences between groups in the playing out of relationships and political tensions between different Wayana groups. Furthermore, recent research in the region has taught us that the concept of clans inherited from Africanist anthropology, and still in vogue when the first ethnographies of Wayana culture were being carried out (Hurault 1968, 1972) is actually inappropriate to analyze these social dynamics, in terms of both the formation (supposedly endogamous) of Amerindian groups and subgroups, and relations of alliance and exchange between them, be they Wayana, Wajpi, T iriy, or others. T he work of Denise Fajardo Grupioni on the T iriy (2002) shows how the calculation of descent depends on exchange and exogamy. Chapuiss vision of traditional Wayana clans as territorial ized and endogamous groups fails to acknowledge the dominant elements of political and social organization in the region, which hinge on the relation ship between groups in terms of descent and the matrimonial exchange. C omparative studies point to the openness of this regional socio-cosmol ogy. T he notion of mixture, which is not the result of a historical evolution, but a condition of social life, is absolutely fundamental. For example, mem bers of T arno/T iriy subgroups are supposed to take spouses from groups that speak different dialects. Chapuiss view of exchange as a phenomenon of the recent past may be due to an overly narrow reliance on Wayana data a neglect of the long-standing universe of relations between the Wayana and other groups. C hapuis also treats Wayana narratives as if they were accounts of a trans formation of the Wayana cultural and social order. But each kin group, each local group, and each actor has a special position within the network of con flicts and alliances depicted in the narratives, so that each presents a unique vision of who the true Wayanaor the cruelest enemies are. It would not be possible to squeeze these multiple narratives into one neutral version. C hapuis attempts, ambitiously, to demonstrate that the logic of relationships with alterity is political. T he problem is that there cannot be a single Wayana politics, let alone one for the true Wayana. T his is why the structures of Wayana narratives, whether from French Guiana or Brazil, are as similar as they are to those of the Wajpi, T iriy, or Karipuna from Amap.
299 BOOK REVIEWS Chapuiss book challenges readers to decide whether they feel that the traditional mytho-historical narratives, as told by Kuliyaman, provide the basis for a legitimate ethnic history. The principal value of the narratives in this book may well reside in their relevance to a wide range of Amerindian groups of the Guianas. For me, Kuliyaman does not represent the end of the Wayana world, and the themes he brings to light are not those of any particular group. Rather, I see them as reflections of a regional Amerindian knowledge. Ultimately, ethnic processes that close off what oral traditions have always spread, in both time and space, could result in the end of rela tions between Wayanas and other groups.REFE R EN C ESCAMA RG O, ELIANE, forthcoming. L ieu et langue: Pratiques didentification et dattr i bu tion du Soi et de lAutre en Wayana (caribe). In I. Lglise (ed.), Pratiques et attitudes linguistiques en Guyane Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. FAJARDO GRUPIONI, DENISE, 2002. Sistema e mundo da vida T arno: Um jardim de veredas que se bifurcam na paisagem guianesa. PhD dissertation, Universidade de So Paulo. HU R AUL T, JEAN MA RC EL, 1968. Les indiens Wayana de la Guyane franaise: Structure sociale et coutume familiale Paris: O RST OM. , 1972. Franais et indiens en Guyane, 1604-1972. Paris: Union Gnrale d E ditions. HUSSAK VAN VEL THEM, LCIA 2003. O Belo a fera: A esttica da produo e da predao entre os Wayana L isbon: Museu Nacional de E tnologia. MORGADO, PAULA, 2004. Os Wayana e os Viajantes: Construindo imagens em mo dupla. PhD dissertation, Universidade de S o Paulo.
300 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) Lengua y ritos del Palo Monte Mayombe: Dioses cubanos y sus fuent e s africanas. JESS FUEN T ES GUE RR A & AR MIN SC HWE G LE R Madrid: W VAN WE T E R IN GH U E THO D EN VAN VELZENAmsterdam S chool for S ocial S cience R esearch 1012 C X Amsterdam, T he Netherlands
301 BOOK REVIEWS Fuentes Guerra and S chwegler have a highly specific cradle of culture in mind, demarcating a strip some 50 kilometers wide, known as Mayombe, as the African home ground of the cult. They first stress that the geographi cal isolation of the area promoted its cultural singularity. T hey then go on to suggest that large numbers of slaves imported in Cuba in earlier centuries originated from this area. According to them, the roots of the Palo Monte Mayombe, a branch of the R egla C ongo, can thus be found in this relatively small area. A model as simple as this can hardly account for the turbulent cultural and demographic history of the area. Slave traders and their agents foraged deeply into the interior to get hold of the desired quantity of human merchandise. It seems improbable that Mayombe would have remained exempt from these tribulations; the regions isolation should not be taken for granted. Anthropologists who conducted research in the lower Congo and neighboring Angola tend to stress the cultural unity of the Bantu-speaking world, and most scholars are wary of studies that focus on small, bounded units without reference to the larger region and to the historical processes that have helped to shape it. The book is more successful in explaining in what ways the sacred lan guage has been preserved over an impressively long period. Although com munal rituals that might familiarize a public with this lingua sacra appear to be absent in Palo Monte, divinatory sessions are held almost daily. The names of the deities and sacred objects and the recurrent phrases of invoca tion are made common knowledge through songs that resound through the three wards in the town where most adepts live. T he obligation incumbent on the adepts to stage ceremonies for the powers they call upon creates opportu nities to make the speech repertoire more readily available. T he competence may vary, and the words spoken may often be indistinct, glossed over, or unduly accelerated, but a command of the sacred idiom is nevertheless a way of gaining prestige and a sign of belonging to this network of male devotees. Verbal contests are popular as forms of recreation. One of our concerns with this book is that the authors prefer to zoom in on the language spoken by the Palo Monte devotees as if it were a linguistic isolate. Y et their own data demonstrate that contacts between Palo Monte adepts and devotees of other AfroC uban cults such as S antera are frequent, and that these groups of believers share a worldview. R itual experts of S antera may refer a client to a Palo Monte specialist for treatment. On the other hand, Fuentes Guerra and S chwegler stress that Paleros are not familiar with santero ritual practice and the worship of C hristian saints linked to S antera. In their presentation of the sacred texts, Fuentes Guerra and Schwegler employ elaborate grammatical schemata to gain a better semantic under standing. Such efforts raise problems other than the purely linguistic ones. When emotionally charged notions are concerned, as is the case with the names of ambiguous and dangerous powers, people of the L ower C ongo may
302 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) use all sorts of verbal associations, puns, and wordplay to shield the numi nous from the commonplace (MacGaffey 1986:13-14). May we not assume that Paleros have often operated in the same way, disclosing and obscuring interpretations? On the relationship with evil, the authors are quick to point out similari ties between the Palo Monte and the Bakongo, though Cubas Palo Monte practice and thought seem to have developed in a specific direction. They refer to old and new sources on the Lower Kongo, and to anthropological studies on Cuba by contemporaries. Comparing the data from the African sources with the information supplied by practitioners of Palo Monte, the differences are obvious. Paleros identify with devils (p. 175) and present their activities as maleficent (p. 47): in order to help, treat, or heal a client, the ritual expert has to kill a third person in an exchange of lives. T his pact with an evil power cannot be regarded as a mere continuity with Bakongo ways of relating to the supernatural. From MacGaffeys work, to name but one anthropologist, one gets the notion that religious specialists strive for a much more two-sided, balanced relationship. Illness and misfortune draw clients towards the cult, so restorative rites have to be performed. Unfortunately, the rites announced in the books title are not discussed, nor do we hear about concrete cases dealt with by the cheerful-looking Paleros photographed by Schwegler and Fuentes Guerra. Although understandably, black magic is mostly kept secret, rites to defend or protect clients are not necessarily kept occult to the same extent. More information about both language use and forms of ritual contact would have been welcome.REFE R EN C EMACGAFFEY, WYA TT 1986. Religion and Society in Central Africa: The Bakongo of Lower Zaire. C hicago: University of C hicago Press.
