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New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008):3-45 KAREN E. RICHMAN A MORE POWERFUL SORCERER: CONVERSION, CAPITAL, AND HAITIAN TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION He was a giant with stooped shoulders, always dressed in black, who never left the house without a Bible tucked under his arm. When he was about thirty years old and already a highly reputed houngan [priest-shaman], he contracted tuberculosis as the consequence of a chill he caught at the falls at Saut dEau [pilgrimage festival in honor of the Virgin], where he had bathed while possessed by Simbi. His family loi [spirits], evoked in succession, were not able to affect a cure, so he gave up serving them and was converted to Protestantism. And since he was of robust constitution, a doctor whom he had the good sense to consult succeeded in putting him back on his feet. Then, after some theological studies in Port-au-Prince as well as in the United States, he became, thanks to his extensive knowledge of vodou one of the most effective adversaries of the popular beliefs in our country. (Thoby-Marcelin & Marcelin 1970:127) The popular religion of Haiti, known to outsiders as Vodou, is a complex, dynamic blend of European, African, and Creole religious ideologies and practices centered around the material reality of spiritual affliction, sor cery, and magic. The vast majority of the more than two hundred thousand Haitians who arrived in South Florida since the late 1970s identified as Catholics. Echoing a trend in Haiti and throughout Latin America, Haitian migrants have been publicly disavowing both Catholic practice and wor ship of their African-Creole spirits ( lwa ), and joining Haitian evangelical Protestant churches. The churches are repatriated, indigenized offspring of North American missions that went to Haiti to offer progress and light to the peasants being converted into a source of wage labor for North American capital. The clergys pursuit of these ruined farmers streaming toward the core is only one instance of Protestantisms recurring ties to global capital reproduction.
4 KAREN E. RICHMAN In this paper, I argue that poor Haitian migrants construe conversion as a rhetoric and set of behaviors for mastering a model of individual, social, and economic success in the United States. At the same time, the rhetoric and behaviors practiced in Haitian Protestant evangelical congregations offer converts an appropriate escape route from the fetters of obligation and inter dependence that undergird their transnational domestic and ritual ties. Haitian pastors help fit migrants with the religious armor to resist the spiritual and magical enforcement of those moral obligations. Pastors model for their flock the assertive, separatist disposition which, Weber argued, was central to the religions appeal and initial success in Europe four centuries ago. Yet, under neath the evangelicals modern, ascetic cloak, representations of instant money and private ambition the illicit rewards of sorcery and magic remain at the heart of their instrumentalist rhetoric. The continuity below this change of religious costume is an open secret among Haitians. In the eyes of some, the pastors are conspicuous, and maddeningly successful, sorcerers. This ethnography of conversion in a Haitian transnational community will suggest that religious conversion may not entail the radical break that sepa ratist Protestants, and some believing scholars, assert it to be. Catholicism, Vodou, and Protestantism, the three officially recognized religions of Haiti, co-define, mediate, and reproduce one another in the fluid, plural, and trans national religious landscape of Haiti, which extends beyond Haitis nine inter nal provinces to wherever Haitians reside in Haitis Tenth Province. Popular religions that cut across religious boundaries seem more and more ordinary in the emerging literature on the Protestantisms of the poor of Latin America and Africa, as doctrinal boundaries yield to religious agents commitment to an immanent, instrumental view of religion. Even the assertive, separatist stance of the Protestants cannot disguise how firmly their congregants remain within a fundamentally integrated spectrum of mystical techniques and strategies to hold illness and misfortune at bay and to interpret their precarious insertion in a harsh transnational system of labor migration and capital reproduction. 1 HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N St. Domingue, the colonial name of Haiti, was Frances most lucrative sugar colony. In 1804, the slaves stunned the world economic order by liberat ing themselves and the colony. During the century following independence, 1. This project builds upon bibliographic and multilateral ethnographic research con ducted in Logane, Haiti, and South Florida, Virginia, and Maryland over the past two decades. The most recent phases of research on religious conversion have been supported with generous help from the Newberry Library, Social Science Research Council, and the University of Notre Dame.
5 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N the first free and feared black nation-state was isolated from the rest of the world, the descendants of slaves established a free-holding peasantry (Mintz 1974a). By entrenching themselves as small, independent farmers, they were able to resist pressures from the elite and the state to coerce them into a return to plantation labor. It took the economic and military might of a new colonial power to coerce the Haitian peasants into capitalist agriculture. The United States consolidated its hegemony over the region and, in particular, Haiti during the early 1900s. Over the course of the twentieth century, the Haitian peasant economy was gradually undermined and transformed into one that produces unskilled wage labor for export and increasingly consumes imported food. Intimately linked to the transformation of Haitian peasants into a contingent, mobile labor force are American Protestant missionization in Haiti and the inevitable repatriation of Haitianized Protestant churches to Haitian migrants settlements in the United States. The voluntary exile of the young adults of Haitis defeated peasantry must be seen as part of a spatial division of labor taking place on a global scale, within a system of capital accumulation on a world scale dependent upon the perpetuation of patterned differences in the conditions of repro duction of the labor force across different political and geographic units (Portes & Walton 1981:67). Traditional peasant economies are, therefore, a modern relation of global, capitalist economies (Meillassoux 1981). Peasant economies are not homogeneous and their internal differentiation permits their linkages to the world system (Mintz 1973:95). They appear uniform because constituents of transnational capital, merchant elites, and peasantries have vested interests in the production of tradition that conceals their internal variation (Mintz 1974b:305). Heterogeneous peasant communities like Haitis play a dual role in the contemporary world system. The forces aligned with capital, including coer cive peripheral regimes of which the Duvaliers are just one well-known example, destabilize and devalue peasant labor enough to encourage migra tion into low wage labor (which can be located either inside the territory or in another nation). At the same time, these combined forces leave the peasant economy just viable enough both to pay rent to local elites, and to make up the difference between what capital pays these mobile workers and what they and their dependents need to survive. Peasants make up the difference when they raise, feed, and nurture prospective migrants, when they subsidize the cost of migrants recruitment, and when they provide care for workers who are sick, injured, or retired. They play the part of both a nursery and a nurs ing home for migrants earning wages abroad (Rouse 1992:28). The monies migrants send home, the funds do not fully compensate home families for the investments in the migrants upbringing or the loss of their labor at home. Migration maintains the impoverished means of producing raw labor for export; it has not improved the socioeconomic conditions of
6 KAREN E. RICHMAN Haitian society. Haitian migrants wage remittances, which reached an esti mated at $1 billion in 2004, account for more foreign aid to the country than bilateral lending. Yet as every journalist covering them seems compelled to repeat, Haitians remain the poorest population in the hemisphere. Haitian migrant laborers have followed and abetted the expansions and declines of North American capital throughout the century. In the early decades they migrated to Cuba, other parts of Haiti, the Dominican Republic (the eastern side of the island), where North Americans were investing in capitalized agriculture. During the latter half of the century, their laborers went to the United States and Canada, becoming part of the broad new Caribbean migration feeding the restructuring and relocations of U.S. manu facture (Bryce-Laporte 1979). As service industries replaced manufacture in center cities, low-paying, labor intensive service jobs became a magnet for immigrant workers. Meanwhile, the Caribbean and Central America were themselves attractive frontiers for the intensified subcontracting of phases of assembly-line production. According to Barry (1984:13), during the 1970s, a higher proportion of the Caribbean population emigrated than did the peoples of any other world area. New York was Haitian emigrants primary North American destination, as it was for Caribbean migrants gen erally. Haitians also migrated to the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Quebec, and the American cities of Boston and Chicago. In the late 1970s, both the character of Haitian migration to the United States and the location of resettlement changed. A flotilla of boats, many of them tiny, open sailboats called canoes ( kant ), which are used for fishing, began leaving Haitian waters for the South Florida coast. 2 Between 1979 and 1981, as many as 70,000 Haitians entered Florida by boat. Almost immediately after taking office in 1981, however, President Reagan moved to regain con trol of the borders. The despised boat people from Haiti were convenient scapegoats. The United States placed Coast Guard cutters in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti to interdict and burn Haitian boats, determine passengers valid claims for political asylum, and repatriate those deemed ineli gible for refugee status. Virtually all asylum claims were rejected. The flow of boats declined to a dribble by 1982, and did not resume with any regularity until October 1991, when tens of thousands of people tried to flee the violent coup detat that ousted the eight-month-old government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, when Coast Guard cutters were again dispatched to prevent the Haitians from reaching the United States. In response to human rights protests of the practice of summarily returning them, the INS set up a detention camp in Guantanamo Bay to process their asylum claims. The 2. According to Alex Stepick (1987:137), the first detected Haitian refugee boat arrived in Florida in 1963. The passengers asylum requests were denied and they were repatri ated. Ten years later, another sailboat reached Florida.
7 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N INS found about 40,000 to have valid claims and permitted them to enter the United States. Fearful of the prospect of more Haitian refugees legally cross ing the borders, and having no legal way to reduce the high rate of accep tance of valid asylum claims, the U.S. government simply closed the camp and resumed the earlier policy of interdicting boats and forcibly repatriating of the refugees to Haiti. Since the brief, intense waves of boat migrations from Haiti to South Florida, there has been continuous movement of Haitians into and within the county of Palm Beach. There is a small but steady stream coming from Haiti (primarily by airplane), sponsored by former boat migrants who have become legal residents. At the same time, Haitian immigrants who previ ously settled in New York and Boston are moving into South Florida. Like other Caribbean migrants, they had avoided the South because of the dearth of job opportunities and its legacy of segregation. These latter Haitians tend to be from higher social and economic echelons than the boat migrants and have achieved substantial economic success in the United States. In addition there is substantial relocation of Haitian immigrants with in South Florida, which parallels their changing labor incorporation. Alex Stepicks (1998) analysis of Haitian migrants incorporation in the South Florida economy reveals that around 1980, few industries offered employment to the Haitian boat people. As a result, the new immigrants could find work only in the most wretched sector: migratory farm work. Sojourners from rural Haiti settled in Belle Glade, Immokalee, Fort Pierce, and other racially seg regated and disenfranchised farm worker ghettos to cut sugar cane, and har vest and pack vegetables and fruits. 3 During the summer months they left with labor contractors to work on agribusiness farms along the middle East Coast. Many Haitian immigrants left this irregular, low-paying, and dangerous work as soon as they could; others were pushed out by the agriculture industry itself in retaliation for successful lawsuits filed by Haitian laborers against growers and contractors during the 1980s (Richman 1992). By the early 1990s, most Haitian immigrants in South Florida counties of Palm Beach and Broward were employed in the lower levels of the burgeoning industries of tourism, ser vice, construction, and health care. The ubiquity of Haitian immigrants home ownership is concrete evidence of their gradual economic success. EV ER YD A Y TRAN S NA T I O NA L I S M IN TI RI VY AN D I TS DIA SPO RA Ti Rivy (Little River) is a coastal hamlet in the plain of Logane, in west ern Haiti. Ti Rivy is the moral and material anchor of a mobile, transna 3. Belle Glades ordinances enjoining racial segregation were legally challenged in the 1990s.
8 KAREN E. RICHMAN tional community. Though people from Ti Rivy are spread across Haiti, the Caribbean, North America, and France, the vast majority of their expatri ate members live in Palm Beach, Broward, and St. Lucie counties, Florida. Mayami ( Miami ) is their term for this location, whose imaginary northern boundary is Nouyk (New York), the primary destination point of the trickle of earlier migrants from Ti Rivy. Ti Rivy is a quasi-peasant village. Its people eke out a livelihood through farming (primarily sugar cane), fish ing, and marketing of the food. Yet, their main economic activities seem to be producing low-cost labor for export, consuming wage remittances and imported food, and reabsorbing migrants when their capacity to work else where expires. Everyday discourse reproduces their consciousness as pro ducers of mobile labor and consumers of migrants remittances. Children grow up expecting one day to leave in search of a livelihood for their fam ily ( chache lavi pou fanmi yo ). Mundane references in village discourse to members located outside ( dey ) and over there ( lt bo a ) further naturalize the reality of dispersal to South Florida. From outside these transmigrants (Basch, Glick-Schiller & Szanton 1994) remain intimately tied to their mooring in Ti Rivy, returning when they can for vacations and religious and family celebrations and when they must to seek therapy and recuperation and convalescence. Since they can only travel infrequently, the migrants residential concentration in Palm Beach and Broward Counties is an important aspect of their continued involvement with one another and with their home. Independent couriers who specialize in coming and going ( va y vyen ) run personalized, efficient, and entirely unregulated parcel ser vices carrying money, gifts, and cassette tapes between distinct villages and urban neighborhoods in Haiti and their migrant satellite sites abroad. 4 Audio cassette tapes have provided a vital linkage across this transnationa l community. For most Haitians, whose subordination has long been repro duced by illiteracy in French, the colonial language, cassettes offer a way to write in their own beloved, vernacular, Creole (Kreyl). Corresponding by cassette in this emphatically oral, figurative idiom has become so normal that the term to write (a letter) ( ekri ) means recording a cassette rather than the epistolary form. In the hands of a people with a vibrant oral culture, these letters have developed into an art form. The cassette-letters Ti Rivy migrants exchange with their home community include songs, poetry, and oral compositions of great intricacy. Island relatives may quote proverbs or sing sacred songs to infuse their communications with pointed and irresist ible messages exhorting migrants to be more diligent in sending remittances or fulfilling ritual obligations back home. Hard-pressed workers enduring low pay and hostile conditions in the United States might reply with inge 4. The handling of money by these informal couriers casts doubt on the accuracy of official estimates of remittance transmission.
9 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N nious communiqus couched in song and verse drawing attention to their hard work and under appreciated efforts or difficulties in the far off land. Both recording and listening to these cassettes become performance events as extended families or migrants stateside workmates gather round to add their own comments, clarifications, and remarks, even drumming and sing ing, to the recordings (Richman 2005). In addition to functioning as the primary means of aesthetically and mor ally satisfying correspondence, cassette tapes serve in an extraordinary reli gious capacity. During ceremonies sponsored by migrants, a ritual participant will hold a cassette recorder and make a soundtrack of the event, often nar rating the unfolding activities. Other participants also approach the recorde r to add their own messages and comments. Even worshipers mounted or possessed by spirits during the ceremony may address the microphone, allowing the far-off migrant direct access to his or her tutelary deities via audiocassette. The location of Ti Rivy migrants ritual practice remains on the family land, reinforcing a transnational orientation, as migrants remain morally, somatically, and spiritually anchored back home. The unfolding of rituals between Ti Rivy and South Florida in a trans national performance space contrasts with the ritual innovations of Haitians in New York described by Karen McCarthy Brown (1991) and Elizabeth McAlister (2002). The earlier movement to New York involved many migrants from the city of Port-au-Prince who were already a generation (or more) removed from the peasantry and were already affiliated with urban temple congregations based on voluntary association rather than descent. This temple Vodou form proved very adaptable to an even larger metropolitan setting. THE CO N T E ST FO R SOULS IN PA L M BEACH COU N TY Haitians in South Florida worship in churches led by Haitian immigrant clergy. Protestant pastors, trained in mission churches established by North Americans during the mid-to-late twentieth century, are completing the cir cle of the evangelist mission, remigrating to the center to set up Haitian community mission churches in the United States. Haitian Catholic priests who were trained in seminaries established by French clergy long ago have also followed the paths of the migrants to minister to Haitian communities in diaspora. Measuring the relative strength of self-identified Catholics and Protestants is difficult because of the flexibility of religious practice and asso ciation, the Protestants hard-line stance notwithstanding. Pre Roland, who heads the Catholic parish in Delray Beach, home to the densest concentration of Haitians (about 17,000) in the county, estimated that in 2001, Protestants slightly outnumbered Catholics. Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick (1993) esti mated that 40 percent of Haitians in Little Haiti in Miami were Protestant.
10 KAREN E. RICHMAN The success of the Protestants in gaining new converts was in part due to the indifference of the Catholic Church in Miami, which was dominated by Irish-Americans. The tens of thousands of Haitians who arrived by boat in the early 1980s and settled in towns of Belle Glade, Delray Beach, Fort Pierce, and Lake Worth were barely visible to the Catholic Church. The evangelical churches, on the other hand, responded swiftly to the new migrants religious needs by repatriating portions of North American missions with Haitian pastors at their helms. The Catholic Church responded slowly to the influx of Catholic Haitians into Palm Beach County between 1979 and 1981. The first Haitian priest settled in the area in 1987. Pre Roland, a member of the Scalabrinian order who was raised and trained in Haiti, moved from New York City, where he had been serving a Haitian community. He established Notre Dame, the first Haitian Catholic church in Delray Beach. A second Haitian church was established in the 1990s in Fort Pierce, a town in the county of St. Lucie to the north with about the same population of Haitians as Delray Beach. The Catholic congregations in Belle Glade, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach have recently hosted their own full-time Haitian Catholic priests, who use space in local Catholic churches. Lacking access to a Haitian Catholic church, many Catholics who wanted to attend Christian services and worship in their own language began going to Haitian Protestant churches. Many remained Catholic; many inevitably con verted. Their religious mobility seems typical of Latin Americans practices of shifting between affiliation, conversion, and backsliding as Protestants to Catholicism (Green 1993). The belated establishment of Haitian Catholic churches offering an accessible, inviting worship style including Creole litur gy, Vodou melodies and drum styles, as well as tolerating or even embracing lay-led charismatic groups whose trance practices resemble Pentecostals, somewhat reversed that pattern. Pre Roland thus told me, We got them back. His particular church has added extra masses to accommodate the growing congregation of about 1,400 registered members (each representing about five family members), and it is currently undergoing expansion and renovation. It hosts myriad religious and social clubs, as well as educational programs targeted at migrants adjustment; some of these educational pro grams involve collaboration with local government agencies. By contrast, the many Protestant congregations organize few social ser vices offering practical assistance to migrants in their new setting, a deficit which does not diminish their support, as it reinforces an ideology of both individualism and the direct, private access to the supernatural. My field research and surveys in Palm Beach and Broward counties revealed that dyadic, personal relations between church members constitute their primary social networks, through which they exchange food, loans, help, rides, job referrals, childcare, and other services. If such dyadic relations do the primary
11 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N work of reproducing labor, researchers may be attributing undeserved credit to the churches themselves by portraying them as organized mutual aid soci eties. R. Andrew Chesnut (1997:104), writing about a Brazilian Pentecostal congregation, argues that the church can be said to practice mutual aid not primarily as a religious institution but as a community of believers ... Of the 73.9% of (his) informants who had accepted some type of material aid through the church, the vast majority had received it as an offering from fel low members, rather than as a direct donation from the (church). The Protestant congregations vary in size and autonomy. A Church of God ( LEglise de Dieu ) Holiness/Pentecostal congregation of about 250 member families built an expansive new church in North West Palm Beach in 1994. Another Church of God congregation in the same area recently remodeled and expanded its structure. Nonetheless, fissions are common. One Pentecostal church in Delray has allegedly segmented into four com peting factions in the recent past. Another Delray Beach congregation with about 200 member families splintered as its minister, the first Haitian pastor in the area, was charged with and convicted for sexual activity with a mem bers minor daughter, his supporters claiming that the false accusations were trumped up by rival members determined to take over the church. 5 For the evangelical congregants, in particular, the church is the center of a tightly knit Protestant social world separated from both non-Haitians and unsaved Haitians. They arrive dressed in formal but modest attire, the men in suits and the women unadorned by jewelry or cosmetics or the genderboundary confusion of pants. With children in tow, they spend long hours in church, including most evenings, after working unrewarding and repetitive jobs, part of Saturday, and most of Sunday. Inside the sanctuary the weary find tangible relief, engulfed by the bodily touching and acceptance of fellow congregants whose welcome mirrors the gentle compassion of the key deity, Jesus. The sermons by charismatic and witty preachers inspire and entertain. Full, joyous singing of hymns in French and Creole accompanied by upbeat instrumental music in American gospel and Caribbean styles further draw them in. The invitation to dance joyously is even more enticing given the prohibition of enjoying konpa and other secular music and dance outside the walls of the church, along with drinking and smoking, all of which prevent them from socializing with the unsaved. 6 5. State of Florida v. Joseph Millien, Case 01-1759Cf A02. October 26, 1998, West Palm Beach. 6. Melvin Butlers ethnography (2002:110) of Haitian Pentecostals musical ideologies describes how some musicians justify their appropriation of secular konpa style, even though the pelvic gyrations of konpa dance signify undisciplined sexuality. The church musicians see konpa as an appropriate alternative to the feared Vodou and Rara genres.
12 KAREN E. RICHMAN The style and structure of worship follow the North American HolinessPentecostal pattern. The service is a scripted modulation from a cathartic outpouring of migrants anxiety and hopelessness to a controlled mustering up of self-discipline and certain strength. The ritual oscillation between emo tionalism and self-control, which harks back to the denominations Methodist roots, has been seen as a mediation of the conflicted experience of proletari anization whose ultimate beneficiary was capital. Wesleyanism addressed crucial contradictions in the development of industrial capitalism ... by rec ognizing working-class displacement, yet harnessing it to the perpetuation of the overall system (Comaroff 1985:134). In the first hour of worship, called the prayer service, individual immigrants voice their unbearable struggles as low-paid, exhausted workers and indebted consumers, as the parents of local, endangered, urban Haitian-American chil dren and as the envoys of demanding, long-distance Haitian peasant kin. They cry out directly to an empathetic invisible audience, Jesus, identified as a ten der, comforting mother, protector, and font of unconditional love (Romain 1986:140). The supplicants do not deliberately address or acknowledge other sufferers, even though their laments overlap with and echo one another. The inner isolation of the Protestant individual, even in the context of a group, is recreated here, as each person focuses inwardly, eyes closed, standing facing the front of the chapel with arms outstretched or kneeling facing the rear of the room, heads resting in the pews (Weber 1958:105). Their private entreat ies to Christ coincide in a huge emotional crescendo that is guided to gradual diminuendo by a preacher and musicians. Certitude and determination take over in the hymns and preaching, oblit erating the previous mood of hopeless vulnerability. The weak, dependent self has been replaced by an independent, self-actualizing individual. Metaphors of strength and military might resound in combination with first person posses sive pronouns (I, me, my): my rock, my fortress, my redeemer (Romain 1986:140). Possession of vast quantities of money appears as instant reward for the determined faithful. Like the North American gospel of wealth markete d by such celebrity ministers of as Reverend Ike, these Haitianized versions trans form the circumscribed wages of the worker into generative capital. The individual certitude practiced in worship, as a rehearsal for a daily life bound by asceticism and reclusion, is central to Protestant philosophy. For in the absence of a reliable test for election among the saved, tangible proof is presented by acting assertively as if one were elected. Meanwhile leading a methodical and sober life reconfigured hoarding money, formerly a sin, as a virtue (Weber 1958:113). Reviewing the first broad, postwar wave of Pentecostal evangelization in Latin America, Luther Gerlach and Virginia Hine (1968:35) indeed substantiated Webers claim that this confident atti tude was the expanding religions greatest strength. This great strength nonetheless rests precariously upon a utilitarian preference for the outward
13 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N appearance of certitude over inner conviction. Haitians are converting to this religious mode of appropriating capitalist rules of action (Weber 1958:54). Assessing the historical context and meanings of Haitians religious mobility will be taken up in the following section. CA T H OL ICI S M, COLO NIA L I S M AN D PR OT E ST AN T MI SS I O NI Z A T I O N IN HAI T I Roman Catholicism was the official religion of the colony of St. Domingue, which was established in 1697, and it remained the state religion of indepen dent Haiti. In 1985 the state recognized Protestantism and it added a third official religion, Vodou, in 2003. The Catholic Church was indigenized after independence in 1804, when French colonists and their priests fled the coun try. Haitians controlled their own church during the six-decade-long political isolation that served as the metropoles punishment for Haitian slaves suc cessful challenge to colonialism and slavery. Toward the end of the century, however, as Haitis Francophile, mulatto elite invited recolonization by France and Germany and ultimately the United States, authority over the Church was returned to the Vatican. President Geffrard, Haitis tenth president, signed the concordat with the Vatican in 1860, declaring, Let us hasten to remove from our land these last vestiges of barbarism and slavery, superstition and its scandalous practices (quoted in Nicholls 1979:84). As a result of the accord, French priests gained control not only of the Church but also of the principal schools, which were run by religious orders (Nicholls 1979:84). The return of de facto French control over much of everyday life provoked a nationalist reaction. Indeed, Louis Joseph Janvier, who is regarded by some as the founder of the Haitian nationalist movement in the late nineteenth centur y, viewed the reassertion of the French Church as the return of French colonial power, and a key threat to Haitis sovereignty. Janviers vision for the estab lishment of Protestantism in Haiti was of a severely Erastian kind in which the clergy, even in matters of doctrine would be controlled by the temporal government (Nicholls 1979:118). Whereas the appearance of separation of religion from politics is fundamental to modernity, Janvier was advocating the national adoption of an antipolitical religion that would abet the re-penetration of capitalism all too well (Fields 1985, Levine 1986, Meyer 2004). 7 The civilizing influence of Protestantism was central to Joseph Janviers 1883 treatise on Haitis foreign affairs. In it, Janvier argued that conversion to Protestantism would provide the requisite religious basis for capitalist eco nomic development in the impoverished peasant nation. Echoing the bour 7. Protestants are nonetheless ambivalent about the application of the separation of church and state to their own practices. See Hurbon 2001:136.
14 KAREN E. RICHMAN geois discourse of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that disparaged the indolence of European peasants and blamed a Catholic ritual calendar whose many saint days and festivals sapped the supply of labor (Weber 1958, Thompson 1967). Africa, rather than Europe, though, was the analogy Janvier pursued. Janvier went so far as to claim that Protestantism was more suited to the African temperament than was Catholicism, and was in many parts of Africa a valuable means for introducing the primitive population to Western cultures. The Protestant, he wrote, is thrifty and self-reliant, he does not waste his money on carnivals and other frivolities. Protestantism permits free discus sion and encourages private initiative ... The Protestant is almost always a more practical worker and a better citizen than the Catholic (quoted in Nicholls 1979:118). Nonetheless, Janvier admitted that his vision amounted to little more than wishful thinking: Protestantism will never be a danger for Haiti and would want the affection of Protestant nations (Janvier 1883:371). But a century would pass before the Catholic Church would formally recognize that danger. The admission came from Pope John Paul II himself during his first and only visit to Port-au-Prince. Pope John Paul said, The advance of religious groups which at times are lacking the true message of the Gospel and with methods that do not respect real religious liberty pose serious obstacles to the mission of the Catholic Church and to other Christian confessions. 8 The Pope was surrounded by the sixty-one Latin American bishops who had gathered in Haitis capital for a conference whose priority was preparing actions to stem the rapid growth of Protestant fundamental ist sects in the region. Archbishop Ligond of Port-au-Prince announced a national campaign to defend Catholicism in Haiti against the blind prosely tizing of Protestants. 9 In the early twentieth century, and in the hands of Janviers followers, the new discipline of Haitian ethnology completed (or mediated) the intellectual linkage between Protestantism and anticolonialism. In the wake of the cul tural imperialism and overt racism of the occupation by the United States, which lasted from 1915 to 1934, ethnology responded to the need to assert an alternative, authentic national identity. Studies of the peasants religion and folklore provided the material for promotion of an authentic Haitian identity located in peasant life and rooted in African culture. Jean Price-Mars, who authored the first important text on the peasants folklore, was Episcopalian. Yet he also extolled the evangelical Protestants, even though the Protestants opposed Vodou even more strongly than the Catholic Church and Protestants constituted the majority of the blatantly racist colons en khaki as Jacques 8. Marlise Simons, Pope in Haiti, Assails Inequality, Hunger and Fear, The New York Times March 10, 1983. 9. Marlise Simons, Latin Bishops See Protestant Peril, The New York Times March 16, 1983.
15 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N Romain, a central member of the ethnological movement termed the occupy ing force (Nicholls 1970:403, 412). The paradoxical sympathy between proponents of Vodou and Protestantism can be further explained in response to their temporary sharing of a mutual Catholic enemy. The hapless anti-superstition campaign of 1942 that was launched by the French Catholic Church in concert with President Elie Lescot, tried in vain to rid the Haitian countryside of what was considered the pernicious influence of Vodou. Vodouisants were not the only targets of the campaign, however; Protestants were occasionally persecuted as well. The Catholic Churchs demoniacal persecution of Vodou was criticized by nationalists as a recapitulation of the concordat of 1860 a ploy to revitalize a colonial power system. Coming shortly after the official departure of the United States marines, the acquiescence of the Haitian state to the resur gence of French Catholic and colonial power was no doubt a reaction to the nineteen-year-long North American recolonization of Haiti. North American Protestant missionization greatly intensified in the hemisphere generally, and in Haiti in particular, during the second half of the twentieth century. That period saw the consummation of several happy unions of a repressive Latin American state (including Chile and Guatemala) with an apparently apolitical Protestant mission. Seventy percent of the Protestant missions in Haiti in 1970 had been established in the preceding twenty years, and an estimated 20 percent of the population was Protestant (Conway 1978:165; Romain 1986:81). The champion of Protestantism in Haiti was President Franois Duvalier (1957-71), the first pro-Vodou, propeasant, black-nationalist president, who claimed Janvier as his ideological mentor. A medical doctor and ethnologist, who experienced first-hand the antisuperstition campaign of 1942, Duvalier had been a central member of the ethnological group and he authored or co-authored several studies of the peasant religion. The self-declared president-for-life developed a reputation not only for practicing Vodou but also for incorporating the practices and priesthood in his ruthless politics. Duvalier appears to have fostered the myth of his promotion of Vodou, which only bolstered outsiders stereotypes of the exotic, mysterious religion. Harold Courlander and Rmy Bastien (1966:56) wryly observed that Duvaliers fostering of Protestantism, which opposes Vodou even more strongl y than the Catholic Church ever did, demonstrates that the relationship between Duvalier and religion should be viewed not as one of an individual to a faith, but rather it should be approached from the standpoint of the relations between church and state. Duvalier finally succeeded in breaking the power of the foreign-dominated Catholic Church. Though he resorted to violence to crush the Church, romancing North American evangelical Protestants was a more effective strategy. The Protestants could be depende d upon to avoid involvement in political affairs as much as possible and mean
16 KAREN E. RICHMAN while bring development into the country. By 1965, more than a third of the schools were run by Protestant missionaries. Duvalier received Oral Roberts at the palace in 1969 (Nicholls 1970:412). 10 The expansion of Protestant missionization in Haiti since the 1970s especially involved the growth of Pentecostal groups, which systematically covered the country and encompassed the poorest segments of the popula tion. Echoing the findings of many observers of Pentecostal missionization in Latin America, including David Lehmann (1966), Charles-Poisset Romain (1986:190) asserts that the Pentecostals take off in Haiti was the result of their promotion of the vernacular spoken by the masses, rather than the colo nial language of French, spoken and written by the elite few. Moreover, the Pentecostals harnessed their valorization of the Creole vernacular to literacy. The mainline Protestants had already presented their religion of the book as one of sociability and civilization (Romain 1986:145). Literacy was seen throughout the colonized world as a primary means of self-improve ment (Comaroff & Comaroff 1993:63). Romain claims that during the 1970s, missionization was more intense in Haiti than anywhere else in the hemisphere and that Haiti witnessed a greater proliferation of sects during that period than any other country. Though this claim cannot be proven, support for it is the selection of Port-au-Prince for the 1983 Latin American bishops meeting with Pope John Paul II, during which confronting the Protestant threat was the salient topic. Fred Conway (1978) noted that the missionary presence was so pervasive during the 1970s that he, like almost all foreigners in rural Haiti, was taken for a Protestant missionary. In a laudatory recounting of the history of Baptist missionization in Haiti during the mid-century, the Baptist theologian, Edner Jeanty (1991), com pliments North American missionaries skillful deployment of capitalist marketing techniques. He glowingly narrates the accomplishments of one proselytizer with a special knack for selling a new religion to reluctant native consumers. In the process, Jeanty inadvertently admits that Christian mis sionization amounts to creating consumer desire for a non-essential product. Jeanty (1991:91) writes that Mme Ruben Clarke, who accompanied her hus band to Pignon to spread the gospel, was a dynamic woman who can sell a refrigerator even to an Eskimo. Charles Romains (1986) and Frederick Conways (1978) works illu minate the religious landscape of rural Haiti during the decade which cul minated in a massive exodus towards the source of progress. Both stud ies demonstrate that evangelism oriented people toward North American capitalist culture. Conways cultural exploration of local understandings of Protestant missionization describes an unequivocal linkage between the 10. Fred Conway (1978:166-67) eloquently captures the paradox of the ethnologist-presidents promotion of Protestantism.
17 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N religion and an American dream. He argues convincingly that missionary Protestantism in Haiti gives rise less to a Protestant ethic of self-help than to the idea that the way to worldly success is identified with direct dependence on the foreign North American missionary (Conway 1978:193). He cites villagers discourse, no doubt mediated by their perception or hope that their North American interlocutor was a missionary, and thus a source of jobs or visas. Villagers reaffirmed Romains (1982:159) assertion that the Protestant mission churches symbolized progress. While pointing to Protestant mis sions, people told him, the country is becoming more and more civilized in contrast to the backwardness blamed on peasant Vodou. Several converts boasted to Conway that their conversion was a contribution to develop ment (Conway 1978:172). Moreover, the Protestant churches signified modern, capitalist principles, including belief in quantitative accounting and record-keeping. According to Conway, villagers understood that Americans needed quantities of con verts, and they were willing to pay for them. No one benefited more from their needs to build missions and count disciples than the pastors. The clergy was and is one of the few jobs for men in rural areas and the field of candidates is vast. Romain (1986:144) comments that tout protestant est la fois pas teur et missionnaire . The success of the pastors reflects the convergence of the fluid, informal, lay, and entrepreneurial character of the evangelical prac tice with local values regarding leadership and spiritual power, namely, dif fuse leadership, and charismatic, spontaneous power. Haitians also harbor an intense distrust of authority and bureaucracies, born of their long experience of betrayal by leaders, secular and religious alike. The religion welcomes the man who aspires to have a congregation, begins by praying with two or three people, and eventually builds a congregation. The speech practice of address ing any male evangelical as past (pastor) reinforces this assumption. Association with Protestant missions and the implied opportunities of pas toring signify upward mobility both figuratively and literally. For in addition to the social and economic boost of satisfying an American missionary orga nizations needs is the real possibility of a visa to the United States. Indeed, realization of the miracle of the visa to the United States, the fruit of mission sponsorship, is a frequent theme in pastors narratives from the pulpits of Haitian churches in Palm Beach County today. Pastor Sylvain, a pastor with LEglise de Dieu, for example, recounted during a sermon how, while working in a Haitian rural parish, Jesus instigated a rift between himself and his supe riors. His exile propelled him toward Port-au-Prince and an encounter with a white American missionary. The missionary was establishing a new mission in another part of the countryside, and he invited the pastor to join him there. Then one day the American asked him, would you like to see the United States? He soon found himself at the U.S. consulate with a visa in hand for the United States and eventually he became pastor of the Palm Beach County
18 KAREN E. RICHMAN congregation. Likewise, the narrative of Reverend Milliens route to the pulpit of the first Haitian evangelical congregation in Delray Beach involved these steps: encounter with an American missionary, conversion and training in a Haitian seminary, becoming a minister in a Full Gospel Assembly church, training for six months in Sterling, Illinois, return to Haiti and to pastoring, and, finally arrival in Delray Beach to begin his ministry. LWA AFFL IC T I O N, AN D KIN S HI P In Creole, the term Vodou (or Vodoun) refers to a genre of ritual music and dance performed in honor of a category of spirit. A legacy of the African cul tural past, the term is the Fongbe (Benin) word for spirit. Over time, outsiders applied the term to refer to the religion as a whole, a usage widely accepted, though foreign to many in the countryside. Spirits are called lwa (pronounced like French loi ). Their iconography and naming blends African and European influences; some are based on Catholic saints, and many have African names. Indeed the term saint is used by some rather than the word lwa Lwa can be thought of as super (in the sense of all-too) human beings who are inherited through family lines among land-holding descent groups. Their primary power is their ability to afflict and protect members of these descent groups. They are, in other words, the protagonists of a cult of afflic tion and healing (Murray 1984:301; Brown 1991:345). Said to be from Ginen (Guinea or Africa) and to dwell there still, they crystallize a deep historical memory of the violence and displacement of the African ancestors past. In the countryside, where families still retain at least a portion of the land and the spiritual legacy left by their nineteenth-century ancestors, lwa are unique to each lineage (Murray 1984:198). Yet they are also distinct from ancestors, who are worshiped in their own right and whose primary role, in virtue of their proximity to the other world, is to mediate relations between members of kin groups and their inherited lwa Although the entire descent line inherits the full complement of spirits served by the founding ancestors who purchased the land and left it for their descendants, each member may share an intimate relationship with a particular inherited lwa. The heir does not, indeed cannot, initiate the relationship. Instead the spirit is thought to express love for the particular child through pos session-performance (involving either that heir or another person) or dreams. The spirit may claim ( reklamen ) only one living heir. When that person dies, the spirit may claim another member, though years may pass until a new heir is claimed. Protracted migration has affected this system. As long as the heir is outside, the members cannot commune with their spirit in person to benefit from their protective blessings, advice, or entertaining antics. The great emo
19 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N tions surrounding a long-absent migrants return include the hope of reuniting physically with the migrants embodied spirit. When lwa feel neglected or ignored by the heirs, especially by the ones they have specially claimed, as they often do in their remote home in Guinea ( Ginen ), they retaliate by sending affliction, seizing heirs with somatic ill ness, misfortune, and property loss. Feeding is the encompassing symbol of ritual discourse and action. A spirits displeasure is cast as hunger, and a ceremony staged to satiate a hun gry spirit is called a feeding of spirits ( manje lwa ) or a service of spirits ( svis lwa ). The ritual work is explicitly designed to entice the hungry spirit to make the long journey from Guinea to appear through possession-per formance in the body of an heir to accept the lavish and copious offerings, music, dance, and food. Worship by the kin group is a collective effort, spec tacularly staged with prayer, feeding, animal sacrifice, music, dance, visual art, and processions, to ward off illness by enticing the avenging spirits to release their victims, and to prevent future attacks. Migrants do not escape the mobile lwa s orbit. Indeed they are prime choices of avenging spirits and primary sponsors of rites taking place back home The ritual structure which mediates the circulation of Ti Rivys only remaining viable economic resource labor is not a traditional pattern, but rather a recent innovation. During the 1940s, a few ritual specialists (gangan) rose to prominence whose authority was based upon a new source of power, a lengthy and expensive initiation rite to take the ason ( pran ason ), the sacred gourd rattle and bell used to communicate with the lwa. The professional gangan ason incorporated formalized performance roles associated with urban shrines and they introduced new rituals that were nevertheless classified and perceived as unchanging authentic African/Guinean ( fran Ginen ) traditions practiced and transmitted by the African founders of the descent groups. Among the new ritual forms were rites of passage, including mortuary rites (sending the dead to the water and retrieving the dead from the water ( voye/wete m nan dlo ) and the initiation of women servitors ( ounsi )). The increasingly elaborate services for the lwa required the partici pation of corps of initiated women servitors ( ounsi ), along with Catholic prayer, singing, dancing, drumming, flag bearing, processionals, animal sac rifice, and copious offerings of costly imported foods and drinks. Despite its authority as an allegedly ancient African practice, this modern tradition developed in response to major social and economic upheaval in the plains of Haiti, which culminated in the transformation of the free-holding peas ants into producers of migrant laborers and consumers of wage remittances (Murray 1980, Richman 2005). These ritual practices reformulate a displaced system of traditional peasant morality, carved out of the disrupted, mone tized processes it tries to conceal. Converts at the turn of the millennium are not abandoning traditional Vodou (whatever it may have been) but rather a
20 KAREN E. RICHMAN modern, monetized form whose contradictions in part paved the way for the encroachment of another modern religion. R.A. van Dijk (1998:155) has argued with regard to discourses on tradi tion in Africa, we have to shift our perspective from nostalgic theory to a theory of nostalgia. The imagination of the African authenticity and artifi cial timelessness (including before Protestant incursions) of Vodou suggests a sort of fundamentalism that is common in modernitys discourses of his tory and primitives. Indeed this modern narrative of Vodou tradition erro neously portrays lwa as universalistic nature spirits, representations which naively impose a modern notion of the abstract, equivalent individual, who can worship the same deity as everyone else (Dumont 1970). The premise of the abstract, equivalent individual allows qualitatively different sorts of human labor to be reduced to the same essence. As a result, the products of their labor can be measured and exchanged for varying quantities a uniform quality money. This magical transformation is the basis of commodity fetishism (Marx 1977:165). Protestantism takes the homogenizing process a democratic step further by installing a direct line of communication from any person to the deity for instant messaging. Neither are lwa nature gods (Deren 1953). Lwa do not wield powers to con trol air, land, or water. Even though ritual discourse and visual imagery often compare spirits to aspects or forces of nature, for example, Danbala Wedos energy with that of a water snake and Ogouns anger with thunder, it does not follow that Danbala is a water snake or that Ogoun controls storms. This erroneous idea is a modern representation of the tradition-bound, scientific thought of others who are in a different intellectual time (Fabian 1983) and a primitive reading of analogical classification (Lvi-Strauss 1966). The extraction of lwa from their particularistic social, moral, and eco nomic contexts suits not only some writers and journalists, but also brokers of religious tradition. Max Beauvoir, a Sorbonne-educated religious profes sional who represents Vodou to tourists, the nation-state, and the New York Times may be the most renowned of these entrepreneurs (Goldberg 1981). 11 Beauvoirs clients are modern subjects independent individuals from the Haitian elite or middle classes and even non-Haitians who are actively searching for meaning within modernity. They are converting to a romanti cized Vodou, one which has selectively appropriated aspects of the religion, alienating these elements from a pleasant moral economy. They nonetheless treat these invented traditions as if they were authentic peasant and African legacies (see Peel 1994:163). Vodou conversion is of course unfolding in rela tion to the masses abandonment of their peasant religion and identification as Protestants. The nation-state has yet formally to recognize this change, 11. Marlise Simons, Power of Voodoo, Preached by Sorbonne Scientist, The New York Times December 15, 1983.
21 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N and appropriates the authenticity of Vodou for its own purposes. Folkloristic performances of Vodou grace many official reunions sponsored by the nationstate, especially those outside. Though the Haitian peasantry emerged in and against a wholly modern system, as Sidney Mintz (1971:37) has reiterated, their descendants in places like Ti Rivy have yet to countenance the notion of the autonomous, free individual. As if in defense of their moral economy of difference and hier archy, a Creole proverb says: Tout moun se moun men tout moun pa menm (Everybody is a person but not all persons are equivalent). 12 As the peas ants of Ti Rivy have confronted the collapse of their rural economy and their transformation into a nursery and nursing home for cheap mobile labor, their religious ideology and practices have also changed to mediate their experience. The conflicts between individualism and community, wage labor and non-alienated consumptive production are mediated through religion, through the dialectic of Guinea and Magic. GU INEA AN D MA G IC IN DE V E LOP-MAN Guinea and Magic represent two, opposed moral systems or ways-of-beingin-the-world. Guinea ( Ginen ) signifies tradition, mutuality, and moral author ity. The term Guinea refers to the far-off, mythical place on the other side of the water where the ancestors migrated from, to which they return at death, and where the lineages lwa continue to live. Guinea is also epitomized by the involved concept known as inheritance ( eritaj ), which stands at once for lineal kins inalienable, inherited land, their peasant ancestors, and their spiritual legacy (Lowenthal 1987). Magic ( Maji ) is Guineas other, its ground figure (Larose 1975:106). Magic is associated with wage labor, the outside, unbridled individualism, and, therefore, sorcery. The work of Magic is believed to be executed by a kind of spirit known as pwen. Pwen means anything that captures the essence or pith of a complex situation (Brown 1991:151-52). This class of powers is called a pwen because their Magical force seizes the essence of money and wage labor, animating monetary gain with unnatural, life-giving powers. Pwen are manufactured and sold by sorcerers. One has to travel far away to buy them. They help their masters make money fast, but they inevitably turn on the latter. It is assumed that anyone greedy enough to buy the illicit labor 12. I offer a new proverb as a take-off on this Creole proverb to apply to the North American cultural system that professes equivalence at the same time that it creates Others and blames victims who fail at self-reliance. The translation of this imagined proverb is every person is the same, but not everyone is a [valid] person ( tout moun se menm, men tout moun pa moun ).
