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New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008):185-209 PETER HULME GRAHAM GREENE AND CUBA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? Graham Greenes novel Our Man in Havana was published on October 6, 1958. Seven days later Greene arrived in Havana with Carol Reed to arrange for the filming of the script of the novel, on which they had both been work ing. Meanwhile, after his defeat of the summer offensive mounted by the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in the mountains of eastern Cuba, just south of Bayamo, Fidel Castro had recently taken the military initiative: the day after Greene and Reeds arrival on the island, Che Guevara reached Las Villas, moving westwards towards Havana. Six weeks later, on January 1, 1959, after Batista had fled the island, Castro and his Cuban Revolution took power. In April 1959 Greene and Reed were back in Havana with a film crew to film Our Man in Havana The film was released in January 1960. A note at the beginning of the film says that it is set before the recent revolution. In terms of timing, Our Man in Havana could therefore hardly be more closely associated with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. But is that association merely accidental, or does it involve any deeper implications? On the fifti eth anniversary of novel, film, and Revolution, that seems a question worth investigating, not with a view to turning Our Man in Havana into a serious political novel, but rather to exploring the complexities of the genre of com edy thriller and to bringing back into view some of the local contexts which might be less visible now than they were when the novel was published and the film released. At the time of his death in 1991 Graham Greene was probably the bestknown British novelist, one of the few who had managed to combine criti cal and popular success over a long career. In 1958 he was at the height of his powers. Early work had included novels such as Brighton Rock (1938) and The Power and the Glory (1940). After the war he had published The End of the Affair (1951) and The Quiet American (1955). After Our Man in Havana was to come The Comedians (1966) and The Honorary Consul (1973). Some of these novels had domestic settings and focused on personal relationships or matters of religion, but many were set abroad and engaged
186 PETER HULME seriously with the politics of decolonization: The Quiet American is set in Vietnam, The Comedians deals with Haiti in the 1960s under the notori ously brutal regime of Franois Duvalier. Greene was a steadfast supporter of radical and anticolonial movements: through a personal friendship with Omar Torrijos, the president of Panama, he became closely involved in the return of the Panama Canal to Panama, a process begun in 1977 though not completed until 1999. He was also solidly if not uncritically supportive of the Cuban Revolution, as is seen in the two essays he wrote in 1963 and 1966 for the archconservative British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph and in his admiring 1966 portrait of Fidel Castro. 1 At first glance, however, Our Man in Havana might not look as if it has much in the way of political implications. In generic terms it appears like a parody of a spy novel. The true popularity of spy fiction followed Our Man in Havana with the novels of John Le Carr and Len Deighton, and the films that were made from them, starting in the 1960s, though the one immediate candidate for parody in 1958 was Ian Fleming, whose deeply racist Dr No had been published in 1957 set in the Caribbean and concerning attacks on U.S. missiles. Greene himself categorized Our Man in Havana as merely one of his entertainments. Asked once whether he wished he had written a book like The Quiet American which would have carried more weight than an entertainment, Greene replied: Not in the least. I think that Our Man in Havana is a good comic novel. The object was not to talk about Cuba but to make fun of the Secret Service. Havana was merely the background, an acci dent it had nothing to do with my sympathy for Fidel. 2 The film version of Our Man in Havana seems to go further in this direction by removing almost all the brief references in the novel to rebel activity and by highlighting the already rich comedic possibilities inherent in the idea of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) through the acting talents of Alec Guinness, Noel Coward, and Ralph Richardson. In a note at the beginning of the novel Greene goes out of his way to play down the local context. He calls the book a fairy-story, specifically denying that the characters of the Havana police chief Captain Segura, the 1 See Return to Cuba (1963) and Shadow and Sunlight in Cuba (1966), both in Greene 1990:213-20 and 245-52; and The Marxist Heretic (1966) in Greene 1969:40513. 2 Allain (1983:59). Greenes own judgment has generally been accepted by critics, although Judith Adamson notes that while Greene says his novel is only a light-hearted comedy, ... it has a dark and philosophical background which lends it substance and con tains many of his recurring themes (1990:141). It is also true that, writing in defense of Sidney Gilliats libretto for Malcolm Williamsons opera of Our Man in Havana Greene stated: I admired the great skill with which the libretto had compressed the action and yet brought out every political point (Letter to The Times July 4, 1963, in Greene 1995:573). Cf. Williamson 1963.