303 BOOK REVIEWS Where Men Are Wives and Mothers Rule: Santera Ritual Practices and Their Gender Implications MAR Y ANN CLARK Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xii + 186 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95)ELIZA B E T H ANN P R EZDivinity S chool University of C hicago C hicago I L 60637, U. S .A.
304 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) R amos in vigorously contesting claims made by the male order of priests called babalawos to preeminence and ultimate authority within the religion. Unfortunately, scattered throughout the text are the same casual allusions to archetypes and anima/animus that have tended to obscure, rather than illu minate, the popular understanding of S antera, especially in the absence of any substantial engagement with (or, indeed, citation of) the primary texts of the Jungian corpus. But this is a mere quibble in the face of deeper prob lems in C larks comparison of S antera to other traditions. T here are sweep ing generalizations phrased, for example, in terms of the Western mind (p. 97) and a regrettable inattention to the challenges of the comparative project for instance, in a number of ill-considered parallels between possession in S antera and the ecstasies of C hristian mystics. Despite the occasional mis reading of texts that touch on gender in Afro-Atlantic religions, no one can come away from this book thinking that C lark is unknowledgeable about historical and contemporary Y oruba traditions, yet this erudition sometimes works against readers interests. C lark indulges in a fundamentally dishonest form of comparativism often encountered in the literature on S antera: when documentation on certain concepts and practices among initiates is wanting, information on the Y oruba is pressed into service, without any recognition that the similarities between geographically, socioculturally, and temporally distant practitioners may not suffice to justify the introduction of one data set for another. S uch moments represent a lost opportunity to determine the grounds for felicitous comparison between West African traditions and AfroAtlantic religions, as well as to evaluate the type of research that remains to be conducted into such phenomena as volt-sorcery and sacrificial substitution. A greater limitation of Where Men are Wives and Women Rule is that, while focusing on a religion that crystallized into its current form in the African diaspora, it never broaches the question of race. T he racial dynam ics of religious practice are not bracketed due to theoretical or practical considerations, but instead, are completely elided; one can only speculate about whether C lark felt that attending to such matters would offend practi tioners, prove superfluous (if ritual performance transcends race), or require lengthy digressions uncoupling the concepts of Africanity and Blackness. Particularly within the Afro-Atlantic world, however, gender is deeply imbri cated within discourses and structures of domination that derive their effects from an intimate articulation with race and class in everyday life. T he erasure of race from both quotidian experience and ritual process the way race is gendered, and gender racialized seems symptomatic of C larks reluctance to consider how the configuration of gender in S antera affects practitioners out side their initiatory communities. What do S anteras gendered ritual practices imply about the social mechanisms through which the religion is reproduced? Does S antera present a model of womens rule that other religions would do well to adopt, or does the celebration of wifeliness serve to perpetuate
305 BOOK REVIEWS inequalities within a religious idiom? For example, much of the household labor that facilitates ritual practice, such as cooking and childcare, still falls to women in most communities; this fact should not be a throwaway line but the start of a frank discussion. C lark does grant that the pressure to expand ritual prerogatives for women has come from some African-American and AfroC uban initiates, yet she does not explore why women of color, among others, might be motivated to push beyond traditional restrictions on male forms of drumming and divination. Her silence on race also needlessly impedes dia logue with feminist and womanist theologians such as Delores S Williams or JoAnne Marie T errell, whose analyses of the symbolic Blackness of god are central to their constructive projects. It is a measure of C larks analytical skill and commitment to her chosen subject that, despite its shortcomings, her book succeeds in breaking a path to greater awareness of what S anteras complexly gendered ritual system can offer both researchers and coreligionists. God and Trujillo: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Dominican Dictator IG NA C IO LPEZ-CALVO Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xviii + 196 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95)LAU R EN DE RB Y Department of History University of C alifornia at L os Angeles L os Angeles C A 90095-1473, U. S .A.