22 KAREN E. RICHMAN power would be hard-pressed to pay the wage slave its due. The disgruntled, or hungry pwen consumes its masters most precious products, children. Paradoxically, these illicit powers are the lever in the Guinea-Magic dia lectic. Although pwen are created out of Magic, pwen eventually become incorporated into Guinea as a class of (inferior, but nonetheless authentic, Guinea) spirits known as zand The key to Guineas appropriation of the pwen s vitality is its concealment of the ritual process whereby it transforms these bad powers into a class of Guinea spirits. Guinea depends upon its other to give life to itself. Guinea has authority but no power, no pwen of its own. So it must gather up the vitality of Magic. Although Guinea repudi ates seeking ( pwen ), it depends upon absorbing Magics life-giving conta gion. To maintain its faade of authority, Guinea conceals this dependency. Those at home, the producers of migrants, situate themselves on the mor ally superior side of Guinea while symbolically placing migrants on the illicit side of Magic. In effect they castigate migrants for going outside the moral community, getting consumed by wage labor, and consuming the wages for themselves. Elsewhere (Richman 2005), I analyzed an exchange of ritual songs in the cassette correspondence between a migrant named Ti Chini (Little Caterpillar) and his eldest brother and surrogate father, Se Byen (Its Fine). One of Ti Chinis improvised sacred songs was a particularly elegant critique of a process that promotes those who stay behind while it pwen i fies those toiling hard in distant infernos (where they must also brave rac ist hostility, intensified by Americans special hatred of natives of Haiti). Exemplars of Guinea nevertheless find the pwen useful and valuable. They want to harness the pwen s vitality, but they pretend not to need it. His lyrics lampooned the arrogant conduct of those who claim Guinean pedigree. At the songs denouement, the highhanded Guineans are shamed into reclaim ing and respecting their migrant as one of their own. Guinea and its other, Magic ( Maji ), are the empowering representations of a powerless, peasant community, a way of making sense of and exert ing symbolic control over their history. Their African and Creole ancestors freed themselves in violent revolution against the plantation order of Saint Domingue. The swift establishment of a free-holding peasantry undermined efforts by early independence leaders to force them back onto the planta tions as wage laborers. But the cosmopolitan elite, supported by the state and European patrons, moved to repossess the peasants land. Their encroachment during the late nineteenth century upon the peasants principle weapon in their struggle to stay free made it easier for the new, twentieth-century colonial regime, the United States, to commandeer the peasants labor power, hasten ing their return to the plantation as dependent wage laborers. During the first half of the last century, Haitian labor power benefited American agribusiness in Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic; in the latter part of the century displaced Haitian peasants freely alienated themselves for capital in the
23 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N United States itself. Today the vestigial peasantry survives by raising children for export. Since the land tenure system can no longer reproduce itself, it requires the labor of its migrant proletarians its pwen to remain peasant. A similar ethnographic case is found in Michael Taussigs discussion of The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America (1980). The Cauca Valley site in Columbia is structurally akin to Logane: the population is a reconstituted peasantry (Mintz 1974a) descended mainly from African slaves; intensive foreign capital penetration violently encompassed the peas antry early in this century. Large-scale sugar plantations today employ free mobile laborers who are of peasant origin; they are nominally Catholic. Taussig asserts that the Cauca Valley workers symbolize their incorporation as neophyte proletarians through their notion of the mueco Like pwen mue co s are means of individualistic gain, associated with faceless, migrant wage labor. Mueco s magically confer life-giving force to the petty cash handled by the poor, turning ordinary money (use value) into capital (exchange value). Taussig does not, however, reflect upon how these illicit financial powers can be transformed to reproduce a struggling traditional system. 13 The use of tainted wages, the quintessence of alienation, to energize a sys tem that eschews wage labor seems paradoxical, but it is far from unique. C.A. Gregorys (1982:648) insight that money can change form and function as an instrument of gift exchange has been substantiated across a range of colo nized societies. Incorporated societies have invented ways of ritually purifying tainted wages. When migrant workers returned from the coast to Papua New Guinea, they and their products were made to go through a special rite of pas sage that involved a three-month seclusion in the mens house and culminated in a distribution of the gifts they brought back (Gregory 1982:185). Feeding stands out as a widespread symbolic process of converting money into moral value. Fijians drink cash; a Malaysian community cooks money (Toren 1989, Carsten 1989). As we have seen, feeding is the dominant metaphor for ritual action and the chief means of transforming a pwen into a Guinea spirit. In Johnathan Parry and Maurice Blochs (1989:25) formulation, societies in economic transformation endeavor to control the articulation of two organ ically essential transactional orders. One is a cycle of long-term reproduction associated with morality, substance, the social unit, and the inside analogous to Guinea; the other is a short-term exchange cycle associated with wage labor, competition, and impersonal contracts similar to Magic. Incorporated societie s endeavor to separate the two domains (keeping Magic from contaminating 13. Mueco s, in Taussigs scheme, occupy a fixed place in a rigid dichotomy between use-value and exchange-value, peasants and proletarians, good and evil. Taussigs later work on shamanism and mimesis, which theorizes interplay and appropriation, indirectly addresses this gap in his original and ground-breaking analysis of sorcery and wage labor in South America.
24 KAREN E. RICHMAN Guineas authority), yet they also have to link them because the long term is sustained by the vitality of the short-term cycle (Parry & Bloch 1989:26). Parry and Bloch (1989:26) also discuss the long-term domains anxiety that individual involvement in the short-term cycle will become an end in itself which is no longer subordinated to the reproduction of the larger cycle; or, more horrifying still, that grasping individuals will divert the resources of the long-term cycle for their own short-term transactions. Guinea, in other words, has cause for anxiety toward pwen (migrants) who might exploit their exploitation for their own ends, using the short term to subvert rather than to vitalize the long term. Guineas high-handed treat ment of pwen (the home kins arrogance toward its migrants) is ideologi cally justified by the belief that undisciplined pwen, who are not controlled through ritual feeding become so ravenous they eat up Guineas people instead. But the long-term cycles develop-man (Sahlins 1992) revitaliza tion tactics can go so far as to provoke its pwen to rebel. A comparative example of a societys recourse to a develop-man solu tion to reproducing their traditional ritual system with ever-increasing scale and grandeur only to help usher in the feared Protestant development comes from Central Africa. The similarities between Haitian religious change and the Malawi case described by Karen Fields (1985) cannot be attributed to African retentions (Herskovits 1958, Scott 1991, Palmi forthcoming), but rather to the structural parallels between the encounters of a nonalienated moral economy with colonial capitalism. Confronted with the colonial capital ist disruption of their social and economic relations, Malawi elders used a tra ditional mechanism to exploit the migrant labor of young men hoping to gain enough resources to be able to marry. These young men were understandably receptive to an opportunity to rid themselves of these kin-based obligations to greedy elders. The men were among the first to embrace Christianity, which instituted monogamous marriage as a contract between two autonomous indi viduals and the family as an independent or nuclear unit. TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RAN TS AN D T HEIR TRAN S NA T I O NA L LW A Although they are characterized as ancient, immutable repositories of African tradition, the lwa have shown that, like their children, they, too, can adapt to changing conditions of global reproduction. With so many of their children now living and working over there ( lt b ), these mobile, transnational, African lwa, who have always been travelers in the Haitian imagination, are busier than ever. I once had the opportunity to interview a spirit about her protection of migrants. The female spirit possessed a male ritual leader, who was conducting a healing rite for an absent migrant in the presence of the migrants parents and me. The spirit, whose name is Ezili
25 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N Dant/Our Lady of Lourdes, said to us, Every three days I am in Miami ... I have to keep watch over everything that goes on. Miami is where the core is ( Tou le twa jou m Mayami. F m veye tout sa k pase. Se Mayami noyo a ye ). Miami is where most of the migrants from her Ti Rivy village now reside. Like all of the spirits, whose movements are said to be like the wind, Ezili Dant can instantly traverse these international boundaries to watch over her peripatetic dependants abroad. Spirits are said to protect the migrants. Consider how Ti Chini, a migrant in South Florida introduced above, used the term protection with regard to his patron lwa, named Baron Lakwa: I have my protection here. My protection wont abandon me in anything I could achieve, in anything I could get, its there with me ( M gen pwotj mwen la. Pwotj mwen pa sa kite m menm nan tout sa m te kapab realize, nan tout sa m te kapab genyen, yo la a av m ). Pepe, a gangan ason in Ti Rivy, reinforced Ti Chinis view when he explained to me how the lwa intervene in the lives of their emigrant servitors. Rather than the term protection, Pepe favored verbs deriving from contract: garanti (to warrant, to guarantee) and degaranti (to withdraw a warrant, to undermine). To illustrate the lwa s guaranty, Pepe referred to the case of Lamsi, a resident immigrant of the United States who not only con tributed to the rituals for her lwa but also returned each year to attend them: There are [migrant] people like Lamsi. She always returns to see how the annual service for the lwa is going. She sees how the work is going. It guaranties her. It supports her. It satisfies her. She knows that if she doesnt find anything today, tomorrow shell find. She knows too that if she is employed, she wont be fired for any old reason. Instead of de-guarantying her, it always guaranties her little bonus even higher. Gen moun tankou Lamsi. Li toujou vini pou l w kouman ft la ap pase. Li w jan travay la ap mache, li garanti li. Li apiye li. Li satisf l. Li konnen jodi li pa jwenn, demen lap jwenn. Li konnen tou, si li nan yon travay li pa ka revoke pou nenpt kondisyon. Angiz li degaranti li, li toujou garanti ti bonis li pi ro. As long as an immigrant continues to take care of ( okipe ) her lwa in Ti Rivy, the spirits may reciprocate by guarantying her employment oppor tunities in South Florida. The alternative, in Pepes words, is the option of de-guaranty, whose symptoms cover the range of ailments and disappoint ments commonly experienced by low-wage workers living and laboring in unsanitary, over-crowded, and insecure conditions. Often perceived as streaks of bad luck, these afflictions are typically multistranded: chronic ailments, failure to find and keep employment, accidents, and ominous dreams. Pepe described how an emigrant might be de-guarantied by a lwa :
26 KAREN E. RICHMAN If the person is in a job that pays $200 or $300 [a week], the lwa can make you lose your job. The lwa can make you sick so youll never find work and youll spend everything you saved. The lwa can also make you get into a car accident, lose your job, and make you an alcoholic so that you can never guaranty anything in that country. Si moun nan yon travay l ap touche $200., $300., lwa a gen dwa f ou pedi travay la. Li gen dwa f ou malad pou ou pa janm jwenn travay e ou depanse tout sa ou te genyen. Lwa a tou gen dwa f machin f aksidan avk ou, pedi djb ou, li gen dwa f ou bw rom, kleren pou ou pa garanti oken anyen nan peyi a. The lwa discipline wayward migrants by thwarting ( anpeche ) and de-guar antying them. Pepe claimed that lwa do not only afflict negligent migrants with their own lwa -caused illness ( maladi lwa ), but spirits also indirectly punish migrants by withholding protection from human-caused illness ( maladi moun ), or sorcery. Lwa are said to protect migrants by standing up for ( kanpe pou ) them against sorcerers attacks. But a lwa who feels neglected by her or his chosen heir will leave that person vulnerable to sor cerers sudden aggression. Pepe thus continued, if you [the migrant] aban don them, he said, you are abandoned too. Then you will pow ( Si ou bandonen yo, ou bandonen tou. Epi ou gen dwa plop tou ). There is a seemingly ubiquitous perception that those who dare to bet ter themselves will inevitably become a target of sorcery, killed for what they had achieved. This belief is typical of a peasant moral economys cri tique and containment of capitalist ideology (Weber 1958, Thompson 1963, 1967, Taussig 1980). As economic emissaries or human pwen steeped in the muck of wage labor, migrants provoke deep ambivalence. Indeed some migrants avoid returning home, foregoing the opportunity to convert their tainted wages into moral values, for fear that they will be magically poi soned. Though they can be hit with poisonous powders anywhere in the world, and Ti Rivy natives are believed to have been assailed in Florida, the likelihood is believed to be far greater in Haiti. Migrants premature deaths are often attributed to sorcery. The grieving make sense of the assault on their emissary by finding an answer in sorcery, blaming an accessible rela tive or neighbor instead of the structural violence inflicted by more remote forces against which they are powerless (Lindenbaum 1979, Farmer 1992). But they can exert some symbolic control over a maladi moun by soliciting the help of a counter-sorcerer, if not too late to rescue the afflicted, then in time to take revenge and cut short the life of another emissary before he or she realizes the familys mission abroad. Belief in the spirits control over migrants health and productivity thus immerses migrants, families, and ritual intermediaries back home in the diagnosis of affliction and the quest for a cure. Narratives of spiritual and
27 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N human interference in the migrants productivity circumvent the home fam ilys humiliation and scorn and instead solicit their help and their concern. Mediation of these long-distance crises transforms oppressive, externally imposed conditions into something the migrants and their families back home can control. Thus spiritual and sorcery affliction beliefs and discourse symbolize and reinforce migrants role as emissaries of their families social, economic, and ritual interests. The social norm of generosity and giving to ones capacity influences the view of migrants as the kinsmen with bigger wrists ( pi gwo ponyt ). Migrants are expected to contribute not just to their own but also to their extended familys ever-increasing ritual and secular obligations. As a result, migrants are frequently the victims of vengeful spirits, which only an expiatory, healing rite performed by their home family, regardless of the migrants absence, can assuage. The migrants sponsorship of a feeding of the lwa, whether in person or at a distance, symbolizes the migrants generosity, which in turn diffuses accusations of hoarding that might provoke sorcery. At the same time the migrants gift of wages for ritual purposes buys some sor cery protection from the satisfied spiritual guests at the ritual feeding as well. Through their remittances, migrant wage laborers, the people peasants are pro ducing for export, now guarantee the traditional, peasant ritual economy. MI G RAN TS RE S I ST ANCE AN D CO N V ER S I O N Some Ti Rivy migrants attribute their gradual, if modest, success in the host society to the positive interdependence between their home kin, the lwa and themselves. Dutiful deployment of their bigger wrists for ritual expenditures on the family land in Ti Rivy has resulted in an enhanced guaranty and protection of their productivity in the host society. Regular demonstra tions of generosity to the spirits of their descent groups have solidified their social relations and reputations across their transnational community, modes of productive consumption that are as valuable to a migrants labor repro duction as are investments in land and livestock. But other migrants have met disappointment as they struggle to survive in the lowest rungs of a hostile, discriminatory South Florida economy and, meanwhile, stay healthy. In the background is the frustration of poverty. The migrants are not as successful as they hoped and, in spite of remittances, their families back home are still poor. The migrants frustration is further linked to their perceptions that their families no longer look upon them as people but see them rather as insensate beasts of burden. They slave away in hostile, foreign countries for the sake of people who resent them for having left. Many migrants complained to me that their relatives back home were lazy and just ate up their remittances rather than invest them. Since many in
28 KAREN E. RICHMAN Mayami are working very hard and are still very poor, and expect to recu perate and/or retire in Haiti, they are bitter and worried about their lack of economic security back home. Some migrants are turning to conversion to resist their perceived domina tion by home kin, ritual mediators, and spirits. By converting, they take sym bolic control of their remittances and the terms of their relationships with the home without appearing to reject their kin relations (which are modeled and enforced by beliefs in lwa ). They have rejected their lwa, withdrawn from the system of family ritual obligations, and joined Pentecostal churches. They blame the lwa for being useless to them, for colluding with their families and ritual leaders who exploit them, for turning a blind eye to migrants in need, even though those migrants have sent money for rituals. One of the first of my friends from Ti Rivy to use conversion as a means of rebellion was Ti Chini, whose positive comments on the reciprocal dependence between migrants and lwa His doctrinal switching is similar to Fields (1986) analy sis of the strategic uses of conversion by Malawi migrants to rebel against a system of onerous kinship and ritual obligations made all the more onerous by the elders attempts to counteract the crumbling sources of traditional authority. Ti Chini had considered himself a loyal emissary for family and spirits alike. His familys alleged waste of his remittances, his failure to get ahead, his spate of bad-luck injuries in an orange grove, and a diagnosis of diabetes all despite having sent thousands of dollars for ritual purposes finally pushed him over the edge. When he converted to Protestantism in 1992, he sent me a cassette letter explaining his drastic decision. Well, Karen, here is the reason why I converted. Regardless, I would have converted anyway. How could I be serving lwa for all of these problems to keep on happening to me in both the land of Miami and in the land of Haiti? Why? When a lwa needs to eat, I provide for him/her. If Im [sitting] over here working these lousy jobs, and [my older brother, a gangan ] Se Byen sends word that hes going to do such and such work in Haiti, like it or not, I have to send off $200 or $300. Why? For the lwa And then, after Ive done all that work, who should have the biggest problems but me. Look how long Ive been in another country working. I could just tell you, someone would think I must have something wrong with me, because whenever I have money in my hands, I dont know what to do with it ... Why? I am standing here today. In one year alone, Karen, I sponsored a service at home. It cost me $1,500. I tell you up until the present I still owe [a man from Ti Rivy]. I still havent been able to pay off the money for that service. Does that mean you have lwa ? For me to have done all those things for the lwa for you to watch me borrowing to feed you, and slaving away at picking tree fruit to raise the money, well, as far as Im concerned, there are no lwa anymore. My life is in Gods hands. My life is in the hands
29 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N of the Eternal. My life is not in the hands of the lwa You understand? My life is in the hands of God. My life is not in the hands of the lwa I remove myself from lwa I remove myself from Satan. Now I am in the hands of God. All of my being is in the hands of the Eternal. And thats why I con verted, Karen. It has given me a respite ... Anben, Kalin, men pou tt, rezon ki f m konvti. Nenpt ki jan, f m te konvti kanmenm. M pa sa gen m ap svi lwa pou tout pwoblem sa yo pede rive m nan peyi Mayami, kil peyi Dayiti. Sa k f sa, l lwa bzwen manje, mwen bay li. Si kankou map chita la, m ap f vye dyb isi, Se Byen voye di m l ap f tl travay Ayiti, vle pa vle, f m jwenn $200, $300 pou m voye ale. Pou ki sa? Pou lwa. L m fini, l m fini f travay sa yo, ki moun pou ta genyen pi gwo pwoblem, se mwen menm. Gade dat m antre nan youn peyi m ap travay. M ta km di ou, ou a di son bagay mwen genyen, depi son kb ki antre nan menm, pou m pa w sa pou m f ave l... Sa k f sa, men mwen, men jodi a m kanpe la. Gen yon ane k nsl, Kalin, m f yon svis lakay. Li koute m $1500. Ma di ou Jiska mentnan m dwe Silien. Kb svis Jiska mentnan m poko kapab fin peye l. At, ou gen lwa? Pou m f tout bagay sa pou lwa, pou ou w m prete, pou m ba ou manje, l fini se redi an ba redi pou m ap keyi grenn bwa pou m sanble pou m peye lajan an. Anben, mwen, si se pou mwen, m pa nan lwa ank. Lwa m nan menm Bondye. Vi m nan men Leternl. Vi m pa nan men lwa. Ou konprann? Vi m nan men Bondye. Vi m pa nan men lwa. M retire m nan lwa. M retire m nan Satan. Kouniye a m nan men Blondie. Tout fs mwen nan men Letnl. Anben se sak f, Kalin, mwen konvti. Sa ban mwen yon reposite ... It seems obvious from Ti Chinis bitter letter that resistance to ritual exploita tion, rather than firm conviction in the superiority of Protestant doctrine, was the reason Ti Chini converted to Protestantism. His periodic confirmations of confidence in the Protestants God (and rejection of Satan) did not stand on their own; they were, instead, set against repudiations of his ungrateful, fickle spirits. Conversion is a strategy migrants have used to resist their perceived roles as exploited emissaries for kin and spirits. For some it is a temporary move. Ti Chini, for example, backslid into Catholicism (and serving lwa ) after the drastic move got his familys attention and the conversion failed to pro tect him from further affliction. His wife, Maxia, who had stayed in Haiti, also shifted between the two religious and healing options. After Ti Chini succumbed to his illness, which was attributed to sorcery against an ambi tious migrant, she also got ill. She, too, suspected sorcery, which she felt as a shadow hovering over her. She joined a Protestant congregation and the conversion brought her relief from the persecution. The dead spirit ( m ) the agent of a sorcerer, left her alone, and she painlessly abandoned the Protestants. It (Protestantism) didnt interest me anymore, was how she explained her strategic return to Catholicism and serving lwa
30 KAREN E. RICHMAN Maxias practical religious logic helps to explain the apathy of some Catholics (who serve their lwa ) toward Protestant converts like herself. Catholics tolerance of Protestants also underscores the extent to which the opposition to Protestantism is a creation of the Pentecostals themselves (Conway 1976:252). Catholics who serve their lwa on the other hand, con front fewer contradictions openly turning to Protestantism in times of health crisis. Indeed as Roger Dorsainville, a mid-century Baptist theologian, keenly observed (cited in Pressoir 1942:5), a gangan (or manbo ) will occasionally advise conversion. Having exhausted his or her own spiritual resources, a gan gan or manbo may suggest that a desperate patient visit a Protestant healer, for which conversion is a requirement of treatment. Such an honest admission of failure by a gangan or manbo can only enhance professional credibility. In the case of the urgent quest to save my late godchild, whose nickname was Alimt (Match), a similar ideological flexibility prevailed. Alimt was sixteen when she died in 2000. She grew up in a household headed by her paternal grandparents that included her parents and her siblings. Her late paternal grandfather, Joiecius, was a gangan ason and he has been succeede d in the role by his son, Alimts father. Alimt had been chronically ill for many years, despite the interventions of her grandfather and a series of bio medical doctors, including a surgeon. Thus when her maternal grandmother, who is Protestant, approached her paternal family and asked to take her away to enter her in Protestantism, they agreed, knowing that conversion was a requisite part of the therapy. When their Protestant in-laws failed to cure her, they bore them no ill will. An important aspect of Alimts Protestant maternal kins determined efforts to save her life is their pragmatic concern for results before religious conviction. The depth of Alimts Protestant con viction was not a factor in her treatment. Indeed, conversion, which is a pre requisite for Pentecostal healing, may proceed without the agents conscious participation (Conway 1976:252). The role of conversion in the quest for therapy is widely reported in the literature on conversion in Latin America, which only underscores the extent to which these popular religions are cults of affliction and healing for whom doctrinal boundaries are there to be transgressed (Ireland 1993). Among the most well-known narratives of conversion to Pentecostalism is Sidney Mintzs (1960) account of the life of Don Taso, whose conversion was prompted by a health crisis. Mintz admits at the outset that the study was a sort of quest for scholarly therapy, addressing Mintzs need to explain Tasos sudden, seemingly rash religious change and his subsequent bid for a rationalized, self-centered life. The parallels between my study and Mintzs are obvious, from the conversion of a key consultant to analyzing religious conversion to modernity in a Marxian and Weberian mode.
31 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N PR OT E ST AN T MA G IC AN D IMM U NI TY The tactical use of conversion as rebellion is described in the literature on Haitian ritual practice. Alfred Mtraux (1953, 1959) noted the use of conver sion as an act of revolt against lwa more than half a century ago, before the postwar expansion of Pentecostals in the country. Mtraux explained how the act of conversion represented a magic circle of protection from discipline by lwa He quoted what a Marbial person told him: If you want the ( lwa ) to leave you in peace, become a Protestant. Mtraux added the insight that No doubt it is the challenging attitude adopted by Protestants towards the ( lwa ) which has finally convinced the peasants that this religion confers upon its adepts a sort of supernatural immunity (Mtraux 1959:352). Mtrauxs analysis of the instrumental use of conversion closely echoed the internal Protestant critique. The Haitian Protestant theologian, Roger Dorsainville, had previously lamented that a true conviction and pro found commitment to be saved were rarely the reason people converted. Protestantism, he asserted, is pursued as a superior wanga [magical power], the pastor is like a more powerful sorcerer ( LEvangile est also recherch comme ouanga suprieur, le prdicateur est comme un bocor puissant ) (quoted in Pressoir 1942:8). The magic circle also protects the convert from very real fear of sorcery, a social weapon long used by peasants throughout the world to limit individualism and greed and enforce reciprocity. The appeal of Protestantism as the antidote to pre-existing forms of sor cery reverberates with analyses of many colonized and missionized African societies. In Malawi, the Watchtower sect entered as a new witchcraft erad ication movement, offering total inoculation to anyone who converted. As Karen Fields (1985) explains, Protestant conversion offered an escape route for young migrant men from an increasingly onerous traditional system. I have often heard the perception of conversion as strategic defense against sorcery. Denise, who migrated to South Florida from Ti Rivy told me after her conversion in the mid-1990s, As soon as you convert, nothing can harm you ( Depi ou konvti, anyen pa ka f ou ). Her new religion has neither replaced nor diminished her belief in the reality of sorcerers powers but rather per suaded her that it offers the most protective armor against evil forces. Catholics (who serve their lwa ) I interviewed nonetheless refuse to accept the explanation that conversion is merely an escape from sorcery. They argue the opposite: conversion is a license to sorcery. People convert precisely so they can do wanga (konvti pou yo kapab f wanga menm ). Converts switch their religious costume so that they can make money illicitly, money they wont have to share or redistribute, and they do it with impunity. Converts think that their sober, separatist behavior will pre-empt accusations of patronizing gangan so that they can secretly pursue magic and sorcery while removing themselves from obligations to a social and ritual redistribution system which serving lwa necessarily entails.
32 KAREN E. RICHMAN It is widely suspected that converts secretly patronize gangan for pri vate magic or sorcery. While living in a Ti Rivy village, I had been curious about the strangers who occasionally walked into the compound I shared with a matrilineal extended family. They would ask for Joiecius, the gangan ason I finally asked the ritual leader who those strangers were. Theyre Protestants, he told me, as if I were the only one who didnt already know that obvious fact, they come from the capital city. Pepe, the gangan ason who commented about the migrants guaranty and de-guaranty, also frankly admitted to me that many of his clients are Protestants. He quickly dismissed my query about the Protestants offer of strong protection against sorcery. If they say they convert so nothing can harm them, he responded, then why do they come to see gangan ? And why do they have sacred things hidden in their houses? In a curious echo of Dorsainvilles 1940s lament about converts seeking stronger wanga from Protestant pastors, Pepe further asserted that Pastors get wanga (charms and spells) and dyab (money-making powers) which they plant at the front of their yards so when foreign missionaries pass by they will notice them and give them money and send them to the States. They have to fill their churches to satisfy their sponsors. And they are good talkers, too. Pepe thus echoed Joieciuss (and others) charge that Its a business; its so they can make money ( Se yon biznis; se pou yo f kb ). The gangan ason s disclosures about their Protestant clients of course draw attention to the contradiction that these stewards of authentic Guinea communal rituals that model mutuality also prepare private magic for ambi tious individuals. The ritual professionals openly serve with two hands the two sorts of houses they manage, one for lwa These houses are conspicuously located in nearby or adjacent yards. And during rituals, where others become vessels for the spirits, who can voice social criticisms in a licensed performative frame, typically through songs, they make themselves vulnerable to be criticized for taking advantage of others. The communal license to playfully resist the gangan ason ultimately reproduces the gangan ason s authority. Neither Joie, Pepe, nor any other gangan ason I interviewed admitted to me that the pastors command of wanga was a threat to their own. Protestant incursion may not have diminished the gangan s private trade as sorcerers and counter-sorcerers. But in the safe context of ritual, they have admitted the existence of the Protestant threat. I have twice noted that gan gan ason (other than Joie or Pepe) publicly lament a decline in attendance at rituals that seemed nonetheless to draw crowds of people. In one instance, Emile, a ritual leader, addressed the spirit, Ezili Dant, who had mounted a person at a large feeding in her honor, complained, Everyone around here is converting. There are only a few of us left, but well never stop serving the lwa. The gangan ason might have added, with the help of our migrant emissaries as long as they dont convert.
33 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N THE PR OT E ST AN T DYAB The pastors sermons heard in Palm Beach Countys evangelical Haitian churches substantiate Dorsainvilles charge that converts value their new faith for delivering a superior wanga . As for being more powerful sorcerers, the ministers do not manipulate objects, but the instant reward and magical protection they offer rhetorically is as efficacious as the magical words that sorcerers utter when they manufacture wanga They are skilled preachers who charm their flock with their relaxed, accessible style, vivid narratives, and wit (and contradict thereby the stereotype of the stern pastor). Congregants howl with laughter as they glimpse their own disavowed practices from a safe distance in the words and mimicry of the pastors sermons. The orators cap tivate parishioners with miraculous stories of persons who converted and the next day discovered checks for $100,000 in their mailboxes. A sermon by one LEglise de Dieu pastor during an evening prayer service, for example, was a remarkably straightforward approbation of migrants newfound liberation from the burdens of their former moral economy. The sermon, which he deliv ered in October 2000, had an indelible refrain. It was rendered in the oddly graceful mixture of Creole and English that is typical of Haitian immigrants speech: Jezi set nou free (Jesus sets us free). What did he mean by freedom? If he implied spiritual freedom, it was only in an indirect sense, as he continued to explain in Creole-English: Free de pwoblem ou free de soufrans ou free de dt ou dwe yo (Free of your problems, free of your suffering, free of the debts you owe). Jesus liberates you from your pecuniary obligations to send your wages back home. Jesus frees converts from the system of obligations tying them to their lineage, their spiritual legacy and their inherited land. Fidelity to Jesus liberates you from your obligations to contribute to rituals back home, which are major mechanisms for sharing and redistributing resources among kin. The moral ity of hoarding is reconfigured. Now, it is good to keep the money in your own pocket. It is even better to go and spend the money rationally buying food for the children at the corporate chain supermarket as opposed to wast ing it foolishly on leisurely pleasures. Havent you noticed people who are working three jobs so they can send money back home to feed the devil? As long as you understand the Bible, your money will stay in your pocket [places his right hand on his right pants pocket]. You dont send it off; you go to the Winn-Dixie with it. The WinnDixie is beautiful [nice]. You can buy nice food for your children there. Ou pa w mounki travay 3 dyb pou yo kapab voye lajan bay dyab manje. Depi nou konprann Bib la, lajan nou rt nan poch ou. Ou pa voye li ale; ou pral nan Winn Dixie av l. Winn Dixie bl, nou kapab achte bl manje pou ti moun nou yo
34 KAREN E. RICHMAN What does he mean by devil (dyab) ? The devil is the other in this righteous discourse, a diffuse, catch-all term for anything connoting the old religion. It confounds categories that people who serve the lwa care fully distinguish. The misuse of the term equates the anthropomorphic spirits of descent groups ( lwa ) who hail from the mythical time of Guinea ( Ginen ) with illicit powers manipulated by sorcerers. It is a superpwen a purchased (as opposed to inherited) magical power in its most antisocial and lethal form. The Creole term dyab which derives from the French diable retains the old French meanings. Dyab is a symbolic representation of impersonal contracts forged between ambitious, antisocial individuals. The devil is a power that you buy. It makes money fast, pure capital, which distinguishes itself from savings because it reproduces itself (as opposed to converting commodities into capital) and does so through evil means: steal ing life from humans and animals to vitalize money. But it is difficult to keep devils in check. They inevitably turn on their masters or their mas ters progeny. Indeed a contract is said to be made of an exchange of human life for money growth for a certain period of profit whose final payment is death. Corresponding representations of the theft of human life to make illicit money grow comes from the reluctant proletarians of the Cauca Valley, Colombia (Taussig 1980). Notably, the LEglise de Dieu pastor drew upon his own extensive knowl edge of ordinary, superstitious belief and practice both to give them mean ing and to mock them. His portrayals drew hoots of knowing laughter. He did not seek, therefore, to deny the existence of dyab; he instead offered his faith as its most powerful antidote, a magic circle of protection. If you believe in Jesus, dyab cannot touch you. But this pastors sermon was particularly focused on proving how a Protestants faith could protect him or her from the financial costs of being afflicted or associated with dyab The devil cant touch you as long as you know the Bible. There are people who have zonbi on them. [Zonbi are mobile powers manipulated by sor cerers and sent on victims.] They pay $2,500 to remove them. There was another man, the devil took him. The person who was treating him made him stand on all fours, as if he were a cow or a horse. [Bursts of laughter in the pews.] This is a serious thing, you know, dont laugh. They hit him; he bled. [More howls, and another admonishment not to laugh because it was real.] They put a bridle in his mouth, and injured his mouth, and made him walk around like that so the devil would leave him. But as long as you know Jesus, you dont have to do things like that. Dyab pa ka manyen ou depi ou konn Bib la. Gen moun ki gen zonbi sou li (ki peye konbyen mil dola pou l kite l) Gen yon moun, dyab la pran. Yo mete l sou kat pye tankou bf. Yo bal kou, san koule. Yo mete brid nan bouch li, blese bouch li, f l mache kon sa pou dyab la kite li. Men depi ou kon Jezi, ou pa bezwen f bagay sa yo.
35 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N Next, the pastor told the story of a destitute and desperate man who, like the hero in the Jack and the Beanstalk fable, gave his last $100 to a group of Christians who were singing on a street corner. He instantly made $100,000, which conveniently had been earlier cited as the cost today of a college edu cation for a child. Ironically, the preachers central message appropriates the very same images that make doing wanga buying dyab illicit: individual ambition, money that grows by itself. The man didnt have anything. His children were hungry. He took his last $100 and was going to a store to buy food for his family. On the way he saw people gathered who were singing [hymns]. He gave them the $100. When he got back home, his wife asked him what he bought with the m oney. He told her, we have to talk about something. He told her he gave the money away. She said, what? The next day he received a check for $100,000. Misy pat gen anyen. Pitit li te grangou. Li jwenn $100. Lal yon kote, li we moun k ap reini. Li ba yo $100. L tounen lakay madanm nan mande ki sa l achte ak kb la. Le di nou gen yon bagay pou nou pale. Li di li bay moun kb la. Li di,ki sa?? Nan demen li resevwa yon chk pou $100,000. The story ended without a suggestion of how the man should consume or distribute the riches. The assumption is that the money will be saved to make more money. The Spirit of Capitalism is manifest in the pastors words: the idea of the duty of the individual toward the increase of his capital, which is assumed as an end in itself (Weber 1958:51) and man is domi nated by the making of money (Weber 1958:53). This silence about moral use of the discovered wealth contrasts with the discourse of serving lwa with its emphasis on sharing, giving to ones capacity, and reciprocity, as well as its incessant critique and containment of individualism and greed, which are graphically symbolized in the imagery of dyab Ironically, the Protestants discourse sacralizes acquisition of instant rewards and private gain, the very means associated with immorality and sorcery. The American exemplar of this witchcraft, according to Max Weber, is Benjamin Franklin. Weber begins The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism with citations from Franklins autobiography in which the col orless deist recounts the story of his conversion to [utilitarian] virtues (Weber 1958:52-53). Weber emphasizes Franklins blithe application of met aphors of biological reproduction to money. Remember that money is of the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turn is six, turned again it is seven and threepence and so on (Franklin, quoted in Weber 1958:49). Weber compares Franklins logic to sorcery, and he quotes a mid-nineteenth century satire, Picture of American Culture They make tallow out of cattle and money out of men (Krnberger 1855, quoted in Weber 1958:51).
36 KAREN E. RICHMAN This Puritan devil is the very kind of sorcerers power that the communal morality associated with lwa repudiates. But now it is cloaked and authorized through bodily practices of restraint: abstinence from secular music, dancing, drinking and smoking, modesty in dress, and austerity in sexual relations; in other words, monogamous marriage within an autonomous nuclear family unit, unfettered by ties to lineages. As migrants resist their perceived exploi tation by kin and lwa by turning away from this moral economy, they can reorient themselves toward the acquisitive spirit of the Protestant American dream. An uplifting song intoned at LEglise de Dieu prayer services cap tures this ethic. The first verse states, Depi Jezi adopte mwen, mwen se yon milyon (Since Jesus adopted me, I am a millionaire). GE D E AN D T HE PA STO R The Protestants ascetic posture and their assertive attitude may not fool nonconverts, but non-converts are disinclined to challenge them publicly. Norms of graciousness and indirection prevail, and few are willing to give someone an incentive to retaliate public humiliation through sorcery and/or political per secution. The trickster lwa, Gede, is the one agent who publicly takes on the arrogant and self-righteous, and the figure of the pretentious, sober pastor is a handy target of Gedes wicked mockery. Brown (1991:330) describes Gede as a transformation artist who redefines the most painful situation even death itself as worth one good laugh. Protestants pretensions of their virtuous lack of sexual desire and female inhibition make them ideal fodder for Gede and his audience who do not believe in childhood sexual innocence or protecting children from sexuality. When asked to draw a picture of a human being, the children portray people with genitalia. As for virginity, parents care less about a young womans protection of her purity than her strategic deployment or fool ish waste of her sexual resource, sometimes referred to as the little square of land, between her legs (Lowenthal 1987, Richman 2002). At one ceremony I attended, which coincides with the Catholic fte of All Souls Day at the end of October, a male Gede spirit had mounted a senior woman named Claris. Once the Gede arrived in her body, he was re-costumed in denim, a triangular hat, and spectacles a hilarious disguise. Someone con veniently handed Gede a little Bible, and he took on the persona of a sober pastor. Now pastor-Gede-Claris stood, encircled by an attentive crowd, the Bible, spread open, cupped in one hand, his index finger alternately stabbing at the words on the pages and piercing the air to emphasize his points. The pastor taught us what the Good book said. Out poured a deluge of rhyming sexual profanity, followed by an unbridled give and take in vulgarity between the ridiculous minister and his sanctified congregation.
37 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N This hilarious scene was a cathartic reformulation of a tense situation. The social drama (Turner 1957) underlying the performance turned on the conspicuous absence of two connected beings: a spirit and a kinswoman who was the spirits favorite horse. I learned about Josilia Calixte from conversa tions with members of her extended family and with Erika Bourguignon, the anthropologist who conducted ethnography in her village in the late 1940s, as well as from written accounts by Bourguignon (1976), Odette MennessonRigaud (1951), and Alfred Mtraux (1959). These various sources concurred in portraying Josilia as a big servitor. She was the paternal niece of the big priest-shaman at the shrine, a healer in her own right, and a successful transnational migrant. She had just renounced the spirits of her lineage and converted. For nearly four decades, her patron spirit and Clariss had danced together in the heads of their horses. They had been a reliably spectacu lar duo at the annual December rites known as maji (magic), during which the pounding of powders in a giant mortar goes on without pause throughout the night accompanied by non-stop ritual drumming, dancing, and singing. Now, a month before the approach of the annual rites, the timing of Gedes commentary on Protestantism was deliberate. Everyone was aware that without Josilia, the ceremony would be lacking. (Indeed when I returned to the temple for the start of the annual rites, the priest [Josilias paternal cousin] said drearily to no one in particular, There is no one left to dance [at the service] ... everyone has converted [ nan pwen moun pou danse ... denye moun konvti ]). Gedes imitation of the evangelists feigned Puritanical restraint was one way for her ritual community to reframe the immediate crisis of Josilias conversion and to defuse their disappointment with vulgar humor. This complex reality was made visible in the mimetic interplay of three selves: Claris, who had lost her partner in mime, became possessed by the naughty spirit, Gede, who, in turn, became an ascetic and hypocritical pastor. Gedes conversion to ascetic Protestantism was her cover. GedeClariss ribald humor uncovered the pretense and exposed the sexual and material appetites hidden under the pastors sober guise. Gede-Clariss mimicry crystallized the contradictions exploding in the scandal involving the first Haitian pastor in Delray Beach, which I followed through interviews with Catholics, Protestants, and clergy, as well as news paper articles and court transcripts. Pastor Millien, who established him self as the definitive steward of new Haitian immigrants adjustment, was described in the local newspaper as the charismatic and revered leader and something of a cultural guru. According to the report, Millien is a pastor who oversees all aspects of his congregations life, including whom parish members can date (and marry) and when they can go on vacation. He guides immigrants carefully into American society, overseeing their negotiations when they rent an apartment or buy a car. 14 14. Scott Gold, Pastor Guilty of Molesting Girl, South Florida Sun Sentinel October 28, 1998.
38 KAREN E. RICHMAN My interviews with local Haitian clergy and lay people confirmed Pastor Milliens involvement with new immigrants adjustment to basic consumer practices in the host societys economy. The Pastor indeed helped wean Haitian immigrants of their old saving habits which did not include banking or interestbearing accounts but rather rotating credit groups ( eso ) and asking trusted oth ers to hold money for them. The sums could be quite large (up to $75,000) as a result of the pooling of money by eso Reverend Millien helped immigrants establish bank accounts, but instead of assigning the church as a beneficiary of the accounts, he was named the joint owner. People who later discovered that their funds had been withdrawn by the joint owner had no legal recourse to recover their money. While shepherding the migrants Americanization, Pastor Millien offered to protect them from the immoral effects of that pro cess. Congregants were instructed, for example, to bring their televisions to the church, and one day he held an outdoor TV-smashing event to rid the con gregation of a pernicious source of licentious and disrespectful influences (but perhaps also to pre-empt competition with Reverend Ike and other prosperity gospel televangelists. The rumor among non-Protestants was that the televi sions wound up for sale in Reverend Milliens store in Port-au-Prince.) As for disciplining children, he was seen by many congregants to be more capable in parenting than parents. Teenage girls spent weeks, even months living in his household under his and his wifes authority. Several young women said that they considered him more of a parent than their own parents. 15 Reverend and Mrs. Millien oversaw the girls bodily purity as well. Mrs. Millien testified that she escorted the girls to doctors offices for gynecologi cal exams. Yet Pastor Millien was the final authority on their chastity. He personally determined their virginity, and in some cases, its forfeiture. The girls were mum about the assaults until one disclosed to her future husband that she was no longer a virgin. He reported the case to the police. Two others subsequently came forward to reveal that they had also been tested by the pastor. In 1998, Reverend Millien was tried and convicted of sexual activity with a minor and was sentenced to eleven years in prison by Circuit Court Judge Howard Berman. But in a subsequent trial before the same judge, his attorneys questioned the use of the sentencing guidelines and his sentence was reduced to five and a half years, which he began serving in April 2001. 16 The scandal involving Pastor Millien has been the topic of local Palm Beach County news (television and newspaper), Creole radio programs, and much conversation since it first broke out in 1998. One version of the story circu lating among local Haitians about Milliens conviction for child molestation 15. Scott Gold, Pastor Guilty of Molesting Girl, South Florida Sun Sentinel October 28, 1998. 16. State of Florida v. Joseph Millien, Case 01-1759Cf A02. October 26, 1998, West Palm Beach.