187 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? British ambassador, and the chief of the Secret Service have any connection at all with living people, and removing the novel from its time of publica tion by saying that it is set at some indeterminate date in the future. Not that indeterminate, it turns out; which offers a first clue as to the novels political undercurrents. When the protagonist Jim Wormold is arrested in Santiago during his annual sales trip to eastern Cuba, he tells a policeman that he is forty-five years old, and he later tells his new assistant Beatrice that he was born on December 6, 1914. That means that the novel is set just a year after it was published, between December 6, 1959 and the December 5, 1960. The dates themselves are not important, since Greene could not have known that the Revolution would triumph so soon after the publication of his novel though the novel does have the current Cuban presidents regime creaking dangerously towards its end (Greene 1958:24). The point is that Greene undermines his own supposed indeterminacy. In addition, the fact that the three characters he names are definitely based on living people hints at Greenes characteristically playful obliquity, just as it begins to suggest the rather specific political connotations of both novel and film. Overtaken by events, the film could hardly follow the novel in claiming that it was set at some indeterminate future date: that note at the beginning saying that it is set before the recent revolution would place it in the last three months of 1958, in other words the last three months of the Batista dictatorship. In Our Man in Havana Jim Wormold is a Phastkleaners vacuum-cleaner salesman living in Havana with his beautiful seventeen-year-old daughter, Milly whose real name, Seraphina, Greene may well have taken from the Cuban beauty in the Conrad/Ford novel, Romance 3 Wormold is recruited in rather slapdash fashion into the British Secret Service, the induction taking place in the room of his contact, Henry Hawthorne, in the Sevilla-Biltmore Hotel. Completely uninterested in politics or spying, Wormold spots the opportunity to make enough money to ease the financial problems largely caused by his indulgence towards his daughter. Fictitious agents, their names chosen at random from a list of Country Club members, are recruited and expenses claimed for them, and increasingly fantastic stories woven to pro vide a patina of plausibility. Twenty years later, Greene explained the background to the writing of the book (Greene 1980:238-51). He himself had worked for the British Secret Service in Freetown in the 1940s. Returning to London he had been appointed to the subsection dealing with counter-espionage in the Iberian peninsula, where he had learned about agents in Portugal sending back to Germany completely fictitious reports which garnered them expenses and 3 Greene was a great admirer of Ford and editor of the Bodley Head Ford Madox Ford He called Romance that underrated novel (Greene 1969:163).
188 PETER HULME bonuses to add to their basic salary. Asked for a film script in 1946 Greene had written an outline for a story set in Estonia just before the beginning of the Second World War which made gentle fun of the Secret Service. The film was never made, and the idea changed course when Greene realized that Havana which he had visited several times in the early 1950s would be a much better setting, the absurdities of the cold war being more appropriate for a comedy than the dark European shadows of 1938. 4 Most of the novel takes place on the edge of Old Havana, controlled by the malicious police chief, Captain Segura, who has his eye on Wormolds daughter, Milly: most scenes are set in Wormolds shop on Calle Lamparilla, in his apartment above the shop, or in local bars. However, every year Wormold would make a trip to the eastern province of Oriente, as far as Santiago, to visit the companys retailers. On this occasion he reckons that he might as well let MI6 finance the trip and so cables his contact: On pretext of visiting sub-agents for vacuums propose to investigate possibilities for recruitment port of Matanzas, industrial centre Santa Clara, naval headquar ters Cienfuegos and dissident centre Santiago, calculate expenses of journey fifty dollars a day (Greene 1958:74). Wormolds experiences on his eastern journey shock him into action, pre cipitating the books major plot development. What was the good of playing a game with half a heart? he says to himself: At least let him give them something they would enjoy for their money (Greene 1958:89). So he con cocts an elaborate report about big military installations under construction in the mountains of Oriente, too extensive to be aimed at small rebel bands. Stories of