306 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) might conjure up comparisons with Anastasio Somoza Garca (the grossly corrupt depression dictator of Nicaragua who also rose up through the ranks of the U.S.-trained National Guard during the U.S. Occupation), T rujillo, a consummate player, was patently not a stooge of the United States. In typi cal wily fashion, when faced with State Department opprobrium he courted allies within the U.S. military, and then used the protection afforded him by the postwar Good Neighbor policy to greatly expand his armed forces and thus further entrench himself in office (see R oorda 1998). T heatricality was one of the regimes distinguishing features. While T rujillo created a police state with extensive surveillance networks, banned opposition parties, and required all Dominicans to join the national party, he sought to create the appearance of democracy. He paid off U. S congressmen such as Hamilton Fish, who lauded T rujillo for his order and progress. T hen he used Fishs supportive speeches and missives as political capital at home since they cast the Dominican R epublic as a U. S ally and thus a virtual democracy. He created a simulacrum of citizenship by staging elections replete with rallies and publicity, yet without alternative candidates. T rujillo bought up the command ing heights of the economy, disbursing major industries to his family and allies, while posturing as a great nationalist. He was so proud of his fourteen-year-old paramour in 1937 that she was made C arnival queen, her full-page photo cov ering the entire front page of the national newspaper (which nearly cost him his marriage). His repression knew no bounds. He had a C olumbia University graduate student abducted and killed in a New Y ork subway for having written a dissertation criticizing his regime. And he had upwards of 30,000 Haitian migrants brutally slaughtered by machete in 1937 with no provocation. Indeed, T rujillos flair for the baroque was so extreme that L pezC alvos historicist project of untangling fact from fiction becomes especially important. God and Trujillo takes its name from one of the more ludicrous acts of encomia put forth by a T rujillista minion who had this slogan fashioned into a sign in his home to curry favor with the dictator. The book offers a study of what Lpez-Calvo describes as The T rujillo Cycle, books in which the T rujillo regime is named and takes center stage. It covers texts that have garnered international acclaim, such as Julia lvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies which was made into a major motion picture, Vargas L losas international bestseller The Feast of the Goat and Vsquez Montalbns Galndez which sold over 100,000 copies. Y et to its credit this study also widens its reach to include Dominican literature on the E ra of T rujillo, authors such as Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, Viriato Sencin, Miguel Aquino Garca, Digenes Valdez, and Bernardo Vega, who have not been as successful at garnering an audience outside the island yet whose work offers a fascinat ing vantage point into the experience of life under the regime. Even though Veloz Maggiolo is a major writer, who has written more than twenty-four books and won a national book award, his work is not well known overseas.
307 BOOK REVIEWS L pezC alvo does a masterful job of situating the international bestsellers in relation to the Dominican novels of the T rujillato, as well as elucidating how these fictional narratives relate to the real history of the regime. Chapter 1 commences with the theme of dictatorship in Latin American literature. Its followed by a chapter on the historical background of the T rujillato and the key sources of international support for the regime the C atholic C hurch, the U. S and C old War anticommunism and another that offers a comparison of narrative devices such as parody and continuismo in The Feast of the Goat and Gabriel Garca Marquezs The Autumn of the Patriarch. The remaining three chapters treat the politics of revenge, the role of women as figures of resistance and seduction, the treatment of the militant left in testimonial accounts, and the ethics of complicity. For a literary study, this is a very historical account which offers a deeply contextualized reading of the T rujillo novels. C risply written and jargon free, it presents an excellent summary of twentieth-century Dominican political history, and as a class assignment would make a fine accompaniment to some of the many novels it treats. The analysis of the relationship between the history and fiction of the Era of T rujillo is necessary given the curious fact that most of these novels have a neorealist form, narrating the T rujillo period using real people or thinly disguised pseudonyms. T he fact that these novels emplot historical personae in fictional accounts explains why Dominicans have been sharply critical of texts such as lvarezs, since it appears that Dominicans are not yet ready to expose the foibles of national heroines such as the Mirabal sisters, who were tortured and killed for their participation in an assassination attempt on T rujillo. It is also slightly strange to hear about real historical figures such as historian Jose Israel C uello or Arturo R Espaillat, head of military intelligence, referred to as characters (pp. 6465) even though they do adopt this role in the fictionalized accounts. S omewhat ironically, the two novels that have brought most internation a l acclaim, those by Vargas L losa and lvarez, have been resoundingly rejected by many Dominicans on the island as evidenced by the debates in Dominican journals such as Vetas. Given the fact that L pezC alvo brings Dominicans into the global conversation over the T rujillo regime by including their liter ary renditions, it would have been interesting to engage this debate as well. While L pezC alvos evaluation of these narratives in terms of the real his tory they narrate provides crucial contextualization, he has overlooked more recent analyses of the regime that have sharpened our understanding of the contradictory logics of T rujillos politics such as T urits (2003), R oorda (1998), and Peguero (2004). T hese works stress that he did not rule through repres sion alone but also through populist tactics such as peasant land grants and a dramatic expansion and elevation of the military, which served as a means of upward mobility for the underclasses, and that he was not a sinister oaf but rather a clever strategist who used U. S support to his great advantage.
308 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) C learly argued with no extraneous theory, by locating the literary treat ments within the historiography of the regime this succinct and highly readable account deepens our understanding of how and why R afael T rujillo became the L atin American dictator par excellence, and how his mythic profile accords with the real history of the regime. Finally, it serves as an important reminder that literature can sometimes reveal imaginative truths that history cannot. REFE R EN C ESPE G UE R O, VALEN T INA 2004. The Militarization of Culture in the Dominican Republic, From the Captains General to General Trujillo. L incoln: University of Nebraska Press. ROO RD A, ER I C PAUL 1998. The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime, 1930-1945. Durham N C : Duke University Press. TU R I T S, RI C HA RD LEE 2003. Foundations of Despotism: Peasants, the Trujillo Regime and Modernity in Dominican Histor y. S tanford C A: S tanford University Press. Anarchism and Countercultural Politics in Early Twentieth-Century Cuba. KIR WIN R. SHAFFER Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. ix + 279 pp. ( C loth U S $ 59.95) The Myth of Jos Mart: Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth-Century Cuba. LILLIAN GUERRA. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. ix + 310 pp. (Paper U S $ 22.50)JO RG E L GIOVANNE TT IDepartment of S ociology & Anthropology University of Puerto R ico R o Piedras, Puerto R ico 00931