39 CO N V ER S I O N, CA P I T A L, AN D HAI T IAN TRAN S NA T I O NA L MI G RA T I O N was that a new bride was discovered not to have been the Protestant virgin she pretended to be. The family had sworn to the groom and his relatives that the girl had had no previous relations with men; they and the pastor had surveilled her closely. Then she revealed that the man who had sex with her when she was fifteen years old was the minister himself. Milliens transgressions are not presented here as representative of pastors sexual immorality, but rather the consummation of the contradictory gospel of money saving and bodily abstinence. Gedes mockery of the pastor indis creetly exposes what may lie underneath the facade of the sober, Puritanical stance: vulgar and wanton desire for money. These contradictions are not lost on non-converted Haitians in Palm Beach County. Catholics discussing the scandal therefore regretted that the pastor was not brought to justice for his hypocritical theft of the process of orienting new Haitian immigrants to modern, American routines of banking, and car and home ownership. But they took solace in the disgrace of a visye a cheat who was caught and pun ished for his plans to protect of their young females bodies from the effects of mastering the American and Protestant model of success. A pithy description of a fictional Protestant sorcerer, which was cited at the beginning of this paper, refers to a minor character in All Men are Mad by Philippe Thoby-Marcelin and Pierre Marcelin (1970), is a wicked, insightful satire of religious hypocrisy and cynical uses of conversion. The novel is set during the hapless antisuperstition campaign in Haiti during the 1940s. The pastors qualities reflect the themes reported here: modest formal dress, bible always in hand, a skilled talker and mimic, strategic use of conversion after a crisis, missionary training in Port-au-Prince and the United States, and his success as an adversary of the beliefs he knows so well. Writing in the 1960s, the Marcelins did not predict the next step in changing structure of Haitians encompassment by capital, to which the entrepreneurial pastors like Reverend Millien would quickly adapt: the boatloads of adult children of ruined peas ants sailing from Haiti to South Florida between 1978 and 1982. These more powerful (Protestant) sorcerers extend migrants considering rebellion from their role as human pwen immunity to the discipline of gangan and lwa They arouse the prospect of instant money that is the reward for conversion to the virtues of utility, individualism, and limitless accumulation. CO NC LUS I O N While the processes causing Haitian migrants to turn to evangelical Protestantism are not unique, Haitians interpretations of their conversions are. The forms that North American Pentecostal Protestantism provides are filled with indigenous concerns, images, and morality. For the Haitian transmigrants described here, the ready content is migrants existing ambivalence about
40 KAREN E. RICHMAN independence versus obligations to kin (including spirits), a tension inher ent in the moral opposition between Guinea and Magic, between serving inherited lwa and pursuing individual pwen, wanga and dyab This tension is a symbolic reformulation of free-holding peasants inauspicious encounter with development, a process that has turned them into producers not of food but of people for export. The rhetoric of sermons and songs converts a safe space for discursivel y engaging this ambivalence. Far from making a clean break with Vodou, or forgetting about the tension between Guinea and Magic, lwa and dyab or between mutuality and individual ambition, Protestant discourse makes them hyperreal. As the masterful orators demonstrate in their mimicry of non-coverts, they are all too familiar with the details. This rhetoric constantl y invokes the Catholic-Vodou other, all the while collapsing the others dichotomy between lwa and dyab and dismissing it all as devil worship. The rigid armor Protestants wear through sober, separatist behavior is in fact porous. As congregants laugh at the pastors fantastic tales of ridiculous exorcizing treatments, for which migrants waste their precious wages, in rec ognition of their own repressed practices, they are vicariously participating in the ritual which they will then disavow. Birgit Meyers (1999) analysis of Pentecostal conversion among the Ewe in Ghana offers striking similarities to this study. Meyer argues that Ewes appropriation of missionary Pietism depends a great deal on the image of the devil. Converts translate the devil to return to what they conceive of as their past, which they will then methodically renounce. In a ritual frame, converts can return to what they represent as their past and from which they eventually want to disassociate themselves. This ritualized return to and subsequent rupture from the past is a need evoked by people s wish to pro ceed, for, as we have seen, modernity for Ewe Christians is highly ambiva lent because it entails a great number of conflicts both within and between people (Meyer 1999:214). Haitians pragmatic orientation toward religion offers a symbolic idiom for controlling their incorporation in broader and unequal systems. Through their empowering narratives of affliction and healing and conversion and deconversion, actors reiterate that they are not powerless. They can act posi tively to interpret and affect their fates. Doctrinal boundaries are transgressed by this deeper commitment to an immanent, instrumental view. Religious agents affiliate passingly with evangelical churches; they convert and they also backslide. Stoll (1993:9) argues that insufficient attention has been paid to the many ex-Protestants like, Maxia, partner of Ti Chini, who justified ending her flirtation with Protestantism by saying to me, it wasnt interest ing to me anymore. Jean-Pierre Bastians critique of the misplaced fundamentalism in scholar l y analysis is relevant to Haitian religious conversion and de-con
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44 KAREN E. RICHMAN NICH OLLS, DA V I D 1979. From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race Colour, and National Independence in Haiti New York: Cambridge University Press. PA L MI ST E P HAN forthcoming. Creolization and its Discontents. Annual Review of Anthropology Palo Alto CA: Annual Reviews. PARR Y, JO NA T HAN & MA U RICE BLO CH 1989. Introduction: Money and the Morality of Exchange. I n Jonathan Parry & Maurice Bloch (eds.), Money and the Morality of Exchange Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-32. PEE L, J.D.Y ., 1994. Historicity and Pluralism in some Recent Studies of Yoruba Religion. Africa 64:150-66. PO R T E S, AL EJAN D R O & AL E X ST E P ICK 1993. City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press. PO R T E S, AL EJAN D R O & JO HN WA LTO N 1981. Labor, Class, and the International System Orlando FL: Academic Press. PRE SSO IR, CA TS 1942. Ltat actuel des missions protestantes en Hati. Confrence Prononce au Dimanche de la Bible, LEglise St. Paul, Haiti, December 13. [Pamphlet.] RICHMAN, KAREN 1992. They Will Remember Me in the House: The Pwen of Haitian Transnational Migration. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia, Charlottesville. , 2002. Miami Money and the Home Gal. Anthropology and Humanism 27(2):119-32. , 2005. Migration and Vodou Gainesville: University Press of Florida. RO MAIN, CHAR L E S 1986. Le protestantisme dans la socit hatienne Port-au-Prince: Henri Deschamps. ROUS E, ROG ER 1992. Making Sense of Settlement: Class Transformation, Cultural Struggle, and Transnationalism among Mexican Migrants in the United States. In Linda Basch, Nina Glick-Schiller & Cristina Blanc-Szanton (eds.), Towards a Transnational Perspective on Migration: Race, Class, Ethnicity and Nationalism Reconsidered New York: New York Academy of Sciences pp. 25-52. SAH L IN S, MAR S HA LL 1992. The Economics of Develop-Man in the Pacific. Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 21:13-25. SC OTT, DA V I D 1991. That Event, This Memory, Notes on an Anthropology of African Diasporas in the New World. Diaspora 1:261-84. ST E P ICK, AL E X 1998. Pride Against Prejudice: Haitians in the United States Boston: Allyn and Bacon. STOLL, DA V I D, 1993. Introduction: Rethinking Protestantism in Latin America. In Vivian Garrard-Burnett & David Stoll (eds.), Rethinking Protestantism in Latin America Philadelphia: Temple University Press, pp. 1-19. TA USS I G, MICHAE L 1980. The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
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New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008):47-96 RIK V AN W E L IE S LAVE T RADING AND S LAVERY IN THE D UTCH C OLONIAL E MPIRE : A GLOBAL C OMPARISON IN T R ODU C T I O N From the early seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century, slavery played a fundamental role in the Dutch colonial empire. 1 All overseas possessions of the Dutch depended in varying degrees on the labor of slaves who were imported from diverse and often remote areas. Over the past decades numer ous academic publications have shed light on the history of the Dutch Atlantic slave trade and of slavery in the Dutch Americas. 2 These scholarly contribu tions, in combination with the social and political activism of the descen dants of Caribbean slaves, have helped to bring the subject of slavery into the national public debate. The ongoing discussions about an official apology for the Dutch role in slavery, the erection of monuments to commemorate that history, and the inclusion of some of these topics in the first national history canon are all testimony to this increased attention for a troubled past. 3 To some this recent focus on the negative aspects of Dutch colonial history has already gone too far, as they summon the countrys glorious past to instill a 1. I would like to thank David Eltis, Pieter Emmer, Henk den Heijer, Han Jordaan, Gerrit Knaap, Gert Oostindie, Alex van Stipriaan, Jelmer Vos, and the anonymous reviewers of the New West Indian Guide for their many insightful comments. As usual, the author remains entirely responsible for any errors. This article is an abbreviated version of a chapter writ ten for the Migration and Culture in the Dutch Colonial World project at KITLV. Readers interested in a fuller discussion of Dutch colonial slavery in the VOC domain, as well as a more extensive list of relevant sources, should consult Van Welie forthcoming. 2 This historiography is far too extensive to warrant mentioning here. A few recent works representing the major scholars in the field that are used here are Postma 1990, Van Stipriaan 1993, Oostindie 1995, Den Heijer 1997, Klooster 1997, Emmer 2000, Jordaan 2003. 3. See Oostindie 1999, 2008 for some insightful readings on this current struggle with the Dutch slavery past.
48 RIK V AN WE L IE new sense of pride and patriotism instead of political correctness in the Dutch. 4 And while the Dutch premier Jan Peter Balkenende should perhaps be given the benefit of the doubt for his call for a return to the VOC men tality after all, there were plenty of inspiring aspects to the history of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) it nevertheless demonstrated a lack of tact and historical understanding. 5 This continued admiration for the VOC signals that the Dutch historical imagination still connects most negative aspects of colonialism with the his tory of the West India Company (WIC) and its Caribbean possessions. That slavery also played a prominent role in the VOC domain has seemingly been forgotten. This public ignorance merely reflects the state of academic scholar ship on the subject. Slavery has never been a fashionable topic among histori ans of the VOC, and its general absence in the literature is not an exclusively Dutch phenomenon either. In fact, the historiography of Indian Ocean World slavery in general is still in an embryonic stage. Fortunately, propelled by the recent efforts of a small number of historians, we are learning more about the nature of European colonial slavery in the East and can begin, in the words of one of these scholars, to unsilence this part of our history and re-Orient the historiographical imbalance in slavery studies (Vink 2003:135). 6 Whenever the topic of slavery is discussed in contemporary society, an instinctively defensive reaction has been to claim that it was always a natural and widely accepted institution among human beings, and that even the toler ant Dutch were unaware of its moral wrongs until the abolitionist movement emerged in the late eighteenth century. A closer look, however, reveals that argumentation is deceiving at best. First of all, the early modern Dutch and 4. Dutch politician Rita Verdonks inaugural speech (April 3, 2008) for her political movement Trots op Nederland (TON, Proud of the Netherlands), lamented the pres ence of an anti-Dutch culture in the Netherlands which seeks to erect slave monuments all over the place in order to depict us as evil. The fact that she, as a cabinet minister (of immigration), was verbally harassed at a commemoration at the national slavery monu ment in Amsterdam a few years earlier may have influenced these remarks. 5. Premier Balkenende made these ill-advised comments during the Algemene Beschou win gen in Dutch parliament on September 28, 2006. He does not of course stand alone in this celebratory attitude regarding the history of the VOC; see Van Stipriaan & Bal 2002 and Oostindie 2003 for critical commentary on the uncritical public commemoration of the 400-year anniversary of the founding of the VOC. 6. The major historians working on slavery in the Indian Ocean World are well repre sented in the general overviews of Reid 1983 and Campbell 2004a, 2004b, while Knaap 1981, 1991, 1995, Vink 2003, and, most recently, Raben 2008 have focused more specifi cally on the Dutch role in it. Vinks comment about historiographical imbalance is par ticularly interesting in light of the general view among historians of Dutch colonialism, namely that the Dutch Americas have often been neglected in favor of the more celebrated history of the VOC. This proves even more that when it comes to the study of colonial slavery, attention has almost completely been centered on the New World.
49 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE with them most other Europeans no longer deemed it morally acceptable to enslave fellow Europeans. Apparently, slave status was only fitting for people of African or Asian descent. 7 Secondly, while outsiders were still eligible to become slaves, as an institution slavery had almost completely disappeared from the Dutch Republic and selected other parts of Western Europe and would not return, even though an official moment of abolition eludes us. 8 Historians have often been struck by this curious paradox: that the seventeenth-century Dutch took great pride in their hard-fought freedom and climate of tolerance at home, while simultaneously employing hundreds of thousands of slaves in their overseas dominions (Eltis 1993, 1999, Drescher 1994). But perhaps this paradox holds the explanation as to why the public aware ness of slavery in Dutch history has until recently been so limited. In sharp contrast with most other lucrative commodities bought and sold by the mer chants of the VOC and the WIC, slaves seldom passed through the Dutch Republic. The trade in slaves, even then considered an uncommon market (Gemery & Hogendorn 1979), was always held at a relatively comfortable distance. And whenever this physical distance was occasionally bridged, like in the frequently cited Middelburg case of 1596, the Dutch commitment to freedom was instantly tested. 9 Colonists returning to their homeland were gen erally prohibited from taking their slaves along and, when doing so anyway, risked the loss of their property by implicit manumission. David Brion Davis (2000:458), the eminent historian of Western slavery, spoke of these moral and legal boundaries as primitive Mason-Dixon lines, now drawn some where in the Atlantic, separating free soil master-states from tainted slave soil 7. Initial experiments with Native American slaves were quickly aborted because of a lack of success. 8. There is sparse evidence suggesting the presence of African and Asian slaves in the Low Countries from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, but it is almost entirely drawn from the commercial juggernauts of Antwerp and Amsterdam, global ports with strong connections to overseas colonies. Our understanding of this metropolitan slavery is still scanty, partly because of the scarcity of the source material, the numbers cannot have been very high, partly because the line dividing slave from servant appears rather blurred here, if not de jure then certainly de facto Slaves brought back on return voyages from the colonies generally considered an illegal practice were often manumitted on arrival in the Netherlands and became personal servants, with their daily tasks arguably differing very little from those serving as domestic slaves in the colonies. As a cultural theme, slaves, especially young children, figured prominently in early modern paintings of wealthy burghers. See Oostindie & Maduro 1986 and Blakely 1993 for the African presence in the Dutch Republic. 9. In 1596 a ship carrying 130 Angolan slaves, most likely captured at sea from the Portuguese enemy, entered the province of Zeeland with the intention of selling this human cargo for profit on the local market. However, these plans were, as far as we can tell from the available documentation, prevented by the protests from several concerned citizens.
50 RIK V AN WE L IE dependencies. 10 Because of this physical and psychological separation, there was hardly any need to come to terms with colonial slavery in the metropolis. How much more direct is the awareness in the United States, or most other former colonies in the Americas, where slavery had been planted in its very midst and functioned as a foundational theme in the national history? With the descendants of slaves visibly and ever more vocally present, citi zens could not afford the luxury of ignoring an ignoble past. It may perhaps not come as a surprise that until this very day many Europeans, when con fronted with the topic of slavery, still conjure up a Hollywood-type image of black slaves picking cotton in the antebellum South as if it was an exclu sively American invention. 11 There is, in my opinion, no better strategy for emphasizing the Dutch role in colonial slave trading and slavery than by summing up the hard facts of this history. In this article I will present the latest quantitative assessments concerning the Dutch transatlantic slave trade, making ample use of an important modern database, 12 but also place the volume and directions of this forced migration in a historical context. Subsequently, I will briefly sketch an outline of the heavily underresearched slave trade in the VOC domain, thereby providing a comparative framework for the Atlantic slave trade as well as problematizing our rather one-sided focus on slavery in the Americas. Finally, a global comparison of colonial slavery may help explain why slav ery and race relations in the Dutch colonial empire developed as they did. I realize that parts of this article fall outside the scope of Caribbean history, yet hope readers may nevertheless profit from a broader perspective by looking afresh at their own specialized field of research. 13 After all, no one had to 10. Sue Peabody 1997 has given a masterful historical analysis of this paradox in early modern France and its colonies. Recently, Susan Amussen 2007 explored how English metropolitan society came to terms with colonial slavery during the seventeenth century. The Mason-Dixon line separated the free northern territories of the United States from the slave states of the South. 11. This traditional overemphasis on slavery in the antebellum U.S. South is, undoubt edly, a result of the powerful influence of the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the popular portrayal of history by Hollywood. But in a sense, the European fascination with U.S. slavery dates back to its portrayal in Harriet Beecher Stowes classic Uncle Toms Cabin, or Life among the Lowly (1852). 12. David Eltis et al. (eds.), The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-Rom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Henceforth TDST. 13. Most comparative histories of slavery remain confined to the Americas, but some out standing exceptions are that of Frederickson 1981 who compared slavery and racism in the settlement colonies of North America and South Africa, and Kolchin 1987, although his comparison moved beyond slavery to include Russian serfdom. Ptr-Grenouilleau 2004 discusses the European and Arabian slave trades together, while Christopher et al 2007 takes an even broader look at forced migrations. Daalder et al 2001 focuses on Dutch colonial slavery and slave trading across the globe.
51 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE explain to Dutch Surinamers that lauding the VOC mentality could pos sibly be construed as offensive to them. QU AN T I FY IN G T HE TRAN S A TL AN T IC SL A V E TRA D E The transatlantic slave trade was a remarkably straightforward and onedirectional migration, the key component of an ingenious triangular com mercial system that has been well documented. Ships loaded with a carefully selected assortment of products sailed from diverse ports in Western Europe to the West African coast, where European merchants exchanged these com modities for African slaves sold by local traders; the human cargo was then transported to strategic locations in the Americas, before returning home car rying slave-produced commodities such as sugar, coffee, and tobacco to the European market. It was a good example of the emergence of global trade in the early modern period. If the voyage went as planned, and this included keeping slave mortality on board to a minimum, investors stood to profit from several transactions. For the African victims the Middle Passage was merely one part of their tragic journey to the Americas. First, they experienced enslavement, coerced transportation, and confinement in Africa itself, before being sold to what must have seemed strange white men who subsequently moved them under excruciating circumstances across the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, after disem barking in the Americas, they often faced further regional trading and trans port. For the great majority of them, backbreaking labor on large commercial plantations under the tropical sun loomed as the final destination. The forced alienation of those who survived this initial ordeal the aggregated mortality rate must have been considerably higher than the estimated 14.5 percent for the transatlantic crossing alone 14 undeniably impacted their identity: from local or tribal affiliations within Africa to a more diffuse African identity versus the Europeans on board and, with the passage of time, to the birth of uniquely African American slave cultures. 15 14. The estimated mortality rate is based on the current version of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (TSTD2). It should be added here that very high mortality rates applied to the European crew of the slave ships as well, primarily because of the unhealthy tropical conditions on the African coast, where ships could experience long waiting peri ods before setting sail for the Americas. 15. The scholarly debate on creolization is an important one, and a good place to start is the classic statement by Sidney Mintz and Richard Price 1992. To emphasize the impor tant role of the transatlantic slave trade in fostering creolization, the cover of their book shows the famous abolitionist sketch of slaves crammed into a British ship during the Middle Passage. For a more recent assessment of the concept, see Price 2006.
52 RIK V AN WE L IE Depicting this forced migration in broad dramatic strokes is far easier than charting its precise directions in time and space. To pinpoint the exact origina tion of the slaves in Africa on the one hand the so-called provenance zones or catchment areas one needs to be well-versed in regional African his tory, where primary evidence is often deficient. Establishing the specific end destinations in the Americas on the other hand, requires a deep understanding of multiple colonial histories. Furthermore, the records left of slave-ship voy ages themselves and their actual embarkation and disembarkation ports are vast, yet still far from complete. It may not come as a surprise that African Americans with the desire and means to uncover their genealogy are currently putting more faith in the scientific path of modern DNA research. 16 Due to its highly organized and businesslike character, with slave embar kation, mortality, and disembarkation being meticulously registered, histori ans have been left with large amounts of administrative evidence from which the business, volume, and direction of the transatlantic slave trade can be reconstructed. They have been mainly occupied with three research objec tives: first, the numbers game, or closely estimating the volume of slaves traded, transported, and having perished along the way; second, determining which European nations were involved in slave trading and to what degree; and, finally, establishing which specific African groups fell victim to this forced migration and where and how their lives and cultures in the Americas continued. The first modern quantitative overview of the Atlantic slave trade by Philip Curtin (1969) inspired many historians to conduct empirical research in archival depositories. Eventually, the various cliometric data sets that emerged from this were combined into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, an ongoing and truly collaborative project of a global commu nity of scholars. 17 The current version of the database (TSTD2) contains a total of 34,850 registered slave voyages between 1501 and 1866, and based on these records estimates that around 12,521,300 slaves left Africa with about 10,702,700 making it to the Americas. These modern estimates are only slightly above the total numbers Curtin proposed almost four decades ago, but they are now corroborated by a wealth of supporting evidence. 18 16. This kind of research has become especially popular in the United States, where celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have given it ample attention. In the Netherlands, Alex van Stipriaan is currently doing research on this topic. 17. Work on the TSTD dates back to the 1980s, when computer and database technolo gies were still rather limited. For the first officially published version was by Eltis et al 1999. The new and improved dataset, TSTD2, is an online version, and will become interactive and accessible to the general public in 2008. It is a revolutionary project aimed at bringing professional research and public education closer together. 18. Curtin (1969:87) had revised previous import estimates downward stating that it is extremely unlikely that the ultimate total will turn out to be less than 8,000,000 or more than 10,500,000.
53 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE Table 1 gives a general overview of the volume of the transatlantic slave trade, broken down by century and European carrier. Table 1 Estimated African slave exports by national carrier, 1501-1866* 1501-1600 1601-1700 1701-1800 1801-1866 Total Spain/Uruguay 120,000 146,300 10,700 784,600 1,061,600 Portugal/Brazil 154,200 1,011,200 2,213,000 2,468,900 5,848,300 Great Britain 1,900 428,300 2,545,300 284,000 3,259,400 Netherlands 1,400 219,900 330,000 3,000 554,300 United States** 4,200 189,300 111,900 305,300 France 100 38,400 1,139,000 203,900 1,381,400 Denmark/Baltic 27,400 67,300 16,300 111,000 Total 277,500 1,875,600 6,494,600 3,873,600 12,521,300 Source: TSTD; www.slavevoyages.co m www.slavevoyages.or g ; (http://wilson.library.emory.edu:9090/tast/assessment/estimates.faces?permlink=1788875). For purposes of calculation, estimates of embarked and disembarked slaves in TSTD2 have not been rounded off. To prevent reading these numbers as precise totals, I have rounded the estimates off to the nearest hundred; because I have done so with the aggregated totals as well, they may not always be the exact sum of the individual estimates in these tables. ** The database assigns slave voyages that were organized and departed from colonial North America in the sev enteenth and eighteenth centuries (mainly Rhode Island) to what would later become the United States. At the present the database contains 1,237 officially documented Dutch slave voyages with a total of 408,658 slaves departing from Africa. Through elaborate, but by no means flawless, methods these data are extrapolated to an estimated total of 554,300 slaves exported by the Dutch or roughly 4.4 percent of the overall volume of the transatlantic slave trade. And of these slaves around 475,200 reached the Americas alive (a mortality rate of 14.3 percent). These figures are fairly close to what the classic account of the Dutch Atlantic slave trade proposes (Postma 1990:295), which makes perfect sense, as the database relies heavily on the primary research by Johannes Postma. 19 Recently, Postma (2003a:137) downgraded his own assessments quite substantially to 501,409 slaves exported or 4.6 percent of the total trade, with an annual average of 2,458 slaves embarking on the African coast. 20 19. Although the parameters are slightly different, estimating 542,972 slaves exported from Africa in the period 1600-1803 (Postma 1990:295). Postma has been working on the Dutch Atlantic slave trade since the 1960s, when he wrote his dissertation at Michigan State University, and acknowledges being influenced by Curtins landmark study at the time (Postma 2003a:118-19). 20. Postmas revisions lower his previous estimates by 7 percent and the Dutch share of the entire transatlantic slave traffic from 4.7 percent to 4.6 percent. He is, in my opinion, rather harsh on himself, calling the reassessment a humbling experience showing that
54 RIK V AN WE L IE Based on new empirical research by fellow historians, Postma now believes that a large number (207) of eighteenth-century voyages to Africa, ones he previously assumed to be slave voyages, were actually bilateral commodity traders returning directly to Europe. He thus changed from a maximalist approach, wanting to make certain the volume of the slave trade was not understated, to a minimalist one, including only those ships for which there is clear evidence that they carried slaves (Postma 2003a:129). The compilers of the TSTD2, after incorporating the data collected by Postma, Den Heijer, and several others, make slightly more aggressive assumptions and argue, for example, that very few Dutch vessels sail ing to the Angola region went there to trade in produce only (Vos, Eltis & Richardson forthcoming). And when Postma (2003a:121) decides to leave out approximately 3,000 slaves captured from Dutch ships because they were presumably disembarked in the Americas by ships of other nations, TSTD2 still assigns those to the Dutch slave trade based on their original African departure. Such quibbles are exemplary of the many judgment calls historians are forced to make in order to cope with gaps in the historical records and with evidence that defies easy categorization. For example, a recent dissertation (Paesie 2008) argues for a substantial increase in the vol ume of the Dutch slave trade based on hundreds of illicit slave voyages origi nating from the Dutch Republic, primarily from the maritime province of Zeeland. However, quite a few of these interlopers sailed partly to escape the harsh WIC reprisals under foreign flags. Based on this, TSTD2 would qualify these voyages under other European states even though it is fairly clear that these were predominantly Dutch-led operations. Working with a modern database fortunately allows the researcher some flexibility to adjust such marginal cases according to his or her personal preferences. But the decisive factor in establishing the nationality of a slave voyage the inves tors, the owner of the vessel, the captain and crew, the flag will likely remain elusive. Breaking down the transatlantic slave trade by national back ground therefore remains a complex and subjective exercise. Despite the inherent subjectivity of all assumptions, extrapolations, and estimations involved, historians generally agree that slightly more than half a million Africans were transported on Dutch ships, with somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 slaves perishing before they reached the New World. 21 While research on specific periods and aspects of the trade will likely continu e, assumptions and speculation, however reasonable they may seem, are always inferior to verifiable evidence (Postma 2003a:137). Note furthermore that Postmas estimate for the Dutch trade is lower in absolute numbers, but higher in its relative share of the total trade compared to TSTD2, suggesting that he still uses a significantly lower estimate (TSTD1?) for the total volume of the transatlantic slave trade. 21. Once again, Curtins guesstimates were remarkably close to the mark: While a reli able estimate is not possible from the present literature, 500,000 is accepted here for
55 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE any dramatic alterations to this general picture need no longer be expected. With regard to sheer volume, the Dutch are regarded as a second-rate player in the transatlantic slave trade, certainly important, yet not comparable to the massive numbers transported by Portuguese or British vessels. Such grand total figures can sometimes be misleading, however, or at least conceal interesting historical patterns. For example, as Table 1 indicates, the Dutch were only truly active slavers during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, so if we limit our calculations to that period, their share of the total volume moves upward to 6.6 percent. The Dutch commanded an even stron ger position during the seventeenth-century Golden Age (11.7 percent), and in the period 1650 to 1675, more or less the age of the Caribbean sugar revolution, Dutch vessels were responsible for over 20 percent of the entire transatlantic slave trade. Thus, to properly understand the relative impact of the Dutch, one needs to place the aggregated totals in a specific historical context. The volume and direction of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade will therefore be situated in time and space, in a modest attempt to historicize and interpret some of the general data presented in Tables 2 and 3. Table 2 Estimated Dutch slave exports per African region, 1596-1829 1596-1650 1651-1700 1701-1750 1751-1800 1801-1829 Total Senegambia 8,400 400 400 9,200 Sierra Leone 800 800 700 2,300 Windward C. 13,500 64,600 1,100 79,100 Gold Coast 800 18,200 41,700 42,500 300 103,400 Bight of Benin 5,400 71,300 47,500 2,700 126,900 Bight of Biafra 6,900 20,300 500 1,000 100 28,700 West Central Africa 21,900 67,400 53,400 61,100 900 204,800 Total 34,900 186,400 156,900 173,100 3,000 554,300 Source: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (TSTD2), www.slavevoyages.co m ; www.slavevoyages.or g (http:// wilson.library.emory.edu:9090/tast/assessment/estimates.faces?permlink=1788878). When dealing with a sensitive subject such as slavery, quantitative studies are often criticized for being cold-hearted accounts, with the slaves amount ing to little more than lifeless numbers on paper. 22 This article could easily the whole of Dutch America during the whole of the slave trade, including present-day Guyana (1969:85). 22. This should hardly come as a surprise, since we are left with a wealth of data from the European trade records, several descriptive accounts from European witnesses to the slave trade, but with almost no authentic sources from the African or slave perspective. In the preface to his classic Philip Curtin (1969:xix) wrote: Some readers may miss the sense of moral outrage traditional in histories of the trade. This book will have very little to say about the evils of the slave trade, still less in trying to assign retrospective blame to
56 RIK V AN WE L IE serve as a typical example of this. But while statistical tables and graphs can not adequately describe the individual and collective human tragedies of the Middle Passage, they are nevertheless an unmistakable reflection of the bulk of source material historians are left with. 23 Furthermore, recent publica tions have shown how a mastery of hard data can ultimately lead to excitingly fresh and culturally sensitive interpretations, or toward the debunking of them (Eltis 2000). The greatest challenge for future research will remain the exploration of the directional patterns of this forced mass migration, con necting specific provenance zones in Africa with their particular destinations in the Americas. Only then, for example, can historians and anthropologists make accurate observations about the cultural impact of the slaves on their respective New World settlements. 24 the individuals or groups who were responsible. This omission in no way implies that the slave trade was morally neutral; it clearly was not. The evils of the trade, however, can be taken for granted as a point long since proven beyond dispute. 23. Recent studies focus on the treatment of slaves during the Middle Passage and par ticularly the relationship between the largely European crew and the African cargo; see Christopher 2006 and Rediker 2007. 24. Of course, research on African retention in the Americas is by no means new. As early as the 1920s and 1930s, Melville Herskovits studied the culture of the descendants of slaves and Maroons in Suriname, looking for specific African elements. The point is that with the aid of the TSTD such observations and assumptions can be cross-checked with our own empirical findings. Table 3 Estimated Dutch slave imports per region, 1596-1829 1596-1650 1651-1700 1701-1750 1751-1800 1801-1829 Total Europe 100 1,900 2,000 North America 1,200 1,200 British Caribbean 900 4,700 400 700 300 7,000 French Caribbean 11,600 600 600 12,700 Danish Caribbean 5,200 5,200 Dutch Caribbean* 81,500 40,000 20,200 141,700 Dutch Guianas 34,000 84,300 130,200 1,800 250,300 Dutch Brazil 26,600 1,100 27,700 Spanish Americas 1,300 17,800 3,300 1,400 400 24,200 Africa 3,000 300 3,300 Total 28,800 156,800 133,700 153,100 2,800 475,300 Source: TSTD2. Dutch Caribbean is used here in its narrow insular definition, while Suriname and the other Wild Coast settlements fall under the Dutch Guianas.
57 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE HI STO RICI Z IN G T HE DUT CH TRAN S A TL AN T IC SL A V E TRA D E Given that their commercial activities on the African coast dated back to the mid-1590s, the Dutch waited several decades before actively participating in the slave trade. Initially, Dutch African trade was primarily focused on gold and, to a much lesser extent, ivory. 25 Their first official settlement on the African coast, Fort Nassau (1612) at Mouri on the Gold Coast, did not spark any serious slaving activities either. Perhaps this hesitation was caused by initial moral reservations regarding the traffic in humans or, more plausibly, can be attributed to the fact that the Dutch still lacked a suitable American colony with a strong demand for slave labor. 26 As the rise of Dutch colonial expansion was closely tied to the endur ing conflict with Spain (as well as with Portugal since 1580), Iberian ship ping became fair game for Dutch privateers. The capture of Portuguese slave ships in and around the Atlantic Ocean resulted in what has been labeled an incidental slave trade (Emmer 1972b:728-29). Slaves carried by the enemy were defined as contraband and, when possible, sold to the nearest friendly buyer. 27 The incidental slave trade reached a peak during the first full decade of the WIC, but the 2,356 slaves, if we accept WIC official Johannes de Laets count, taken between 1623 and 1636 (Van den Boogaart & Emmer 1979:355) were, despite their value as propaganda, rather insignificant from a quantitative perspective. 28 25. For the relative importance of the gold and ivory trade in relation to the slave trade for the seventeenth-century Dutch on the African coast, see Van den Boogaart 1992 and the response by Eltis 1994. By around 1615 the Portuguese were complaining to the Spanish king that the Dutch dominated all African trades, except for the one in slaves (Ratelband 2000:34, 45). 26. One of the first board meetings of the WIC, in the fall of 1623, revealed some reserva tions regarding the moral legitimacy of the Angolan slave trade. Even so, there is evidence that the Dutch already made use of slaves on the African coast itself, as suggested by early Dutch activities at Cabo Verde and on the island of Principe. See De Jonge 1862:235 and Enthoven 2003. 27. The term incidental occurs several times throughout the historiography of the Dutch slave trade, but Emmer developed it most clearly. There is some scattered evidence that several Portuguese slave ships captured by the Dutch in the 1620s were released with their slaves, either for practical reasons (no market to sell them, other sailing priorities) or perhaps because the captains personally abhorred the practice. Later on, slaves based on Curaao who served on intra-Caribbean vessels often received fake freedom papers so that, in case of a hostile attack in open waters, they could not be confiscated as contra band; I thank Han Jordaan for pointing this interesting fact out to me. 28. Because TSTD assigns nationality of slave voyages based on departure at the African coast, these incidental slaves are all listed under the Portuguese flag, even if they disem barked in the Americas from Dutch ships.
58 RIK V AN WE L IE Qualitatively, however, some of these slaves caused a historic impact far greater than their numbers may suggest. Which slaves, for example, received more attention than the twenty Africans delivered in 1619 by a Dutch man of warre to the English settlers at Jamestown, Virginia? 29 In various other Protestant settlements in the New World (New Netherland, Bermuda, Barbados, Tobago, Guianas) warfare and privateering were often responsible for the arrival of the first Africans. 30 Almost all originated from West Central Africa (Congo-Loango, Luanda, Benguela), which between the 1580s and 1640s possessed a virtual monopoly on slave exports. Some of the names assigned to the first African residents of New Amsterdam Paulo dAngola, Anthony Portuguese, Simon Congo, Assento Angola confirm this Portuguese-Angolan connection (Berlin 1996:265). 31 As the first and rather isolated Africans among small communities of struggling settlers from northwestern Europe, this charter generation of Atlantic creoles (Berlin 1996, 1998, Heywood & Thornton 2007) witnessed the slow crystallization of slavery before its own eyes. At times, they may have experienced a level of freedom and social mobility that was generally absent among future gen erations of African American slaves. The conquest of Pernambuco and several other Portuguese captain cies in northeast Brazil during the early 1630s handed the WIC the richest sugar-producing area in the world, and a full-blown slave society at that. The Company officials soon came to the realization that without slaves, sugar cultivation was in danger. After the surrounding rural areas were suf ficiently pacified, the WIC began expanding its commercial interests on the African coast by simply conquering long-established Portuguese trad ing posts. Earlier attempts to do so had failed miserably (Ratelband 2000, Den Heijer 2006), but victories at Arguin (1633), El Mina (1637), and So Paulo de Luanda and So Tom (1641) guaranteed an unprecedented Dutch dominance on the African coast. Never would the Dutch have easier access to slaves than during the 1640s (Ratelband 1953, 2000). 29. Most histories of slavery in the U.S. begin with this shipment arriving at Jamestown. Slavery in seventeenth-century colonial Virginia in general has received much more attention than its historical proportions justify. For recent information on these particular slaves, see Sluiter 1997 and Thornton 1998. One question that continues to preoccupy historians of colonial North America is whether these Africans were treated as slaves or not, but that they left the African continent as slaves should be clear. 30. Wim Klooster (1998:105) mentions Angolan slaves at the Dutch forts on the Xing River in 1623, and hundreds of slaves among the Dutch at Cayenne in 1644; the patroon ship of Jan de Moor on the island of Tobago, established in 1628, was arguably the first Dutch plantation colony in the Americas. The English slave trade had also originated from privateering activities, namely by the Elizabethan sea dog, John Hawkins, in the 1560s. 31. This historic connection between New York and West Central Africa (Congo and Angola) has recently been reawakened through cultural exchanges; the first slaves con tinue to be studied more than their number warrants.
59 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE The history of Dutch Brazil can be divided into three acts: first, the con quest and consolidation of a sizeable territory for sugar cultivation, followed by a decade of relative peace and prosperity under the enlightened governor ship of Johan Maurits van Nassau, and, finally, renewed warfare with the local Portuguese colonists leading to the ultimate surrender of the colony in 1654. During the government of Maurits, thousands of slaves were imported by the WIC, heralding the official involvement by the Dutch in the transatlantic slave trade. At first, these slaves were mainly procured from the Calabar region (Slave Coast, Bight of Benin, and Bight of Biafra) and the region north of the Congo River (Van den Boogaart & Emmer 1979:360). But, partly fueled by the traditional preferences of the Portuguese-Brazilian sugar planters ( mora dores ) for Angolan slaves, the main port of Luanda was taken in 1641. The increasing volume of slave imports and sugar exports in the 1640s came to a sudden halt when open hostilities broke out shortly after Maurits had returned to Europe. Everywhere sugar plantations and mills were burned to the ground or halted their production. The effects of war and peace on sugar and slavery in Dutch Brazil are clearly visible in Table 4; the first decade of Dutch participation in the transatlantic slave trade was, as the reade r can see, quite impressive. 32 While the Brazilian adventure was, for the shareholders of the WIC at least, a financial disaster, it also taught the Company important lessons about the operation of the transatlantic slave trade and the organization of slave-based sugar production, and that trusting a policy of religious tolera tion to secure the loyalty of resident Portuguese planters had been naive. For Brazilians today, this era of religious toleration spurred by the charisma of the humanist prince of Nassau and the many cultural and architectural achievements stimulated by him is exactly what makes this Dutch episode so unique and admirable. 33 Even so, the import of thousands of African slaves during Mauritss reign hardly deviated from the slave trading patterns before and after the Dutch period. In the first quarter of the seventeenth century alone, the Portuguese shipped approximately 150,000 bonded Africans to Brazil (Klein 2004:230). 34 32. While most periodizations are inherently subjective, this one may have its merits. My main concern here is to make visible the sudden rise and fall of the Dutch Brazilian plan tation complex which, for example, would be missed when one sticks to the annual aver age of 721 slaves exported by the Dutch in the period 1600-1645 (Postma 2003a:137). 33. For a recent assessment of the Dutch policy of religious toleration in Brazil, see Israel & Schwartz 2007. 34. That a significant proportion of the Brazilian sugar produced in the first two decades of the seventeenth century was traded on the Amsterdam exchange, only indicates that the Dutch were already profiting from plantation slavery before they began directly partici pating in it themselves, see Ebert 2003.
60 RIK V AN WE L IE In this respect, the Dutch slave trade to Brazil may have generated less of a historic impact than the few incidental slaves delivered to other locations in the New World in the previous decades. The Dutch did introduce more slaves from West Africa to Brazil, primarily from the Slave Coast, thereby perhaps introducing the first Igbo from the Bight of Biafra in Pernambuco as well (Vos, Eltis & Richardson forthcoming). As a result the diversity of the local African population was somewhat augmented, although this was arguably but a marginal number compared to the great majority of Angolan slaves imported from West Central Africa during the entire seventeenth century. War undoubtedly had a dramatic but also liberating effect on the lives of slaves in Brazil. New slaves arriving from Angola could no longer be sold or fed by the Company. The Hoge Raad in Recife begged its WIC colleagues in Luanda to stop sending slaves across the Atlantic, and those who had already arrived were now redirected north. In January 1646 the Tamandare sailed with a cargo of slaves from Fernando da Noronha via Barbados to New Amsterdam. The relative ease with which this merchandise was sold appeared as a harbinger of things to come (Ratelband 2000:225, 259). With Dutch Brazil sliding into the chaos of civil war in the mid-1640s, the WIC faced a dilemma: what should be done about the slave trade, especially after its short-lived supremacy on the African coast was eroded when the Portuguese recaptured Luanda and So Tom (1648) and the English slaving activities were expanding? Past historians have argued that the Dutch opened new markets for slaves in the English and French Caribbean by introducing slave-based sugar cul Table 4 Estimated slave imports and sugar exports in Dutch Brazil, 1630-54 Period Slave imports Sugar exports** Political developments 1630-35 280* 154,169 1636-45 23,500 2,433,742 Relative peace and prosperity 1646-54 1,700 240,848 Renewed guerrilla warfare Source: Slave imports: TSTD2 comes close to Wttjen (1913:421; 1921), who gave a total of 23,163 slaves importe d by the Dutch during the peak decade, especially considering that TSTD2 includes 210 slaves imported by the Dutch to Bahia and 140 slaves to an unspecified destination in Brazil. Wttjens figures for 1642-1643 are lower than those given by Johan Maurits van Nassau in a report to the States General of the Dutch Republic in 1644: according to that report the slave trade registers revealed that between February 7, 1642 and July 23, 1643, roughly one-and-a-half years, 6,468 slaves had embarked, of whom 1,524, or almost a quarter (!), would perish during the Middle Passage (Gonsalves de Mello 2001:199-200). The 280 slaves imported in 1630 were incidental Angolan slaves, taken from a captured Portuguese vessel (and should as such not fall under Dutch slave imports in TSTD2), see Van den Boogaart & Emmer 1979:358. Sugar exports: Wttjen (1921:316-23) as cited by Den Heijer (2003:88); these export figures start in 1631 and end in 1651, but except for the sugar looted at the conquest of Pernambuco, I do not foresee substantial additions here. ** Sugar was measured in arrobas one arroba being approximately 14.75 kg (Den Heijer 2003:88), which would imply that during the peak decade the Dutch exported almost 36 million kg of sugar from Pernambuco to Europe.
61 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE tivation closely resembling the Brazilian model. 35 This interpretation seems to fit the historic timeline quite nicely, just as the fact that during the 1650s and 1660s, before the acquisition of Suriname and the rise of the Curaaoan asiento trade, the Dutch mostly transported slaves to colonies of other Europeans (see Table 3). However, recent empirical research by John R. McCusker and Russell R. Menard (2004) strongly diminishes the Dutch role in the so-called Barbadian sugar revolution by pointing at a much greater English involvement than previously thought. 36 The First Navigation Act (1651) established under Cromwell was mainly intended to suppress Dutch trade to the English colonies and fueled the growing animosity between the two maritime superpowers, eventually leading to three naval wars between 1652 and 1674. Increasingly stifled by the mercantilist policies of England and France, the Dutch looked ironically perhaps to the colonies of their former enemy Spain to provide new markets for the slave trade. 37 Between 1646 and 1657, Dutch traders sold about 3,800 slaves to Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, and Tierra Firme (Klooster 1998:106), while between 1657 and 1663 fourteen Dutch slave ships arrived at Buenos Aires in the Ro de la Plata region alone (Moutoukias 1988:143-47). 38 It is in this volatile arena that the emergence of Curaao as a slave trade entrept for the Spanish Americas should be situated. No longer useful as a military base now that the war with Spain had ended, and never entirely suited for commercial plantation agriculture, the Company was desperately looking for another niche. For the next half century, Curaao would take advantage of the asiento trade, receiving saltwater slaves from Africa and distributing them to the Spanish Americas according to contracts made in Europe. The asiento contracts were renewed and reconfigured several times during the sec ond half of the seventeenth century, thereby consolidating the Dutch position as a major player in the transatlantic slave trade (Klooster 1997). 35. For example, Curtin 1969:125-26; elsewhere he states that up to 1663, the slave trade to Barbados was practically a Dutch monopoly (Curtin 1969:55). 36. The authors are diminishing the Dutch role, while at the same time suggesting its continued importance. It remains hard to establish and measure the more immaterial con tributions. After the first Navigation Act, the English colonists were most likely inclined to hide any illicit Dutch trade from the records. At the same time, WIC records at Elmina show an increase in English shipping for slaves in the mid-1640s (Ratelband 1953). 37. The end of the Eighty Years War (1648) created new possibilities for Dutch traders in slaves and other colonial goods. Because Spain was still in conflict with Portugal, until 1640 the primary slave carrier for the Spanish Americas, its colonists were searching for other ways to procure slaves. 38. Ro de la Plata was notorious as a smuggling port at the periphery of the Spanish Americas. Klooster (1998:53) notes, based on Moutoukias, that it was the most frequently visited place in Spanish America by the Dutch between 1655 and 1665, with 63 voyages in total, and that there was even a small resident population of Dutch and Flemish in Buenos Aires.
62 RIK V AN WE L IE Altogether almost a 100,000 slaves, or roughly 20 percent of the entire Dutch slave trade, accordingly found their way to the Spanish Americas between 1658 and 1729, with a sizeable number from the Slave Coast, thus further diversifying the ethnic make-up of the Spanish colonies (Klooster 1998:107). Except for their short layover at Curaao and their impact on the island economy, most of these Africans quickly disappeared from the Dutch colonial realm. And while this transit trade enhanced the historic reputation of the Dutch as slave traders, the slaves themselves ended up in Spanish, not Dutch colonies. 39 With Curaao evolving into Amsterdams Caribbean counterpart (Klooster 1998:59), other Dutch colonies in the Americas received slaves only sparingly during the 1650s and 1660s. Governor Peter Stuyvesant of New Netherland repeatedly requested slaves from Curaao, but only a few actually arrived (Emmer 1972a:115). Sound business acumen, not national solidarity, ensured that most surplus or refuse slaves were sold closer to home, and usually at much better prices. New Netherland simply could not compete with the Caribbean plantation colonies in their demand for slave labor. Of the two large slave cargoes arriving in New Amsterdam, most of the slaves of Het Witte Paert (1654) were quickly resold to tobacco planters in the Chesapeake, and the 290 slaves disembarking from the Gideon were just in time (eight days left!) to witness the peaceful surrender of New Amsterdam to the English. 40 New Netherland was by all accounts never more than a periph eral destination in the slave trade, even if the small stream of slaves arriving would lay the foundation of a vibrant African American community. 41 The Peace of Breda (1667), settling the Second Anglo-Dutch War and swapping New Netherland (New York) for Suriname, would greatly impact the future of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade. For the next century and a half, the Dutch colonial possessions in the Americas would remain largely unchanged. One could even say that the failed colonization of New Holland 39. The English were also important in the slave trade to the Spanish Americas, with Jamaica functioning as a competing slave entrept to Curaao. However, Jamaica differed from Curaao, as the island was also home to a substantial plantation sector, thereby giv ing it a more diversified economic character than the Dutch colony. 40. In 1655 the governor and council of New Netherland supported a 10 percent duty on the sale of each slave exported from the colony, because almost all slaves brought by Het Witte Paert had left the colony again. This was the moment when the Chesapeake tobacco plantations began replacing British indentured servants with African slaves. For the con nections between Chesapeake planters, some of whom had Dutch backgrounds, and New Amsterdam-based merchants, see Hatfield 2003. 41. That around 1664 New Amsterdam possessed the largest urban slave population on mainland North America (Berlin 1996:269) says more about the slow emergence of racial slavery in the Chesapeake and the stunted growth of its cities than any acute demand for slaves in the Dutch trading post.
63 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE (Dutch Brazil) and New Netherland (Dutch New York) made the WIC domain leaner and meaner, and heavily concentrated on the lower Caribbean. This suited the financial and structural reorganization of the Company in the early 1670s very well. With Curaao now in its golden age as a slave trade entrept to the Spanish Americas and with Suriname emerging as the quint essential Dutch plantation colony, the future opportunities for the slave trade looked promising. The original documentation of the Second WIC (1674-1792) has for tunately been much better preserved than that of its predecessor. From the viewpoint of the transatlantic slave trade, this entire period is best divided into two parts: the era of the WIC monopoly and, from the early 1730s on, the era of the private slave trade. Henk den Heijers (1997) research on the slave trade of the Second WIC gives a good impression of the origin, vol ume, and destination of these voyages (see Tables 5 and 6). Table 5 Slave exports Africa under the Second WIC, 1674-1740 Period El Mina Slave Coast Angola Various Total 1674-1689 10,553 16,543 22,207 14,861 64,164 1690-1704 3,745 22.035 17,017 42,797 1705-1719 4,712 18,433 7,640 1,248 32,033 1720-1740* 24,028 18,099 9,356 51,483 1674-1740 43,038 75,110 56,220 16,109 190,477 Percentage 22.6 39.4 29.5 8.5 100 Source: Adapted from Den Heijer (1997:151). This period is six years longer than the others. Table 6 Slave imports Americas under the Second WIC, 1674-1740 Period Curaao Suriname St. Eustatius Essequibo Berbice Various Total 1674-1689 31,642 12,490 668 754 7,758 53,312 1690-1704 17,849 10,180 1,659 5,985 35,673 1705-1719 10,726 12,549 446 1,536 480 25,737 1720-1740* 2,270 25,565 9,747 2,503 1,916 42,001 1674-1740 62,487 60,784 10,861 6,452 16,139 156,723 Percentage 39.9 38.8 6.9 4.1 10.3 100 Source: Adapted from Den Heijer (1997:152). This period is six years longer than the others.
64 RIK V AN WE L IE According to Table 5 the forced migration of Angolan slaves gradually declined during this period, while the Slave Coast remained a relatively stabl e supplier throughout (primarily from the Bight of Benin, as the Bight of Biafra was increasingly dominated by English slavers, see Table 2) and Dutch Elmina underwent a dramatic transformation from gold to slave exporter. As this transformation took place after Curaao had lost its function as a slave entrept, it is plausible that most slaves from the Gold Coast found their way to Suriname through Elmina, confirming the oft-celebrated historic connec tions between these two colonial possessions of the Dutch. Curaao and Suriname were the primary beneficiaries of the Dutch slave trade in this period, receiving almost equal numbers, with the crucial differ ence being that most slaves to Curaao were transferred to Spanish colonies, while Suriname functioned as an end destination (see Table 6). Between 1676 and 1716 over 42,000 African slaves arriving at Curaao were distributed among Spanish traders (Postma 1990:45, 48). When, after the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1713), the asiento contracts fell squarely into English hands, the slave trade to Curaao rapidly declined. 42 Not only did this have immediate effects on the islands economy and the activities of the local Company slaves (Jordaan 1997, 1999, 2003), but it would result in a rapid creolization of its African American population and the sustained growth of a free black commu nity (Klooster 1994, 1999). 43 It appears that St. Eustatius took up some of the slack of the transit trade in the 1720s, but their trade was more focused on the French Caribbean and, later in the century, on North America as well. 44 During the 1730s the WIC relinquished its monopoly on the transat lantic slave trade, leading to the emergence of a large private slave trade and the end of its illegal forerunners, the interlopers. Companies such as the Middelburgsche Commercie Compagnie (MCC) and the Rotterdambased firm of Rochussen were now mainly responsible for delivering slaves to Suriname and the smaller Dutch plantation colonies on the Wild Coast (Berbice, Essequibo, and Demerara). 45 As a consequence, the historic con 42. According to Jordaan (2003:220) independent shippers landed nearly 10,000 slaves at Curaao between 1730 and 1795, illustrating the islands diminished role in the traffic. 43. For the remainder of the eighteenth century Curaao nevertheless continued its other mostly illegal trade relations with the Spanish Americas, particularly with the eastern parts of Venezuela; see Klooster 1998. 44. During the 1770s, at the time of the American War of Independence, St. Eustatius earned the nickname the Golden Rock owing to its free trade and smuggling activities. In the period 1775-1779 the island received around 4,000 slaves from Africa most were undoubtedly intended for further trading. 45. The Dutch presence on the Wild Coast dated all the way back to the end of the six teenth century, but had frequently suffered from hostilities with Native Americans, as well as Spanish, English, and French colonizers. Interestingly, Berbice and Essequibo, with an older Dutch history than Suriname, were ultimately incorporated into British Guiana,
65 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE nections between Zeeland and the Wild Coast were rekindled, with almost 80 percent of the Dutch private slave trade organized by companies from that maritime province. The extent to which this trade expanded dramatically in the mid-eigh teenth century, before decreasing just as rapidly during the latter decades, becomes clear from Table 7. This decline can be contributed to two factors: first, the state of the Suriname plantation society itself, which suffered from a financial crisis and limited profitability, 46 partly related to the continuous resistance of the Maroon communities; second, the general decline of the Dutch Republic, no longer a major player in Europe, with English suprema cy in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-1784) confirming the loss of their maritime prowess. Further breaking down the Dutch slave trade to the Guianas, an estimate d 160,200 slaves disembarked at Suriname during the eighteenth century according to Postma (2003b:306), whereas a much smaller figure of 20,300 slaves went to Essequibo and Demerara via Dutch ships (Van der Oest 2003:335). This would leave barring dramatic differences between these various estimates about 34,000 slaves brought to Berbice on Dutch vessels during the eighteenth century. Essequibo and particularly Demerara, which opened for settlement in the 1740s, were promising and quickly developing plantation colonies, with most of their slaves arriving in the later decades of the eighteenth century. The inability of the Dutch to keep pace with these economic developments was quickly answered by increased British and U.S. slave trading activities: Postma (2003b:306) mentions a total of 7,011 slaves arriving in Suriname on U.S. ships during the 1780s and 1790s, with the British focusing predomi nantly on Essequibo and Demerara, especially after occupying these colonies in 1795. 47 The colonies were shortly returned to the Dutch during the era of the Batavian Republic (1795-1805), much to the chagrin of even the Dutch planters. A total of six Dutch slave voyages in 1802-1803 delivered an esti mated 1,287 slaves to Suriname (Postma 2003b:306). The TSTD2 projects that during this Dutch interregnum British slavers still brought 18,200 of the foreign slave imports to the Dutch Guianas, mostly to Essequibo and Demerara, and another 71,500 slaves in the English period before the prohi bition of the international slave trade. while Suriname, which began as an English colony, remained Dutch. Demerara was only opened for colonization in the mid-eighteenth century and attracted mainly British planter s from Barbados. 46. For a critique of this colonial crisis thesis, see Van Stipriaan 1995. 47. Logically, as English colonists already owned a third of the 130 young plantations in Demerara during the 1760s and worked by slave labor between 1789 and 1802, exports of sugar rose by 433 percent, coffee by 233 percent, and cotton by 862 percent ... Fabulous fortunes were made in a short period (Viotti da Costa 1994:43).
66 RIK V AN WE L IE Based on the provenance zones of the Dutch private slave trade in the eigh teenth century (see Table 2) it becomes clear that besides a continuous stream of slaves from West Central Africa, the Wild Coast settlements were mainly supplied by slaves from the Gold Coast and, in an entirely new develop ment that still demands further research, from the Windward Coast. This may have been a reaction to the Dutch being driven away from the Slave Coast by the British, but other factors relating to the operation of the private slave trade could also have influenced this change. Of the approximately 100,000 Africans imported into the Dutch Guianas in the third quarter of the eigh teenth century, West Central Africa and the Windward Coast supplied around 40,000 each, with the Gold Coast adding the remaining 20,000. These migra tion streams influenced the diversity of the slave population of Suriname substantially, and gave the colony a continued African impulse largely absent from the rapidly creolizing African population of Curaao. Van Stipriaans latest estimates on the post-1808 slave trade suggest, based on a multitude of sources, that approximately 33,000 slaves entered Suriname between 1808 and 1830, of which 8,000 during the years of the English occupation until 1816, and 25,000 thereafter. 48 But most of these 48. This is based on personal notes shared by Van Stipriaan, who will soon publish his research findings in the journal Aquandah In his earlier work Van Stipriaan (1993:102-104, Table 7 Estimated slave imports into Dutch colonies in the eighteenth and the nineteenth century* Period Dutch Caribbean** Dutch Guianas Dutch voyages Other voyages Dutch voyages Other voyages 1701-1725 29,200 0 24,200 0 1726-1750 10,800 2,100 60,000 0 1751-1775 16,100 100 100,700 1,200 1776-1795 4,100 3,600 29,500 5,500 British Guianas*** 1795-1800 0 0 0 7,900 30,600 18th century: 68,300 5,900 214,500 14,700 1801-1808 0 0 1,200 19,800 41,700 Prohibition of the international slave trade 1820-1825 0 0 600 3,700 0 Source: TSTD2. These estimates only pertain to the data in TSTD2; after the transatlantic slave trade became illegal, slave imports into the Guianas came primarily from elsewhere in the Caribbean; this will be discussed in the section under aboli tion. ** The Caribbean is used here in the narrow sense, only consisting of the Dutch Caribbean islands, whereas the Dutch settlements on the South American mainland are listed under the Dutch Guianas. *** The British Guianas are the same areas as the Dutch Guianas, but during the English occupation years.
67 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE slaves came directly from other Caribbean colonies (mainly the French West Indies, but also English and Danish colonies), and entered Suriname legally. And because they did not constitute new slaves from Africa, they should not be counted toward the transatlantic slave trade. Even so, their arrival from various locations in the Atlantic World, driven by the ingenuity of region al slave traders, led to an even greater ethnic and cultural diversity of the African American population. 49 The slave trade was a defining experience in the history of Suriname. BY CO M P ARI SO N: THE DUT CH SL A V E TRA D E IN T HE IN D IAN OCEAN WO R LD Compared with our remarkably detailed knowledge about the transatlantic slave trade, our understanding of the slave trade in the Indian Ocean World is astonishingly poor. If not for the ubiquity of slaves in the historical docu ments, it would be easy to forget slave trading had taken place at all there. Until recently, it certainly has not preoccupied historians to any great extent. One reason for this is that slave trading constituted only a minor part of the commercial activities of the Company itself. Historian Els Jacobs has esti mated its net worth at only 0.5 percent of the entire VOC trade in the eigh teenth century (Vink 2003:235). It was thus insignificant in comparison with the high profits from the pepper, coffee, and tea trades. The Company was apparently content to leave this trade to private enterprise, albeit under certain restrictions and free burghers in Batavia Europeans, mestizos, and in the eighteenth century, the Chinese became the the biggest slave traders in Asia (Van der Kraan 1983:330). 50 But the documentation regarding this private slave trade, including that of already established indigenous mer chants, is more scattered, incomplete, and anecdotal than we would like. 51 314) had already come largely based on population data to an estimate of around 12,000 slaves entering the colony between 1817 and 1826. 49. With slaves coming from the Caribbean still receiving legal status, while the slave trade with Africa was already prohibited, it is not inconceivable that slave traders legiti mized their cargo by assigning the slaves a New World identity. The decreased supply of new slaves drove up prices and this was again an extra incentive for slave traders to go the extra mile. 50. Van der Kraan (1983:339 n.10) points out that since the 1720s the VOC levied an extraordinarily high duty of ten rijksdaalders per slave sold on the Batavian market. Sutherland (1983:270) tentatively suggests that the private trade could have been at least six times the size of the Company trade in the mid-eighteenth century. 51. For the sake of historical documentation, it did not of course help that, according to Sutherland (1983:283 n.2) at various times limits were placed on private trade and what was prohibited was the trade in people who were not legitimately enslaved ... In theory, since 1699, all slaves had to be properly documented and sales had to be regis
68 RIK V AN WE L IE This makes it extremely difficult to make even guesstimates about the nature, volume, and directions of these forced migrations. First of all, the national involvement in the Indian Ocean slave trade is infinitely more complicated and diverse, which makes the temporal boundar ies much harder to define. The transatlantic slave trade has, as we have seen, a clearly demarcated history from beginning to end, spanning almost four cen turies. Because it was an entirely European affair, if we accept that the partici pation of independent American nations such as the United States and Brazil can be attributed to the descendants of European settlers, it is relatively easy to oversee. The vast majority of Atlantic Ocean slave voyages were organized in, departed from, and returned to European ports, even if quite a few were illicit. This metropolitan origination was entirely absent from slave voyages in the Indian Ocean World, and as a consequence they remained more hidden from public view and administrative record-keeping in Europe. Furthermore, since an extensive regional slave trade already existed before the arrival of the Europeans in Asia, and sometimes persisted after Europeans had relinquished the practice, a clear beginning and end to this slave trade are missing. Europeans never monopolized this economic activity in Asia. An estimate of the total volume of the slave trade in the Indian Ocean World therefore seems well-nigh impossible. After all, we cannot simply rely on the European and colonial archives alone, but need some understanding of the absolute and relative shares of Chinese, Indian, Arabic, African, and local traders, and to what extent they operated independently from, or in coopera tion with the Europeans. With local African and Asian forms of slavery rooted in premodern tradi tions, Europeans may have influenced or even transformed these systems through increased demand, but they could never fully command its perime ters. Slavery in the New World consisted entirely, after the gradual exclusion of Native American slaves, of sub-Saharan Africans. Such a clear racial iden tification of, and connotation with, slavery never materialized in the Indian Ocean World, even though in the ethnocentric mind-set of Europeans, both Africans and Asians alike could be defined as black. 52 True, lightness of skin had its positive merits in the Indian Ocean World as well, but theoreti cally a wide pool of racial, ethnic, national, and religious groups were eligible for enslavement, at times even including Europeans themselves. Comparable tered, but given the high profits, this stipulation was evaded by many traders, and a high proportion of slave transactions involving Europeans were in fact illegal, while the indig enous trade was beyond the Companys reach. 52. Of course, if it had been highly profitable to transport Asian slaves to the Caribbean sugar plantations (which, before the nineteenth century, it was not), then slavery in the Americas could have lost some of its racial exclusivity. Still, the lack of a large free popu lation with a similar ethnic background as the slaves would have ensured that the unique power dynamics of colonial slavery in the Americas remained intact.
69 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE to the often irrational preferences that European colonists in the New World showed for specific Africans, an abundance of theories existed regarding the attributes of particular slaves in the Indian Ocean World. Here, as in the West, African slaves were often considered ideal for hard, backbreaking labor conditions. 53 Additionally, Hindu slaves from Malabar were praised for their technical skills, female slaves from Bali for their domestic labor and as potential future marriage partners, while Buginese Muslims from South Sulawesi were frequently shunned for their supposed rebelliousness, to give but a few of the existing stereotypes. Yet, despite such ethnic typecasting, slave identity in the Indian Ocean World was never encapsulated in one clear racial classification. This situa tion was further enhanced by the presence of much larger free populations who shared ethnic and religious backgrounds with the slaves. A simple demographic breakdown of a colonial settlement can, therefore, tell us little about who had in fact arrived as a forced migrant and who came out of free will. Since dependency was almost equally distributed among a great mix ture of peoples, it was then, and still is now, extremely difficult to establish one single, unambiguous slave identity. This multi-ethnic character of Indian Ocean slavery creates even more con fusion if we attempt to chart the geographic directions of the regional slave trade. There may have been many middle passages, as a recent comparative treatment of forced migrations in the modern world puts it (Christopher et al 2007), but none was as clearly a physical and cultural transition as the one-way journey of African slaves to the Americas. Unless we somehow include the more than half million southeast African and Malagasy slaves shipped to the Americas, forced migration patterns in the Indian Ocean World appear to criss cross one another, demonstrating a multidirectionality unseen in the Atlantic system. 54 Slaves could embark virtually anywhere in the region and be shipped to a variety of destinations and destinies. Monsoon winds further dictated sea sonal shipping patterns and prevented the transoceanic slave trade taking on any year-long regularity, making estimates even more complicated. 53. In his Itinerario (1596) Van Linschoten already commented that the slaves from Mozambique (east Africa) were in high demand all across the East, because they are the strongest of the entire Orient, and do the dirtiest and harshest work, and only for that they are used (Terpstra 1955:25). This perception may have been intensified by the use of African slaves by Portuguese colonists during the sixteenth century. 54. TSTD2 estimates that a total of 542,700 slaves were exported from southeast Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, a similar number to the entire Dutch transatlantic slave trade. Of those slaves, an estimated 436,500 arrived in the New World, suggesting a mortality rate of almost twenty percent (19.6). The greater length of the Middle Passage should largely account for this stunningly high mortality rate, although most of these slaves were trans ported during the nineteenth century, when shipping technology had clearly improved.
70 RIK V AN WE L IE The widespread use of slaves as domestic servants by their European own ers made it more likely that a single slave was subjected to several long-distance migrations in his life, often in opposite directions. Obviously, this significant ly increases the risk of doubleor even triple-counting the same slave, a key obstacle to assessing the total volume of the trade. Once again we are struck by what a uniquely one-directional voyage the transatlantic slave trade really was. For that matter, the Indian Ocean slave trade bears more resemblance to the intra-American slave trade, as colonists and their slave property moved from one colony to the next, for example, from Barbados to South Carolina or from Saint Domingue to Louisiana. Yet such slave migrations have wisely been left outside the definition of the transatlantic slave trade. Because the informal VOC empire spanned across and beyond the Indian Ocean World (ranging all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, to Dejima, Japan), the multidirectionality of the slave trade was only further stimulated. Batavia was the uncontested central cog in this supraregional trade system, but key VOC possessions such as the Banda Islands, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the Cape Colony all demonstrated a relatively independent pull for slaves, and adequate oversight on this traffic was usually absent. VOC officials and private burghers traveling between these Dutch trading posts often brought their personal and trade slaves along, thereby adding to the administrative confusion and cultural diffusion. Non-Dutch traders, Europeans as well as non-Europeans, transporting slaves on water and over land, further compli cate the issue. Faced with some of the challenges and difficulties addressed above, Markus Vink (2003) has attempted to assess the volume of the Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade by using a method not uncommon to scholars of the trans atlantic slave trade. As the records of slave departures and arrivals are simply too patchy, and to circumvent the problem of double-counting, he decided to approach the problem from the demand rather than the supply side: how many slaves had to be imported each year into the VOC possessions to keep their slave populations at a relatively steady level? Based on slave population figures from original VOC documentation and a variety of other primary and secondary sources, Vink calculates that around the year 1688 between 4,476 and 7,716 slaves had to be exported annually to allow after assessing a 20 percent morality rate for the necessary slave imports. Based on these esti mates, Vink (2003:168) draws the conclusion that the volume of the total Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade was therefore 15-30% of the Atlantic slave trade ... and one-and-a-half to three times the size of ... the Dutch West India Company slave trade. Anyone familiar with the Dutch Atlantic slave trade will likely be stunned by this bold assertion, even after realizing that the statement is merely valid for the late 1680s. Upon checking with the most recent estimates for the transatlantic slave trade, it appears that Vinks comparison holds up for the
71 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE entire volume of that trade, yet that he substantially underestimated the Dutch: 1687 and 1688 were actually peak years for the Dutch slave trade, as they were then in command of the asiento trade, with an estimated 6,900 and 5,900 slaves exported, respectively (TSTD2). But if we consider, in line with renowned scholars (Postma 2003a), that the Dutch transatlantic slave trade actually reached its highest point during this period, Vinks estimates for the Eastern trade continue to impress us. Putting both slave trades together would suddenly make the Dutch a major, if not the dominant, player in the colonial slave trade of the late seventeenth century. 55 This was surely the Golden Age of the Dutch slave trade. A 20 percent mortality rate may perhaps strike the reader as high, espe cially considering that the maritime routes were generally shorter than in the Atlantic Ocean and that many slaves could be procured from the nearby hinterlands. 56 But assuming for the moment that Vinks calculations are rea sonably accurate and there is no apparent reason to believe otherwise the pressing question remaining is how the estimate for the year 1688 relates to the entire span of the Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade. If we, against better judgment, multiply it by, say, 180 (years), we arrive at roughly 675,000 to 1,150,000 slaves transported to the various possessions of the VOC. Vink (2003:167) humbly underlines that he is only providing a tentative census and that much more archival research is needed to begin sketching a historical development over time. Using his techniques this would be an extremely taxing exercise, as one would need access to yearly slave popula tion counts for each individual settlement, their respective birth, mortality, and manumission rates, mortality rates for the various slave trading routes, and many other important contingencies. It is not difficult to imagine how such a method could lead to dramatic misrepresentations. If, for example, we took a snapshot of Dutch Brazil in the early 1640s and extrapolated this over the entire twenty-five-year life span of that colony, its slave imports could easily be exaggerated up to five times their actual size. Supply of, and demand for, slaves are always highly volatile forces in history. It is, nevertheless, quite reasonable to believe that the slave trade in the Indian Ocean World operated more independently from market fluctuations than its Atlantic variant. Slaves in the VOC domain were seldom intensively used in the production of commodities for the European market. Even in the 55. Without even taking into account that, judging from Paesie 2008, the volume of the illicit Dutch slave trade to the Americas in this period might have to be upgraded as well. 56. Such a percentage certainly seems warranted when considering the forced migration of Malagasy slaves to the Sillida gold mines at West Sumatra during the 1670s and 1680s, which was every bit as horrific as the middle passage across the Atlantic, with sev eral hundred slaves packed into extremely crammed conditions (Barendse 1995:141-45). In their organization, distance traveled, duration, and shipboard mortality, these specific VOC slave voyages easily rivaled the triangular transatlantic slave trade.
72 RIK V AN WE L IE case of nutmeg cultivation on the Banda Islands, where slave labor was uti lized in a way resembling Caribbean plantations, the monopoly established by the Dutch prevented a market-driven expansion of the slave population. 57 In the great majority of VOC possessions, however, most slaves functioned as domestic servants to free European and Asian burghers. Evidently, the demographic ebb and flow of the colonists and the growth and decline of their respective slave holdings were closely related to the health of the colo nial economy. Nonetheless, an estimation based on the perspective of supply may have its merits here. The general size of the free populations of various VOC possessions certainly appears to reveal a more direct correlation to their respective slave holdings than in the Western hemisphere. Lacking sufficient data to assess the regional trade and transoceanic movement of slaves, the approach by Vink may very well be the only possible way to quantify the volume of the Dutch slave trade in the Indian Ocean World. Based on the scanty historical records, we can establish some rough esti mates for the major slave trade patterns in the Indian Ocean World. During the seventeenth century, tens of thousands of slaves were procured by the VOC from the Indian subcontinent, first primarily from the Coromandel coast and the Bengal-Arakan region, later also from the Malabar coast and Ceylon. Most of these slaves were destined for Batavia and other locations in the Indonesian archipelago, but later in the century the Cape Colony and Ceylon became important markets as well. Although the trade in Indian slaves declined notice ably during the eighteenth century, it would not be far-fetched to suggest that approximately 100,000 slaves, and possibly more, were taken from this region by the Dutch. The number of slaves drawn from the Indonesian archipelago during the Company era was even higher, with the islands of Bali and Sulawesi each supplying at least more than 100,000 slaves. 58 A third region in the Indian Ocean World from which tens of thousands of slaves were exported to the VOC territories was Southeast Africa (Mozambique) and Madagascar. Malagasy slaves were often faced with uncharacteristically harsh labor conditions, such as sugar cultivation on Mauritius or the gold mines of West Sumatra. If we add all these admittedly ballpark figures up, it may be warranted to state that several hundred thousand slaves were exported to the various colonial settle ments of the VOC during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, possibly approximating the half million mark of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade. 57. Through its worldwide monopoly on both the clove and nutmeg production, the VOC essentially controlled the market forces and could therefore afford to slow down produc tion (and keep prices artificially high). 58. An older estimate by Sutherland (1983:270) suggesting that during the eighteenth century around 3,000 slaves annually were procured through the port of Makassar alone seems a bit exaggerated. See, for more recent figures based on historical documentation, Knaap & Sutherland 2004.
73 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE Needless to say, more rigorous archival research is required to get us close r to any responsible estimates of this slave trade, and fortunately there are signs that area specialists are picking up on this theme. It will be a momen tous and nearly impossible task to integrate their future findings into some thing resembling the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, considering the many pitfalls involved in the multidirectional Indian Ocean slave trade. Even if we accept that around 63,000 slaves were disembarked at Cape Town dur ing the VOC period, how many of them had been previously traded in the South Asian or Southeast Asian region, either by Dutch or other merchants? Perhaps we should entirely stop trying to measure this unique slave trade in transatlantic terms, and assess it solely on its own patterns. But regardless of the exact numbers, the available evidence certainly warrants a new look at the overall role of the Dutch in the colonial slave trade. The Dutch transatlantic slave trade can be relatively simply divided between the period of the WIC monopoly and the era of the private slave trade that followed it. The most significant gaps in our knowledge concern the illicit private slave trade (interlopers) during the era of the Company trade and the recent study by Ruud Paesie (2008) has shed light on this topic in an important way. In the Indian Ocean World, the Company slave trade was arguably more important during the seventeenth century as well. Since its trading empire was still expanding, each territorial conquest was followed by the building or strengthening of fortifications and warehouses, backbreaking work that was preferably done with slaves and convicts rather than by Company person nel. The VOC organized several long-distance slave voyages (Coromandel, Bengal-Arakan, Madagascar) but most slaves were transported in smaller shipments, often as additional freight stowed away with the primary com modities. Future research may perhaps reveal whether slaves shipped as part of such mixed cargoes suffered higher mortality rates, or exactly the opposite. The private slave trade in the Dutch Indian Ocean World was more hidden and, apart from the personal trade slaves of Company officials and free bur ghers traveling on VOC ships, more limited to regional networks. A sizeable share of this trade remained in the hands of Asian merchants (Southeast Asia) or was carried on by ships sailing under different European flags (southern Africa). If we apply the same strict national compartmentalization that has been customary in the transatlantic slave trade, a substantial downsizing of the Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade is likely in order. In recent quantitative assessments of the transatlantic slave trade, the Dutch are relegated to the status of a minor or second-rate carrier (Eltis 2001). It is difficult to argue with the mass of compiled data spanning more than three centuries. But if we narrow the time-frame to the period of the Golden Age, Dutch participation in the transatlantic slave trade grows significantly in importance. Furthermore, if we compare this with the Dutch stake in American slavery, the oft-repeated idea that the Dutch were more successful at trading
74 RIK V AN WE L IE than at colonizing is confirmed once again. In the Atlantic World the Dutch shipped more slaves to colonies of other nations than vice versa and were thus, in sheer numerical and historical impact, of greater importance on the supply side (Africa) than on the demand side (Americas) of the slave trade. This contrast is even further enhanced when we consider that substantial parts of the European population in Dutch colonies, and particularly the planters, were of a non-Dutch background, while on the other hand Dutch investors and skippers often attempted to evade the WIC monopoly by trading slaves under different Protestant flags or illicitly (Ratelband 1953, Paesie 2008). 59 Even the Company itself was not opposed to allowing its former Portuguese-Brazilian enemies to take slaves along the Gold Coast, as long as they paid a generous duty of 10 percent per slave (Schwartz & Postma 2003). It can safely be said that no European colonial power demonstrated a greater discrepancy between sending their own citizens abroad and transporting others overseas, either through force or on a more voluntary basis. How great the destructive impact of these forced migrations was on the various provenance zones in Africa has been the object of an extensive and often heated debate. For the Indian Ocean World, it seems that the densely populated South Asian societies, especially when considering their massive indentured labor migrations that came after the abolition of slavery, were rel atively unaffected by the small drainage of manpower. For the major slaveexporting regions in Southeast Asia (Sulawesi, Bali) however, as well as for the island of Madagascar, the effects of the export slave trade must have been more dramatic, both in terms of demographic loss and in stimulating internal warfare, enslavement, and general disorganization. It is moreover quite con ceivable that some of the smaller island societies in the eastern parts of the Indonesian archipelago were in fact destroyed beyond repair by slave raiding expeditions instigated directly or indirectly by the Dutch. THE TWO VARIAN TS OF DUT CH COLO NIA L SL A V ER Y Ever since the classic study by Frank Tannenbaum (1947), historians have been comparing the various manifestations of New World slavery in an 59. Although I realize that, on the other hand, the mercantile connections of Sephardic Jews played an important role in the development of the Dutch slave trade and, on the other hand, that there are sporadic cases of Dutch planters settling in foreign colonies. For example, Klooster (1998:41-42) mentions a significant population of Dutch planters on Danish St. Thomas (145 out of a white adult population of 383), many coming from Curaao and St. Eustatius. By 1765 they were still the largest single group on the island, twice as numerous as the Danes themselves, and there was also a Dutch presence on St. John after that island became a Danish colony in 1717.
75 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE attempt to explain the roots of their differences. To some, the key factor was the cultural background of the European colonizer: Iberian slavery was sup posedly relatively mild, while English and Dutch slavery was harsh and more brutally exploitative. 60 Others have objected to these arguments by attribut ing more weight to the environmental and demographic conditions in the col onies themselves. Since we are here primarily concerned with a comparison of Dutch colonial slavery, we can, in the footsteps of Harry Hoetinks study of race relations (1967), safely eliminate the metropolitan cultural factor. At the same time, our wide global perspective enables us to focus even more closely on the importance of various local conditions in the historic devel opment of colonial slavery. By looking at the demographic size of the slave populations in the Dutch colonial sphere and the specific labor conditions the slaves faced, we can offer some tentative suggestions on how these factors impacted the sociocultural position of the slaves and their historic legacy. The absolute and relative size of slave populations can be helpful indi cators to determine to what extent a particular society was dominated by slavery. Table 8 is an admittedly modest attempt to gather some relevant demographic data for the Dutch colonies in the WIC domain. It irrefutably proves their heavy dependency on slaves. We must keep in mind that most of these population figures pertain to the Dutch-controlled areas only, and give little indication of the Native American populations surrounding the Dutch colonies. Even so, most of these native populations were not only relatively sparse, especially after coming into con tact with European colonists, but their societies were relatively underdevel oped and defenseless against European might. Direct territorial colonization was therefore not merely a possibility, but almost obligatory if Europeans were hoping to make long-term profits. To provide for the much-needed labor, first indentured servants from Europe, then African slaves were imported in droves. 61 Generally speaking, the population structure of most American colonies became characterized by black majorities and, despite occasional hostilities with surrounding 60. See Foner & Genovese 1969 for an overview of the classic positions on this debate. The cultural arguments by Tannenbaum and Elkins have recently been given new life by scholars like Blackburn 1997 and Eltis 2000 who both argue that certain progressive developments in the metropolis (growth of capitalism, freedom, possessive individual ism) can be indirectly related to the harsh treatment of slaves by the English and Dutch. Eltis 1999 sees it as a most tragic irony that the rights to liberty and personal freedom these early-modern Europeans enjoyed at home also allowed them to act in a relatively unfettered and unchecked way toward outsiders beyond the European continent. 61. Early Spanish colonization of mainland America, which focused on more densely populated though ultimately powerless Aztec and Inca empires, relied substantially on coerced native labor. But the unique development of African slavery there only confirms the essential role of native populations in this process.
76 RIK V AN WE L IE Table 8 Assorted slave and free populations in the primary WIC possessions Colony Year Slaves Europeans Non-Europeans Gold Coast 1773 c.700 (68.2%) 180 (17.0%) 146 (13.7%) Fort Elmina 1645 192 (60.4%) 126 (39.6%) Dutch Brazil 1640 c. 30,000 (33.5%) c. 43,500 (48.6%) c. 16,000 (17.8%) Suriname 1738 1791 c. 24,047 (89.8%) 48,155 (91.2%) 2,133 (8.0%) 2,900 (5.5%) 598 (2.2%) 1,760 (3.3%) Paramaribo 1791 c.8,000 (68.0%) 2,000 (17.0%) 1,760 (15.0%) Plantations 1774 56,834 (98.4%) 914 (1.6%) Berbice 1796 8,232 (88.6%) 860 (9.3%) 200 (2.2%) Esseq./Demerara 1796 28,000 (89.3%) 2,700 (8.6%) 650 (2.1%) Tobago 1665 c. 7,000 (84.8%) 1,250 (15.2%) Curaao 1720 2,238 (55.9%) c. 1,720 (42.9%) 48 (1.2%) Willemstad 1789 5,419 (46.9%) 3,507 (30.4%) 2.617 (22.7%) Countryside 1789 7,445 (78.8%) 903 (9.6%) 1,097 (11.6%) Bonaire 1806 364 (38.5%) 72 (7.6%) 509 (53.9%) Aruba 1816 370 (21.4%) 210 (12.1%) 1,150 (66.5%) St. Eustatius 1790 4,944 (63.1%) 2,375 (30.3%) 511 (6.5%) St. Maarten 1790 4,226 (75.9%) 1,151 (20.7%) 194 (3.5%) Saba 1790 564 (43.4%) 730 (56.1%) 7 (0.6%) New Netherland 1664 c. 400 (5.3%) c. 7,000 (93.3%) c. 100 (1.3%) New Amsterdam 1664 c. 300 (12.6%) c. 2,000 (84.2%) c. 75 (3.2%) Sources: Gold Coast: Numbers for 1645 based on Ruychaver (Dec. 1, 1645) as discussed by Ratelband (1953:lviixci), including the personnel on four coastal vessels based at Elmina; eighteenth-century figures based on Goslinga (1985:51, 57) and Feinberg (1989:35, 65, 85) who estimates averages of 253-257 European WIC personnel between 1700 and 1760, and states that there is no consistent information on the numbers of visiting traders, seamen, or people waiting to go the New World; fort Elmina consists of the castle So Jorge Da Mina and fort Coenraadsburg; Dutch Brazil: Numbers for Pernambuco are tentative estimates based on various scholars, given in Schalkwijk (2005:48-49), with the Europeans divided into 30,000 Portuguese, 12,000 Dutch-Europeans and 1,500 Jews. Estimates suggest another 25,000 in the capitanias of Itamarac, Paraba, Rio Grande do Norte, and Cear; Suriname: 1738 slave population is based on Hoogbergens (1992:10) figure for 1728 and his estimated growth of the slave population thereafter, while the white and free black population are from Van Lier (1977:71); 1795 slave population is from Van Stipriaan (1993:311), but the white and free black and mulatto populations are taken from 1791 (Van Lier 1977:70, Goslinga 1985:364); Van Stipriaan (1993:314) gives a total free population in 1795 of 4,953, and it would not be unreasonable that this growth of 293 people over four years was largely made up of free Blacks and Mulattoes (numbers seem to correspond with Van Lier here); Paramaribo figures for 1791 from Van Lier (1977:23, 71) although the 8,000 slaves of Paramaribo seems very high when compared with the low number in Van Stipriaan (1993:311); Plantation figures are from the same sources and the choice has been made (see 1791) to leave all free Blacks and Mulattoes out of this count; the military personnel has often been left out of these population figures, even though they could amount to as many as 1,950 in 1774. Berbice: Goslinga (1985:439) and Enthoven (2004:157-58); Essequibo and Demerara: Van der Oest (2003:329); Goslinga (1985:439) gives 21,259 slaves for 1790, which sounds plausible given the heavy British imports in the 1790s; the split between Essequibo and Demerara was for 1796 (8,000/20,000); Tobago (Nieuw Walcheren): Roos (1992:113); Curaao: 1720 in Goslinga (1985:102), Van Goor (1994:119); Klooster (1999:508) for the free Blacks (48), although suggesting that they made up 5.6% of the island population is impossible, and he must have been thinking of percentage of the free population only: in 1709 the free white population of Willemstad was 687 (Rupert 2006:147), adding the 233 WIC personnel and military from 1720 (Goslinga 1985:103), one comes close to Kloosters percentage. For the free white population of Curaao in 1720, Van Goor (1994:119) states that there
77 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE were 220 employees of the WIC, and 500 free burgher families, and that we should multiply this number by 3-4, which would mean around 2,000 European colonists I have chosen the factor 3, based on Rupert (2006:147); 1789 in Klooster (1994:289; 1998:61); Klooster logically assumes that free servants (846) were all White, as the free non-white population (3,714) was listed as a separate category. These numbers differ slightly from Enthoven (2004:159), who calculates 3,814 Europeans, 2,450 Free People of Color, and Van Goor (1994:119) who has lower figures; Bonaire: Goslinga (1990:130); Aruba: 1816 in Enthoven (2004:158); St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, and Saba: Goslinga (1985:131, 138, 152); New Netherland: Jacobs (1999:67, 253, 267-68); Jacobs (1999:417 n.13) considers Van den Boogaarts (1986) estimate of a total population of 6,030 in 1664 far too low, especially because he hardly takes natural growth into account, and this was certainly the case for family migration to a fairly healthy climate. For the black and slave population estimates of New Amsterdam, see Harris (2003:21-22) and many other publica tions on this topic. Of course, such estimates could quickly alter, for instance, with the arrival of 290 slaves from Africa just before the British take-over, even though most of those slaves were sold onward to Chesapeake tobacco plantations. Native American populations are excluded from these estimates, though some lived among the Dutch communities, of course. Doortmont & Smit (2007:325) give the following Dutch castles and forts (and the African towns) on the Gold Coast during the era of the slave trade: Fort Crvecoeur (Accra) 1649-1868; Fort Good Hope ( De Goede Hoop Senya Beraku) 1705-1868; Fort Patience ( Lijdzaamheid Apam) 1697-1868; Fort Amsterdam (Abandze, Kormantin) 1665-1868; Fort Nassau (Mouri) 1612-1868; Cabo Cors (Cape Coast) 1660s; Castle St. George dElmina (Elmina) 1637-1872; Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill (Elmina) (1637) 1660s-1872; Fort Vredenburg (Dutch Komenda) 1689-1872; Fort St. Sebastian ( St. Sebastiaan ) (Shama) 1638-1872; Fort Orange ( Oranje ) (Dutch Sekondi) 1670s-1872; Fort Witzen (Takoradi) 1680s-1872; Fort Batenstein (Butre) 1656-1872; Fort Dorothea (Akwida) 1717-1872; Fort Gross Friedrichsburg ( Hollandia ) (Princes Town/Pokesu) (1717) 1725-1872; Fort St. Anthony (Axim) 1642-1872; Fort Ruyghaver (Ankobra River) 1654-1659. Native Americans, control of these slaves was of primary concern to the colo nial order. From the lower U.S. South all the way to central Brazil, African slaves always made up more than half of the total population and their labor was indispensable to the raison dtre of these societies: the plantations. The Dutch era in Brazil and their later settlements on the Wild Coast (Suriname, Berbice, Essequibo, and Demerara) certainly fit this mold. The major insu lar Caribbean colonies of the Dutch (Curaao, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten) possessed slightly lower percentages of slaves, primarily because they did not fully adhere to the classic American plantation model. The islands were either too small or the climate too arid for plantation agriculture to be truly viable. They were still characterized by black majorities, partly because of their specific historic roles in the transatlantic slave trade, and partly because European immigrants generally avoided such unhealthy tropical climates. New Netherland easily came closest to resembling the natural environment of Western Europe, and accordingly witnessed a sizeable family migration of European colonists and had no strong demand for African slaves, except in trading them onward to more plantation-oriented colonies. While slave populations in most Dutch VOC possessions were substantial as well, the comparison with the American colonies completely falls apart if we take the surrounding indigenous populations into account. The Natives in the Indian Ocean World formed the true black or non-European majorities, and as such were both respected and feared by the European colonizer. Their indigenous production and extensive Asian trade networks allowed European colonists to limit direct control to fortified trading posts and their immediate
78 RIK V AN WE L IE hinterlands. Of course, they had but very little choice in this matter. In this maritime network of colonial towns, slaves formed a unique element occu pied with serving the Dutch inner circle: they worked on the docks, erected fortifications, tended to Company garden plots, functioned as artisans, and complemented the European households as domestic servants, concubines, or even as future wives. But they were almost never involved in commercial agriculture for the European market. In the Indian Ocean World, commercial production remained squarely in the hands of indigenous societies. Slaves were thus numerically important only if we concentrate on the various VOC ports, from Batavia to Colombo, Cochin to Cape Town. Their demographic impact gradually loses significance if we extend the concentric circle around those colonial towns (Raben 2008). The only WIC settlement that closely resembled this pattern was, quite tellingly, Elmina on the African Gold Coast (current-day Ghana). 62 The few hundred WIC servants and their Company slaves who resided in and around the two forts were insignifi cant when placed against the demographic and military strength of Elmina town on the African mainland, with a population (including slaves) fluctuat ing somewhere between 12,000 and 16,000 during the eighteenth century (Feinberg 1989:65, 85; Van Kessel 2002:25, 101). Friendly relations with the local rulers were, understandably, an absolute priority to the Dutch. Slavery in the European trading posts across the Indian Ocean World had a decidedly urban and domestic character. Slaves performed a much wider variety of service-oriented tasks than their colleagues in the Americas, who were primarily occupied with plantation production of an industrial nature. In their attempts to estimate the relative harshness of the slaves condition, historians have often judged urban slavery to be rather mild. Such a judg ment is primarily based on the harsh and monotonous working conditions that field slaves encountered, but also on the limits of social control in the city and the general mobility that characterizes most sea-ports throughout history. The colonial environment and its economy were thus of fundamental importance in defining the lives of the slaves. In an attempt to assess the relative importance of slavery, M.I. Finley (1968) made a now classic distinction between societies with slaves, encompassin g most civilizations throughout human history, and a few his toric slave societie s, in which the entire socioeconomic structure was based on slavery as a mode of production. His definition of slave society was a very narrow one and, beside his fascination with classical slavery, fitted only the European plantation colonies in the Americas. Historically, 62. The Dutch forts on the African coast were unique in that they, according to Feinberg (1989:36), only consisted of Company employees and possessed no European free bur gher class; a similar situation though for different reasons developed in the VOC post of Dejima in Japan.