309 BOOK REVIEWS of how Cuba and Cubans have always defied conceptualization. What, one could ask, does a social scientist do with the useful yet ambiguous popular concept of jineterismo ? How does our theoretical tool kit for understanding race relations work when a person of African descent complains about hav ing all the Blacks of Marianao in her house? In many ways social reality is always difficult to put into concepts, yet scholars persist in their efforts. Both of the books under review here are examples of this. Kirwin Shaffers Anarchism and Countercultural Politics is a brilliantly written and carefully organized study of anarchism in Cuba during the first decades after the countrys independence in 1902. S haffer is knowledgeable about the scholarship on anarchism in Spain and Latin America and it is clearly a subtext in his study. But he departs from it in that he takes a socio cultural approach to examine anarchism beyond the arena of labor and working-class history that has been the focus of most studies of anarchism. While not neglecting this latter area, Shaffer attempts to amend the ideo logically driven results of the post-1959 C uban historiography of anarchism by moving to the arena of culture where, he argues, anarchists challenged those in power in a variety of ways (p. 8). The book begins by discussing cubana culture, and power, providing a glimpse of the social scientist in Shaffer the historian. Shaffer clarifies that his use of the term anarchist reflects the period under study and he defines three variants of anarchism in the island: anarcho-communism, anarcho-syn dicalism, and anarcho-naturism. While these variants are useful for analyti cal purposes, he recognizes that at times the way they are defined cloud[s] the truth and that peoples ideas tended to be more fluid, moving from one variant of anarchism to the other (p. 4). S haffer thus acknowledges, from the start, how the social reality that academic historians attempt to decipher is often too complex for the labels they devise. T he books first part looks at the position of anarchists in key political and cultural debates of the R epublican years of national formation: labor, migra tion, and race. In Parts T wo and Three the book moves to areas that are less dominant in the scholarship of Republican Cuba with chapters examining the cultural politics of health, gender, medicine, and education. T hroughout, S haffer analyzes the cultural productions (novels, plays, and other writings) of leading anarchists Antonio Penichet and Adrian del Valle to capture the ways in which their alternative ideas and political positions were expressed in the social landscape of early twentieth-century C uba. Anarchism and Countercultural Politics is an engaging book. While it does not pretend to do, say, gender or subaltern studies and has no intellectu a l pretentiousness about combining literature and history or even doing cultural history, it provides something in all of these areas and more. Students of nationalism will be interested in Shaffers discussion of anarchists appro priation of C uban national symbols, and those studying C uban racial politics
310 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) will be stimulated by his discussion of literary works dealing with inter-racial romantic relations. I do have one question regarding Shaffers book. While it is evident that he immersed himself in the printed sources at the Institute of Literature and Linguistics and the Jos Mart National Library in Havana, he cites not a single reference to any documentary holdings in the national, provincial, or local archives of Cuba. There is no explanation for the limited amount of nonanarchist press he used or the lack of archival primary sources. T o be sure, the most important available catalogues for the early twentieth century in the Cuban National Archive contain almost no entries under anarchism, and that may explain S haffers research focus on the anarchists periodicals. Y et, I cannot help but wonder about this silence at the levels of fact cre ation, assembly, and retrieval in both Shaffers work and the archives (see T rouillot 1995:26). While being aware of archival power and silences (also noted specifically for Cuba by Moreno Fraginals 1983:14-16), I am forced to ask: if the anarchists were influential and challenged those holding political and ideological power, where are the reactions of the latter among the archival collections that record their concerns and histories? Even if the catalogue entries do not show them, I believe that they must be out there somewhere to be found. While I do not think this lack of archival sources invalidates any of Shaffers conclusions, I wonder what the archives would add to what is already a rich historical narrative. The positive side of this shortcoming is that S haffers book opens an avenue of further research on the topic of anarchism for those venturing into the C uban archives. If one can raise questions around the potential of archival sources in Shaffers work, there can be no doubt about the wealth of data and the thor ough archival research in Lillian Guerras The Myth of Jos Mart Based on a wide range of documents from archives in Cuba and the United States, Guerra provides a detailed analysis of political events and ideas of the nation in early twentieth-century Cuba. The argument of the book, nonetheless, is a rather self-evident one for anyone informed about the operational logic of nationalism and national symbols: that the various competing interpretations of Jos Mart represented different, conflicting interpretations of nation (p. 3). Guerra shows us a history that resembles R al Martnezs 15 repeticiones de Mart (1966), a painting that shows fifteen colorful portraits of the C uban national martyr, each slightly different, with changes in the hair, the mus tache, or the colors used. T hey are all different, yet all the same. So dominant are the sources in Guerras study that she conceived of the nation much as [her] archival sources indicated they had conceived it, apparently endowing the very sources with a life of their own. This archi val conception of the nation, constantly under construction, subject to revision and interpretation, and historically contingent, is divided into three dominant visions (pp. 14-15): pro-imperialist, revolutionary, and pop
311 BOOK REVIEWS ular nationalisms. For Guerra, pro-imperialist nationalism was advocated by white middle and upper classes promoting Western notions of civiliza tion. R evolutionary nationalism was represented by military leaders whose authority was grounded in their participation in the nineteenth-century inde pendence struggles. They could, in the name of Mart, advocate a top-down nation-building process with equality for all as long as the Cuban masses, those who had been unequal in the past, promised to respect their leaders authority. Popular nationalism, in Guerras words, would be rooted in an ideological amalgam of social desires and models of democracy derived from various historical experiences of marginalization. Advocates of this horizontal vision of the nation included working-class and lower-middleclass emigrs from Florida, labor activists and Black lower-rank veterans of the independence wars who aimed for a more racially and socially equal society inspired by Mart (pp. 17-18). T hroughout the book Guerra applies her categories to a variety of sociohistorical processes. C hapter 1 looks at Marts thought with emphasis on his harmonizing national discourse that concealed divisions. C hapter 2 examines how pro-imperialist nationalism and its exponents emerged as dominant after the final independence war. C hapter 3 looks at the consolidation of U. S hege mony, with particular emphasis on the educational policies of the U.S. mili tary government administration from 1898 to 1902. Issues of race and class are examined in C hapter 4 as Guerra also shows how the newly independent C uba moved from revolution to involution, idealizing things S panish at the cultural level and through migration policies. T he L iberal revolt of 1906 is covered in C hapter 5, while its consequence, the second U. S intervention and provisional government until 1909, is carefully analyzed in Chapter 6 with an insightful examination of Charles Magoons populism during his administration. Chapter 7 focuses on the rise of revolutionary nationalism during the presidencies of two military caudillos from the wars of indepen dence, Jos Miguel Gmez (1909-1912) and Mario Garca Menocal (19131921). Popular nationalists find their place in each of these chapters through their multiple struggles in the arena of race and labor. T hose interested in the social, cultural, and political history of C uba in its transition to independence and national sovereignty under U. S tutelage will find The Myth of Jos Mart to be an in-depth study that shows the abilities of Guerra as a researcher. But the wealth of historical sources makes her narra tive a rather dense one. In addition, the book, presented as covering the peri o d 1895-1921, devotes six chapters, or 222 pages, to the period 1895-1909, and then flies over the next twelve years (1909-1921) in only one chapter, or 32 pages. For those interested in the first period, Guerras book will be com pulsory reading. However, the coverage for the next twelve years is rather limited for a time that saw two presidents (one Liberal, one Conservative), two sociopolitical revolts, U.S. military and political interventionism, and
312 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) dramatic social, economic, and demographic transformations, all processes that may have had a significant impact on the development of nationalisms. Guerras triad of national visions and the groups representing them can be useful in illustrating three dominant tendencies in R epublican C uba. Y et I find them problematic in that they may hide alternative visions of the nation present in the sociopolitical landscape, like, for example, those portrayed by anarchists in S haffers study. While one can identify Guerras three compet ing national visions, each using its proponents own idea of Mart, I can also imagine fifteen ideas of the nation (as in Martnezs painting), or more, at the wider societal level in the turbulent years covered by the study. In addi tion, even with regard to a dominant political actor such as Garca Menocal, I wonder whether he was a pro-imperialist or revolutionary nationalist. As a White Cornell-educated engineer closely associated with U.S. economic interests, yet someone who used his military credentials and authority to make his way into the presidency twice in the 1910s, where does he fit within Guerras scheme? Despite the questions raised here, both of these books are commendable examples of good historical research by committed scholars. Both reflect an attempt to use their conclusions to connect their early twentieth-centu r y analysis with either the triumph of the C uban R evolution in 1959 or the revo lutionary period itself, somehow forcing the dictum of historys relevance to the present. In a strange way, it was the histories themselves, not the conclu sions, that linked the past and the present as I read the books while living in contemporary C uba. Of course, Mart is omnipresent in the country, but pas sages such as Guerras account of the C urrency S trike of 1907 (p. 208) or S haffers description of Havanas hygienic conditions in which the subsoil of the city is topped off with a layer of excrement (p. 114) gave me a sense of dj vu as I saw people operating in two (or three) currencies or as I dealt with the appalling hygienic conditions of Old Havana (including the surroundings of the National Archives!). T wo signs of hope struck me in my last week in Havana. One day, as I was leaving the Jos Mart National L ibrary I saw a child walking around and around the full-body statue of Mart located in the lobby. As I watched, he took hold of one of Marts hands and said, T hank you Mart. On my last day, I crossed the central park where the one-hun dred-year-old statue of Jos Mart mentioned by Guerra is still in its place. However, it was surrounded by scaffolding for refurbishing. It would be nice to think that this meant that Marts ideals of equality, though like the statue deteriorated with time, have not been forgotten and are in the process of being renovated so that future children can still say, T hank you.
313 BOOK REVIEWS REFE R EN C ESMORENO FRAGINALS, MANUEL 1983. La historia como arma y otros estudios sobre esclavos, ingenios y plantaciones Barcelona: E ditorial C rtica. TROUILLOT, MICHEL-ROLPH, 1995. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History Boston: Beacon Press. Humor and the Eccentric Text in Puerto Rican Literature. ISRAEL REYES Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. ix + 190 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) Writing to Cuba: Filibustering and Cuban Exiles in the United States. RODRIGO LAZO. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. vii + 252 pp. (Paper U S $ 19.95) NI C OLE RO B E RT SDepartment of L iberal Arts University of the West Indies S t. Augustine, T rinidad
314 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) best in the book. Reyes suggests that masking is evident in all of Snchezs writing and represents a natural part of the Puerto R ican condition. Pointing out that S nchezs aim is to parody the social conventions of Puerto R icans, Reyes shows how skillfully he explores the inconsistencies that surface between the insularity of vision among some Puerto R ican communities and the eccentricity of hybridity which blurs linguistic purity and confounds the question of authority in the discourse of identity. He concludes that narrative humor is the way in which Snchez continues a tradition of simultaneously destabilizing selfhood and re affirming Puerto R ican identity. No study of Puerto R ican literature would be complete without consider ation of the iconographic works of Ana L ydia Vega and her writing on the mar ginalized other in Puerto R ico. R eyes points the reader to the many risks that Vega takes in her writing on women and Blacks. His theoretical analysis of the notion of bilingual identity in Vegas texts is particularly successful. T his is a difficult negotiation by any stretch of the imagination and it is impressive that R eyes (as a male critic) is able to interpret so subtly Vegas portrayals of the contradictions inherent in protagonists such as S uzie Bermidez (in Pollito chicken) and C arola Vidal (in Pasin de historia) who simultane ously accept and resist the paternalistic order of Puerto R ican society. One of the best features of this book is its treatment of authors who live both on the island and state-side. In this context too, Reyess analysis of a variety of genres of writing is to be noted. T he final chapter grapples with the writings of the playwright Pedro Pietri, whose Nuyorican textual presenta tions were in vogue during the 1970s in Puerto R ico. R eyes explores Pietris satirization of the Puerto R ican diaspora, treating it as representative of black humor. T hrough Pietris descriptions of mundane realities, R eyes introduces readers to the discourse on identity and thereby helps them understand the instability on which Puerto R ican national identity is built. Humor and the Eccentric Text in Puerto Rican Literature is not easy read ing. Nevertheless, it is an important contribution to studies that seek to interro gate colonialism, race, and gender in the C aribbean (especially Puerto R ico), as well as ongoing debates about the cultural authenticity of Puertoricanness. R eyes has sought in this study to encompass many aspects of Puerto R ican identity and at the same time to valorize Puerto R ican culture. His assumption of such a mammoth task may in the end have led to one of the books short comings. T he ground covered is vast and serves to point out the enormous potential for further work in the area of the multiplicity and the use of humor in the text as well as the fragmented nature of Puerto R ican identity. R odrigo L azos Writing to Cuba concerns the history of L atin Americans mainly in the United States but also in Cuba. It is a study of how and why filibustering both failed in what it set out to do (raise identity awareness in the mid-nineteenth century) and succeeded in developing a C uban print cul ture in exile. E ach of the five chapters is a dense study mapping out complex
315 BOOK REVIEWS considerations for understanding notions of exile. The emphasis is squarely historical, which makes for difficult going for readers not familiar with the historical debates. Nevertheless, Lazo is careful to define certain key terms in the study, such as filibuster, abolition, annexation, and exile. T he introduction sets out the basic focus of the text, which concerns sev eral writers from C uba who settled in the United S tates in the mid-nineteenth century. There they established and wrote for various newspapers, either in bilingual editions or monolingual S panish and/or E nglish editions. C hapter 1, E l Filibustero: S ymbol of the Battle for C uba, draws on rare archival mate rial in the United S tates and presents the notion of transnationalism based on the cultural and economic flow between C uba and the United S tates. C hapter 2 presents an overview of the growth of newspaper publishing as well as the production of published pamphlets by Cubans in the United States, who while adapting to conditions in the United States were essentially marking Cuban cultural contexts. Lazo explores the political promises made by the government of the United States and the manner in which particular news papers echoed these democratic sentiments, which were critical of S pain and eventually shifted to the notion of annexation as the only apparent solution to the C uban crisis. In Chapter 3, Lazo points out that the revolutionary nature of the fili bustero was essentially male in gender. Much of the chapter is dedicated to exploring the masculine nature of the ultimate revolutionary fighter. Lazo goes on to signal the voicelessness of women writers on the island. Of those in the United States, he suggests that there were varying poetic approaches to figuring Cuba. The chapter ends with a lengthy consideration of Emilia C asanova de Villaverde as a dedicated revolutionary supporter of a free C uba and one of the more radical C uban exiles living in the United S tates. C hapter 4, E l Mulato: R ace, L and and L abor in the Americas, then engages debate on one of the more strident issues of the day, the abolition of slavery, and points to slavery and race as being central to the debates among C uban exiles in the United States in the 1850s. El Mulato was in effect one of the most radical newspapers, and Lazo explores its importance to Cuban literary cul ture. Chapter 5 is mainly literary in focus. It reflects on the transnational dimension of one of C ubas greatest novels, Cecelia Valds a product of the filibustero work of the writer Cirilio Villaverde and a result of the transna tional print culture which he developed while living as a writer in exile. Copious notes accompany the chapters and there is an extensive bibli ography. Both will prove extremely useful to students as an introduction to further study in the field as well as studies on present-day C uban exiles. T he bibliography, which lists newspapers and published pamphlets, also provides scholars with invaluable chronological notes, as well as information on the present state of criticism on transnational writing from the mid-nineteenth century. Despite its somewhat awkward title, the text is very well written.