79 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE the rise of the plantation complex was firmly based on the production of sugar for the expanding European market. All the major importers of slaves in the Americas, from Brazil in the sixteenth to Cuba in the nineteenth cen tury were essentially addicted to this combination of sweetness and power (Mintz 1985). 63 The plantation colonies of the Dutch, New Holland (Dutch Brazil) in the first half of the seventeenth century and Suriname and the other Wild Coast settlements thereafter, did not significantly differ from this pat tern. Suriname had 171 sugar plantations by 1713 (Van Stipriaan 1993:33), but underwent a dramatic intensification of plantation agriculture during the eighteenth century, as the production of coffee began surpassing that of sugar. This explains in large part the increased volume of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade during the middle decades of the century. Table 9, based on the most thorough quantitative study of Suriname during its last hundred years of slavery, shows the development of this commercial plantation sector. The other Dutch plantation colonies on the Wild Coast grew even more dramatically during the second half of the eighteenth century, though this expansion was mainly instigated by British and North American planters and merchants. When the English occupied these colonies during the Napoleonic era, the slave population of Essequibo and Demerara quickly increased from 28,000 in 1796 to circa 60,000 slaves in 1806, working a total of 700 planta tions (Van der Oest 2003:329). They produced the same commodities for the European market as nearby Suriname and in fairly identical patterns, with sugar and coffee closely rivaling each other, followed at a large distance by cotton and then cacao. Sugar cane never wavers too far from the equator but, as its history shows, experienced a clear westward migration across the globe. Sugar production was an essential feature of several economies around the Indian Ocean World, but it never became so closely connected to the tragedy of slavery as in the greater Caribbean. Sugar plantations around Batavia and on Taiwan during the VOC period, for example, may occasionally have turned to slave labor as well, but they were predominantly run by Chinese merchants who imported cheap coolies from China for the drudgery. 64 Later, during the Cultivation 63. The powerful role of sugar is sometimes overlooked when focusing on slavery in the North American mainland, where tobacco and, in the nineteenth century, cotton were king. Only in the Mississippi River Delta of Louisiana sugar plantations operated, but this only goes to show that the cultivation of sugar cane is limited to unhealthy subtropical cli mates. Not surprisingly, slavery in the rest of the southern United States was exceptional considering that its slave population showed a positive natural growth and, as a result, high levels of creolization. Even within the South, slave life and culture manifested itself in different ways according to the agricultural organization (tobacco, rice, indigo) of the colonies; see both Morgan 1998 and Berlin 1998. 64. The VOC on Formosa mainly profited indirectly, by taxing the Chinese on almost all their economic activities, even on the right to collect these taxes. In 1651, at a time
80 RIK V AN WE L IE System on Java, the Dutch began forcing native labor into sugar production, often through more indirect, feudal means. Only the tiny island of Mauritius showed a glimpse of slave-based sugar production during its Dutch occupa tion, but its true maturation as a plantation colony took place later, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The main reason why the Mascarenes eventually developed according to a Caribbean pattern was because they were largely uninhabited and more or less open to European colonization. The closest the Dutch came to slave-based plantation agriculture in the Indian Ocean World was in the Moluccas (Maluku), the famous spice islands located a thousand miles to the east of the VOC capital of Batavia. But even here, specific local conditions and historic events were of prime importance in the development of slavery. On Ambon and Ternate, where the Dutch had defeated the Portuguese at an early stage (1605), the production of cloves remained in the hands of the large indigenous population, some times aided by local or imported slaves. The VOC merely arranged the fixed purchase and shipment of these cloves and frantically oversaw the coveted monopoly on the spice, for example by deploying expeditions to extirpate when Dutch Taiwan finally became profitable for the Company, the Chinese produced 4,400,000 pounds of sugar, while the average sugar yields for that period was between approximately one and two million kilos annually (Van Veen 1996:71, 77). Van Veen states that the process of colonization of Formosa was very similar to what had happened in South America [as in Spanish America?] and what would take place more than two hundred years later in Africa [during its colonial era]. Table 9 Suriname plantation slaves producing for the export market 1750-1863 Plantation sector Year Number of plantations Total slaves (average per plantation) Field slaves (number per plantation) and % of total Sugar 1750 1770 1790 1810 1825 1862 141 111 102 100 95 86 19,008 (135) 16,584 (149) 12,232 (120) 10,108 (101) 12,352 (130) 19,789 (230) 9,835 (70) 52 8,411 (76) 51 5,243 (51) 43 4,196 (42) 42 5,925 (62) 48 7,876 (92) 40 Coffee 1750 1770 1790 1810 1825 1862 225 295 248 235 178 37 16,029 (71) 37,179 (126) 26,710 (108) 21,968 (93) 17,363 (98) 3,892 (105) 9,332 (41) 58 20,087 (68) 54 12,390 (50) 46 10,668 (45) 48 8,132 (46) 47 Cotton 1825 1862 73 15 8,290 (114) 2,551 (170) 4,145 (57) 50 Cacao 1862 23 1,225 (53) Source: Van Stipriaan 1993:128-44, 438-39.
81 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE clove trees in areas that were too difficult to control (the so-called hongi expeditions). Its headquarters in the Ambonese archipelago, the city of Kota Ambon, certainly depended on the services of an extensive and almost entirely imported slave population, but few of them were directly occupied with the production of cloves (Knaap 1991). The Banda islands to the south, the sole place in the world to grow nut meg trees at the time, could perhaps have developed in a similar direction as Ambon. The indigenous population made a comfortable living by a not especially arduous mode of horticulture (Hanna 1978:6-9). Nutmeg and its by-product mace were accordingly sold to various competing Asian and European merchants. But the VOC demanded exclusive rights to these spices and, through a series of ruthless expeditions, took hold of the island group in the early seventeenth century. Both fierce resistance by the Bandanese against such a monopoly, and Dutch acknowledgment that these islands were in fact small and isolated enough to be controlled directly, contributed to one of the most tragic chapters in Dutch colonial history. 65 After the Bandanese population had almost been annihilated, the Company resumed the produc tion of nutmeg and mace through a system of Dutch planters ( perkeniers ) and imported slaves working the small-scale plantations ( perken ). The Banda islands under the Dutch became, in the words of one historian, nothing less than a Caribbean cuckoo in an Asian nest (Loth 1995:35). 66 Yet what the VOC created on Banda in the 1620s was unique due to its rigid monopolistic character. The productive area of the three main islands were divided into 68 perken of equal size (33 on Lonthor, 31 on Ai, and 3 on Neira, where the Company headquarters were located), and each perk was provided with 25 slaves whom the VOC delivered at a fixed price of 40 rijksdaalders (96 guilders) each (Hanna 1978:59-60). Most of these start ing conditions remained unchanged for over two centuries. For example, the loss of 1,529 slaves in several epidemics in 1693, 1702, and 1715 was still calculated at 40 reaal a piece (Hanna 1978:55). The stationary character of Banda stands in stark contrast with the market fluctuations affecting the 65. Hanna (1978:3) estimates the size of the island group at 1/25,000 of the entire Indonesian archipelago. The famous J.P. Coen headed the final conquest of the islands in 1621, and it is often suggested that this was revenge for the massacre of a group of VOC officials by the locals in 1609, events a young Coen probably witnessed first-hand. A report by VOC official Jacques lHermit in the early 1610s (De Jonge 1865:380-94) already suggested a final solution of similar proportions. 66. I generally agree with Loths treatment of Banda under the Dutch as a Caribbean plantation model. It would be interesting to see if the architects of the perkenier system referred to concrete examples from the European colonization of the New World. At the beginning of the VOC experiments with perken on Ai in 1616, the Caribbean plantation system was still in a developmental stage, but perhaps Spanish colonization or, more likely, Portuguese sugar captaincies in Brazil provided the Dutch with a model.
82 RIK V AN WE L IE American plantation sector. The monopoly on nutmeg and mace enabled the VOC to keep both prices and production stable. In the 1630s, the Company had extirpated all nutmeg trees on the island of Run, for fear of possible resettle ment by the English. They could easily have expanded cultivation to Run in the late 1660s, when Great Britain officially relinquished all its prior claims on the island. 67 But they felt no need to do so until 1862, when new perken were laid out on Run (Hanna 1978:66). 68 The monopoly thus ensured that the slave population on the perken stagnated between 2,000 and 3,000 throughout the colonial period. Even though they produced for the European export market, there was no pressure to overwork the slaves as was often the case in the highly competitive Caribbean plantation sector. 69 At the Cape the demographic and military weakness of the indigenous pastoral societies also allowed the Dutch to colonize more according to an American settlement pattern. Fortunately for the slaves, a moderate climate prevented any large-scale commercial plantation agriculture. That slavery nevertheless became such an important feature of the Cape economy has everything to do with its geographic location in the middle of two large slavetrading networks. In the early stages of its development, there were still signs that the colony would follow a pattern similar to New Netherland, relying predominantly on immigrant labor either indentured or not from Europe. If slave laboring conditions on Banda and in the rural Cape districts were exceptional compared to most other VOC possessions, the lower Dutch Caribbean islands were an aberration to the general West Indian pattern. Though the WIC made several efforts to establish sugar and tobacco plan tations on Curaao, the arid climate generally confirmed earlier Spanish observations that these were, at least from the perspective of commercial agriculture, islas intiles Curaao and its port Willemstad acted as a naval base, a slave-trading emporium, and a free haven for illicit trading with the Spanish Main, but never as a slave-based plantation economy producing for the European market. Looking at their roles in the colonial economy, slaves on Curaao often performed tasks quite similar to those of slaves in the VOC trading posts. 67. As part of the Peace of Breda (1667) which settled the Second Anglo-Dutch Naval War (1665-1667). In this peace settlement the English took over New Netherland (New York), while the Dutch in turn claimed Suriname, a swap that has often been ridiculed with the benefit of hindsight, but at the time cannot have seemed too disadvantageous. 68. The termination of the monopoly was officially decreed on April 31 [sic], 1864, but only became effective in 1873 (Hanna 1978:105). 69. To state that working conditions of slaves are either good or bad should not automati cally lead to conclusions regarding their general treatment, but it certainly can be a useful indicator.
83 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE From New Amsterdam to Cape Town, from Elmina to Colombo, slaves in Dutch colonial towns were occupied with a great variety of work activities: building fortifications, loading and unloading ships, growing food for local consumption in Company gardens, being hired out as urban artisans or appren tices, serving European families as domestic servants, or transient sailors and soldiers as prostitutes. There was always something to do in the bustling trad ing posts of the Dutch colonial empire, and slave labor was used accordingly. One gets a vivid sense of this diversification of work from a list of runaway slaves that left Curaao between 1729 and 1775 70 : among the 500 male run aways, there were 129 field slaves (25.8%), 82 seamen (16.4%), 47 carpenters (9.4%), 32 fishermen (6.4%), 30 shoemakers (6.0%), but also 16 cooks (3.2%) and 15 bakers (3.0%), 15 musicians (3.0%), and, finally, of bricklayers and tailors 14 (2.8%) each; among the 85 female slaves that escaped, traditional household tasks prevailed, with laundresses (17.6%), seamstresses (14.1%), knitters (11.8%), vendors (10.6%), and domestic slaves (9.6%) all looking to improve their condition (Klooster 1994:285). Besides showing the variety of slave labor, the list demonstrates that seemingly preferable working conditions were no guarantee for a slaves acquiescence; in fact, the lure of freedom might have been greater for those who had already received a taste of it. This list mainly reflects slavery on Curaao in the postasiento era, after its economy underwent a dramatic transition. Between the 1660s and 1710s, a sizeable contingent of Company slaves was employed in the transit slave trade. The garden slaves ( tuinslaven ) attending the Company plantations were primarily occupied with cattle breeding and the production of sorghum to feed the trade slaves ( negotieslaven ) awaiting transport to arguably harsher and more monotonous labor conditions elsewhere. From 1700 to 1715, the WIC owned an average total of 618 slaves on the island, but after the asiento contracts fell to the English, the Company reduced its slaves to 206 in 1718 and to only 181 in 1720 (Jordaan 1999:482). It was fairly common for both the WIC and VOC to downsize their slave holdings after large initial infrastructure and public works projects had been completed. 71 Such slaves were usually sold on the private market or trans ported elsewhere. Over time, the share of private in relation to Company slaves residing in a colony therefore grew invariably larger. But the situation on Curaao during the 1710s was more complex. Slaves continued to arrive from Africa, but there were hardly any buyers available. 72 In the first half of 70. The most likely destination was Coro, on the Venezuelan coast. Since this kind of marronage was always by boat, it is no wonder that sailors and fishermen were well rep resented here. For more on this maritime marronage, see Rupert 2006. 71. For a good example of this in the VOC town of Colombo, Ceylon, see Knaap 1981: 96-98. 72. This episode slaves arriving, but no buyers and no food available shows remark able resemblance to the situation in Dutch Recife around 1645.
84 RIK V AN WE L IE 1715, an average of 64 trade slaves awaited further sale, and this number rose to an average of 339 in the second half of that year, and peaked at 931 slaves in April of 1716, before gradually going down to a more manageable size at the end of 1717 (Jordaan 1999:482). Combined with the already precarious food situation, caused by recent droughts, this led to substantial tensions on the island. 73 Looking for solutions, the governor attempted a haphazard plan tation-experiment on Aruba and to send slaves to Bonaire as well (Jordaan 1997), perhaps more with the intent to ease the pressure on Curaao than honestly believing that decent profits could be made. At a certain point the slave-to-food ratio on the island became so unstable that old and sick slaves were manumitted and were free to fend for them selves. Apparently, the material costs to maintain such slaves had become higher than the economic returns of their labor, and any paternalist ideology went quickly out the door. There are more cases of manumission as a strategy toward cost-effectiveness among Dutch colonists. For example, when Batavia was struck by a leprosy epidemic in the 1670s, owners parted with their slaves at such an alarming rate that around 1684 a total of 1,366 people were depen dent on poor relief from the church, an estimated 70-80 percent of them single women and their children (Niemeijer 2000:181). And in New Amsterdam, the WIC granted freedom to its first generation of loyal slaves, those that helped build the foundations of Manhattan and worked its Company gardens, but freedom came with such stipulations that manumission seemed more like a calculating than a truly honorable deed. While the letting go of an old or inca pacitated slave is likely as old as the institution of slavery itself, large-scale manumissions for reasons of relative profitability have, as far as I know, seldom occurred in plantation economies where slave labor was dearest. 74 Individual manumission was, of course, often the result of intimate bonds and long-standing relationships between masters and slaves. Such bonds had a better chance of developing and thriving in the closed settings of the private European households where domestic slaves spent most of their days. Their actual tasks may not have differed much from those performed by servants and maids in Europe, but their legal status did and with it their vulnerability in face of their master and mistress. Depending on the personal whims of their owners, the fortune of domestic slaves fluctuated between the extremes of freedom and upward social mobility on the one hand, or chronic mental 73. Jordaan 1999 gives a fascinating in-depth account of these conditions, connecting them quite convincingly to the slave rebellion of trade slaves on the St. Maria planta tion in 1716. 74. Suriname witnessed regular manumissions of old and incapacitated slaves, but to pre vent this from becoming a nuisance to society specific limitations were set in 1733, and from 1788 on, slave owners had to pay one hundred guilders for a manumission letter. I thank Henk den Heijer for bringing this to my attention.
85 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE and physical abuse and death on the other. As they were considered part and parcel of the households, their social isolation could be debilitating. Domestic slavery was perhaps the central feature of Dutch colonial society in the Indian Ocean World. There is ample evidence suggesting the prepon derance of slavery among the free burgher and Company servant households of some of the major colonial towns in the VOC domain. The average slave holdings of these households fluctuated roughly between 4 to 6 slaves. 75 But if we focus in on the households of European background or those belong ing to the Company elite, the average slave holdings significantly increase (Knaap 1981:94; 1991:123). While some of the larger private slave hold ings hired out slaves for profit or participated in the local slave trade, it can be surmised from these figures that most European households contained more domestic labor than was strictly necessary. In some cases this may have resulted in a lighter overall work load for the slaves, or more uneconomic and eccentric tasks, such as playing in a private orchestra. To emphasize their social status in the colonial world, the local European elite apparently did not shy away from conspicuous consumption, in sharp contrast with the Calvinist embarrassment of riches that Simon Schama (1987) discerned in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. The belief that European colonists in the tropics were easily corrupted by greed, luxury, and slavery has been widely disseminated since the early days of travel writing. A recent analysis (Van den Boogaart 2000) brilliantly dem onstrates early Dutch concerns that Europeans would degenerate as a result of the exotic climate and guilty pleasures of Asia, including their dependence on servile labor. Nicolaus de Graaffs oft-cited comment that the wives of VOC officials are waited on like princesses, and some have many male and female slaves, who have to be alert as watchdogs day and night had cer tainly from a metropolitan perspective a very negative sound to it (Knaap 1981:93). 76 Moreover, judging by the scattered anecdotal evidence, these wives were often susceptible to power abuse, with their private slaves as the prime victims. Since domestic slavery was so prevalent in these colonial societies, it logically follows that the female head of the household carried the main burden for managing these slaves. But perhaps the brunt of contem porary criticism was also reserved for her because she constituted the most exotic element in the European power structure; in other words, it may 75. Based on Cochin (Wolff 1992:50-51, 71-72), Colombo (Knaap 1981:88, 93), Kota Ambon (Knaap 1991:121, 124), and Malakka (Ketelaars 1985:69-71). 76. Knaap (1981:93) suggests that, owing to the presence of many households with no or only a few slaves, descriptions of women living like princesses should be treated with cau tion, yet he himself gives fairly high average slave holdings for the European households. Ketelaars (1985:72) points out that De Graaff was singling out the wives of Company servants and that his comments might therefore have more validity than Knaap submits.
86 RIK V AN WE L IE have been psychologically convenient to blame cruelty and overindulgence strictly on the Asian character of colonial society. 77 The dearth of European women was a problem in European colonial expansion in general, but particularly so in the VOC domain. For exam ple, the town of Malakka counted a total of 558 European men in 1678, but only 26 European women, of whom 24 were married to Company ser vants (Ketelaars 1985:68). Elsewhere the situation was hardly different. Consequently, the highly imbalanced sex ratios could only be overcome by appealing to local women, and racial intermixture developed almost hand in hand with the colonization process. 78 The stock of young native and mestizo women rose dramatically, and through them the mixed outlook of VOC set tlements became even more pronounced (Knaap 1981, Singh 2007:105-8). Of course, there was plenty of interracial mixing in the American colonies as well. But what set the Asian developments apart was that by marrying Company servants and free burghers native and mestizo women and their legitimate offspring joined the ranks of the colonial elite. To emphasize her newly acquired European identity, it is quite conceivable that the mestizo wife sometimes acted the part, by treating her domestic slaves, who often had a similar ethnic background, in an extremely deprecating manner. This tension within the household may have been further exacerbated by the fact that female slaves were not excluded from marrying European men either. Yesterdays slave could be todays concubine and tomorrows wife. Falling into favor with her European master or one of his friends, she could after the required manumission and conversion to Christianity legally marry him and acquire the coveted European status (Ketelaars 1985:61, 67). The Bali slave trade was particularly notorious for providing both Chinese and European men with desirable concubines and potential future marriage partners. Consequently, choice female slaves often commanded higher prices than their male counterparts on Asian slave markets in contrast with the Americas where strong adult men were preferred for the hard field labor on the plantations. Considering the substantial social mobility involving a marriage between a master and his former slave, it is not difficult to conceive that under the circumstances most of these women felt lucky and submitted willingly to such an ordeal. There do not appear to be many scholarly discussions about the history of the sexual abuse and rape of these concubine slaves, a most sensitive topic in the historiography of slavery in the Americas. Even in the 77. For a recent interpretation of the European representation of Asian women in Dutch travel literature, see Van de Walle 2001. 78. Knaap (1981:90) makes the counterfactual statement that if only free males are taken into account, Colombo was much less of an ethnically mixed town than colonial settle ments of the period are sometimes considered to be.
87 SL A V E TRA D IN G AN D SL A V ER Y IN T HE DUT CH COLO NIA L EM P IRE best-case scenario, when a female slave was manumitted together with her children and generously taken care of by her former master, there were as far as I know no cases of legally sanctioned marriages between the two in the New World; they were in fact prohibited by law. In the American colo nies, the ranks of white Europeans were closed for ex-slaves. In Deglers (1972) classic but controversial study comparing race rela tions in Brazil and the U.S. South, he characterized the former as more flexible and lenient because of the so-called mulatto escape hatch: lightskinned African Americans of considerable means and education and with well-established social connections were able to escape the black mass and perhaps enter the dominant caste. Elsewhere, in various parts of the former Spanish Americas, mestizaje not white, not red, not black, but a mixture of them is often proclaimed to be the core national identity. To some extent these are highly romanticized and nationalistic representations that emerged only after emancipation and decolonization. At the same time these IberianAmerican colonies do show some of the demographic dynamics of the Indian Ocean World, with more sizeable indigenous populations and, perhaps as a result thereof, a greater tolerance for interracial mixing and a better treatment of slaves. At the risk of resurrecting an awkward term, one could perhaps state that Asian women, by marrying Dutch or European men, benefited from a mestizo escape hatch. But we should be extremely cautious in bringing uniquely American concepts of race into a discussion on the Indian Ocean World. The various ethnic groups serving as slaves to the Dutch and other Europeans in Asia were generally represented by much larger nonslave populations, and were consequently unburdened by a stigma of slavery or a somatic-norm image from which they felt pressured to escape. The key to unlocking race relations in the Americas it has been sug gested before is rooted in the legal and social positions accorded to free Blacks and Mulattoes. In the plantation colonies of the greater Caribbean, the large black majorities and the small European master class in time forced the creation of a three-caste system, with an intermediate buffer group of loyal house slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes who sometimes aided, but were never fully accepted by the white elite. On Curaao, the relative size of the free black/mulatto population expanded dramatically during the eighteenth century, largely because of its decreased importance in the transatlantic slave trade. The percentage of the free black/mulatto population was larger than on any other Caribbean island (Klooster 1999:508) and before the abolition of slavery it had become the dominant identity, amounting to 43.5 percent of the population in 1833 (Klooster 1994:288). As the slave-free dichotomy became increasingly vague, white residents began invoking modern pseudo scientific ideologies of race to ensure that, if no longer slaves, free Blacks were not entirely free either (Oostindie 2000:56-59).
88 RIK V AN WE L IE Where the European colonial population was stronger and the sex ratios more balanced, as in the settlement colonies of North America and South Africa, over time a more rigid line was drawn between Whites and Blacks, ultimately leading to tragic legal constructions such as Jim Crow segrega tion and apartheid to prevent, or at least tightly channel, interracial contact. Over the past two decades historians have begun unearthing what Gary Nash (1995) has called the hidden history of mestizo America, to show that more social openness and flexibility existed in earlier times. But their strenuous mining of the earliest colonial sources only appears to confirm that such mixed relationships quickly became taboo in North America. They also point out that racial exclusivity grew ever stricter over time, as the white settler population continued to increase and the abolition of slavery allowed a much more virulent type of racism to develop. As a consequence of this strong racial identification of American slaver y, the multiple identities of slaves, Blacks, and Africans became closely inter twined and were in most cases immediately visible. Over time it helped create a resilient group identity that is still very much alive today, albeit in various gradations. Naturally, this has great implications for the historic development of slave community and culture, the frequency of slave resis tance and rebellion, and ultimately for the willingness to remember and iden tify with a past of slavery. In the Indian Ocean World such empowerment in the face of adversity was noticeably absent among the slaves. Slavery and freedom were never as strongly opposed as in the Americas anyway, with many intermediate cat egories that were nearly indistinguishable from slave status. In fact, the pre dominance of domestic slavery in European colonial households presented the individual slave with opportunities to work the system to their personal advantage, opportunities that may have never sprung up had they not become slaves in the first place. Furthermore, manumission did signify, in decided contrast with the Americas, a clear break with the slave community. The lack of one specific racial, ethnic, or religious identity that was imprinted on either the slave or the master prevented the growth of a common culture and solidarity among slaves. The slave rebellion at the Cape in 1760, for example, was primarily rooted in the religious (Muslim) and ethnic (Bugis) background of the participants, who formed quite a uniform group consid ering that the Cape Colony has been labeled the most diverse slave society in the world (Koolhof & Ross 2005). In whatever form or shape freedom eventually came through individual manumission, by flight, or in a gen eral emancipation the ex-slave of the Indian Ocean World gradually disap peared in its massive, motley crowd. Therein lies the key explanation as to why the history of slavery in the Indian Ocean World has been neglected thus far. If we want to get a fuller picture of Dutch colonial slavery, it is entirely up to the historians to unravel this story, because no one else will.
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SI D NE Y W MIN TZ INSTITUTIONAL MYSTERIES Africa and the Americas: Interconnections During the Slave Trade. JOS C. CU R TO & REN E SOULOD RE-LA FRANCE (eds.). Trenton NJ: Africa World Press, 2005. vii + 338 pp. (Paper US$ 29.95) Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas. GW EN DOLY N MI DLO HA LL Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. xxii + 225 pp. (Cloth US$ 34.95) The forced movement of enslaved Africans to the New World before the nineteenth century, surely the largest and longest such uprooting and transfer of people in global history resulted over time in a vast corpus of research and publication, of which these two books are a part. The first is an edited collection of twelve essays, preceded by a slightly giddy preface; the second is its authors attempt to widen her research on African ethnic groups in the Americas, so as to demonstrate their existence. The themes of both books exemplify recent thinking among scholars of the African-American experience. Africa and the Americas contains contributions by many well-known scholars including David Eltis, Joo J. Reis, and Monica Schuler. The edi tors write that the essays divide into three sections. One is devoted to the slave trade, ethnic identity, religion, and creolization, mainly in Brazil. Another deals with the same themes in other parts of the Americas. And a third brings us back to Africa (p. 6). But on reading the book, what turns out to be important is that each essay stands on its own. Many bring us back to Africa; many are excellent. What follows is only a sampling. In an informative summary paper, David Eltis, Stephen Behrendt, and David Richardson provide new data on the role of Portuguese shipping in the slave trade, and leave readers to understand that there is more to come (see also Eltis 2001). Their materials weigh differences over time in national participation in the trade, with special though not exclusive attention to the Portuguese. There is no doubt that new materials will continue to surface, just as the bases for calculating the numbers are sure to change. Since Curtins pio neering work, however, the totals for those estimated to have been enslaved
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 98 and shipped have continued to rise for the Hemisphere. The authors aim to show more fully how Portuguese slavers figured in the trade, since the picture we have so far for the slavers of other nations has been more complete. Edward Alperss essay on the Moambiques in Brazil raises important questions about the place of enslaved East Africans in the Atlantic trade and especially about what ethnic identity might mean in such cases. He follows Robert Slenes, by imputing a kind of ethnogenesis to the enslaved, arguing that they chose to be, or to become, ethnic in ways that actually defied the categories by which slave traders aimed to define them. For this to happen, he argues, the process he calls creolization began to take shape well before their arrival in the Americas. In support of this idea, Alpers records much data on languages spoken in Mozambique and, for Brazil, on words of putative Bantu origin. Such data should be usable eventually to decode further what Moambique meant in the course of Brazilian history. Alpers concludes: Moambiques in Brazil were not simply people from Mozambique in Brazil. Like all Africans in the diaspora, they were African people of dif ferent origins who shared the traumatic experience of being victims of the slave trade ... They carried different elements of their African heritage with them ... but always filtered through a constant process of compromise and reinvention, some of which was imposed upon them by others, some of which they embraced as their own. This historical process of creolization is what marks the passage of these men, women and children, as well as their descendants, from East Africa to Brazil (p. 57, emphasis added). This picture of individuals of varying origins enduring enslavement and transport while carrying different elements of the African heritage, then fil tering their cultural knowledge through processes of constant compromise and reinvention (some of which was imposed on them, some of which was their own) seems to resonate with earlier work (Mintz & Price 1992). But Alpers dismisses (p. 59, n. 18) any similarity between his ideas and those of Mintz and Price. Luis Nicolau Parss essay renews interest in the persistence of African cognitive orientations in the Americas, and looks at what I would call a preinstitutional history of Candombl in Brazil. In that period, he writes, there were groups that held drumming-dancing celebrations, but that these lacked a fixed locale, a religious hierarchy, or a religious calendar of events. He argues that Candombl emerged only in the nineteenth century and that its formation was marked by the appearance of these three features. Otherwise said, slaves had to institutionalize their religious practices. This seems to mean that institutions did not travel easily from Africa, that not everyone was from the same place or spoke the same tongue, and that institutionalization actually facilitated the perpetuation of these reinventions. Otherwise, why would Nicolau Pars write that:
99 RE V IE W AR T IC L E S religious values and practices of African origin were instrumental in the creation of a particular religious institution, Candombl which became of critical importance in the reinvention [of] a new Creole culture (p. 69, emphasis added). He does a fine job of teasing out the cognitive orientations of the slaves and reconstructing a pre-Candombl stage in Brazil. The processes by means of which one pantheon (Hevioso) took on its new, modified shape are labeled simultaneous integrative-cumulative and selective-discriminatory. To me, the phrases suggest both the pulling of culturally disparate elements into a system or structure of action, and their taking on integrated form as they are invoked ritually and then collectively, repeatedly, acted upon. It seemed to me as I read that these studies of cultural bricolage really build upon the speculative exercises that Richard Price and I used to imagine AfricanAmerican beginnings for the first time in a paper written in 1972 and pub lished in 1976 (Mintz & Price 1976:23-25). In an illuminating paper on black brotherhoods in Brazil, Elizabeth Kiddy offers three contrastive cases of the structure of such brotherhoods. These groups occurred mostly in the cities, but plenty of evidence exists to dem onstrate that they also existed on the plantations (p. 95). She makes two rel evant points here. First, she pleads that we look at the process of community formation, rather than the existence of survivals (p. 95, emphasis added) in analyzing how the slaves dealt with the realities of their daily existence. Second, she stresses the importance of deeper principles in understanding how the African past figured in those dealings. Her data show that hierar chy and ethnic self-identification were two much-used principles of social assortment for the brotherhoods. But without knowing how a brotherhood fit into its specific social and economic context, it is not possible to see that each such principle was used adaptively to integrate its membership and to define the groups social relations to the outside, and to other brotherhoods. Through this strategy, she writes, Africans and their descendents [ sic ] could recreate African social structure in order to become a viable commu nity embedded in yet separate from Euro-Brazilian society, while simultane ously becoming a part of that society on their own terms (p. 117, emphasis added). Here Kiddy captures a characteristic aspect of New World institution building by African Americans (Mintz & Price 1992:39, but see Besson 2002 for an important critique of this formulation). These people were able to build their membership in groups, drawing upon older ideas of shared culture, but they had to do so in new settings, with a variety of materials both old and new, and by processes that have long merited study in their own right. The concluding paper by Colleen Kriger, The Conundrum of Culture in Atlantic History, is one of the more ambitious and enlightening essays in this collection. It undertakes to set the study of Africa in the New World upon a
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 100 large canvas that includes Africa itself, urging historians to do the research needed to write culture histories for all of Africa, using historical methods. Though it may not seem apposite to her position here, Kriger is a student of African material culture, and has done outstanding historical work on cloth, the blacksmiths craft, and other aspects of African material life. She grasps the analytical difference between the social and the cultural, and recognizes how institutions give life and continuity to cultural materials. Particularly apt are her references to other papers in this book, such as those by Nicolau Pars and Monica Schuler, which draw the African and New World materials together without hastily reifying the groups about which they write. These scholars are more interested in those social processes by which cultural mate rials are given weight and continuity than they are in the names for things. This excellent book struck me as oddly contradictory. Its editors and some contributors seem bent upon celebrating a revisionist view of AfricanAmerican history. But the frequent references in these very essays to rein ventions, cognitive orientations, African-American creativity, and above all, to the growth of institutions, make me wonder what, in fact, has been revised. The contributors are to be congratulated for helping to build a richer his torical view of African-American cultural creativity even if it sometimes looked to me like a case of beating the enemy by joining him. Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas grew out of the Gwendolyn Midlo Halls global lecture experiences, speaking about the slave trade and Africans and their descendants in the New World. Much of it is an historical contemplation of the saga of Atlantic enslavement and all that it brought in its wake, and it is frequently admonitory. But its stated objective is concern with the creation of a statistical database for the slaves of Louisiana and that databases potentialities for understanding the ethnic identities of the slaves. After a sweeping introduction to the Atlantic story, Chapter 2 notes problems in addressing slave ethnicity; Chapter 3 addresses the difficulty of imput ing ethnic identity in some New World regions; Chapters 4-7 are concerned with Africa and the geography of ethnic peoples there, with commentary on the movements of those peoples in the trade. The concluding chapter takes up a bare eight pages, stressing anew the importance of history, how things change, and the difficulty of the task. Hall is aware of the problems she faces. She writes: Very few scholars are familiar with a substantial number of African languages. Some seize on a word or name they know and extrapolate it broadl y to prove the presence and influence of a particular African ethnicity in the Americas. But the same or similar names and words exist in several African languages and can have the same, or a similar, or a differ ent meaning (p. 22).
101 RE V IE W AR T IC L E S Or again: I argue that our best evidence for the distribution of Africans at their final destinations in the Americas is in documents containing nation descrip tions of enslaved Africans, despite the fact that these ethnic designations are sometimes unclear and equivocal (p. 26). Of newly arrived Africans sold in Louisiana, she points out, only 15.3 per cent listed specific ethnic origins. (Hall is confident that these were given by the arrivants themselves.) She believes this low number resulted from diffi culties of communication, because the longer people had been in Louisiana, the more likely they could communicate and identify their ethnicities (p. 45). Of course this may be true. But we dont know if it is, or if it can be explained convincingly. The complexity of the problems is real, as Hall makes plain. The term Mina, for example, normally did not mean slaves coming through the fortress/port of So Jorge da Mina (Elmina) on the Gold Coast. It was a designation referring to different ethnicities over time and place, but it sometimes meant people from Little Popo, originally Akan speakers who had migrated from west of the Volta river (p. 47). One must assume that it did sometimes mean that, and no doubt it took real work to bring us that far. But since the term referred to different peoples over time, only sometimes meaning people from Little Popo, it is unclear how far this actually takes us. Such care to qualify sweeping judgments about origins are welcome, as is the desire to pin down origins effectively. Hall also notes the relative paucity of firm knowledge about transshipments of the enslaved, after their arrival in the Americas. Without it, little can be said about origins in many places (p. 69). So this is a book replete with qualifications, as it deserves to be. Another point to be made about this book is linked to the other volume under review. Pinning down the ethnic identities of the enslaved is a worthy objective, and to discover in doing so just how many problems this entails is a real finding. But there remains beyond these efforts the significance of what one might dare to call the social facts. Human aggregates organize them selves into groups; out of their inherent need for meaning, they create rules to live by which, under some conditions, we call institutions. Sometimes the members of those aggregates which become groups all speak the same language and come from the same place, and we may be entitled to call them ethnic groups, each with a name. We may also, by dint of enormous effort, troll for ethnic labels so as to figure out their meaning, by sifting historical materials (some of them unreliable). That said, there is not the slightest doubt
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 102 that some ethnic groups in the New World were in fact the social precipitates of individuals descended from ancestors drawn from many ethnic groups in Africa. These individuals, over time and by processes not yet fully under stood, were able to fashion the groups of which they then were members, and to endow them with solidarity, concreteness, and continuity by the forging of collective cultural activities. Such social precipitates were at least as real and as important as any others, in the building of African-American cultures. Is it possible, once we think that we have pinned down the names we need, to reproduce the processes by which such aggregates could organize themselves into groups, and create the institutions they then came to live by? Well, we can try. Some of the essay writers in the first of these two books have made good starts at doing so, and have advanced respectable distances. RE F ERENCE S BE SSO N, JEAN 2002. Martha Braes Two Histories: European Expansion and Caribbean Culture-building in Jamaica. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ELT I S, DA V I D 2001. The Volume and Direction of the Atlantic Slave Trade: A Reassess ment. William & Mary Quarterly 58 (2001):17-46. MIN TZ, SI D NE Y W & RICHAR D PRICE, 1976. An Anthropological Approach to the AfroAmerican Past: A Caribbean Perspective. ISHI Occasional Papers in Social Change No. 2. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues. , 1992. The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective. Boston: Beacon Press. SI D NE Y W MIN TZ Department of Anthropology The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore MD 21218, U.S.A.