316 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) Given its groundbreaking nature, it should provide informative and reward ing reading for scholars in both historical and literary fields. Lazos Writing to Cuba and Reyess Humor and the Eccentric Text in Puerto Rican Literature differ greatly in style and even more in content. Lazos, entirely grounded in an historical setting, is a much more precise study because of the historical exactitude of the incidents, newspapers, and texts discussed. On the other hand, Reyess study is more critical and ana lytical in style. Humor and eccentricity go hand in hand, but throughout this book, we are never left laughing. In fact, the humor reflected in it is often dark and, as Reyes points out, serves mainly to reveal the constant negotia tion of identity, which is necessary for coping with C aribbean life, entrenched as it is in excesses. However, both books are grounded in C aribbean realities and that makes them especially valuable to any scholar of Latin American and C aribbean history, literature, or cultural studies. El teatro puertorriqueo reimaginado: Notas crticas sobre la creacin dramtica y el performance. LOWELL FIET. San Juan: Ediciones Callejn, 2004. 395 pp. (Paper U S $ 35.95)RAMN H RIVE R ASE R VE R A S chool of T heatre and Film Katherine K. Herberger C ollege of Fine Arts Arizona S tate University T empe AZ 85287, U. S .A. < R amon. R iveraS email@example.com>L owell Fiet stands among the most committed and consistent chroniclers of Puerto R ican theater and performance today. T hrough his journalistic practice as a theater critic and scholar, Fiet has maintained a two-decades-long public conversation on contemporary Puerto R ican theater. Much of this enterprise is anthologized and developed in the groundbreaking volume under review, in which he seeks to analyze performance practice in relation to identity politics in Puerto R ican culture. T he result is an eclectic, politically informed and passionately argued collection of essays that looks at theater and perfor mance from new and refreshing perspectives, ranging from the redefinition of performance genealogies and the re-reading of canonical Puerto Rican drama to the identification and advocacy of current trends in experimental and popular performance.
317 BOOK REVIEWS Chapter 1 covers broad theoretical considerations of the phenomenon of performance in contemporary global culture. Chapter 2 deals with an incor poration of alternative performance traditions (i.e. indigenous and Afro-dia sporic performance) within the genealogies of Puerto Rican performance. C hapters 3 and 4 provide a recontextualization of the foundational theater on the Island in relation to nationalism, colonialism, canon formation, and polit ical intervention. C hapters 5 and 6 offer critical readings of theatrical experi mentation from the 1960s to the 1980s. And in C hapter 7 and the C onclusion we are given a panoramic view of contemporary innovations in Puerto R ican performance. As is evident from this sweeping historical coverage, Fiet opts for a survey format that catalogues multiple theatrical traditions in Puerto Rico in relation to notions of neoor postcolonialism rather than engaging in an in-depth study of specific practices or contexts. As such, the project directs the reader through a series of examples and counterexamples of what Fiet assumes to be politically efficacious theatrical practice that addresses the political, social, and cultural conditions of the Island. In the books opening invitation into a theatrical inquiry, Fiet examines the metropolitan theater as the ideological antithesis to the Puerto R ican the ater projects he advocates. Among the theatrical events he explores we find commercial successes such as Stomp and Riverdance While acknowledg ing the formal influences these productions have had worldwide, he argues that despite their aesthetic value and box office successes these productions remain trapped within their synthetic metropolitan and technological spaces, failing to reflect a base of ethnological, geopolitical and social context (p. 28). The assertion somewhat dismissive of new approaches to audiencing that might recast arguments about the content and reception of performance serves as a point of departure for an exploration of the engagement of local theater with the particularities of Puerto R ican experience. T his search for the local brings Fiet to call for the expansion of the official Puerto R ican performance genealogy. He develops a strong argument against the simple E uropean origin accounts of theatrical practice and proposes alter native influences that include Afro-diasporic performance traditions such as the festivities of Santiago Apstol in Loza. The inclusion of these founda tional elements in the cultural history of Puerto Rican performance results in a convincing and important exhortation for the acknowledgment of other important contemporary cultural works he documents in later chapters. This intervention also serves as a critical expansion to the literature-based approach to theater history in Puerto R ican academia. Next Fiet offers a critical view of the foundational theatrical canon from the 1930s to the 1950s. His contextualization of the political milieu of dra matic activity and his critical discussions of theater and its status as a sign of national exceptionality ambivalently balancing the aspirations to cultural singularity and the desire for artistic success (often in metropolitan terms)
318 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) offer important reconsiderations of national theater historiography (pre senting alternative practices such as the workers theater of the 1930s) and important re-readings of classic texts. Likewise, his later focus on theatri cal innovation extends our view of what constitutes Puerto Rican perfor mance and how these new forms might offer important sites of identitarian (en)visioning for discrete communities throughout the Island. While Fiets attempt to introduce theoretical notions and material exam ples of performance practices outside the realm of official theater and its tra ditional scholarship is commendable, his analytical journey does not seem to follow suit. The analysis follows a rather conventional literary studies strat egy that privileges textual analysis and thematic and character study and pays little attention to performance itself as a material phenomenon. T hat is, while this study contains ample mention of corporality and scenic strategies, these elements of performance receive only passing attention, even when advo cated as the primary elements of the performances featured in the latter part of the book. For example, when describing the dance performances of Javier Cardona, Fiet asserts that despite the innovative dramaturgical approach of the script what makes You dont look like me so extraordinary is not to be found on the page, but rather on the negotiation between the spoken text and the danced text (p. 342). Unfortunately, we are not brought into an explora tion of this, or many of the other performances discussed in this book, with enough depth to support such an argument on the centrality of embodiment. T his book will be a significant guide to researchers interested in an intro duction to the most pressing political and historical questions for Puerto Rican performing arts today, as well as a helpful tool for undergraduate teaching on Puerto Rican and Caribbean performance. Most importantly, it offers ample documentation of Puerto R ican performance practices that have been little addressed in recent scholarship and thus functions as a significant archive to a wealth of activity in need of further and deeper study.