RICHAR D PRICE AN D SA LLY PRICE B OOKSHELF 2007 I t is once again our solemn duty to induct a select group of scholars into the Caribbeanist Hall of Shame. Despite cordial reminders over a period of many months, these colleagues have neither produced the reviews (or review arti cles) that they promised nor returned the books so that someone else could take on the task. As is our custom, and in an attempt to exercise discre tion while protecting the reputation of innocent Caribbeanists, we follow the eighteenth-century convention in identifying delinquent reviewers by first and last initials. A Colony of Citizens: Revolution & Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 17871804, by Laurent Dubois (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004. vii + 452 pp., paper US$ 22.50) and La France et ses esclaves by Frdric Rgent (Paris: Grasset, 2007. 368 pp., paper 19.50) (Le C. Js) Shaping the Stuart World 1603-1714: The Atlantic Connection edited by Allan I. Macinnes & Arthur H. Williamson (Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. xiv + 389 pp., cloth US$ 135.00) (Js Wn) On Land and Sea: Native American Uses of Biological Resources in the West Indies by Lee A. Newsom & Elizabeth S. Wing (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004. xviii + 323 pp., paper US$ 29.95) (Jn Bn) Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race and Sexual Labor by Kamala Kempadoo (New York: Routledge, 2004. x + 272 pp., paper US$ 29.95) (Ty Pn) Rituals of Violence in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico: Individual Conflict, Gender, and the Law by Astrid Cubano Iguina (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006. x + 200 pp., cloth US$ 59.95) (Ls Fa) V. S. Naipaul: Man and Writer by Gillian Dooley (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2006. xiii + 164 pp., cloth US$ 39.95) (Kh An Se)
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 104 A reminder to our readers: The annual Bookshelf article is intended to cover fiction and poetry, which are not otherwise reviewed in NWIG plus books that have not been reviewed in the journal either because we could not find a willing reviewer, because we did not deem the book worthy of more than a brief mention, because it was a reprint edition, or because it otherwise slipped between the cracks of the review process. We first turn to this years Caribbean fiction, beginning with novels. George Lammings blurb alerted us to a very fine novel, The Hangmans Game, by Guyana-born Karen King-Aribisala (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, paper 8.99) a superb work of fiction which is kept alive page after page by this writers subtle and sophisticated historical imagination. By fus ing two violent realities, contemporary Nigeria and 1823 Demerara, KingAribisala weaves a gripping tale about flawed and familiar human beings living amidst diverse horrors. Four with echoes of Jamaica. The Rivers Song (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, paper .99) is the debut novel of Jamaican-born Jacqueline Bishop an assured, warm, and bitter-sweet narrative about coming of age in a Kingston yard (and, more briefly, in the hills). The Girl with the Golden Shoes by Jamaican-American Colin Channer (New York: Akashic Books, 2007, paper US$ 13.95), is a captivating novella-fable set on an imaginary Caribbean island in the 1940s in which every word rings true. Shes Gone (New York: Akashic Books, 2007, paper US$ 15.95) is poet Kwame Dawess impressive debut novel, a sprawling, lyrical exploration of love between a Reggae musician and an American woman, who find themselves caught up in border crossings involving culture, class, race, and gender. Broad, ver nacular, and outrageous, Dog War (New York: Akashic Books, 2006, paper US$ 14.95), by veteran Jamaican raconteur Anthony C. Winkler about a Jamaican everywoman who journeys to wealthy America is the sort of book that makes you erupt in belly-laughs over jokes in such low humor that you almost cant believe you found them funny. Veteran Guadeloupean novelist Maryse Cond offers us, in the translation by her British husband, Richard Philcox, The Story of the Cannibal Woman (New York: Atria Books, 2007, cloth US$ 24.00), which reads something along the lines of a Caribbean feminists Graham Greene-like vision of postApartheid South Africa (with briefer visits to New York, Central Africa, Venice, and Tokyo) all in all, quite a trip. Tango for a Torturer by Daniel Chavarra (New York: Akashic Books, 2007, paper US$ 15.95) centers, as the dust jacket says, on a heavenly hooker and a historic hatred in the heart of Havana. It follows in the style of this Uruguayan writers earlier novel, described by a critic as pulp fiction in Castros Cuba, mixing ample doses of sex, politics, and violence. In Les cloches de la Brsilienne (La Roque dAnthron, France: Vents dailleurs, 2006, paper 16.00), popular Haitian novelist Gary Victor tries his hand at a polar a French-style crime novel
105 RE V IE W AR T IC L E S set in the Haitian countryside and drawing on an impressive range of local, international, and extra-terrestrial characters. Jouvert (Bloomington IN: AuthorHouse, 2006, paper US$ 13.00) is Trinidadian-born Joy Mahabirs debut novel, which moves between the worlds of Indo-Trinidad, Brooklyn, and Manhattan art galleries. Theres clearly lots of local knowledge but the writing often seems awkward. Next, several collections of short stories. The first three relate to Trinidad. In The Man Who Ran Away and Other Stories of Trinidad in the 1920s and 1930s (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2006, paper US$ 25.00), Michle Levy collects and introduces twelve short stories, includ ing seven previously unpublished, by Alfred H. Mendes, the Trinidadian novelist and poet who belonged to the Beacon group that included C.L.R. James. Songster and Other Stories, by Jennifer Rahim (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, paper 8.99), successfully captures the language and social realities, the joys and horrors, of contemporary village Trinidad, including nostalgia for a simpler time hard not to read cover-to-cover in one sitting. The short stories in Chameleon, by Jane Bryce (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, paper .99), recount an East African colonial girlhood, topped off by an exuberant and memorable participation in Trinidad carnival. Closed for Repairs: Stories by the Cuban writer Nancy Alonso, trans lated by Anne Fountain (Willimantic CT: Curbstone Press, 2007, paper US $13.95), consists of eleven vignettes opening a wry, sardonic window on contemporary Cuban realities. My Daughters Eyes and Other Stories by Dominican-born Annecy Bez (Willimantic CT: Curbstone Press, 2007, paper US $15.00), collects fourteen stories that ring (or sing) with truth about everyday life in the late-twentieth-century Bronx. And in Until Judgment Comes: Stories about Jamaican Men (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, paper .99), the prolific Jamaican-born womanist writer Opal Palmer Adisa takes on seven types of Jamaican men in a work that, though some times over-written, expresses both joy and affection. Five volumes of poetry. In Selected Poems by Derek Walcott (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007, cloth US$ 25.00), Edward Baugh presents the masters full range, from In a Green Night (that includes work from 1948) all the way through The Prodigal (2004) sheer wonder. DS(2): Dreamstories by Kamau Brathwaite (New York: New Directions, 2007, paper US$ 18.95) reworks various prose poems, as the cover says, composed of bro ken images, flow, tidalectics, and the half-told stories of dreams, all in his iconic sycorax video style. This is nation language at its most poetic, mov ing between a lifes experiences in such varied places as Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Cambridge UK, Ghana, New York, and the Village of the Dead. The poems in Windrush Songs (Tarset, UK: Bloodaxe Books, Chester Springs PA: Dufour Editions, 2007, paper .95), by London-based Jamaican poet James Berry, commemorate the sailing of the ex-troopship (the SS Empire
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 106 Windrush ) from Jamaica to England in 1948, which initiated the massive postwar movement of Caribbean people to Britain in which Berry played a part; they focus on the Jamaican landscape and its extraordinary wild beauty, the stagnated economy that forced the great migration, the migrants hopes and fears, and their experiences in the mother country spare yet ambi tious and moving. American Fall by Trinidad-born Raymond Ramcharitar (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, paper .99) is a brief collection of poetry, confident and engaging. And Impossible Flying (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, paper .99) is Kwame Dawess latest collection: an ele giac, resonant, and dignified archaeology of his familys past, with strong Jamaican inflections. Three memoirs. A Far Cry from Plymouth Rock: A Personal Narrative (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007, .99) is Kwame-Dawess methodi cal, humorous, honest account and self-questioning about being a child in Ghana (where his passport still places him), coming of age in Jamaica (where much of his imaginaire still resides), and, after stopovers in the UK and Canada, living and bringing up his own children in South Carolina, where he now teaches a penetrating meditation on identity, race, and nationalism across many borders. Volcano (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2006, .99), by Yvonne Mary Selina Weekes, is an intimate memoir-diary of the first two years of Soufrieres awakening, a stark testimony to the effects of the erup tion on Montserratians at home and abroad. Edwidge Danticats powerful, fearless memoir Brother, Im Dying (New York: Knopf, 2007, cloth US$ 23.95) consists of eyewitnessing that breaks your heart while bringing the drama of contemporary Haiti brightly alive. Edouard Glissants Une nouvelle rgion du monde: Esthtique I (Paris: Gallimard, 2006, paper 17.50), announces by its subtitle a new series from the master (his last such essay having the subtitle Potique V ), but the themes are familiar some of the pieces were clearly written for other occasions and, paradoxically, both wide-ranging and almost claustrophobic, beginning with an elegiac, poetic discourse about le rocher du Diamant and flowing out to encompass Glissants personal tout-monde while passing through various earlier works ( Malemort Faulkner Mississippi ), many of the countries of the world, philosophy and fine art and etymology, the plight of undocumented immigrants, the French commemoration of Abolition, la francophonie the declaration of slavery as a crime against humanity, and the anti-climactic observation that memory is an archipelago. Books that we were unable to find a willing reviewer for. AfroCuban Theology: Religion, Race, and Identity by Michelle A. Gonzalez (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006, cloth US$ 59.95), compares Cuban American and African American religiosity in the context of race and identity politics but remains more theological than sociological or anthro pological and more concerned with Latino Catholicism than Afro-Cuban
107 RE V IE W AR T IC L E S diasporic religions. Cuban Socialism in a New Century: Adversity, Survival, and Renewal edited by Max Azicri & Elsie Deal (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004, cloth US$ 65.00), brings together some of the fore most scholars of the island to assess the state of Cuban society at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Writing Rumba: The Afrocubanista Movement in Poetry by Miguel Arnedo-Gmez (Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 2006, paper US$ 21.50), appears to be the best available treat ment of this 1920s-1930s movement that incorporated aspects of lower-class Afro-Cuban folklore into a European written form in the name of building a national literature and identity. In a slim volume entitled Telling Our Stories: Continuities and Divergences in Black Autobiographies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, cloth US$ 65.00), Adetayo Alabi explores the continuities and divergences in selected Black autobiographies, running across the centu ries, from Africa, the United States, and the Caribbean. The list goes on. Medical Revolutionaries: The Enslaved Healers of Eighteenth-Century Saint Domingue by Karol K. Weaver (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006, cloth US$ 20.00), provides a look into the trans-Atlan tic world of herbalists, diviners, nurses, midwives, and veterinary practitio ners, some of whom played pivotal roles in the Haitian Revolution. Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents by Laurent Dubois & John D. Garrigus (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, paper US$ 14.95), provides an excellent selection of documents rel evant to the Haitian Revolution. Kingston: A Cultural and Literary History by David Howard (Oxford: Signal Books, 2005, paper .00), with a fore word by Lorna Goodison, is a useful, fact-filled guide. Cuba: A Revolution in Motion by Isaac Saney (New York: Fernwood Publishing, 2004, paper US$ 19.95), is intended as an introduction to the contemporary realities of the island. Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles by Julian Granberry & Gary S. Vescelius (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005, paper US$ 19.95), is an idiosyncratic attempt to relate archaeological and linguis tic fragments to reconstruct the pre-Columbian peopling of the Caribbean islands. And finally, theres Gunboat Democracy: U.S. Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama by Russell Crandall (Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, paper US$ 26.95), and Labor-Management Relations in Puerto Rico during the Twentieth Century, by Arleen HernndezDaz (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2006, cloth US$ 55.00). We invited eight potential reviewers before giving up on Arlene Dvilas acclaimed Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, paper US$ 19.95). And we tried five each on two others before giving up, despite their serious ness, competence, and intellectual range: Cuba and the Tempest: Literature and Cinema in the Time of Diaspora by Eduardo Gonzlez (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006, paper US$ 24.95), and Guarding
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 108 Cultural Memory: Afro-Cuban Women in Literature and the Arts by Flora Gonzlez Mandri (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, cloth US$ 55.00). Nor did we find an appropriate reviewer who reads Dutch and was not a contributor to Ik ben een haan met een kroon op mijn hoofd: Pacificatie en verzet in koloniaal en postkoloniaal Suriname the excellent Festschrift in honor of Wim Hoogbergen, edited by Peter Meel and Hans Ramsoedh (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2007, paper 35.00). This book includes contri butions on Suriname marronage and related phenomena by Jean Jacques Vrij, Chris de Beet, Thomas Polim, Bonno Thoden van Velzen, Karin Boven, Gert Oostindie, Ellen Klinkers, Rosemarijn Hoefte, Hans Ramsoedh, Alex van Stipriaan, Michiel van Kempen, Dirk Kruijt, Peter Meel, Joop Vernooij, and Aspha Bijnaar pretty much the whole Surinamistiek team. Some other books that deserve mention, beginning with a pair that force heart-wrenching reflection. The Armorial of Haiti: Symbols of Nobility in the Reign of King Henry Christophe edited with an essay, commentary, and appendix by Clive Cheeseman, a historical introduction by Marie-Lucue Vendryes, and a preface by Michalle Jean (London: The College of Arms, 2007, cloth .00), translates and reproduces the wonderful color images of LArmorial Gnral du Royaume dHayti preserved in the College of Arms. It contains, among other memory traces of Christophes reign, the coats of arms of all the nobles princes, dukes, counts, barons, and chevaliers that he created soon after 1811. And Esclaves au paradis (La Roque-dAnthron, France: Vents dailleurs, 2007, paper .00), presents the unforgettable color images created by Franco-Peruvian photographer Cline Anaya Gautier during her stays among Haitians in the bateyes of the Dominican Republic; sponsored by Amnesty International, this at once terrible and hauntingly beautiful book of photos (and songs of the Haitians) also gives captions to each image separately, at the end, so that the power and dignity of the people depicted can first be felt directly and then, later, gone back to for more con text. In Libanezen in Suriname: Van Bcharre naar Paramaribo 1890-2006 (Leiden, the Netherlands: KITLV, 2006, paper 19.95), Ad de Bruijne, who has been studying the 450-person-strong Suriname Lebanese community since the 1960s, offers a rich historical portrait, helping to place these people, their livelihoods (mainly in the textile trades), and their culture within the broader Suriname context. Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secret of Metamorphosis by Kim Todd (New York: Harcourt, 2007, cloth US$ 27.00), presents a fresh and often-intriguing view of this pioneering natural ists 1699-1701 stay in Suriname. U.S.-Cuban Cooperation Past, Present, and Future by Melanie M. Ziegler (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007, cloth US$ 59.95) considers security cooperation between the two coun tries regarding illegal immigration, drug trafficking, the Guantnamo Naval Base, and efforts to reduce the threat of unintended war. A Gay Cuban Activist
109 RE V IE W AR T IC L E S in Exile: Reinaldo Arenas by Rafael Ocasio (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007, cloth US$ 59.95), analyzes the life and work of this famous Marielito between his arrival in the United States in 1980 and his suicide a decade later. On Latinidad: U.S. Latino Literature and the Construction of Ethnicity by Marta Caminero-Santangelo (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007, cloth US$ 59.95), analyzes texts by well-known Chicano/a, Dominican American, Puerto Rican, and Cuban American writers to exam ine the notion of Latinidad. Secrets of the House of Dahomy: Guarded Secrets of the Caribbean Elders, by St. Lucia-born Elsa Pinel (Lincoln NE: iUniverse, 2007, paper US$ 16.95), is a self-published tract about which the author writes If I were reading the information I am prepared to indulge in these pages, I would brand the writer an eccentric nut one of her more perspicacious statements, we would say. It is difficult to read Mmoires des esclavages: La fondation dun Centre national pour la mmoire des esclavages et de leurs abolitions by douard Glissant (Paris: Gallimard, 2007, paper .90), as anything but a very French turn-of-the-century politically correct project, from its preface by Glissants poet-friend and then-prime minister Dominique de Villepin, to its final chapters spelling out the disappointingly banal and predictable plans for the Centers activities but offering, along the way, quite a trip through Glissants imaginaire concerning slavery and its consequences, the trans versal history of Neo-America, Faulkner and Saint-John Perse, and much else. One doubts this initiative will ever amount to much, given the realities of Frances historical self-image and the distribution of political power in that nation. Compared to the multifarious 2007 abolition-of-the-slave-trade commemorations in the U.K., current French efforts seem token. Two stunning picture books on Cuba. The Idea of Cuba photographs and text by U.S. photographer Alex Harris, with an essay by Lillian Guerra (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, 2007, cloth US$ 50.00), captures the bust of Jos Mart in countless settings, from public squares to appliance repair shops, and views the Cuban landscape over the dashboards of carefully credited 1950s cars (looking north from Alberto Rojass 1951 Plymouth, etc.) fascinating perspectives. Cuba AvantGarde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection (Gainesville FL: Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, 2007, paper US$ 59.95) is an exhibition catalogue (in both English and Spanish) by Abelardo G. Mena Chicuri. After brief opening essays on the private collection featured in the exhibit and a longer one on Cuban avant-garde art in the context of globalization, the book is organized by artist and leaves no room for doubt about the ongoing rich ness and variety of Cuban artistic creativity. Two A-Z encyclopedia-style books: A-Z of Bahamas Heritage by Michael Craton, and A-Z of Grenada Heritage by John Angus Martin (both Oxford:
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 110 Macmillan Caribbean, 2007, paper .95), the first, more detailed, by a vet eran historian and including useful reading suggestions after each entry, the second by a debutante writer who clearly cares about his native island. Yet We Survive. The Kalinago People of Dominica: Our Lives in Words and Pictures (London: Papillote Press, Kingston: Ian Randle, 2007, cloth 9.99), edited by Mary Walters, was produced by a collective from the Carib Territory in Dominica in the wake of a 1995 photographic exhibition in Scotland. Suitable for schoolchildren, this book, which stands as an affirma tion of Kalinago identity, is accompanied by teaching materials available from Papillote Press. Several books that are peripheral to the Caribbean but seem worth bring ing to the attention of Caribbeanists. The Sea Captains Wife: A True Story of Love, Race & War in the Nineteenth Century by Martha Hodes (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006, paper $15.95) is a model of microhistory, focusing on the life of a working-class white New Englander married to a colored sea captain from the Caymans who is neither a white man in New England nor a black man in the West Indies. Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World edited by Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus & Marcus Rediker (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, paper US$ 24.95), is a conceptually illuminating and daring work that places the trans-Atlantic slave trade in its fully globalized setting by focusing on a number of other forced migrations, from China to Ireland to the United States, along the coast of East Africa, in Melanesia, and elsewhere. The Seminole Freedmen: A History by Kevin Mulroy (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, cloth US$ 36.95), persuasively argues based on masses of documentary and oral history that the Seminole Freedmen of Oklahoma are neither Seminoles nor Black Indians but are, instead African American maroons (and historical cousins of those who live on Andros Island in the Bahamas). La Amazonia brasilea en perspectiva histrica edited by Jos Manuel Santos Prez & Pere Petit (Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 2006, paper 18.00), contains a chapter by Jos Luis Ruiz-Peinado Alonso on Amazonia Negra that outlines the history of mocambos in the Trombetas region so tantalizingly close to Saramaka territory as the toucan flies but so separate historically (except for the sev eral Saramaka men who, in the 1950s, traveled there indirectly via Belm and ended their lives there). Anti-Americanism in Latin America and the Caribbean edited by Alan McPherson (New York: Berghahn Books, 2006, paper US$ 27.50), has one chapter on West Indian anti-Americanism during WW II and a half chapter on the Cuban variety, but is otherwise devoted to the phenomenon outside the Caribbean. African American Foodways: Explorations of History & Culture, edited by Anne L. Bower (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2007, cloth US$ 35.00), has precious little on the foodways of people outside the borders of the United States. Woman
111 RE V IE W AR T IC L E S and Art in Early Modern Latin America edited by Kellen Kee McIntyre & Richard E. Phillips (Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, 2007, cloth US$ 129.00), an anthology written from a feminist perspective that claims to center on the visual representation of women in early modern Latin America, includes nothing from Cuba, Santo Domingo, or Puerto Rico. The Faces of Freedom: The Manumission and Emancipation of Slaves in Old World and New World Slavery edited by Marc Kleijwegt (Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, 2006, cloth US$ 124.00), includes but two chapters on the Caribbean, both on Jamaica. And Sally Prices Paris Primitive: Jacques Chiracs Museum on the Quai Branly (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, paper US$ 19.00), though having only a small section on Suriname Maroon materials, has much of conceptual and historical relevance for Caribbeanists. Finally, some new editions of Caribbean works. Who wouldnt applaud the latest incarnation of Anthony C. Winklers madcap novel The Lunatic (New York: Akashic Books, 2007, paper US$ 14.95), broad, crude, full of belly-laughs, and very Jamaican? Fruit of the Lemon (New York: Picador, 2007, paper US$ 15.00), Andrea Levys third novel, originally published in 1999, recounts the coming of age of a daughter of Jamaican immigrants in London as well as her eye-opening visit to Jamaica; even if not quite as spell-binding as her Small Island it shows a steady gift for language and a thoughtfulness about the diverse meanings of race. We welcome a new edi tion of Claude McKays revealing autobiography, A Long Way from Home (New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007, paper US$ 22.95), with a useful introduction by Gene Andrew Jarrett. Les bonnes de la Havane (Matoury, French Guiana: Ibis Rouge, 2007, paper 22.00) is the translation of poet Pedro Prez Sarduys 2002 debut novel about contemporary Cuba. A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution, edited by Philip Brenner, Marguerite Rose Jimnez, John M. Kirk & William M. LeoGrande (Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007, paper US$ 29.95), gathers a large number of excellent previously published testimonies and analyses about post-Soviet era Cuba. And American Colonialism in Puerto Rico: The Judicial and Social Legacy, by Efrn Rivera Ramos (Princeton NJ: Markus Wiener, 2007, paper US$ 28.95), is a new edition, with an afterword about the protests and politics concerning the occupation of the island of Vieques by the U.S. Navy, of The Legal Construction of Identity: The Judicial and Social Legacy of American Colonialism in Puerto Rico published in 2000 and reviewed favorably in NWIG 77(1&2):162-64.
B OOK REVIEWS Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment DA V I D SC OTT Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2004. 279 pp. (Paper US$ 22.95) SHA L INI PU RI English Department University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh PA 15260, U.S.A.
114 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) Where the Romantic mode of historical emplotment rides a rhythm of pro gressive overcoming and ultimate victory over the worlds misfortunes, the tragic mode offers an agonic confrontation that holds out no necessary prom ise of rescue or reconciliation (pp. 134-35; see also pp. 8, 12-13, 47, 70). The insight Scott draws from Jamess revisions is that, given the inaugural colo nial modernity of the Caribbean, we should be wary of accounts of Touissant and Castro that treat them as autonomous agents, and should understand them instead as conscripts rather than volunteers of modernit y 3 Scotts book is an important corrective to romantic and vindicationist accounts of postcolonial agency, and to teleological accounts of the Haitian and Cuban revolutions. Scott is also among the first to address the significance of Jamess meditations on tragedy. However, using Jamess meditations on tragedy as a lens through which to view postcolonial politics more generally poses some risks. First, tragedy remains embedded in a great man theory of history rather than some more collectivist sense of how history is made. Conscripts does not address the historiographical pitfalls of such a model, vigorously debated and corrected by the Cambridge and Subalternist historians, among others. Indeed, by 1971, James himself had identified this problem, noting that if he were to rewrite The Black Jacobins he would give much more attention to the role of the majority of the ex-slaves, whom he referred to as the chorus (James 2000:111). Second, Scott draws from Greek tragedy the Foucauldian insight that tragedy is troubled by the hubris of enlightenment and civilization, power and knowledge (p. 13). For him, the virtue of tragedy is thus that it offers a contingent rather than a teleological model of history and agency, heroes and outcomes more vulnerable than those of Enlightenment theorys autono mous subjects. As Steiner puts it ... The tragic personage cannot evade responsibility ... The redeeming insight comes too late to mend the ruins or is purchased at the price of irremediable suffering (p. 134). This is an entirely legitimate view of tragedy. But again, if one shifts the focus away from the hero, this time to the audience, then the claim that in tragedy the outcome of events is contingent or unknown needs to be modified for Greek, if not Elizabethan tragedy. For while the tragic hero and chorus did not know the outcome, the Greek audience did. Moreover, Greek tragedy is compatible with a sense of fate, destiny, and predestination, though these may be myste rious to the characters. One could thus argue that tragedy is no less marked by predestination than romance. It is the content of the outcome, and the characters relationship to that outcome, that are significantly different. 3. Here Scott draws on Talal Asads idea of non-Western leaders as conscripts of civilization (quoted in Conscripts p. 8), who were forced to respond to the categories unleashed by modernity.
115 BOO K RE V IE WS Finally, while Conscripts profoundly illuminates Jamess new paragraphs on tragedy, it makes its case in part by neglecting another major structuring event for the second edition of The Black Jacobins : the Cuban Revolution. Although the appendix From Toussaint LOuverture to Fidel Castro cer tainly has been widely written about, especially compared to the paragraphs on tragedy, the decision to grant the Cuban Revolution a mere three pages in Conscripts (pp. 123-25) under-reads its significance as a motivating factor for the reissue of The Black Jacobins Indeed, James accorded the Cuban Revolution an importance comparable to the Chinese and Russian revolu tions; if they had brought socialism to Asia and Europe respectively, Cuba had brought socialism to the Western Hemisphere. For James, the consolida tion of the Cuban Revolution and the movement toward socialist revolution in Africa were two immediate tasks at hand, to which the new edition sought to contribute. A fuller reading of the The Black Jacobins s concerns in its his torical moment, and perhaps a more fruitful reading of The Black Jacobins for our own moment, would not simply note and then bracket Jamess exhila ration over and solidarity with the Cuban Revolution (p. 124), but would address it in its dialectical relationship to Jamess cautionary remarks on tragedy. 4 Where Scott draws from James the lesson that revolutionary poli tics are necessarily tragic the modern is confronted as a tragic condition, a condition in which there are, as James puts it, only tragic alternatives (p. 164) James himself (1989:411) places this belief in tension with the claim that what will happen to what Fidel Castro has brought new into the world no one can say. The disappearance from Conscripts of the particulari ties of Cuba (which are essential to Jamess argument of the nonduplicable nature and the radically open rather than predestined future of the Cuban Revolution) and of decolonizing Africa sits uneasily with Scotts theoretical argument for the importance of historical conjuncture. What falls out of Scotts translation of The Black Jacobins for contem porary postcolonial political theory and practice, then, is not just the subject of Cuba, but also Jamess dialectical and historical method. However, the Jamesian genius of Scotts book lies in the inspirational way in which it allows politics and literature to illuminate one another. 4. For a superb analysis of Jamess speech and silence on Cuba, see Cols 1996. Colss use of James to glean insights for contemporary Latin American Studies is entirely in the spirit of Scotts project. Cols also documents Jamess increasing reservations about the Cuban Revolution, but these develop in 1968, well after the reissue of The Black Jacobins.
116 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) RE F ERENCE S COLS, SAN T IA GO, 1996. Silence and Dialectics: Speculations on C.L.R. James and Latin America. In Grant Farred (ed.), Rethinking C.L.R. James Cambridge MA: Blackwell, pp.131 -63. JAME S, C.L.R ., 2000. Lectures on The Black Jacobins Small Axe 8:65-112. [Orig. 1971.] , 1989. The Black Jacobins. New York: Vintage. SC OTT, DA V I D 1995. Revolution, Theory, Modernity: Notes on the Cognitive-Political Crisis of Our Time. Social and Economic Studies 44(2-3):1-24. , 1999. Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba After Slavery REBECCA J. SC OTT. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2005. xi + 365 pp. (Cloth US$ 29.95) OLV IA MARIA GO ME S D A CU NHA Department of Anthropology Graduate Program in Social Anthropology/National Museum Federal University of Rio de Janeiro 22251-070 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
117 BOO K RE V IE WS Moving gracefully among varied sources to interpret the dimensions of local significance given to the idea of liberty, Scott defines her work as an attempt to understand the dynamics of two different social systems in the decades following abolition. Through her research, she places in perspec tive actors and initiatives taken to maximize the tenuous limits of judicial liberty. Various meanings attributed to liberty independent of experiences that characterize it as a right, a conquest, or a value are examined in relation to local social structures. In this way, Degrees highlights different scales of value whose understanding is not given a priori. As Scott observes, by moving back and forth between these levels, one can tell a story in which names and faces emerge, while situating the actions of individuals within larger structures of production and political organization (p. 6). Rather than reinforcing traditional approaches that defined the nature of so-called race relations through opposition, Scott shows us how, through mobilization and political activism, men and women from the cane fields and Mississippi par ish lagoons, in rural Cuba, and in the ports of New Orleans, Santiago de Cuba, and Havana, defined the conquest of the right to passage as an instru ment for the expansion of existing rights and the construction of new ones based on the anticolonial pact. In this way, she presents a comparative analy sis of the gradual emancipation of Cuba and the advances and retreats of opportunities for political participation in Louisiana during Reconstruction. Degrees of Freedom represents a mosaic of interrelated stories that por tray encounters of men, women, and families of ex-slaves and free gens de couleur/personas de color seeking to fully exercise their legal rights as free citizens. Earlier experiences shaped their expectations about the new reality in seeking to define the possibilities and limits of political action, association, and political-party representation. Scott offers a rich description of the vicis situdes that motivated the various engagements of men and women of color in contexts that allowed for the full exercise of liberty. On opposite coasts of the Gulf, the challenges of the war and elections introduced two important figures: the soldier and the electorate. Using different strategies and forms of rhetoric based on alliances, pacts, and rights, in both Louisiana and central Cuba, men and women of color employed arms and the vote as instruments for the de jure though not de facto implementation and expansion of civil rights. Degrees is an analysis of the multiple conflicts ensconced in strategies and forms of discourse and the ways in which these were defined through varied social constructions of freedom and rights. When nonwhite workers in Louisiana joined white citizens in local vot ing, the meanings of alliance conquered through bargains and political inter ests (despite being apparently contradictory), contrary to the horizontality of rights, reaffirm the consolidation of one of the languages of racial vio lence in the South. The meanings given to local notions of honor, protection and knowledge elements important to paternalistic practices of populists,
118 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) democrats, and republicans seeking the black vote and to the voice of the southern white supremacy reflect other understandings and uses. When in the pages of the Crusader Pierre L. Carmouche, a founder and member of the Knights of Labor, exalted advances in Louisiana thanks to strategic cross-alliances referring to the tactics of Antonio Maceo and Mximo Gomez in Cuba (p. 162), the soldier and the citizen are recognized as complemen tary. The massive adherence and mobilization of black soldiers in the South, despite their segregation during service in Cuba, shows once again that arms and votes were not only political prerogatives shaped by nationalist explana tions but also instruments for seeking rights. On the other side of the Gulf, ex-combatants of color, organized in societies and in parties with the insig nia, honor, and identity of veteran, produced another reading of nation created and negotiated on the battlefield. A comparative exercise seeking to embrace societies with different struc tures and unique institutions of slavery, Degrees of Freedom succeeds both as an experiment and as a solid and definitive analysis of the social his tory of postemancipation. Scott overcomes traditional concepts of local, regiona l, and national through research in local archives as well as oral history centered on the histories of families and individuals in their daily struggles for the right to own land, to travel, and to exert political representa tion. The meanings and experiences associated with the judicial and political parameters of citizenship allow us to understand through different perspec tives, scales, and degrees how these individuals qualified and interpreted possible uses of the republican ideals of liberty and equality. Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World PA T RICK BE LL E G AR D E-SMI T H (ed.). Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005. 262 pp. (Paper US$ 20.00) DIANNE M. ST E W AR T Department of Religion and African American Studies Emory University Atlanta GA 30322, U.S.A.
119 BOO K RE V IE WS to cover more noted traditions such as Brazilian Candombl, Haitian Vodou, and Cuban Santera. It also examines lesser-known conventions and cultura l threads that bind Africa and its diasporas as well as Africans across the diaspora. These include a variety of themes and subjects: Central African martial arts as a rudimentary discipline expressed in African American ring shout innovations; the pivotal institutional role of women in a robust New Orleans Voodoo heritage; the Comfa religion as a site of Guyanese national identity; flexible and diverse conceptions of gender and sexuality in neoAfrican religious traditions; tapping the metalanguage (p. 65) of Vodou as a foundation for restructuring contemporary Haitian civic and public life; the phenomenon of twins in neo-African religions; critical engagements of African religious motifs in Brazilian and Cuban literatures; complementary religious practices among Akan communities in Jamaica and Africa; the life and work of a Cuban Espiritista; and ritual process in Lucumi Orisha tradi tions. Twelve essays explore neo-African religions from sundry diasporic loca tions with attention to the philosophical, theological, political, and aesthetic orientations they encode. Fragments of bone is a compelling image for theorizing African religions in the New World. While bones offer evidence that some life form has perished, they are also organic substances that live on, retaining energies and memories. Perhaps Patrick Bellegarde-Smith had Jahns Muntu (1958) in mind by insisting that African religions are both old and new and that their novelty has more to do with the internal dynamism intrinsic to the generative ethos of all living things and the cultures/environ ments living things produce than to any assumed syncretic essence. His point is that neo-African religions are no more or less syncretic than Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, a point sorely missed in scores of treatments of these misnomered traditions precisely because history has been constructed and told from the vantage point of the conquerors. Underscoring an important shift in studies of African diaspora religions, Bellegarde-Smith frames this volume with an introductory essay and query ing title: What If History Were Written by the Vanquished? His insideroutsider position as houngan and scholar lends credibility to an integrative and collaborative approach to knowledge production, one that benefits not only from transdisciplinarity but also from translocation, something rarely encountered in the scholarship on African and African-derived religions. In penetrating the boundaries between theology and religion, technology and spirituality, politics and aesthetics, and time and space, the essays offer responses to Bellegarde-Smiths question. To take one example, time and space converge for Niyi Afolabi, who considers Brazil and Africa Siamese cultural spaces and Bahia a diaspora in reverse (p. 121). This insight res onates with the connections Nancy Mikelson suggests between two women of African descent across time and space. For Mikelson, Eva Fernandez
120 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) Bravos transplantation of African-Cuban herbs to a community garden in the Frederick Douglass housing project in Upper West Side, Manhattan had a marvelous irony because Frederick Douglasss mother would have rec ognized many of the simples in Marias garden (p. 239). Here Mikelson returns to the maternal heritage of a man audiences are prone to associate with the cultural conventions of Western Christianity but who confesses he experienced authentic freedom from the whip and shackles of slavery after accepting the nkisi of an African root doctor named Sandy Jenkins (Douglass et al 2001). Coupled with Ina Fandrichs pioneering research on Voudou sisterhoods in New Orleans, readers are invited to engage in more precise local and comparative studies of African American/Caribbean womens religious experiences to examine history from the standpoint of the vanquished. Gender analysis is just one place to begin among the vanquished. Perhaps another location would be formulating a credible scholarly response to Congophobic discourse (demonization of Congo/Central African traditions) in the African diasporic record. Maureen Warner Lewis (1991) and Monica Schuler (1980), among others, have noted such patterns in their studies of African slave societies and diasporic religions. Rafael Ocasio also presents corroborating data in his essay on Cuban Santera without remark (p. 104). Several contributors to this volume critically engage the wider Afrophobic cultural milieu condemning African traditions as a whole and the nation states appropriation of neo-African religions to quell Black consciousness, social resistance, and political dissent. This type of analysis must also extend to the Congophobic narrative that was generated within African diasporic slave communities. Among many emergent themes in the volume is the comparative trans atlantic study of ethnic African societies during the slave era. Osei-Mensah Aborampahs essay comparing Akan religious practices in Africa and the Jamaican diaspora complements the research of scholars such as Michael Gomez (1998), James Sweet (2003), and Linda Heywood (2002) who inter rogate the interfacing of ethnic African, pan-African, and African American/ Caribbean communities in the formation of African diasporic identities over centuries of encounter. In considering a wealth of spiritual intelligence across the African diaspor a, Fragments of Bone introduces a conceptual framework for interpreting the legacies of African religious cultures in the Americas and the Caribbean as synthetic repertoires, offering readers a perspective on the extension of African civilization(s) to the New World. It shifts the scholarly lens away from dichotomous and static approaches to Africanisms and instead dem onstrates how, as Niyi Afolabi writes, Africa remains not only a significant but a signifying intertext in the Americas and the Caribbean (p. 111). The task is no longer that of isolating African retentions; it is now to acknowledge
121 BOO K RE V IE WS that, as Bellegarde-Smith puts it, the use of the drum does not preclude playing the accordion or the violin (p. 65). Exploring religion as a site for sociopolitical enactments as well as varied cultural disciplines and technolo gies, the contributors to this volume brilliantly demonstrate the global ambit of West and Central African civilizations and their transnational influence across Africa and the African diaspora. RE F ERENCE S DOUGL A SS, FRE D ERICK, JO HN BL A SS IN G AME, et al 2001. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave: Written by Himself New Haven CT: Yale University Press. GO ME Z, MICHAE L 1998. Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. HE YWOOD, LIN D A 2002. Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. JAHN, JANHEIN Z, 1990. Muntu: African Culture and the Western World New York: Grove Press. [Orig. 1958.] SCH UL ER, MO NICA 1980. Alas, Alas Kongo: A Social History of Indentured African Immigration into Jamaica, 1841-1865 Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. SW EE T, JAME S 2003. Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the AfricanPortuguese World, 1440-1770 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. WARNER-LE W I S, MA U REEN 1991. Guineas Other Suns: The African Dynamic in Trinidad Culture Dover MA: Majority Press.
122 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) Plants and Empire: Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World LO N D A SCHIEBIN G ER. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. 320 pp. (Cloth US$ 39.95) J.D LA FL E U R Lyon Gardiner Tyler Department of History College of William & Mary Williamsburg VA 23185-8795, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > This interesting book challenges the widely held notion that the Columbian Exchange of people, plants, creatures, and ideas was an historical inevitabil ity. Typically this understanding comes in two complementary guises. The first explains that things just naturally spread but fails to embrace the his torical contingencies and biological contexts that framed peoples actions in the past. The second highlights the enormity of the technological hurdles but leaps over them by deploying a few heroic (usually male) European adven turers who used their science and their ships fitted with sails to spread resources between worlds Old and New. These are experienced, general con ceptualizations, durable only in the absence of good case studies. Londa Schiebinger takes up the case of the fast-growing shrub with feath ery foliage and brilliantly colored blossoms that Europeans named the pea cock flower (and in Linnean taxonomy as Poinciana pulcherrima) to chart a third course focused on the complexity of multiple human interactions. The peacock flower, like most plants and animals transported across Atlantic waters, had no singular patron. Schiebinger describes several persons who collected botanical specimens of this probably indigenous plant in tropical America and were likely to have transferred its genetics to European herbaria and courtly greenhouses as well as to African and East Indian courtyard gar dens. Readers of this journal who are familiar with Schiebingers histories of science will not be surprised that she highlights the role of women par ticularly European, but also Amerindian, African, and Creole in her story. Women in the Americas shared the secret among themselves that ingesting parts of the peacock flower induced abortions. Mostly male scientists work ing in the peripheries of European empires transferred the plant to Western Europe but not the local knowledge surrounding its use as an abortificant. It wasnt as if they were completely unaware of how people related to this plant. Several colonial scientists learned of its powers from informants and some acutely identified its use in undermining the exploitative sexual economy of the colonial Caribbean basin. Slave women could ingest the pea cock flower to deny their owners future human capital as well as to save their
123 BOO K RE V IE WS unborn children from the cruelty of New World bondage. Abortion, as well as (rare) infanticide, was direct political resistance. Schiebinger describes the journeymen collectors as bioprospectors, akin to modern counterparts who scour tropical locales for potentially lucrative biomedical compounds and attempt to overcome the reluctance of increas ingly shrewd local experts to tell what they know. Here Schiebinger extends on the work of others Richard Drayton, Antonio Lafuente, Nuria Valverde, Susan Scott Parrish, Paula Findlen, and more to connect collecting in the colonies to big business in European capitals. Schiebinger is particularly effective at teasing out from never-conforming biographical sketches the conflicted motives of the colonial collectors. To explain how cultural knowledge of the plants powers became divorced from its genetics, Schiebinger cannot pinpoint any censors, but rather only a generalized context of contemporary Europeans public moral distaste for aborted pregnancies. She describes this as an example of agnotology, the study of cultural ignorances (p. 18). But women in Europe also had triedand-true domestic remedies that made an exotic (and probably hard-to-grow) plant from the tropics a less attractive medicine. Schiebinger demonstrates total command of the polyglot documents in Western European languages. She is considerably less engaged in the modes intentionally used by the Atlantic worlds non-literate to make knowledge memorable or the clues they left behind without reflection in vernacular names for the peacock flower. Readers will likely find the books illustra tions to be informative rather than just romantic decorations because they are so well tied to the text (though a map or two would probably have been welcome for the uninitiated), and will similarly indulge Schiebingers some times lengthy excursions into what might be considered distractions (e.g., Europeans ideas about Amazons) because she writes with such intellec tual and rhetorical deft. If the book was a pleasure to write, as Schiebingers first sentence declares, it is an equal delight to read.
124 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature. F. ABI OL A IRE L E & SIM O N GIKAN D I (eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 2 vols. xli + 906 pp. (Cloth US$ 180.00) A. JAME S ARN OLD French Department University of Virginia Charlottesville VA 22904-4770, U.S.A.
125 BOO K RE V IE WS ship to the overall project. Such is the case here. Furthermore, the effort to articulate the Caribbean with Africa tends toward a regressive view of the Caribbean as neo-African rather than the vibrantly hybrid region that it is in fact. These structural flaws aside, readers will find here valuable individual essays, well edited and handsomely presented. RE F ERENCE ARN OLD, A. JAME S (ed.), 1994-2001. A History of Literature in the Caribbean. 3 vols. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Creole America: The West Indies and the Formation of Literature and Culture in the New Republic SEAN X. GOUD IE. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006. 276 pp. (Cloth US$ 55.00) J. BRA DFO R D AN D ER SO N Department of English Trinity School New York NY 10024, U.S.A.
126 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) insight that the paracolonial position is just as fraught with difficulties as the colonial and postcolonial position is as surprising and as intuitive as all genuine discoveries. When Franklin calls for peaceful and free trade with the Caribbean at the Peace of Versailles is he the Founding Father proleptically figuring the commercial empire celebrated by Bill Clinton in the White House in 1993? The New World statesman eager to out-develop the colonies of the Caribbean by undermining the military and mercantile arrangements that spon sor their prosperity? Or the abject colonial begging for commercial favors that he can win neither with arms nor with diplomacy? He performs all these roles, but it is when we enter the world of letters that things get really interesting. Freneaus The Beauties of Santa Cruz and his Jamaica poems use the West Indies as a metaregional and metanational site [that] provides a space for gaug ing the failures of European empire in the West Indies and the North American continent on the one hand, and the possibilities and pitfalls awaiting the rising U.S. empire as would be enlightened alternative in the hemisphere on the other (p. 116-17). The Caribbean serves an object of pity, a figure of speech, and as a vision of the New World to be vigorously disavowed. The United States paracolonial condition induced a creole complex in many U.S. Americans. Why were they uncomfortable self-identifying as cre ole understood as a term to identify colonists of European descent, as well as black and mulatto slaves and freedmen born and raised in the New World (p. 8) when other residents of the New World adopted this descriptor with such ease. In a word: the South. Politicians as varied as Franklin, Hamilton, and Adams and authors from Freneau to Robinson to Brown were at great pains to ignore or deny that the economy and caste system of the South had far more in common with, say, Jamaica (a kinship that would be highlighte d if creole were a more common term of identification in the United States) than with Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. And yet, to hold the nation togeth er, Hamilton posited an empire of commerce that would eventually uproot the peculiar institution of the South and bind the fragile nation together through a national bank while Jefferson envisioned an empire of liberty based on agri culture, but where the yeoman farmer would somehow eclipse the large plan tation landowner and bring North, South, and West together. Needless to say, both Hamiltons and Jeffersons America was sorely tested by the Civil War during which the Confederacy dreamed of a Caribbean empire based on a commonality of interest between the plantation owners of Cuba and the South. The creole complex encompasses both the affirmation of an American identity and the disavowal of the vicious pan-American institution slavery that produces a certain version of that identit y. Goudie cleverly reads Olaudah Equianos Interesting Narrative as a vision of an Atlantic world where com merce brings Philadelphia uncomfortably near the Caribbean, thereby under mining Franklins vision of an American exceptionalism based on a purported
127 BOO K RE V IE WS moral superiority over the rest of the hemisphere. American no longer: we are now all Creole Americans. There was at least one place in the United States where adopting a creole identity was not problematic: New Orleans. As an extension of Goudies study, it might be interesting to imagine Edna Pontelliers inward journey and suicide in The Awakening as a sustained attempt and then failure at adopt ing a creole identity. Charles Bons murder in Absalom, Absalom! might be similarly understood. In other words, Goudies Creole America is just the beginning of a fruitful hemispheric recontextualization of American litera ture, a hitherto missing link in the genealogy of an alluring and dangerous Caribbean that runs from The Tempest to A Tempest Unfortunately, Goudies prose is marred by infelicities of language what on Earth does always already mean in English? that occasionally obscure his meaning. To take one rather crucial example, Goudie asserts that the process of (un)becoming U.S. American in the late eighteenth century was oftentimes dependent on (un)becoming creole (p. 9). Does he mean to say (a) that one became creole as soon as one ceased being U.S. American, (b) that one became U.S. American as soon as one ceased being creole, (c) that one ceased being creole when one ceased being U.S. American, (d) that one became both at the same time, or (e) all of the above? The parentheses are, alas, no help, and so one is left to infer what Goudie means from the rest of his text some version of (e), I think. What Goudie has to say would have been worth saying simply and clearly. The Libertine Colony: Creolization in the Early French Caribbean DO RI S GARRA W A Y. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2005. xvi + 414 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) CHAR L E S FO R SD ICK School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies University of Liverpool Liverpool L69 7ZR, UK
128 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) the Haitian Revolution with its attempts to push an Enlightenment project to logical limits, unimagined by many at the time with a radical unthink ability. In the decade since the publication of Silencing the Past and in the immediate aftermath of the bicentenary of Haitian independence, these processes of amnesia and neglect have been gradually reversed as Haiti has begun to achieve the prominence it merits in a range of fields of enquiry. Doris Garraways meticulously researched and cogently argued The Libertine Colony itself addressing a certain silence around colonial slavery (p. xi) that seems to pervade the postcolonial studies field, represents a welcome addition to this growing body of literature. The volume serves to comple ment other recent studies such as that by John Garrigus (2006) whose aim has been to address the complexities of pre-revolutionary Saint-Domingue. Given the emphasis in much of the new historiography on the Revolution itself, such as books by David Geggus (2002) and Laurent Dubois (2004), this attention to eighteenth-century histories is to be welcomed, for it pro vides a clear reflection on the cultural, social, and political intricacies of the society from which the Haitian revolutionary impulse emerged. Garraways thesis is a bold one, focusing on the relationship between the cultural transformation and hybridization of transplanted populations and the emergence of borders of violence between them (p. xii). Developing as an analytical tool, from her study of the libidinal economy of the period, the concept of colonial libertinage, Garraway uses this notion to explore the impact of gender and sexuality on the ideology, politics, and society of SaintDomingue. The emphasis is on the policing of interracial sexual relations, suggesting that attempts to manage, through discriminatory legislation, the consequences of miscegenation were accompanied by a contradictory legiti mization of white sexual desire. As such, she contributes to a project exem plified by Robert Young (1995), exploring the pre-history of terms whose common currency in postcolonial studies tends to eclipse the complexities of their colonial uses. Whereas Young unpacked the historical semantic field of hybridity, Garraway addresses the related although far from synonymous notion of creolization. Noting the popularity of the term, especially in the study of contemporary literary texts, her aim is to move beyond current theo retical celebrations of the process by studying a range of early colonial texts in which ambiguous historical traces of creolization and evidence of its local specificity remain apparent. The volume is accordingly both a valuable contribution to the Ancien rgime colonial historiography, and to an attenua tion of some key notions in the field of postcolonial literary criticism. The selected corpus ranges from the 1640s to the 1790s, and encom passes novels, legal documents, travel narratives, and dictionaries. There is also iconographic apparatus spread through the text and well integrated into the books argument. Part of the volumes originality is in its engagement with important texts that have attracted little attention elsewhere, such as
129 BOO K RE V IE WS the 1696 colonial novel Le Zombi du Grand-Prou Inspired by the work of Peter Hulme, Joan Dayan, and Franoise Vergs, Garraway approaches other material from new perspectives, yielding often unexpected results: Raymond Bretons French-Carib dictionary, for instance, is presented as a dialogic text (p. 89) that represents the juxtaposition of subjectivities, languages, and temporalities that can neither be synthesized nor assumed to be totally incommensurable (p. 91). The volumes five chapters thus cover diverse themes and material. Garraway begins with a discussion of questions of identity raised by initial contact between the French and the Caribs (Chapter 1), and moves then to a discussion of pirates and other early settlers in the islands (Chapter 2). Considering the very early colony, she tracks the synthesis of regional and ethnic identities into that of what she dubs the white noble savage, a cat egory that encompasses the recalibration of status and radical reinvention of social life inherent in colonial contact. The construction of structures and systems outside the control of metropolitan France underpins Chapter 3, in which the radical otherness of vaudou is nuanced with a notion of colo nial demonology, suggesting that in the eighteenth century there existed the possibility of religious syncretism across the various groups of the colonial population. [W]hites were not immune to the powers of the creolized spirit world, concludes Garraway, they perceived themselves as both agents and victims within it (p. 191). The final two chapters address most directly the questions of colonial libertinage to which the title alludes, engaging with legal and narrative dis courses of miscegenation to explore the definition and management of the sexual frontier between white men and enslaved black women. By focusing on the treatment of the resulting colored population (and in particular of mulatto women) of Saint-Domingue, Garraway reveals the ways in which interracial sex was simultaneously policed and tolerated, and even normal ized. Chapter 5 develops the notion of the colonial family romance, suggest ing that white colonists desire for women of mixed ethnicity belonged to the unconscious, symbolic economy of incest. Drawing here on notions of Sadean libertinage, it is suggested that incestuous desire both contributed to and was enabled by the social violence of slavery (p. 247), revealing the complex erotic subtexts of the colonial Caribbean. The Libertine Colony is an important contribution to recent study of the his torical interactions by which colonial contact zones were formed and whereby they were permitted to evolve. Its reliance on documents usually considered to belong outside the archives permits access to the affective dimension of such interactions, casting new light on the structures of power and the con figurations of identity by which the early French Caribbean was regulated.
130 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) RE F ERENCE S DU B O I S, LA U REN T, 2004. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. GARRI GUS, JO HN D., 2006. Before Haiti: Race and Citizenship in French SaintDomingue New York: Palgrave Macmillan. GE GGUS, DA V I D, 2002. Haitian Revolutionary Studies Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. TR OU I LLOT, MICHE L-ROLP H, 1995. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History Boston MA: Beacon Press. YOU N G, RO BER T J.C ., 1995. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. London: Routledge. The Slaves Rebellion: Fiction, History, Orature ADL K AD K Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005. x + 205 pp. (Paper US$ 21.95) OW EN RO BIN SO N Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies University of Essex Wivenhoe Park Colchester CO4 3SQ, U.K. < firstname.lastname@example.org k > Reading this book in the context of my own countrys somewhat ambivalent response to the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade, I found its concerns particularly pertinent. Tony Blairs fudged apology for Britains role in the international trade has re-ignited old debates about the efficacy and motivations of such official pronouncements. More importantly, the general lack of public awareness concerning the slavetrading and slaveholding past is indicative of the cultural amnesia that the subjects of Adlk Adks wide-ranging yet impressively focused discus sion rebel against. Britains culpability, and apparent reluctance to recognize it, is not within Adks remit, but for this British reader at least his book has thrown it into yet further relief. For if there is perhaps a tendency in the United Kingdom to condemn slavery as essentially a horror of American history, the internationalist perspective one must surely apply when consider
131 BOO K RE V IE WS ing it seriously is here evoked powerfully through study of one of its most compelling elements: the slave rebellion. The Slaves Rebellion discusses texts from a number of regions whose identities are crucially informed by the experience of slavery: the southern United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa (specifically Nigeria). By focusing on what may initially seem a relatively limited trope, Adk is able both to chart transatlantic conditions and codes in the slave experience, and to account for particular regional variations. As such, the sheer scale of the international involvement is evinced ever more strongly, as are the para doxically complex yet also simple motivations for revolting against it; how ever, this is not at the expense of specific localized attention. Adk sets out his theoretical ground carefully. He distances himself from contemporary transnationalisms that privilege prematurely, I think the universalizing effects of the intellectual products of transatlantic slave routes over cultural and political rites delimited by national imperatives (p. 6). While there are nods to the likes of Paul Gilroy, this is a project that gives the local experi ence its due emphasis within the global. Furthermore, as he makes clear in his introduction and conclusion, there is an attempt to recast, or properly extend, the connotations of Hegels analysis of Lordship and Bondage, to figure the slaves rebellion as the claiming of his or her own selfhood. Adk begins with texts from the United States, and these are the most numerous in the book. He discusses Harriet Jacobss account of masters responses to Nat Turners revolt, and what he identifies as Turners own sub versive use of Thomas Gray in the latters The Confessions of Nat Turner before looking at Martin Delanys attempt to give fictive form to something with no historical model a successful slave revolt in the United States. From here, the study moves on to postemancipation counterviolence in Charles Chesnutts The Marrow of Tradition and the moral conundrums now faced by social rebellion as a form of black self-definition. Arna Bontemps Black Thunder transposes nineteenth-century slave rebellion onto the class and race struggles of the 1930s, encouraging readers to consume history actively and not digest handed-down traditions as passive events (p. 81). The Marxist inflections of this (Bontemps disavowal notwithstanding) lead neatly on to a splendid reading of C.L.R. Jamess account of the only successful slave revolt in The Black Jacobins the Haitian Revolution taking a central role in Adks book. Jamess casting of Toussaint LOuvertures rise and fall as tragic, and his interest in the crucial role of narrative in the construction of history is discussed in forceful fashion. Slave rebellion as marvellous (or magical) realism in Alejo Carpentiers The Kingdom of the World links Haiti to wider American codification of slavery and resistance. There follow two chapters on Yorb versions of slave rebellion in Africa: Ork oral narratives, Adby Flts historical novel Omo Olkn Esin and Aknwm sls award-winning 1966 play Efnsetn Anwr These chapters tap effectively
132 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) into intellectual anxieties over African slave practice and complicity in the international slave trade, and the controversy caused by Henry Louis Gatess drawing attention to this. Adks readings will risk similar disfavor, per haps, and are no less valuable for this. Finally, we return to African-American writing, and Shirley Anne Williamss Dessa Rose which Adk uses to cri tique the bloodlessness of black poststructuralist practice in the late twen tieth century. This is an appropriate text to end with, as notwithstanding his interest in the narrative devices used in all these texts, Adks point is that the slaves rebellion is recalled for refashioning the present as much as for preserving the past and for sketching the trajectory which each writer prefers that the future developments should follow (p. 174). The aesthetics may be powerful, but hardly more so than the humanity behind them. The Slaves Rebellion is a valuable study: persuasive, expansive, erudite, at times moving. If the tendency toward plot-description becomes a little grating, it is probably necessary in a book that covers such a wide range of materials. Occasionally, there are editorial slips for instance, Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple in 1983, not 1977, which is potentially important for its relation to the contemporary theory and fiction under discussion (p. 157) but these scarcely detract from the overall suc cess of the book. Adks combination of transatlantic perspective and local detail is deft, his individual readings illuminating, and his assertion of the importance of the slaves rebellion utterly compelling. Jamaica Kincaid: Writing Memory, Writing Back to the Mother J. BR OO K S BOUSO N. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005. ix + 242 pp., Cloth US$ 65.00) LI Z ABE T H PARA V I S INI-GEBER T Hispanic Studies Department Vassar College Poughkeepsie NY 12604, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > The centrality of the figure of the mother in Jamaica Kincaids writing both fiction and non-fiction is undeniable. From Annie John (1985) to her most recent novel, Mr Potter (2002), Kincaid has mined her autobiography, espe cially her complex and ambivalent relationship with her mother, Annie Drew,
133 BOO K RE V IE WS to create haunting texts whose elegant and passionate prose addresses the complexities of colonialism, race, and gender relations in the Caribbean. In Jamaica Kincaid: Writing Memory, Writing Back to the Mother J. Brooks Bouson examines the figure of the mother as an overpowering pres ence that dominates all aspects of Kincaids writing. Drawing primarily from Kincaids statements about her childhood in numerous interviews, and using Nancy Chodorows The Power of Feelings (1999) and The Reproduction of Mothering (1978) as theoretical foundation, Bouson has developed a psy chological profile that she deploys in her reading of Kincaids major works, seeking parallels between the writers own life and that of her characters and narrators. It is Bousons contention that although she is frequently angry and defiant, even brazen in her interviews and writings, Kincaid is nonetheless prey to deeply painful memories of her childhood as a daughter of a physi cally and emotionally abusive mother. Bouson argues that she projects onto her characters her own episodic experiences of profound depression and subjective emptiness, her injured pride and intense rage, and her feelings of exposure and bodily shame (p. 2). Her readings of Kincaids work presup pose a quasi-deterministic autobiographical foundation, and she consistently interprets the writing as correlating directly to Kincaids own mother-induced psychological trauma. Narrators and protagonists Annie John, Lucy, Xuela, and others are read here as barely disguised alter egos through whose emo tional and psychological predicaments Kincaid is seen as confronting the trauma and abuse of her unspeakable past. Writing, seen here as writing back to the mother, in turn becomes a source of solace that makes it possible for Kincaid to carve a livable life out of the debris of her childhood. Bousons relentless deployment of psychoanalytic feminist theory as the key to understanding Kincaids oeuvre succeeds only partially in illuminat ing the texts she examines in the book, which represent all of Kincaids fic tion to date plus two major pieces of nonfiction, A Small Place (1988) and My Brother (1997). Her psychoanalytic readings of the various texts, despite owing much to the ever-growing scholarship on the figure of the mother in Kincaids fiction, succeed in teasing out multiple fresh insights on the work that broaden our understanding. These insights are gained chiefly through perceptive textual analysis and careful attention to the correlation of scenes, characters, and events from the texts to episodes and people in Kincaids own life, thereby offering a solid and useful foundation for establishing the autobiographical origins of extensive portions of her work. Bousons book is at its best when showing how Kincaid has transformed autobiography into literature, how she has woven a rich literary world out of the telling (and often retelling) of an at times excruciatingly painful past. Bousons psychoanalytical interpretation is less convincing when it turns away from reading Kincaids autobiography through her literature to ana lyze Kincaids own feelings and trauma as revealed through her writing in
134 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) short, when the discussion turns from textual analysis to psychoanalysis of the author herself. Bouson applies her psychoanalytical methodology just as often to Kincaids work as to what Kincaid has revealed about herself in interviews and in her nonfiction, looking for an understanding of Kincaids own psyche and of what her manipulation of autobiographical truth in her texts reveals about her own psychological state. Here, Bouson is on shak ier grounds, as she is working both against the limits of what Kincaid has revealed publicly about herself and against the nature of what constitutes autobiographical truth as gathered through such textual and performative nar ratives. Kincaids nonfiction in which I would include the more than fifty published interviews she has given over the years weaves and reweaves the same autobiographical material she inserts into her fiction and represents, as such, unreliable truth. The analysis of these texts, however, often leads Bouson into quasi-clinical diagnoses. Kincaid, she writes, is obsessed with the past, constantly ruminating over the hurts of her life (p. 35). Or again, up to the time of her mothers death [she] was never able to resolve her rela tionship with her aging but still powerfully rejecting mother (p. 181). The problems of this approach are most clearly evident in Bousons discussion of Kincaids projection of her multilayered, mother-induced feelings of shame onto her characters. This discussion is based on evidence that Kincaid was emotionally and physically abused by her mother during childhood and sup ported by a psychological profile of Kincaids mother culled from Kincaids declarations in interviews and from her nonfiction. Methodologically, in her discussion of Kincaids shame and of her mothers contempt for her daughters success as a writer, Bouson strays into uncertain, speculative ter ritory and her conclusions lack the persuasiveness of her often sensitive and nuanced readings of her literary texts. Her book remains, nonetheless, the most exhaustive exploration of the importance of the figure of the mother in Kincaids work to date. RE F ERENCE S CH ODO R OW, NANC Y, 1978. T he Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender. Berkeley: University of California Press. , 1999. The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture. New Haven CT: Yale University Press.
135 BOO K RE V IE WS The French Imperial Nation-State: Negritude and Colonial Humanism between the Two World Wars GAR Y WI LD ER Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. xii + 404 pp. (Paper US$ 25.00) NICK NE S BI TT Department of French and Italian Miami University Oxford OH 45056, U.S.A.
136 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) In effect two projects in a single volume, The French Imperial NationState truly comes into its own in its second half, a study of the early Negritude movement. Fascinating in its own right, the books preliminary, archive-based description of the antinomical political logics of French colonialism consti tutes, in view of the whole, the detailed groundwork for the books last hun dred pages. Wilder shows for the first time how the various cultura l interven tions of the pre-1945 Negritude movement were in fact highly determinate interventions of immanent critique and political dissent within this pre-exist ing field. This Francophone Black Atlantic public sphere arose in the 1920s and 1930s in Paris, where its members attempted to address the paradoxi cal participation of the categories of their critique civil society, citizenship, humanism, and even reason itself in the racist exclusion of colonial subjects from republican rights (p. 149). Wilder examines the black republicanism of interwar journals such as La Dpche Africaine and the cultural nationalism of La Revue du Monde Noir and LEtudiant Noir. The members of this black public sphere practiced a critical form of citizenship: always to some degree excluded from universal republican rights, they nonetheless affirmed their rights to citizenship, participation in civil society and a critical public sphere as indispensable critical fictions (p. 195). At the same time, the continuing discrimination and police surveillance they encountered forced upon them the recognition that colonial racism could not be erased by mere force of will. This recognition drove them to affirm their African singularity (negri tude) as cultural difference, a difference articulated in the various interven tions of Damas, Senghor, and Csaire as a precarious and dynamic mediation of the universal and the particular (pp. 188-89). The quest led the Negritude writers to focus their writings across a series of transnational registers repub lican, pan-African, and cosmopolitan that Wilder describes in convincing historical detail (p. 202). For Damas, this took the form of a highly politi cized poetics ( Pigments ), as it did to a lesser degree in much of Senghors pre-1945 poetry. Both Damas ( Retour de Guyane 89 et nous, les noirs) and Senghor (Le problme culturel en AOF) simultaneously penned articles and speeche s in this period that interpellated French colonialism from the perspective of a new, critical black subjectivity. Wilder concludes that while Damas and Senghor revealed in the fullest degree the many contradictions of the colonial world that produced them, their responses to the structural and existential impasses they identified remained overly economistic in the case of Damas (p. 232) and mythico-racialist for Senghor (p. 251). Wilder finishes with an analysis of Csaires Cahier dun retour au pays natal that moves beyond previous interpretations in its unsurpassed historical contextualization of the poem as a response to the contradictory dynamics of Third Republic colonialism. He is among the first to read the Cahier as dissonant, fragmentary, recursive and dialogical, and self-consciously both complicit and critical. Unlike the multitude of encomiums to a triumphant
137 BOO K RE V IE WS black subject that constitute the bulk of previous analyses, Wilder under stands the Cahier as an exploration of the antinomies of colonial history and subjectivity. In this reading, Csaires masterpiece seeks to overcome these limitations through the Orphic invention of a poetic reason that nonetheless remains trapped within an ahistorical cosmological universalism (p. 289). One only regrets that Wilder chose not to pursue his analysis to show how the contradictions of colonial humanism and Negritude itself led not only to cultural innovation, but directly to the full juridical integration of the French Overseas Departments in 1946. Similarly, I would have wished for a fuller engagement with the theoretical complexities of the philosophy of histori cal antinomy beyond the admittedly important work of Postone. Nonetheless, Wilders study, in both its cultivation of historical detail and its innovative interdisciplinary scope, constitutes the most outstanding elaboration of the historical contradictions of the early Negritude movement published to date. RE F ERENCE POSTO NE, MO I S HE 1993. Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marxs Critical Theory Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. History of Puerto Rico: A Panorama of its People FERNAN DO PIC Princeton NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2006. xiv + 351 pp. (Paper US$ 28.95) FRANCI S C O A. SCARAN O Department of History University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison WI 53706, U.S.A.
138 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) of all kinds in the course of expressing their spirituality, he has oriented his work toward what he once called a history in which people can find their surnames narratives, that is, closely focused on the struggles, hopes, and solidarities of social majorities. This is why several of his books, including two of the most recent, have been histories of medium-sized cities, each one looking to recreate the texture of family and community life there. In focusing on local history and close-up views of peoples lives, Pic has, in a sense, revived a form of historical writing common during the more ama teur period of island historiography, especially during the first half of the last century. In the variant of local history he professes, however, the imprint of French methodologies, especially those of the Annalistes and their probing studies of popular mentalits is richly in evidence. History of Puerto Rico: A Panorama of its People is the translated ver sion of Pics best-known work of historical synthesis. Published in Spanish in 1986, at a time when there was a dearth of updated general treatments of Puerto Rican history, it has taken nearly two decades for the book to appear in English. Markus Wiener Publishers, which specializes in Third World themes and has a strong Caribbean catalog, has produced this Englishlanguage edition of a book that stood for many years as the finest synthesis of its kind. One is to assume that Pic translated it himself, as neither the work itself nor the publishers website identify any other contributor. To bring it up to date, Pic has added two short chapters, one on Changes in Perceptions and Values, 1960s to 2005, and another on the political his tory of the past twenty years entitled From Alternation in Power to Shared Government, 1980 to 2005. The first of these builds on one of the out standing themes of Pics work: the idea that values, whether moral, reli gious, or communal (in the form of solidarities), form the backbone of a peoples history, and that changes in such values in parallel to gradual shifts in mentalities are topics that historians should take more seriously. In another effort to bring the narrative up to date, Pic sprinkles the English edition with bits and pieces of new text written from the vantage point of the early twenty-first century. These insertions also add a modicum of historio graphic and bibliographic renovation. The changes are modest, however, and the light touch with which Pic has brought the book up to date suggests a decision to keep it largely in its original form. Although the book now features two more chapters on the contemporary scene, the bulk of the work still focuses on the Spanish colonial period. After a short chapter on geography, the next eleven focus on the social history of conquest, colonization, declension during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, recovery in the eighteenth, and the intense economic and demo graphic expansion that occurred in the nineteenth century, when Puerto Rico and Cuba became Spains only exploitation colonies in what remained of the Empire. In an odd twist, Pic devotes three chapters to the period between
139 BOO K RE V IE WS 1765 and 1823 and only two to the remaining span of almost eighty years of Spanish rule. This periodization and emphasis are unconventional, to say the least. Indeed, most people would agree that the closer one gets to the end of Spanish rule and the beginning of U.S. colonial hegemony, the more interest ing and intricate the Puerto Rican story gets. The relative weight accorded to the earlier transitional phase, a period that saw a change from marginal defen sive outpost to agrarian colony, might appear unjustified to many historians. When Pics synthesis was first published, teachers, students, and lay readers hailed it as a breakthrough. Like the book it most resembles in ear lier historiography, Salvador Braus Historia de Puerto Rico (1904), Pics Historia general suggested a new way to look at the nations past. With its social history approach, it constituted a refreshing departure from extant gen eral histories, which had stressed political events and focused on the lives and works of great men (and a few women, most of them writers). Pic drew on his own research while integrating perspectives drawn from a rich, grow ing body of scholarship, much of it focused on economic and social themes, that was reaching its peak about the time the Historia general came out. Puerto Ricos so-called New History had pushed the frontier of knowledge by questioning the material bases of insular social structure, stressing the importance of struggle and survival, and downplaying consensus. Assuming a strong narrative voice while crafting provocative turns of phrase, Pic bril liantly wove the scholarship into a narrative that bore the stamp of someone fascinated with how peasants and workers made a difference. The books organization, with each chapter broken down into many thematically orga nized sections, was clearly meant to be attractive to general readers. The English edition reproduces all of the original books strengths. At its base lie a couple of questions that help make good social history shine: In what ways did common people matter, and what kind of society and culture did they create? When discussing the 1797 siege of San Juan by a British force under General Ralph Abercromby, for instance, Pic sketches, as he must, the broad outlines of the attack and the maneuvers that led to a suc cessful effort to defend the island. But he also makes a point of emphasizing the participation of militias from throughout the insular interior, identifying the battalions that took part, giving the names of the towns from which they came, and eventually taking pains to name the native-born leaders and the anonymous people from Cangrejos (a black and mulatto settlement a few miles outside of San Juan) whose bravery amidst the mangrove swamps led to the British retreat (p. 122). Pic is at his best recreating the texture of Puerto Rican life in the Spanish colonial period. Both in his historical writings and in his praxis as a Jesuit priest, he has advocated a more nuanced understanding of how Puerto Ricans conceive of and practice religious and moral precepts. In the past, he has argued, people were deeply religious and thus the bishops and priests zeal
140 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) ous lashings at commoners lascivious habits charges all too common in pastoral letters and reports from the eighteenth century may well have exaggerated the problem. The truth about popular demeanor should probably be more nuanced and complex. [We] know that in dancing, claims Pic, only fingers touched; [but] extended family gatherings perhaps began with prayers, and then the statue or the saint was covered with a veil, so that his ears were not offended by the music (p. 167). Insights like these are what make his book an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to learn about the islands history. Because it may assume a bit too much prior knowledge if not about Puerto Rican history as such, then at least about the Puerto Rican people the uninitiated may not get as much out of it as those who have at least a passing familiarity with the coun try and its people. Moreover, for anyone who is trying to understand Puerto Ricans in the diaspora, the books scant treatment of the massive migration of the second half of the twentieth century will disappoint. Those seeking to understand a diasporic nation whose population totals about eight million, half of it living in the United States, would do well to complement this book with one of several fine titles that have come out in the past few years about Puerto Rico as a people caught in a dialectic of the here and there a nation on the move, in Jorge Duanys apt description. Pics Panorama is indeed rich and colorful, but its coverage may be too selective, and the style a bit too terse, for it to stand on its own as a course textbook, especially in the United States. What worked well on the island may not work quite as well, in another language, for a different audience. Ancient Borinquen: Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Native Puerto Rico PE T ER E. SIE G E L (ed.). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005. xix + 423 pp. (Paper US$ 34.95) WI LL IAM F KEE G AN Florida Museum of Natural History University of Florida Gainesville FL 32611, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org u > Ancient Borinquen is a fabulous collection of articles written by the lead ing practitioners of archaeology in Puerto Rico. The book, which consists of ten chapters, highlights a number of new directions in the field, and will
141 BOO K RE V IE WS be of value to everyone with an interest in the history and prehistory of the Caribbean. In addition, many of the contributions are applicable to other parts of the Americas. This book should be required reading for years to come. In the first essay, Reniel Rodrguez Ramos moves beyond the prevail ing framework in which changes in ceramic decorations form the basis for defining peoples and cultures. By focusing on patterning in lithic artifacts he clearly demonstrates marked discontinuities in utilitarian lithic produc tion protocols between the Saladoid and Ostionoid series. These difference s reflect the Ostionoid adoption of lithic traditions first expressed among the Archaic peoples who occupied Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and Cuba. The results of this analysis indicate that Archaic peoples were not simply dis placed or exterminated following the arrival of the Saladoids, but instead made significant contributions to the development of pre-contact societies through accommodation and transculturation. This new perspective opens significant new vistas for the study of cultural developments in the region. Jeff Walker then provides an overview and update on the Paso del Indio project in Vega Baja. The site has the deepest, best-stratified deposits (more than five meters deep) in Puerto Rico, which are radiocarbon dated to between 2580 BC and AD 1655. Located six kilometers from the sea along the banks of the Ro Indio, its significance was first realized during the excavation of bridge footings during the construction of the four-lane toll road, PR 22. It was excavated between 1993 and 1995 and represents one of the largest such projects undertaken in the Caribbean. Given that the analysis of excavated materials is ongoing, Walkers update provides valuable information about this little-published project. Baseline data on environmental context, subsistence practices, and land use have been a major emphasis of recent studies in the Caribbean. Peter Siegel, John Jones, Deborah Pearsall, and Daniel Wagner describe the results of a coring and auguring program conducted at the Maisabel site in Vega Baja. Their study has produced tantalizing evidence for specialized land-use practices beginning during the Archaic period and continuing through the life of the site (200 BC and AD 1200). Of special note is their conclusion that evidence for environmental impacts can be quite localized. Susan deFrance and Lee Newsom provide an overview of plant and ani mal use during pre-Columbian times. Assemblages from seventeen sites on Puerto Rico and Vieques are used to examine changes in resource use over time. The general trends observed at these sites provide important baselines for the interpretation of fauna and flora found at other sites in the region. Anne Stokes pioneered the use of stable carbon and stable nitrogen iso tope ratios extracted from bone collagen and apatite to reconstruct precontact Caribbean diets. She discusses the results of her studies with special emphasis on human skeletal remains from Puerto Rico. Her results indicate that C 4 grasses (such as maize) were a component of early diets, and that
142 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) there is little evidence for a significant shift in diet, which others have pro posed, for the Saladoid to Ostionoid transition. A focus on communities and their social articulations is championed by Joshua Torres in his GIS-based study of settlements in south-central Puerto Rico. This region is of special interest because the earliest examples of cer emonial architecture are found here, and the changing distribution of com munities highlights the transformation of the social landscape. Centralized, relatively egalitarian, independent, and autonomous villages during the Saladoid were replaced by multiple, dispersed groups within a hierarchical sociopolitical system that developed during the Ostionoid. Caguana is the iconographically most complex site known in the Caribbean. Jos Oliver, with help from the ethnohistoric account of Ramn Pan, reads more than 22 petroglyphs arranged on either side of Plaza A. His discussions are framed in terms of how elite political-religious power relates to, articulates with, and is manifested in Caguanas iconography, and how the Precolumbian Tano people interacted with them (p. 230). Rock art often has been relegated to amateurs and dilettantes. Peter Roe, one of the most respected voices concerning South American and Caribbean iconography, weighs in on the importance of rock art as a central medium of affective expression (p. 334). In the course of this study he demonstrates the logical transformation of material icons from the egalitarian Saladoid through the hierarchical Ostionoid. Karen Anderson-Crdova provides a brief review of Indian/Hispanic interactions in the early sixteenth century. Her emphasis is on the nature of contact, what happened to the Tanos, and whether there is anything new and relevant that can be learned from this period. This is the weakest of the chapters, and the interested reader is directed, instead, to her outstanding dissertation. The volumes tenth chapter offers Peter Siegels synopsis of the preceding nine. This collection gives depth to some of the major issues and debates in contemporary Caribbean archaeology. It not only provides a valuable entre into recent research in Puerto Rico, but also highlights themes of interest to most American archaeologists.
143 BOO K RE V IE WS Women, Creole Identity, and Intellectual Life in Early Twentieth-Century Puerto Rico MA G A L I ROY-F Q U I RE Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004. ix + 310 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) YOL AN D A MAR T NE Z-SAN MI GU E L Department of Romance Languages University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia PA 19104, U.S.A.
144 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) and Margot Arces El paisaje de Puerto Rico. Roy-Fquire analyzes the way race is reconstructed and displaced in elite Puerto Rican imaginaries to produce an insular identity that preserves its distinctive African and indig enous roots without losing white and Spanish supremacy. Chapter 5 proposes a reading of Emilio Belavals Los cuentos de la Universidad to show how he rejects the new sexual and racial identities that are attempting to infiltrate the university and elite intellectual spaces. However, in some instances, the quotes analyzed show ironic undertones that could enrich the study of the sexist and racial remarks voiced by the characters representing the subaltern perspectives included in these narratives. The sixth chapter proposes a close reading of three short stories by Mara Cadilla de Martnez to analyze the imbrications of race, gender, and nation in the narrative texts produced by this folklorist, suffragist, historian, and teacher. Chapter 7 evaluates the contributions and pitfalls of Luis Pals Matos Negrismo Roy-Fquire argues that the Generacin del treinta had a nar rowly anti-colonial position regarding race (p. 203), and that most of the canonical critical readings of Pals do not recognize the exclusion of African subjectivities from Puerto Rican identity, or perceive the lack of an Africanidentified perspective in Palss representation of Afro-Caribbean culture as festive and primitive. Chapter 8 visibilizes the racist undertones of Negrismo by using critical approaches by Wole Soyinka, Josaphat Kubayanda, Jerome Branche, and Alba La Barrios. The books contributions include archival research of journals and serial publications, a reconsideration of the racial debate during the 1930s until the 1950s, a recovery of feminine voices as part of the intellectual field cre ated by the Generacin del treinta and the inclusion of race and gender as a way to analyze the national imaginaries proposed by central figures such as Antonio S. Pedreira, Toms Blanco, and Luis Pals Matos. Finally, the incorporation of Afro-Caribbean critics to question the Eurocentric and still colonized mentality of some Puerto Rican literary critics enriches current debates on Latin American and Caribbean cultural studies. Some questions merit further analysis. The corpus studied still privileges some of the canonical figures from the white Creole elite of Puerto Rican literature of the 1930s through the 1950s. Further archival research to include interventions from black and working-class intellectuals that are only hinte d at Jos Celso Barbosa and Carmen Mara Coln Pellot, for example would have complicated the recovery of intellectual production proposed in this book. The definition of Creole, here somewhat limited, could have been broadened to include consideration of the black Creole elites in the Caribbean, specifi cally Haiti and Cuba, which would have allowed Roy-Fquire to study the issue of class in more detail when addressing the formation of an elitist Creole discourse in Puerto Rico. This methodological weakness becomes particularly evident when Afro-Caribbean and African-American critics are used to reas sess white Creole discourse in the Hispanic Caribbean.
145 BOO K RE V IE WS Women, Creole Identity, and Intellectual Life in Early Twentieth-Century Puerto Rico is an important contribution to understandings of the Generacin del treinta in Puerto Rico. Roy-Fquire reopens the debate on the decoloni zation of the intellectual field in Puerto Rico, and offers an interesting reas sessment of the critical interventions proposed by women in the 1930s. She also addresses quite openly the racial debate in Puerto Rico, offering new critical venues to rethink Puerto Rican Creole national imaginaries of the first half of the twentieth century. Creole Economics: Caribbean Cunning under the French Flag KA T HERINE E. BR OW NE. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004. xvii + 271 pp. (Paper US$ 22.95) DA V I D BERI SS Department of Anthropology University of New Orleans New Orleans LA 70115, U.S.A.
146 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) supposed to behave everywhere. Explaining why many Martiniquans make economic choices that befuddle economists is Brownes central objective. At the core of the book is an idea that remains controversial among social scientists and cultural critics. It is simply that culture and history matter in determining economic behavior. Brownes argument is a bit more subtle than that. She asserts that an understanding of economic behavior requires an understanding of what eco nomics means for people. In Martinique, she argues, the choices people make are tied up in the history of slavery and colonialism and linked to ideas about race and gender. Globalization and political assimilation into France may change some of the parameters, but they have a long way to go before they make Martiniquans into perfect Europeans. In practicing creole economics, Martiniquans are seeking social status as much as they are seeking income. Much of the book is devoted to an exploration of the links between what people do and what they are trying to achieve. The book begins with two chapters that provide both useful background for readers unfamiliar with the history of the Caribbean and an introduction to some of the basic concepts in the book. These include an overview of the his tory of British and French colonial practices and differences between them, the rise of plantation economies, slavery and racial ideologies in Martinique, and the way in which anticolonialism there led to greater political and social assimilation with France, rather than independence. Two important points emerge from this historical overview. First, economic life in Martinique has been shaped in crucial ways by the islands relationship with France. Second, that relationship is marked most heavily today by economic dependency. Little is produced on the island and most goods are imported from France or through French firms. In addition, dependency is shaped by the extensive French welfare state, which allows Martinique to enjoy a higher standard of living than much of the rest of the Caribbean. In Brownes view, this relative affluence, unlinked to any local economic productivity, provides the frame work enabling a great deal of the off-the-books activity that takes place. The French concept of dbrouillardisme is the key to Brownes argument. In France, the concept, also known as the systme D is most often associ ated with clever ways of getting around bureaucratic rules to achieve some objective. It is probably most widely associated with do-it-yourself home improvement, but is also applied to other aspects of life, including work. While in France people admire the clever dbrouillard Browne believes that in Martinique dbrouillardisme has risen to a much more central place in economic life. In an economy that is heavily dependent on France, success ful dbrouillard s can exercise some independence by becoming their own boss. Cleverness in off-the-books activity may be more important to success than income. Such productive, self-employed work contrasts sharply with
147 BOO K RE V IE WS the historic dependency on France and, Browne argues, shows why creole economics has taken root in Martinique. Studies of Martinique have often been criticized for their lack of Caribbean contextualization. In contrast, Brownes clearly relates the his tory of Martinique and the economic culture there to research conducted elsewhere in the region. To cite one example, the idea that Martiniquans practice and value occupational multiplicity will seem familiar to anyone who has read about life around the West Indies. And, as Browne shows, there are gender differences in creole economic activity that can also be found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Other aspects of creole economics seem particu lar to Martinique. For instance, Browne shows that involvement in off-thebooks economic activity crosses class boundaries in Martinique, but seems less common elsewhere. In addition to some excellent ethnographic story-telling, Browne places her analyses in the context of literary debates and studies of life in Martinique. This may be useful for students unfamiliar with the on-going debates about cultural identity in the French West Indies, but some of her material also leads Browne into unconvincing psychological arguments. In fact, drawing on the work of Richard Burton, Browne seems to have concluded that Martiniques relation ship with France is not normal, and that, like Guadeloupe, it must suffer from some kind of psychologically damaging failure to launch. The argument is as widespread in the literature on the French West Indies as it is unconvincing. Fortunately, it also constitutes a relatively minor part of the study. Overall, the book is a well-written, informative, and very readable con tribution to debates about creolization in the Caribbean. By focusing on eco nomic activity, Brownes ethnography makes an original contribution to lit erature on the Caribbean, especially the French islands. It should be essential reading for graduate students and other researchers on life in the Caribbean. Its readability and useful introductions to many of the core regional debates make it ideal for undergraduate courses on the Caribbean I have already assigned it with great success. And Brownes insights into the cultural nature of economic life should bring the book a wider audience as well.
148 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society LOU I S A. P RE Z, JR. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. xiv + 463 pp. (Cloth US$ 39.95, Paper US$ 21.95) MA TT D CHI LDS Department of History Florida State University Tallahassee FL 32306, U.S.A.
149 BOO K RE V IE WS of suicide in Cuba less in the realm of national identity than in the domains of national sensibility (p. 10). Thus, he argues that the practice of suicide took on a logic of its own which was deeply ingrained into the everyday normative assumptions and daily actions people made in leading their lives. The book is structured through six exhaustively researched chapters that span a chronological terrain from nineteenth-century Spanish colonialism to the 1959 Revolution. These chapters include a disparate cast of histori cal actors from slaves to revolutionaries, the illiterate to intellectuals, exiles to Fidelistas, the working poor to the elite, Blacks and Whites, and men and women. Chapter 1 examines the acts of suicide by African slaves and Chinese contract laborers as both a response to their horrific working condi tions and an affirmation of their own cultural values. Chapter 2 examines how self-sacrifice in the name of political independence became intertwined with self-destruction whether it was Jos Marti or the act of self-immolation, showing how the political became the personal. In Chapter 3 Prez turns to a detailed statistical analysis of the causes, frequency, age, and gender dynamics that characterized patterns of Cuban suicide from the 1850s to the 1950s. Chapter 4 analyzes the impact of fluctuating material and eco nomic conditions on the working poor and economic elite, with particular attention to the gendered differences between men and women. In Chapter 5, Prez employs a remarkable and eclectic base of sources such as politi cal cartoons, novels, and poems to demonstrate how pervasively the theme of suicide penetrated Cuban culture. Chapter 6 examines the period from the 1959 Cuban Revolution through the 1990s Special Period to show how suicide as political act in the name of the revolution and as protest to the Revolution continued among Revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries in both Cuba and the diaspora. Despite its complex coverage of a huge histori cal chronology and diversity of individuals, Prezs study does not result in confusion. Rather, his study shows that virtually no sector of Cuban society over the last hundred fifty years remained untouched by suicide, further tes tifying to its importance in shaping Cuban sensibility. In a book that covers such a large topic and crosses disciplinary boundar ies, some readers will undoubtedly find that certain events or topics cry out for more elaboration. For example, Prez acknowledges that the suicide of Eduardo Chibs during a live radio broadcast in 1951 must be considered as the most prominent political suicide in the twentieth-century Cuba, but it only receives a single paragraph of analysis (pp. 319-20). Louis A. Prezs To Die in Cuba the product of prodigious research and insightful analysis, will find a wide audience. It should be mandatory reading for scholars and students of Cuban history, Caribbean history, Latin American cultural history, and, more broadly, historians interested in national identity.
150 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) War and Genocide in Cuba, 1895-1898. JO HN LA W RENCE TO NE Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. xiv + 338 pp. (Cloth US$ 35.00) GI LL IAN MCGI LL I V RA Y Glendon College York University Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4N 3M6
151 BOO K RE V IE WS American war more seriously because it was the first of many anticolonial guerrilla wars of the twentieth century (p. 8). The second theme is the role that microbes played in the war (Gonzalo died from a fever not long after his heroic act). Tones research into medical records suggests that diseases killed 22 percent of Spanish military person nel stationed in Cuba, accounting for fully 93 percent of Spanish fatalities 41,288 men (p. 9). Tone uses Spanish sources to capture the factors that encouraged the spread of disease, at the same time empathetically commu nicating the daily struggle for survival. We read about underfed servicemen trekking through the mud with inadequate footwear and clothing, carrying everything on their shoulders, setting up camp in the midst of swamps, sleep ing out in the open to survive the heat or in field hospital beds on top of buckets of water to discourage cockroaches and ants. Such conditions made them extremely vulnerable to disease-carrying mosquitoes. Cuban physician Carlos Findlay had already linked the mosquito to yellow fever in 1881, but Spanish authorities ignored his insights (pp. 75, 98-101). Tone convincingly argues that U.S. and Cuban media sources at the time, like many historians of the 1895-1898 war since, did not sufficiently emphasize the impact of disease. Instead these sources exaggerate either Spains supposed military incompetence on the one side, or the deadly machete-wielding Cubans or technologically superior modern Americans, on the other. Chapters 2 and 4 introduce a third major argument of the book, which is that we can only understand events in Cuba by grasping contemporary events in Spain. Tones attention to disease and Spanish history are two of the most important contributions to the English-language historiography of the war. The energy that Spain had to expend in fighting the Dominican War for Independence in the 1860s and the battles between Spanish Liberals and Conservatives at home in the 1890s help to explain the changes in colonial policy that Cubans experienced as seemingly random bouts of high tariffs and extreme repression. This helps us understand both the causes of the 1868 and 1895 wars and the spaces for triumph and recuperation that the Cuban insurgents experienced when Liberals took over from Conservatives in Spanish political and military circles. The fourth big argument in War and Genocide is that Cubans embraced the policy of total war early in the struggle, destroying property and forc ing civilians to move to the mountains with them or face violent retribution. Spanish General Valeriano Weyler employed similar counterstrategies and dubbed them pacification and reconcentration later in the war. Tone is careful not to ignore the impact of official reconcentration (including hor rifying photographs of its victims from Cubas National Archive), but he cautions against blaming one man for a strategy used by many armies, albeit on a lesser scale before Weyler.
152 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) War and Genocide could have benefited from a little more editing and consolidation (see, for example, the duplication of phrases on pp. 128/129 and 140/142), Cuba could have been given more attention, especially a final reflection on the class, racial, regional, and (unanalyzed) gender divides that plagued the revolution, and some readers might have appreciated the addi tion of a formal conclusion to clarify the books key arguments. But on the whole the book is engagingly written and adds much-needed attention to Spanish, medical, and everyday life aspects of the 1895-1898 war that mili tary, Cuban, Spanish, and U.S. historians will appreciate. The small chapters offer a refreshing and effective narrative technique, especially the biographi cal ones, and the last few pages provide an acute analysis of the wars impact on the United States and Spain. Fulgencio Batista: From Revolutionary to Strongman. FRANK AR GOT EFRE Y RE New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006. xx + 390 pp. (Cloth US$ 29.95) JA V IER FI GU ER O A-DE C R D ENA S Department of History University of Puerto Rico Ro Piedras 00931, Puerto Rico < Javier@backroompr.co m > As Lisandro Prez of Florida International University argues on the jacket of this book, Fulgencio Batista, the former Cuban strongman is second only to Fidel Castro in his importance to twentieth-century Cuba. Yet there is a remarkable lack of serious scholarship on the life of this important figure in Cuban history. Although the body of works dealing with Batista is abundant, most of it, if not all, treats him either as a demoniac representing all that was wrong in Cuba before 1959 or as a hero who bravely fought to save his country from communism. Frank Argote-Freyre attempts to correct this polarized view of Batista, presenting his subject as a complex individual who evolved over time and represented different things at different moments. He describes him as a man of humble beginnings who in his youth had to cut cane to support his fam ily. Batista later enlisted as a soldier in the Cuban Army where he reached the rank of sergeant. In 1933 he was a main leader in the rebellion that top pled the Cuban government. As a consequence, he was appointed chief of
153 BOO K RE V IE WS the Cuban Armed Forces, a position that allowed him to play the role of Cubas strongman until the elections of 1940 when he was elected President of the Republic. Finally, Batista was the dictator against whom Fidel Castro launched the armed insurrection that led to the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s. Argote-Freyres position is that the Batista of the 1930s and 1940s is not the Batista of the 1950s and that to treat the many Batistas as a single character is to distort and impoverish the historical record (p. x). In this book, the first part of a two-volume biography, Argote-Freyre fol lows the life of Batista from his birth in 1901 until his election as presi dent of Cuba in 1940. The text is well written and supported by extensive research. Argote-Freyre had limited access in Cuba to official government documents and to the papers of Batista that were in the custody of the for mer dictators family, now housed in the Cuban Heritage Collection of the University of Miami in Florida. Nevertheless, he made remarkably good use of some of his sources, such as the letters between Benjamin Sumner Welles and Jefferson Caffery, two American diplomats who were central players in Cuba during the 1930s. Fulgencio Batista is a successful first step toward a better understanding of Batista, providing the foundation for future efforts to study this historical figure. At the same time, Argote-Freyre left unanswered several fundamental questions. For example, how is it possible that Batista, a mestizo born to a family of poor peasants, was able to emerge as the main power in the politics of his country? What were the relevant forces that allowed him to become a key figure in the history of Cuba? Was it his desire to flee from his humble beginnings? his astuteness? his ambition? These questions, for which ArgoteFreyre does not provide definite answers, become particularly relevant when one considers that Cuba was a country of rigid class differences with a strong racist component. There is also a problem concerning the concept of revo lutionary so much used in this book and so important to its understanding of Batista. Argote-Freyre views Batista as a revolutionary but fails to define the term, and the evidence that he presents indicates otherwise. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to treat Batista as a reformer rather than a revolutionary. It is clear that that he did not envision a radical transformation of Cuba, but rather confronted and sometimes persecuted those who were true radicals, as in the case of Antonio Guiteras. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that Batista fought to implement important reforms in his country during the 1930s and that he even had a social agenda as, for example, when he ordered the use of the army to disseminate knowledge among the peasantry. Argote-Freyre provides an important contribution to the knowledge of Cuba during the 1930s a key period in the history of the Republic, which saw an attempt to change the destiny of the country as it had been known from the day of its independence. Of great interest is his treatment of sev eral historical figures that have been largely ignored by previous scholarship
154 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) former Cuban presidents Carlos Mendieta, Jos Barnet, Miguel Mariano Gmez, and particularly, Federico Laredo Br, a veteran of Cubas last war against Spain who seems to have exerted some influence on Batista. While it is usual to portray these men as mere puppets of Batista, Argote-Freyre presents them as active subjects who had a degree of autonomy and who achieved important goals in the history of Cuba. Another notable accom plishment is his insistence on seeing Batista as a man whose power, although vast, was not unlimited because there were other figures that also had leading and competing roles in the Gordian knot that was Cuban politics during the 1930s and with whom he had to negotiate to gain results. Argote-Freyre asserts that Fulgencio Batista, and for that matter most of Cuban history prior to the Revolution of 1959, is lost in the historical mists (p. ix). Certainly, his book is a work that brings light to that obscured past. Beyond Fragmentation: Perspectives on Caribbean History JU ANI T A D E BARR OS, AUD RA DI PT EE & DA V I D V TR OT MAN (eds.). Princeton NJ: Marcus Wiener Publishers, 2006. xxiv + 299 pp. (Paper US$ 28.95) BERNAR D MO I TT Department of History Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond VA 23284, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > Beyond Fragmentation is a distinctive collection of eleven historiographi cal essays that deal with key themes of Caribbean history mainly slavery, the transition to freedom, colonialism, and decolonization. Unmatched in scope and intellectual depth, it advocates a pan-Caribbean perspective on Caribbean history. The editors acknowledge that in addition to casting aside Eurocentric approaches, pan-Caribbean analyses require recognition that the very labels academics use to categorize the region are problematic (p. xiii). For example, the linguistic labels that categorize the region into British, French, Danish, Dutch, and Spanish have proven to be a matter of conve nience for historians but are not necessarily grounded in historical reality (p. xii). They argue that pan-Caribbean approaches allow for microanalyses and are more than just comparative analyses that transcend the linguistic divisions of the region (p. xiii).
155 BOO K RE V IE WS After a preface by Franklin Knight, the work is divided intro an introduc tion and three thematically structured sections. The first deals with slavery and emancipation in the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch Caribbean, the second is dedicated to the aftermath of slavery in these regions, and the third focuses on colonialism and decolonization. David Geggus leads off with a comprehensive survey of slavery and emancipation in the French Caribbean, examining themes such as planta tion slavery, religion, gender, resistance, memory, race, free people of color, and manumission. Geggus acknowledges the intellectual contribution of the late Gabriel Debien, but notes (pp. 4-6) that plantations continue to domi nate slave studies, that no work devoted to urban slavery has appeared, and that the demographic history of slavery in French colonies is not as well researched as in British colonies. The remaining essays in this section high light the effects of race and nationalism on the historiography of slavery. Francisco Scarano explores slavery and race over the second half of the twentieth century in Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico. He explores the differences in emphasis on issues of race within the Spanish regions, and shows how political developments there affected writing on slavery, among them revi sionism in Puerto Rico in the 1970s. He goes on to chronicle different phases that the historical literature has gone through, including one that focused on the social aspects of slavery and another that emphasized the racialist culture of politics (p. 53). He points out that after the Cuban Revolution, scholars turned away from questions of material life and labor, that is, from slavery and mate rial life and labor of slaves to issues surrounding radicalized ideologies of self and nation, and the role of race in political and cultural processes (p. 47). And he notes that the rising tide of studies of race and nation in Cuba over the final four decades of the twentieth century has no counterparts in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (p. 50). Scarano writes, Whereas in Cuba ... scholars have acknowledged black influences and the import of blackness in debates about the nation, and consequently have had to grapple with them, in the other two countries the emphasis has been on denial: of a viable slave regime, of the presence of a large proportion of blacks in the population, of widespread miscegenation, of the African imprint in popular culture, and of many other such negative conceptions (p. 50). Alex van Stipriaan, focusing on the twentieth century, stresses the gross neglect of slavery in Dutch literature, noting that until recently the topic was hardly mentioned in school history books (p. 69). What the Dutch knew about slavery, he asserts, came through reading Uncle Toms Cabin Certainly, economic diversification within the Dutch colonies was ignored until recently. However, the growth of nationalism in Suriname, and cultural assertion in the Dutch Antilles, has had an impact on the historiography.