319 BOOK REVIEWS From Nation to Diaspora: Samuel Selvon, George Lamming and the Cultural Performance of Gender. CU RD ELLA FO RB ES Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2005. x + 305 pp. (Paper U S $ 25.00)SUE THOMAS E nglish Program L a T robe University Melbourne, Australia, 3086 < S T firstname.lastname@example.org>Curdella Forbes has set herself the ambitious goal of advancing a compre hensive episteme (p. 3) that will provide an alternative trope and vocabu lary for speaking about West Indian gender, both descriptively and in ideo logical terms that might suggest an activist praxis for addressing West Indian problems of gender (p. 24). Her trope is the hermaphrodite, although she gestures toward its limits as a new narrative that might enable the cultural work of addressing those problems, and tentatively proposes androgyny as a model for describing the modern West Indian woman (p. 221). She develops her rich and admirably provocative reading of West Indian culture primarily through a historically contextualized, lively analysis of selected fiction by S amuel S elvon and George L amming. Forbes focuses her study of Selvon and Lamming around dominant for mative influences on West Indian cultures in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: nationalism and diaspora. Her choice of Selvon and Lamming is based on their place in a West Indian canon, her sense that gender is under read in previous studies of their work, and the ways their fiction opens out issues within the discourses of diaspora and postmodernism, the major para digms that have begun to shift nationalism from its central place as the shaping force by which West Indianness is imagined (p. 1). Forbess reading of L ammings novels Of Age and Innocence Season of Adventure Natives of My Person and The Emigrants is particularly astute, always alert to his articulations of gender within a wider theorization of lan guage and the relation of the human and colonial subject to language (p. 145) and within complex narrative structures and innovative, shifting stylistic registers. Her accounts of S elvons fiction are less consistently assured and convincing at a close interpretative level. S he asserts, for instance, that the term boys in The Lonely Londoners evokes a pre-gender category (p. 78). T he term circulates as a sign of homosocial bonding through the cultivation of sharpness or cool as a style of masculinity and a highly gendered means of restoring the male subject injured by the negating scopic drive of White E nglish people ( T homas 2001:25-28). Not recognizing sharpness as a self-
320 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) fashioning masculinity, Forbes moralizes the boys as exhibiting a dissolu tion of gender responsibilities in which sex with White women becomes a kind of perverse aesthetic of self-unravelling (p. 85). S he measures them against a model of healthy, authentic, community-oriented masculinity estab lished through economic responsibility for woman or family (p. 85), and recognition of Black womens resourcefulness, humanity, and equality. Forbess overarching narrative of hermaphroditic gender is grounded in understandings of C aribbean society as essentially carnivalesque (p. 73) and shaped by histories of migration, labor, and racialized class politics that have placed a premium on the expediency and utility of self-fashioning per formances of gender (p. 70). Her contextualizing account of doing gender (p. 71) in C aribbean cultural history, while informed by impressively wide reading, is sweeping. T he trope of hermaphroditism is, she argues, applicable to doing gender in cultures living through the legacies of plantation slavery:E qual involvement in resistance, the public performance of dual gender in mutual cross-dressing, the rhetorical lack of differentiation between men and women in the cause of freedom, and a hidden, private life that frustrates out sider attempts to allocate gender these are the grounds on which we may extrapolate a connection between the hermaphrodites and the slaves physi cal presentation and place in society. T he biological hermaphrodite becomes an arcane presence through a sexual identity that is not only ambiguous but also hidden, since often only one set of the contradictory genitive organs is exposed. It is therefore possible to speak of hermaphroditism as a con dition of mystery and recalcitrance (since only what comes to conscious light can be contained). T his means it is potentially transgressive and sub versive. Indeed, it is already transgressive by virtue of being outside what is sanctioned and known. Its basis in duality, the fusion of natural separates, allows it to describe, in a way more traditional constructs cannot, the slaves public gender (re)presentation, which was essentially syncretic, transgres sive, and subversive. (p. 37)T his thesis is the major strand of Forbess attempt to trace a primary geneal ogy of hermaphroditism within West Indian historical experience itself (p. 25). She also justifies her historical reading of hermaphroditic gender with reference to the existence of a few dual-gendered mythological figures in West African, Hindu, Moslim, and Greco-Roman cultures, and cursory discussion of gender dynamics in Indian and C hinese communities. Forbess analogy between primal gender categories in West Indian cul ture and the hermaphodite is often problematic. As Benita Parry points out, because interactive metaphors shape our perceptions and actions while neglecting or suppressing information that does not fit the similarity, they tend to lose their metaphoric nature and be taken literally (Parry 2004:110, quoting Nancy S tepan 1990:52). What kind of purchase Forbess analogy has
321 BOOK REVIEWS on the everyday realities of doing gender for the biological hermaphrodite is examined too scantly. Forbes tends at times to work with an ahistorical category of orthodox gender against which deviation or the carnivalesque is read. At others she produces engaging vignettes of historical gender perfor mances, for example, her linking of the iconic, messianic status of politi cal leaders in a nationalist phase of regional identity (p. 41) with man-ofspeech performance (p. 46) grounded in the cultural valency of linguistic theatricality (p. 42).REFE R EN C ESPA RR Y, BENI T A, 2004. Postcolonial Studies: A Materialist Critique L ondon: R outledge. STEPAN, NANCY LEYS, 1990. Race and Gender: The Role of Analogy in Science. In David T heo Goldberg (ed.), Anatomy of Racism Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, pp. 38-57. THOMAS, SUE, 2001. C olouring the E nglish. In Ann Blake, L eela Gandhi & S ue T homas, England through Colonial Eyes in Twentieth-Century Fiction. New Y ork: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 9-32. Ecrire en pays assig: Haiti: Writing Under Siege MA R IEAG NS SOU R IEAU & KA T HLEEN M BALU T ANSKY (eds.). Amsterdam: R odopi, 2004. 545 pp. (Paper U S $ 125.00)MA R IEHLNE LAFO R ES TDepartment of E nglish Universit degli S tudi di Napoli L Orientale 80134 Naples, Italy