156 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) Similarly, Gad Heuman demonstrates how race affected the historiogra phy of slavery in the British Caribbean, tracing the shift since the 1960s from a focus on the planter class and slaveholders to an emphasis on the enslaved (p. 93). The essays in Section Two make clear the need to acknowledge similari ties and differences in the historical experience of the postslavery Caribbean and to delineate different phases of history while promoting comparative approaches. Matthew J. Smith observes that by virtue of its early inde pendence, Haitian history has followed a direction quite different from Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana (p. 113). Bridget Brereton offers an erudite and illuminating refinement of the model of a three-tier society in the British Caribbean. And essays by Aline Helg and Rosemarijn Hoefte show that, with regard to social hierarchy and race in the Spanish and Dutch Caribbean, Blacks still occupy the bottom rung (pp. 143, 172). The third section concentrates on problems of the contemporary Caribbean. Drawing mostly upon literary texts, Laurent Dubois discusses such issues as the struggle over historical consciousness, political status, and the representation of the history of emancipation in the French Caribbean (p. 223). Likewise, Blanca Silvestrini shows how political developments such as U.S. military occupation led to the awakening of social consciousness in the Spanish Caribbean (p. 231). However, O. Nigel Bolland offers a sober reminder that being in a new era does not automatically signal the develop ment of a new kind of history (p. 269). In spite of the awkwardness of using geographic labels to describe Caribbean territories, some overlap in the essays (mostly in those on the French Caribbean), and the lack of some chapter summaries, Beyond Fragmentation is highly recommended for its excellent scholarship. It is a most welcome addition to the historiography of the Caribbean that will enrich both under graduate and graduate classrooms.
157 BOO K RE V IE WS Hurricanes and Society in the British Greater Caribbean, 1624-1783. MA TT HE W MUL CAH Y. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. x + 257 pp. (Cloth US$ 45.00) BO NHAM C. RICHAR DSO N 6120 East Territory Avenue Tucson AZ 85750, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org m > Caribbean history might best be graphed, not as a temporal gradient or time line heading inexorably toward the future, but rather as a series of sharp discontinuities. First human settlement, European discovery, slave emanci pation, and political independence, for example, each marked a radical break with the past, introducing changes that were without precedent. The regions geographical setting also has provided its own startling historical punctua tion marks in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, and droughts. And a grow ing number of scholars of the Caribbean and elsewhere, representing several overlapping academic disciplines, are focusing their research on geophysical hazards in history. Historian Matthew Mulcahy provides an impressive contribution to this hazard-oriented research. His book intends to show how in a variety of ways ... hurricanes shaped the mental and physical world of colonists dur ing the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (p. 4). Further, he asserts that his study of how people coped with hurricanes can throw into high relief institutions, attitudes, and relationships that are not always fully visible or clearly articulated during periods of normality (p. 5). Mulcahy expands the Caribbeans conventional geographical delimitations to include the far southeastern corner of North America. He does so mainly to show how hurri canes, whose trajectories obviously affect this area as well, influenced South Carolinas colonial rice production in comparison with the Antillean sugar cane crops farther south. Although it traces its origin to a dissertation, Mulcahys book has few of the trappings of a warmed-over Ph.D. thesis. The writing is clear, acces sible, and appealing. Mulcahys archival research is formidable, with refer ences in his acknowledgments to archival work in North America, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Barbados. He has consulted traditional government documents as well as planters records, newspapers, and even sermons. The coverage of relevant secondary sources, to include a number of unpublished theses and dissertations, is equally impressive. The books useful and up-todate Essay on Sources discusses relevant studies of the colonial Caribbean, hurricanes in the region and hurricanes in general, and examples of how his
158 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) torians and others deal with the impacts on humans of cataclysmic weather events and other hazards. The introduction and conclusion to Hurricanes and Society are brief essays that frame the books seven substantive chapters. Illustrative material is limited to one map and a few pictures and tables. Chapters 1 and 2 describe the European colonists first terrifying encounters with hurricanes. Initial interpretations of hurricanes centered on divine intervention. As they gained experience with local environments, Europeans learned to anticipate the late summer storms by observing wind directions and cloud formations, but sci entific explanation progressed slowly. The Royal Society sent barometers to the Caribbean as early as the seventeenth century in hopes that observers could gather information and perhaps even predict the onset of hurricanes. But the instruments were expensive, rare, and considered unreliable, so that little use was made of them. Chapters 3 and 4 deal with hurricane damage and influences near and far. Less obvious than the direct damage to planters crops and slave provision grounds, news of American hurricanes pushed up commodity prices in London. On Barbados small-scale planters posthur ricane financial difficulties led to estate consolidations into larger plantation units as early as the 1600s. Hurricanes destroyed fortifications and soaked muskets and gunpowder, thereby weakening the material bases for plant ers power. Shipping was curtailed and food imports were reduced during hurricane seasons. Chapter 5 assesses the architectural adaptations colonists made to hurricanes. Chapters 6 and 7 discuss the origins and local effects of a transatlantic system of relief for hurricane victims. Historians have identi fied the mid-eighteenth century as the European age of benevolence (p. 158), involving widespread expressions of sympathy for the less fortunate, especially those suffering the effects of calamities. Yet the eventual deploy ment of disaster relief funds collected in Europe often became the subject of rancor, suspicion, and political debate in the Caribbean itself, especially when administered through government channels. One loses sight of South Carolina in the discussion of Caribbean disas ter relief. But South Carolina reappears in the books conclusion. Mulcahy argues that 1783 was an important point in the history of hurricanes in the region (p. 191) because South Carolina, now a part of the United States, no longer received relief funds from the United Kingdom as did the British Caribbean colonies. Yet there is little if any discussion of other relief activi ties or rebuilding among the victims of South Carolina hurricanes, efforts that would have been qualitatively different on the mainland as opposed to island colonies, regardless of political changes. Indeed, throughout the book the inclusion of South Carolina as part of the British Greater Caribbean appears somewhat forced. A more thorough discussion of the comparative ecological and logistical characteristics of colonial rice and sugar cane culti
159 BOO K RE V IE WS vation than that appearing in the books somewhat brief summary might have brought South Carolina more clearly into the picture. West Indian readers will find it odd that Mulcahy mistakenly names some of the Jamaican and Barbadian parishes with possessives, e.g., St. Elizabeths, or St. Lucys. But this minor quibble is not intended to dimin ish the value of his solid, well-researched study. One hopes that he is just starting a productive research career dealing with the history of geophysical hazards in the Caribbean and adjacent rimland zones. He is certainly off to a promising start. Negotiating Caribbean Freedom: Peasants and the State in Development MICHAE L INE A. CRICH LOW. Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2005. xii + 273 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) CHRI ST INE CHI V A LLO N CEAN (Centre dEtudes dAfrique Noire) IEP de Bordeaux 33.607 Pessac Cedex, France < email@example.com r > This book is devoted to the interactions between two social and political spheres of Jamaican society that Michaeline Crichlow refers to as state and non-state arenas. If, in this study, the first term is unequivocal, the second refers exclusively to the smallholders of the Jamaican countryside who form a stratum. This term designates a broad social group which does not bear the imprint of a definite structure acquired through political representa tion, but which remains recognizable as a social group due to its specific his torical trajectory and its difference from the other social strata (p. 6). From the outset, Crichlow expresses her reservation, contrary to the usual practice of Caribbean anthropology, about using the term peasantry to designate this stratum. It is thus surprising to find the word peasant in the title of the book since Crichlow uses the term only in quotation marks, and implies that a relationship exists between the concept of peasantry and a rigid essentialist outlook on land-based working peoples or small-holder s. The rejection of the term corresponds, in fact, to the objective of the work, as explained in the first chapter. The question here is to demonstrate the fluidity and the dynamics of the relations between two arenas which are too often treated as separate from and hermetic to one another, namely the public and nonpublic sectors.
160 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) Distancing herself from a set of related theories (dependency theories, poststructuralist theories, New World theories), Crichlow engages a reflec tion which claims an alignment both with Gramscis concept of hegemony and with postcolonial studies, while pleading for a rather free and approxi mate use of these, so as not to fall into the trap of binary opposition and a one-sided and partial reading (p. 8). Development projects, seen as tools of governmentality which public authority uses to constrain smallholders to follow the consecutive models of the colonial and postcolonial states, are proposed as key elements guiding an understanding of the interrelation between the state and smallholders. These projects are also arenas in which the relation of smallholders to public authority is played out in various forms ranging from participation to protest or diversion, via the informal sector. These actions occur in keeping with a mode of articulation in which the bor derlines between spheres are so permeable that it becomes difficult to discern whether it is the state or the rural working people that are involved in the informal sector (p. 16). The argument is demonstrated in the four subsequent chapters, organized chronologically, which review the various interventions of the state in the direction of smallholders. There is, first, the emergence of this new stratum in the context of postslavery plantation society (Chapter 2). At this stage, the state already appears to assume such a severely normative position with respect to this group and to present such an interventionist agricultural policy, that it seems possible to speak in terms of a protodevel opmentalist State (p. 27) and of welfarism. But as expected, these poli cies served the interests of big planters, not those of smallholders (p. 46). The rise of the nationalist ideal preceding independence corresponds to the implementation of measures targeting smallholders in the hope of inculcat ing nationalist pride and faith in agricultural development (Chapter 3). The history of Jamaica Welfare, a middle-class-led organization, created thanks to the initiative of Norman Manley, and later placed under state control when Jamaican elites came into power, is particularly characteristic of this period. With the acquisition of sovereignty, these measures were reinforced, marking the incredible bureaucratization of agricultural policies (Chapter 4). The suc cess of certain quasi-revolutionary initiatives like Food Farms, Project Land Lease, and Sugar Co-operatives during the (Michael) Manley era, was, how ever, limited by internal conflicts of the political parties, traditional inertia, ensuing foreign debt, and the strength of representations regarding smallhold ers or Quashie, who continued to find power beyond their reach (p. 138). After the nationalizations introduced by Michael Manley, Seagas privati zations marked a new development regime (Chapter 5). Policies became excessively liberal, and smallholders no longer represented the only path to modernization, as they had under the preceding government. Programs such as AGRO 21 were geared at generating a new class of entrepreneurs, a class of elites developing agricultural high-technology (p. 165), an old class or
161 BOO K RE V IE WS new class, which made short work of precipitating the decline of smallhold ers engaged in traditional export sectors. The books epilogue does not provide readers with any results of the exploration proposed, but rather reiterates research questions. Addressing a more general and somewhat tangential discussion, it in fact explores the local effects of the neo-liberal global order in the context of an appalling and persistent economic recession. It contains some interesting passages, such as those on the anti-politics machine installed by this new order, calling for depoliticized subjects (p. 224) or on the capacity to maintain discourses of hope in the face of obvious social and economic decline (p. 238-39). It is in fact the sixth chapter that assumes the task of providing an inter pretative framework for the object of study, namely the analysis of the links between smallholders and the spaces of public power. This analysis paints a frightening picture of the strength and permanence of the relations of inequality that structure rural Jamaican society, where 82 percent of farmers hold 16 percent of farm acreage. 1 However, Crichlow does not stop at this landholding bipolarity and at what it implies, but goes on to put on record proof of the open-minded flexibility of smallholders, who generate various solutions for maintaining their livelihood. In her refusal to validate former studies on the peasantry, which she views as old-fashioned, Africa-oriented (p. 183) nostalgic perspectives in opposition to modernity (Redfieldian-like peasant cultures), she in fact entirely neglects the anthropological dimen sion, thus leaving a void in her attempt at interpretation. Here resides the main drawback of the work, one of which Crichlow seems to be aware (p. 209). Clearly, statistics alone cannot apprehend the complexity of the human and social dimensions of the problematic of Jamaican small farmers who were forced to negotiate their livelihood in the face of a historic process based on proletarization. Earlier works on the problematic of the Caribbean peasantry, such as those carried out in the wake of Sidney Mintz, remain a useful preliminary even for researchers of today, trained in poststructuralist interpretation. The descriptions provided in this chapter (and even in the rest of the work) are similar, albeit in a new shape, to old formulations. From this point of view, the pages on the organization of agricultural space by small holders could have been extracted from any so-called traditional study (pp. 195-98). In these classic studies, the word peasant was used not to define an isolated pole, but rather a relationship of dynamic interdependence with the society as a whole on drastically unequal terms. What the Caribbean peasantries contribute to the problematic of the peasantry is the longevity of a social structure and its current effects, as well as the witness they bear to a very specific mode of cultural coping with an oppressive historical heritage, 1. The data date back to 1978. One wonders why Crichlow did not integrate more recent censuses including that of 1996, which she mentions on page 204.
162 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) distressingly re-actualized by globalization. At any rate, this book remains an invaluable tool for readers interested in learning about the precise chronol ogy of development interventions in agriculture by the Jamaican state. The Last Colonials: The Story of Two European Families in Jamaica PE T A GA Y JEN S EN New York: The Radcliffe Press, 2005. xiv + 194 pp. (Cloth US$ 55.00) KAR L WA TSO N Department of History University of the West Indies Cave Hill, St Michael, Barbados
163 BOO K RE V IE WS economic change progressed very slowly for the black majority, even though their legal status had changed in 1834. In 1957, the then Miss Stockhausen set sail from Kingston to join the West Indian diaspora in progress. Isolated from the changes brought by independence and the Manley period of democratic socialism, Jensens memories and perspective of Jamaica have been filtered through other life experiences created by her long residence in Europe, even though as she points out, occasional visits to Jamaica and communication with friends and relatives kept her abreast of changing conditions in the island. This observation in no way questions the validity of her account or diminishes its importance as a key contribution to the social history of Jamaica of the period. It is both a primary document in its own right and a narrative of the little-studied and often ignored white minority of the island. The Stockhausen and Clerk families were, as things go, relative new comers to Jamaica, having established themselves on the island in the first half of the nineteenth century. They were not of 1654 conquest stock, nor descendants of the old plantocracy of Jamaica. Yet they quickly established themselves, as the concept of the aristocracy of the skin gave them auto matic membership in white Jamaican society. In many ways, this book is about privilege privilege which was accepted as a given and maintained under sometimes difficult circumstances. It is about a world that no longer exists, even though echoes of it still remain in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean. There is a certain poignancy and nostalgia about Jensens memories which any West Indian who lived through these times would find disturbingly familiar. White West Indians especially will find their own experiences and memories mirrored in these pages. On the cusp of major political and socioeconomic change, some of Peta Gay Jensens fears of pend ing change are revealed when she speaks of her conviction that her brother John was ignored for an overseas scholarship because of his fair skin and blond hair, which rendered him unrepresentative of the new Jamaica. This is not the only instance where that unspoken fear of belonging but not belonging, of acceptance coupled paradoxically with rejection, comes through. The anomie of the minority speaks loudly here. The episode with the Cudjoe Ministrels illustrates this point, when Jensens aunt, Linda Stockhausen, leader of this group of white Jamaicans singing folk songs in blackface, remembered a com ment from a voice from below which during one of their performances, shouted out, Lawd! But dey know us dough, eh? (p. 90). Nevertheless, this did not prevent the disbanding of the group some years later. As Jensen points out, In 1953, Jamaica was no longer prepared to accept white people pretend ing to be black. Black was beautiful, and they were at last beginning to be proud of it. It was their culture and the songs were theirs (p. 94). The opening chapters of The Last Colonials are of necessity limited, since much of the text is based on oral histories or personal recollections. However, they succeed in setting the scene and on occasion produce compelling images
164 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) such as that of Jensens paternal great-grandmother Margaret Brown with raised whip on horseback, riding through a mob of rioters who had blocked the entrance to Falmouth. The year was 1865 and the horrific events of Morant Bay had just taken place. From Chapter 6 onwards, the pace quickens and intriguing details of daily life in Jamaica emerge. Here Jensen relies on the memories of her aunt, Linda Stockhausen, who lived through most of the twentieth century. Photographs and details from diaries, newspapers, and the Jamaica Journal help to provide essential links as we are introduced to the generations of her grandparents and parents on both sides of the family. However, with Jensens birth in 1935, the text becomes an autobiography. We are introduced to the various houses in Kingston in which her family lived. Fascinating stories accompany each of these moves. The wonderful freedoms of West Indian childhood in those years are made clear, whether it was wandering in the bush to catch butterflies or going to the country on holiday or to the beach. With puberty came boyfriends and parties. At the same time however, a dark side enters the story as the relationship between her mother and father enters a slow but irreversible decline. Her father takes to drink, which worsens the relationship and brings economic troubles on them. Yet appearances are kept up. Bailiffs may appear to claim furniture, but the household staff is maintained. The Kingston of the 1940s and 1950s that Peta Gay Jensen describes is not the Kingston of today. Urban geographers will find these sections of interest. The open land that they roamed as children has now vanished, con sumed by galloping commercialization and suburbia. The social climate too has changed. Open windows and doors have been replaced by high walls, iron grills, and security guards. The undeclared civil war of the Michael Manley period of democratic socialism in the 1970s, coupled with a constant migration of the rural poor into Kingston created dangerous circumstances which simply did not exist in her childhood. Some may quibble at the details facing the reader, evidence of Jensens prodigious memory. For example, we are told that her mother used thirty hairpins to maintain her hairstyle. Yet in a strange way, these minute details add rather than detract from the main story. They lend authenticity to the tale being woven. The photographs used are striking and one wishes that more had been incorporated. This genre of work is enhanced by visual images. Fifty years from now, this book will be regarded as essential primary mate rial for social historians of Jamaica. Today, it is a tale of a lost world inhabited by a generation now gone or going. I enjoyed reading it, more from a sense of shared experiences than any thing else. I suspect that many others will experi ence the same reaction. As Mrs. Jensen recognizes while re-examining her past: I was too blinkered while still living in Jamaica to realize how extraor dinary it was to live in a country that was 98 per cent black and yet be brought up as though the island belonged to the other less than 2 per cent who were
165 BOO K RE V IE WS white or Jamaica white ... Even more shockingly awful was not realizing that this was abnormal (p. 146). As these lines from a reggae hit of the 1970s attest: Look weh yuh dey ya an yuh nuh know Bongo Nyah. Les Antillais Paris: Dhier aujourdhui MARC TAR D IE U Monaco: Editions du Rocher, 2005. 238 pp. (Paper 18.90) DA V I D BERI SS Department of Anthropology University of New Orleans New Orleans LA 70115, U.S.A.
166 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) ers who developed sharp critiques of empire. Also described is the world of Caribbean, African, and African American music and performance espe cially the famous Bal Ngre in the 1920s and 1930s. Out of this extraor dinary environment, as Tardieu points out, came ngritude as well as the beginnings of anticolonial politics in the French empire. The second half of the book mixes analysis of intellectual debates with images of the growing Antillean community in Paris. Tardieu examines strug gles concerning colonialism among Martiniquan and Guadeloupan students in Paris, especially in the context of Frances war in Algeria. He focuses attention on the work of Frantz Fanon, which provided a framework for later analyses of racism in France, and on the early writings of Edouard Glissant. He also relates the granting of department status to Martinique and Guadeloupe with the decline of the local economies and increasing economic dependence on France, showing how it was in this context that the French government orga nized a formal policy aimed at recruiting Antillean workers for metropolitan France. Thousands came, establishing Paris or more exactly, the larger Ile de France region as the third island of the French Caribbean. Most of the migrants ended up as relatively unskilled workers in the posta l service, the police force, hospitals, museums, and public transportation. The last third of the book focuses on this population, pointing to the develop ment of hundreds of associations devoted to cultural and sports activities, as well as the rise of Antillean religious communities and, to a small extent, an Antillean economy in the Paris region. Since the early 1980s, the French gov ernment has ceased to encourage massive migration and even assists some Antilleans who wish to return to the Caribbean to establish businesses there. Tardieu examines in some detail the way this changing relationship between the Antilles and continental France gave rise to the crolit movement. The book provides a useful introduction to the history of Frances relation ship with Martinique and Guadeloupe and to some of the intellectual move ments and debates it inspired. Yet Tardieus view is distressingly narrow. He begins by assuming cultural coherence within the current Antillean population and writes his history from front to back, looking to the past to justify his hypothesis about the present. This means that the historical sections, which take up most of the book, explain little about Martinique and Guadeloupe as Caribbean islands or about the history of France in the Caribbean and produce a thin vision of the cultural origins of todays Antilleans in Paris. Tardieu also tends to brush aside the complexity of the cultural influences they confront. The debates about immigration, ethnicity, and race that are so significant in France are with the happy exception of the French 1998 World Cup football victory largely absent. Far from being unaware of those debates, Tardieu makes much of the conflicts surrounding the 150th anniversary of the aboli tion of slavery in the 1998. But he treats efforts to assert Antillean identity in Paris as if they were isolated from other intellectual trends.
167 BOO K RE V IE WS These are serious faults. Yet the presentation of some of the dilemmas that Antilleans confront as they create lives for themselves in the metropole makes an intriguing document, one that anyone interested in Caribbean migration in France should read. The exoticizing vision that many French people have of Antilleans is symbolized by the books cover photo a bar in Pariss chic St. Germain-des-Prs neighborhood, La Rhumerie, which, though famous for its rum drinks and West Indian food, is frequented mainly by Parisians and tourists. This image evokes a romantic vision of a coherent Antillean cul ture shaped by a common origin and history. It is the negative image of such communities Antillean, African, Muslim, etc. that motivates many of the debates in contemporary French politics. A more complex analysis would have shown the vast difference between that image and the realities faced by immigrants and their children as they struggle to fit into life in the Hexagon. Coln Man a Come: Mythographies of Panam Canal Migration RH O N D A D. FRE D ERICK. New York: Lexington Books, 2005. xxvi + 237 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) MICHAE L L. CO NNI FF Global Studies San Jos State University San Jos CA 95192-0135, U.S.A.
168 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) perceptions and behavior regarding Panama. She maintains that the legends that arose about the Panama Canal construction went far beyond the literal histories of the migrants. She also argues that these myths ought to be given credence, regardless of their objective veracity, because contemporaries behaved as if they were true, at least in fictional literature. Finally, she shows how subtle but powerful issues like race, color, gender, and talent are given fuller treatment in fiction than in regular histories, because of the limited historical documentation available. In the next chapter Frederick summarizes the actual experiences of the West Indian canal workers of the first generation, as documented in standard histories. The literature has become fairly abundant in recent years, along with books about the West Indians in neighboring countries. This factual overview is somewhat sketchy and should be bolstered by existing histories. Chapter 2 tells the migrants stories from first-hand narratives collected in Panama around 1960. This is the weakest chapter, for several reasons. The essays were written decades after the experience by retired workers who opted to remain in Panama, rather than by the returnees studied in the rest of the book. Furthermore, the selection process for inclusion in the collection provides no clue as to their representative quality. And finally, they have been mined by other authors. Four central chapters constitute the core of the book, basically analyses of short stories and novels about Coln Men that construct fictional portray als of the returnees written by islanders. This is where Fredericks thesis is definitely proven. She shows without a doubt how writers incorporated the Panama experience into their depiction of modern Caribbean societies. Some of her fascinating conclusions will illustrate. One is that the usual expla nation for migration to earn more money because of wage differentials overlooks more human motives, like the search for adventure, the desire to participate in a historic undertaking, and the hope to improve oneself by confronting a physical and emotional challenge. She also shows that many fictional Coln Men defied the stereotype of dandies. In the conclusion she notes that fiction writers have given more attention to women in Panama than the standard histories and thus correct a gender bias in the traditional litera ture. Some readers may also appreciate the clean writing in these chapters, relatively free of the postmodernist jargon prevalent in Chapter 1. In short, this book complements others on the West Indian workers who returned from Panama and it nicely complicates our understanding of their experiences. It also whets the appetite for more of this specialized literature. Without question fiction gives us another window onto other peoples tur moil and sacrifices. The middle section of this book in particular provides a welcome supplement to existing historical treatments.
169 BOO K RE V IE WS Gone is the Ancient Glory: Spanish Town, Jamaica, 1534-2000. JAME S RO BER TSO N. Kingston: Ian Randle, 2005. xviii + 477 pp. (Paper US$ 30.00) PHI L I P D MO R G AN Department of History Johns Hopkins University Baltimore MD 21218, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org u > The title of this book comes from a manuscript poem, written in 1895 (a gen eration after the Jamaican seat of government was transferred to Kingston), lamenting Spanish Towns decaying classic grandeur. Recovering a sense of Spanish Towns impressive past and its prolonged decline is the aim of this sensitive and sympathetic portrait of Jamaicas former capital. The books author is a lecturer in the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of the West Indies, Mona. His presence on the island is well reflected in this work, which has involved deep archival research, local knowledge, and excellent use of a wide range of illustrations from early prints to aerial photographs. The work is an important achievement. There are few comparable studies of urban places in the Caribbean. The best general one is a collection of essays on Atlantic port cities, which do not offer many parallels to Spanish Town (Knight & Liss 1991). Unlike Colin Clarkes book on Kingston (1975), which is strong only on the modern part of the story, Robertsons study is particularly notable for paying close attention to the early period the first three centuries of Spanish Towns history. It does not have the depth or comparative breadth of Anne Protin-Dumons magnificent study of Basse-Terre and Pointe--Pitre in Guadeloupe (2000), but Robertson takes his story well beyond the early nineteenth century, which is where she stops. His sources are thinner than hers there is apparently only one listing of the towns inhabitants (in 1754) yet he mines a whole series of manuscript and printed materials in a valiant attempt to correct the deficiency. Spanish Town was always a small, unprepossessing place, an overgrown village, never the city that some boosters termed it. Robertson quotes many visitors at different points who found the place unimpressive. In some ways, Spanish Town bears similarity to Williamsburg, Virginia another inland, extended village established as a seat of government and an administrative center. However, while Williamsburg became a college town and the United Statess largest outdoor museum, Spanish Towns college (Queens) lasted a mere couple of years (1872-1874) and has failed to become an important tourist destination. In North America, perhaps the faded character and early
170 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) Spanish heritage of parts of St. Augustine, Florida offer the best parallels to Spanish Town. A real strength of this book is Robertsons attention to material culture. He has unearthed deeds and plats to explore the architectural development of Spanish Town. He reconstructs in some detail how the public buildings on the Parade took shape. He richly documents, for instance, the construction of the Rodney Statue and Temple (1790-1792), the placing of the iron bridge over the Rio Cobre (1801), and the mid-nineteenth-century renovations to the parish church, the so-called Anglican Cathedral. He claims that the buildings in Spanish Town now constitute one of the largest collections of late eighteenth-century structures still standing anywhere in the hemisphere (p. 94). This statement seems a bit exaggerated, if one thinks of Newport RI, Annapolis MD, Santo Domingo, Havana, Trinidad, Cartegena, Mexico City, Quito, or Lima, just to mention a few of the more obvious. Many of these are, of course, much more substantial urban places than Spanish Town. Questions still persist about Spanish Town, despite Robertsons exhaustive research. For example, how large was its population? A table with estimates, even rough ones, would help. The following is what can be put together from sparse mentions in the text. By 1655 (on the eve of the British invasion), per haps 1,000 people lived in the town, based on the claim that 1,500 then lived on the island, most of whom lived in St. Jago (p. 30). Seven years later, the town had just 350 people (p. 56). In 1747 it lost a third of its population to a yellow fever epidemic; unfortunately no population size is offered, but it was surely no more than 2,000 (p. 81). Seven years later it had about 500 houses, 800 Whites, and 400 Free Coloreds, so there could have been 2,000-3,000 overall (p. 91). In 1774 about 300 Jews, apparently representing one-third of the towns Whites, lived there, so presumably the white population had grown little in a generation (p. 116). Thirty-three years later, the number of houses still remained roughly the same (500-600), but the population was now said to be nearly 5,000; at 9 to 10 people per house, even including slaves, this ratio seems a bit questionable (p. 143). In 1832 just over 2,000 slaves lived in the town (p. 174); eighteen years later there were about 7,000 people (p. 193), and in 1865 only 5,261 (p. 201), although by 1913 it was over 7,000 again (p. 241), rising to 10,000 in 1957 (p. 293). Other questions about troop levels, the kind of plays performed in the theater, the activities of the large Jewish population (both Sephardic and Ashkenazi), the functions of various clubs and societies (lodges such as the Segar Smoking Society and, perhaps most intriguing, the Cat Club, formed by Blacks in 1791), the scale of the markets, the legal cases that came before the town courts also come to mind. The sources probably do not allow Robertson to provide full answers, but perhaps his work will inspire further investigation. Nevertheless, he has undoubtedly provided a rich portrait. Robertson not only brings the urban landscape of Spanish Town to life, but also offers fas
171 BOO K RE V IE WS cinating vignettes of an array of urban residents people such as Francis Williams, the free black schoolteacher, George Liele, the free black Baptist preacher, Reverend Dr. John Lindsay, who was rector between 1773 and 1789 and a notable botanist and scientist, or James Phillippo, the Baptist mission ary who lived in the town for many decades in the nineteenth century, was present at the governors reading of the proclamation emancipating the slaves on August 1, 1838 in Spanish Town Parade, and noted that in a slave burial ground at no great distance from ... Spanish Town, there was scarcely a grave that did not exhibit from two to four rudely carved images (p. 133). From its proximity to the largest Taino settlement on the island, Spanish Town became an important European site, a crossroads town, an administrative center. In an almost perpetual state of decline, Spanish Town experienced a key step, with the transfer of the capital to Kingston in 1871. Perhaps if it is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a renaissance might occur. RE F ERENCE S CL ARKE, COL IN G. 1975. Kingston, Jamaica: Urban Development and Social Change, 1692-1962. Berkeley: University of California Press. KNI G H T, FRANK L IN W & PE GGY K. LI SS 1991. Atlantic Port Cities: Economy, Culture, and Society in the Atlantic World, 1650-1850. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. P R OT IN-DU M O N, ANNE, 2000. La ville aux les: La ville dans lle: Basse-Terre et Pointe--Pitre, Guadeloupe, 1650-1820. Paris: Karthala.
172 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) Paradise Lost: Haitis Tumultuous Journey from Pearl of the Caribbean to Third World Hotspot PHI L I PP E R. GIRAR D New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. x + 230 pp. (Cloth US$ 39.95) Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti MICHAE L DEIBER T New York: Seven Stories Press, 2005. xx + 455 pp. (Paper US$ 22.95) CAR OLL E CHAR L E S Sociology Department Baruch College (CUNY) New York NY 10010-5585, U.S.A.
173 BOO K RE V IE WS Dominican Republic, invading and occupying its territory on many occa sions, and also invited the United States to occupy parts of its own territory. In sum, the practice of subordinating Haitian sovereignty to the political career of its leaders was an important feature of the presidencies of Duvalier, Cedras, and Aristide. Recurrent civil wars and the enormous military cost of the political instability resulted in poor allocation of resources to the building of schools, roads, factories, and sewer systems. Haiti had six governments between 1910 and 1915. The political crisis and chaos ended with the inter vention of the United States and its occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934, with no real opposition from the elite. The United States brought stability, but this form of benign colonialism could not turn Haiti around into a demo cratic, prosperous society. In his discussion of the most recent governments of Duvalier, Aristide, and Prval, Girard presents a picture of a country polarized by the black/mulatto divide. He argues that Blacks, who were in control of the army, constantly harassed Mulattos and that the Mulattos, defined as Haitian Jews, have always excited envy because of their wealth. They were even victims of pogroms. He analyzes the political and ideological ties with the 1946 noirisme movement of Franois Duvalier, who was victorious in the 1957 elections. Duvalier, deciding that terror and not the democratic process could guarantee his con tinuous rule, created a pyramidal structure of power with a circle of bogeymen and henchmen at the top and a paramilitary force at the bottom. Jean Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) was a gentler version of his father. With increase in foreign aid, he completed some key economic projects and began a phase of political liberalization under pressure from the U.S. gov ernment. But greed and corruption also characterized his government, and by the late 1970s, the country was in a deep economic crisis creating a mas sive rural exodus and an international movement of immigrants and refugees coming to the United States. His departure in 1986 marked the transition to military control until the elections of 1991. The entry and victory of Jean Bertrand Aristide, a former priest and char ismatic leader, created new expectations. Aristide named his movement lava las (torrential outpouring of water), a metaphor for change. For the inter national community, his landslide victory with strong popular participation marked the beginning of a process that could take Haiti on a democratic path. Yet his regime faced a political and economic conundrum and its possibilities were limited. There was no state to implement even mild policies, nor did Aristide create the conditions for stability. He systematically refused to com promise or share power, appointed close friends as members of his cabinet, dismissed some old officers of the army, and nominated younger ones like Cedras who then led the 1991 coup. The military coup of 1991-1994 led to massive displacements and increas ing flows of exiles and refugees to the United States. While the majority of
174 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) the population endured financial hardship because of the economic embargo imposed on the military junta, Aristide had access to government overseas assets which were misappropriated. The return of Aristide in 1994 was the result of negotiations for new policies of structural adjustment measures, including the privatization of most state industries, but he began to display signs of xenophobia and to develop repressive practices, including the mur der of a prominent female lawyer with ties to the military junta, Mireille Durocher Bertin. The peaceful transition and transfer of power in February 1996 to Ren Prval was an historic event. Prval, however, had to deal with the issues of economic reforms that were requested by the international community but opposed by Aristide, who claimed they were an attack on Haitis sovereignty. By the end of Prvals term, the government was facing a political crisis because of rigged elections and a security crisis with the control of the police by pro-Aristide elements. In April 2000, an important journalist, a close friend and political adviser to Prval, was assassinated. Pro-Aristide mobs threatened to use violence if their candidates were not declared winners. During Aristides second mandate, the political situation worsened, and the economic reforms that were implemented favored elites and expropriated land from peasants without compensation. Two years of exercise of power resulted in an economic setback, increased insecurity, and corruption. At the same time, a new coalition began a campaign for a new social contract and the dismissal of the government. Parallel to that democratic opposition, an insurgent movement of former army officers and gang members of Gonaves began military actions against the regime. By the end of 2003, all venues for any negotiation were closed. Two months later, Aristide was again forced into exile. In his conclusion, Girard states that Haitis situation is gloomy because the country is poor, corrupt, and rundown, and the political violence is selfperpetuating. Poverty is so dire it generates further poverty. Although Haiti represents the concentration of all third-world problems, there are still pos sibilities for redemption. Girard sees South Korea as a blueprint for Haiti and proposes the elimination of the predatory class of politicians, a fight against xenophobia and racism, curtailment of the dependency on foreign aid, sub vention to key industries, and a program of economic development based on industrial outsourcing. In sum, if the political environment became more stable, Haiti could see the rise of a service economy. For an historical analysis, the book shows many historical flaws and sim plifications. Girard describes Haitians as murderers and the 4 genocide of Whites as a crime against humanity, worse than the three hundred years of a brutal system of enslavement. This is built on a view of Africans as sav ages and their descendants as barbarous. The genocide of indigenous people by Europeans is characterized as mild and accidental because the Spaniards
175 BOO K RE V IE WS were civilized. Violence is essentialized and becomes a Haitian trait. The same kind of reasoning appears in his denial of any capacity of former slaves to strategize, make alliances, or negotiate. Girard cannot imagine that Toussaint formulated the new contours of the emerging Haitian state with its militarization and concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a small elite. And he never mentions the embargo by the European powers and the isolation of Haiti for the first fifty years of the new nation. The fears of Haitians had less to do with the disgust created by the murder ous founders of the country than with the plantations owners dread of slaves revolts. On the divide between Blacks and Mulattos, one is left puzzled about the identification of Mulattos with oppressed Jews. The racial dynamics of Haitian politics during the nineteenth century was a more complex process than what Girard describes. Militarism was indeed the hallmark of Haitian social structure but that was not because Haitians are black. Nor does it tell us much to call Haitians imperialists and to compare their actions to the inter ventions of great European powers. It is paradoxical that Girards conclusion proposes that there is salvation for Haiti. There is a disconnect between the kind of doomsday analysis and the prescriptions proposed. The book is a view of the country through the lenses of a physician dealing with a terminally ill cancer patient. The pre scription is a new drug, South Korea. While Girard does a broad and swift account of two hundred years, Michael Deiberts The Last Testament focuses on the modern political history of Haiti, beginning with the U.S. occupation of 1915-1934 and its aftermath, and focus ing particular attention on the last twenty years of the Lavalas regime with the two variants of Aristide and Preval. As the title suggests, the testaments are a series of notes compiled by a traveler. The different parts of the book, stories that come from the Deiberts observations or from popular accounts (real and fictional) of events, sound at times like tales of a storyteller. The introduction by Raoul Peck (noted Haitian filmmaker and a former minister of culture during the first Prval government in 1996) lays out Deiberts argument: that a democratic movement which offered much hope to the disfranchised has been betrayed by its charismatic leader and his cronies. This betrayal is examined through the practices of corruption and the cult of personality displayed after the return of Aristide in 1994 and in particular during his second mandate in 2001-2003. Aristides legacy is intolerance, corruption, nepotism, and conspiracy to eliminate rivals and detractors. Even though Haitians do share responsibilities for the current mess, they are not alone. The international community has been an important actor as well. The book begins with the funeral in the town of Ti Goave of journal ist Brignol Lindor, assassinated by a well-known gang closely associated with the Aristide government. The description of the town and its corruption
176 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) and violence are reminiscent of the Duvalier era under Tonton Macoutes. For Deibert, the assassination of Lindor exemplified the increasingly violent and repressive nature of the second Lavalas government. He begins with the description of a local scene, a vodou ritual celebrating Guede, which repre sents death and sexuality. The discussion of Guede rituals allows Deibert to make the connection to the peoples history and their struggles to uproot the Duvalier regime and to enter into a phase of democratization. He recounts his encounter with a people whose chaotic life, noises, and pungent odors creates beauty through its despair. Deibert analyzes the formation of St. Domingue/Haiti as a French colony, the richest of the eighteenth century. In contrast to Girard, he argues that because of both the continuous threat of rebellions and the colonys value, St. Domingue was the scene of the most extreme excesses of the institu tion of slavery. Deibert also explains the causes of the U.S. occupation and points to the way in which its racist practices tended to reinforce the mulatto hegemony that during the nineteenth century was able to maintain its power through black surrogate governments. Politics in favor of the mulatto elite reached its zenith during the U.S. occupation and under the government of Lescot in the 1940s. The uprising of 1946, known as the 1946 movement, in which Duvalier and Fignole participated, was the result of opposition to the pro-U.S. Lescot governments racial politics. Another chapter, A Rock in the Sun, draws on a metaphor that refers to poor people. Here, Deibert analyzes the emergence of Aristide as a charis matic leader and his role in uprooting Duvalier. He notes that from the start there were some disturbing totalitarian signs such as the arbitrary arrest of the former president Erta Trouillot. The rest of the chapter reviews the exile and return of Aristide, Prvals coming to power, and Aristides opposition and undermining of Prvals government. Deibert acknowledges that despite the corrupted political machinery and the increased presence of the thugs, there were still some honest supporters of Aristide and of Lavalas. Two of the longest chapters of the book consist of a multidimensional anal ysis of religion, literary production, radio programs, and economic policies like the free trade agreements between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The difficulty in assessing Delberts book is not due to its populist account of life in Haiti, almost a eulogy to poverty. What makes the book confusing is the unorganized stories presented in each chapter. The reliance on popular tales, hearsay, and common-sense explanations of events weakens and con fuses the underlying argument. In fact, it is only in the two last chapters that the argument on the betrayal of the poor and disenfranchised by their leaders begins to take shape. While both of these books offer a new explanation of the gloomy state of Haiti, neither is able to present a better understanding of the processes that have led to the failing of the Haitian state. Girards book fails because it is a
177 BOO K RE V IE WS biased, ideologically driven revision of Haitis history while Deiberts short comings stem from the mishmash of information and the unorganized presen tation of historical events based on popular accounts, both real and fictional. Suriname na de binnenlandse oorlog ELL EN D E VRIE S. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers, 2005. 200 pp. (Paper 17.50) ASP HA E. BIJNAAR Nationaal Instituut Nederlands Slavernijverleden en Erfenis 1093 EE Amsterdam, the Netherlands
178 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 2006 the majority still suffered social exclusion and discrimination. Their weak social position was not, however, the direct cause of the military con flict. Nevertheless, during the war, Brunswijk used it as a justification for demanding the long-denied democratic rights of his people. The conflict became more complicated when Amerindians joined Bouterse in his war against Brunswijks Maroons. Many insiders believe that it was Bouterse who persuaded the Tucayana Indians to take part in the war fare. Whether or not this is true, they too started claiming their long-denied democratic rights. In Suriname na de binnenlandse oorlog (Suriname after the civil war), journalist Ellen de Vries outlines these events. Her main source of informa tion was interviews. She spoke with many people, such as refugees, fighters, officials, and social workers during visits to Suriname in 2003, 2004, and 2005. To complete her research she also collected relevant written docu ments. The interviews give insight into how bad the war was. The book presents a vivid picture of how life has treated the perpetra tors, the victims, and others involved. None of them, not even the perpetra tors, are happy with the results: despite the fight for democratic rights, the social position of the Maroons has remained poor. The postwar care for vic tims and fighters has been totally inadequate. A considerable number still suffer from severe psychiatric problems due to the violence in which they were involved. The role of the government of Suriname, which has failed miserably in conducting proper investigations, is despicable. In August 2005, before De Vriess book was published, the Inter-American Court for Human Rights sentenced the Republic of Suriname to pay a fine to compensate the surviving relatives and ordered that all measures should be taken to guarantee their rights. Nevertheless, the government has not done much to satisfy the economic, social, and cultural needs of the victims. The rate of crime, pros titution, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as HIV and AIDS-related diseases among the Maroons is increasing. As one woman put it, All Maroons living in this area, myself included, are forever traumatized by these events. The high rate of crime, especially among young Maroons, is just one example of how this collective trauma is expressed by us (p. 80). Although De Vries paints a clear picture of the seriousness of the prob lems, quantitative information is generally lacking. This omission shows that many government officials are unaware of the problems of the people involved. Although the interviews to some extent fill the gap, they are too subjective to represent the situation fully. Everyone involved tells a different story, as De Vries herself acknowledges. And that is why she could not help leaving many important questions unanswered. How did the war start? What really happened in the firing line? How many people lost their lives in the war? How many citizens or fighters have been suffering from trauma since? Nonetheless, the interviews reveal
179 BOO K RE V IE WS such interesting and detailed information that one can see how bad the after math of the war is. De Vries shows that the war also had some positive effects. It made Maroons and the indigenous people more politically conscious of their social position. In 2005, for the first time in Surinames history, three politiIn 2005, for the first time in Surinames history, three politiIn 2005, f or the first time in Surinames history, three politior the first time in Surinames history, three politithe first time in Surinames history, three politi cal parties with a Maroon background took part in the elections. Since 2003 a n increasing number of Maroons with academic backgrounds have been joining together in the political organization SaMaDe ( Cooperating Maroon Experts) to empower themselves and to reconstruct the socioeconomic life of Maroons in the interior. De Vriess study is the first serious attempt to outline the legacy of this dramatic episode in the history of Suriname. Suriname na de binnenlandse oorlog reads smoothly, as a journalistic report should, and as a journalistic report, it is a success For the sake of history, however, a n additional study that would put the civil war in a broader context and give a well balanced analysis of its political, social and economic consequences is necessary. The complete story and history of this episode still needs to be written.