322 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 80 no. 3 & 4 (2006) produce so many writers of the caliber of Jacques R oumain, R en Depestre, Jean Mtellus, Frank tienne, Emile Ollivier, and J.J. Dominique. All are discussed here in essays written in French or E nglish, the two languages that have most characterized the recent production of Haitians and on Haitians. Between fraudulent elections, illegal laws, institutionalized murder, exploitation of the color hierarchy, exile, and migration, Haitian writers tell their tales of joy and fear, of hope and disavowal. S ome of them were direct witnesses to physical and moral torture, others were taken away from the country before they could witness such practices. It is difficult to do justice to all the contributors of this rich and stimu lating collection, which presents writers from Jacques R oumain to E dwidge Danticat. A large part of the book is devoted to criticism of works produced during the twenty-nine-year Duvalier family dictatorship. Poignant personal recollections are juxtaposed with everyday acts of resistance to document the struggle of Haiti and its writers after two centuries of oppression, mostly by its own dictators, emperors, satrapes, generals, and former clergy who have succeeded each other in the countrys independent life, and none of whom have been capable or willing to lift the country from its despairing econom i c and political fate. T he same can be said of the international community, indict e d here for leaving the country to die of hunger and neglect (p. 25). Throughout the volume the past enters the present, both in the writ ers memories and in the critics judgments, creating a web of connections between the war of liberation from French rule and contemporary acts of resistance. The opening chapter (an account of the Haitian pavilion at the 1893 worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago) and the final one (reflec tions on stereotyping and the transformation of memory and language) pro vide a fitting frame for the rest of the essays. In between are discussions of all the writers mentioned above, and more. Max Dorsinville draws atten tion to the vast and perhaps not sufficiently recognized production of R oger Dorsinville, writer, journalist, ambassador to several African countries. Jolle Vitiello encapsulates the writing of Y anick L ahens in an aesthetics of refusal. And Dennis F. Essar analyzes the link between Dany Laferrires texts and the style and primary colors of Haitian painting. As the volume shows, there is no dearth of work on Haitian literature, and new perspectives are coming into play. It is surprising to discover that con temporary readings of Roumains Gouverneurs de la rose ( Masters of the Dew ) have moved away from ideology and do justice to his craft, pointing to love, dialogue, and solidarity as forces of change in the novel (p. 104). It is similarly fascinating to see that Depestre was inspired to write by Rimbaud and Lautramont rather than Marx, and that he knew Roumain and Alxis, but also Carpentier, Senghor, and Csaire. Clearly emerging in the volume is the C aribbean vision of this generation of writers along with their links to large sectors of the African diaspora.
323 BOOK REVIEWS Women are well represented, even if they made their appearance on the literary scene later than their male counterparts. Irline Franois provides an insightful reading of J.J. Dominiques Mmoire dune amnsique explor ing specifically female strategies of resistance. Myriam Chancy discusses women revolutionary writers and Marie Chauvet is evoked to denounce patriarchy and the military. Mimi Barthlmy reveals in the heartfelt style of her contes (which readers can glimpse in C hristianne Mawkwards essay) how storytelling becomes a tool of survival just like religion, proverbs, and games, the endless resources of the beleaguered countrys inhabitants. T his is also captured by C aroll Oates when he writes of Jacques S tephen Alxis. T hree long, comprehensive interviews are also included in the collection, shedding light on the writing process and on the rootedness of Haitian writers despite their displacement. Frantz-Antoine Leconte talks to Ren Depestre, who explains how in the course of a life spent in many different countries, his native land has always been part of his nomadism (p.148). T here is an inter view by Ginette Adamson with Jean Mtllus, linguist, physician, and writer who, after explaining the ostracism the country suffered from its inception, ends on an optimistic note, a rarity among the far less cheerful voices in the volume. In his dialogue with Frank tienne, Jean Jonassaint does not hesitate in declaring him the most important Haitian writer (p. 283). Franktienne, for his part, reveals the difficulty of finding an inward space to create in a dictatorial and censorial regime. As an addendum, the spiralist movement of which Franktienne is the major exponent is explained by Kaima Glover, who is currently writing a book on the subject. One of the important questions that lurk in the background to these essays is posed directly by Marie-Jos NZengou-T ayo in her discussion of L yonel T rouillots fiction. Must intellectuals be politically committed? Can they be agents of change? From NZengous viewpoint, Haitian writers would have answered yes to these questions before the 1980s. But the late 1980s marked the end of the leading role usually assigned to the politically committed intellectual in Haitian literature (p. 332) a bold affirmation which cannot be so readily applied to the literature of the turn of the century. T he political and socioeconomic reality of Haiti remains an open wound for both those who have stayed in the country and those who have, only physically, left it.REFE R EN C EBALU T ANSKY, KA T HLEEN & MA R IEAG NES SOU R IEAU (eds.), 1998. Caribbean Creoli zation: Reflections on the Cultural Dynamics of Language, Literature, and Identity Gainesville: University Press of Florida.