widespread forest clearance under cover of forest fires and of peas ants being impressed to carry loads of stone provide supporting context. To round things off, he is inspired by the name of Phastkleaners latest model, the Atomic Pile, to sketch its innards, claiming that one of his agents had made the drawings of strange machinery being transported into the forest near the mili tary H.Q. at Bayamo, on the other side of the Sierra Maestra from Santiago. In London nobody except Hawthorne, who alone knows that Wormold sells vacuum cleaners, doubts the report or the sketches. To help Wormold, who is by now their most valued agent in the Caribbean, the Secret Service sends him a secretary, Beatrice Severn, and a communications officer. At this point, however, Wormolds web begins to unravel. The agents he has invented start getting killed in mysterious circumstances and his old friend, Dr. Hasselbacher, also involved in the murky world of espionage, is gunned 4 One could hardly sympathise with the main character if he was to be involved with the Hitler war. I already knew Cuba and my sympathies were with the Fidelistas in the mountains (Letter to Ian Thomson, August 18, 1988, in Greene 2007:403). When Our Man in Havana was published, MI5 rang up the head of MI6 (according to Greene) to suggest that he should be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act: The head of MI6 laughed (Letter to Marie-Franoise Allain, January 1, 1990, in Greene 2007:413).
189 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? down in one of the bars where they used to drink together. Hasselbacher had been blackmailed into spying on Wormold, then honorably changed his mind because of his friendship with Wormold, so the enemy agent Carter kills him. Captain Segura says: Of course we shall say it was the rebels from Oriente. It will be useful in influencing foreign opinion. Perhaps it was the rebels (Greene 1958:228). Then London discovers that the other side (it is again characteristic of Greene that he never makes clear who they are) wants to kill Wormold during a trade association meeting in Havana. Wormold is sum moned to Jamaica to hear the news from Hawthorne. The enemy agent, Carter, masquerading as a salesman for the rival firm, Nucleaners, attempts to poison Wormold but is foiled when Wormold recognizes the stutter he has heard on tape in Seguras office and deliberately spills the poisoned whisky. Then, after getting Segura drunk in a game of draughts, Wormold takes Seguras gun and kills Carter. Wormolds deception is finally uncovered, but rather than admit that they were all taken in by his invented sketch, the Secret Service big wigs offer Wormold a job in London and recommend an OBE. Milly graciously allows her father and Beatrice to get married. Greene had long been interested in film, having been The Spectator s film critic during the 1930s. Like most novelists, he had not been very happy with other peoples film versions of his novels and so after the Second World War he had jumped at the opportunity to work closely with the director Carol Reed, first in developing for the screen his short story, The Fallen Idol (1948), then writing a screenplay which became The Third Man (1949), a dark political thriller starring Orson Welles, which had a huge impact in 1949 and was voted in a British Film Institute poll at the end of the century as the greatest British film ever made. Our Man in Havana was Reed and Greenes third and final film together. 5 Greene and Reed spent the best part of three months together working on the script, though strictly speaking this was an adaptation since the novel had already been completed (Ginna 1959:31). It was Batistas government that had given permission for Our Man in Havana to be filmed in Cuba but the new Revolutionary government confirmed the arrangement, ensuring an authentic atmosphere. Indeed, according to a contemporary Time article, the new Cuban Interior Ministry was hurt that Reed even thought he needed to ask for permission. 6 Our Man in Havana was filmed using a Cuban subdi rector, Cuban stand-by technicians, and a lot of Cuban extras. It might be assumed that Reed would have had considerable control over the British casting Guinness, Coward, Richardson but perhaps less so over the U.S. 5 Dir. Carol Reed, 1959. See Adamson 1984. A good analysis of the film is in Evans 2005:105-17. 6 His Men in Havana, Time April 27, 1959.
190 PETER HULME casting, necessary for the financing of the film (jointly made with Columbia Pictures). Reed and Greene had displayed considerable independence in making The Third Man protected by their producer Alexander Korda, which ensured they kept complete control over the script despite David O. Selznicks best efforts to change it, but Korda had died in 1956, probably leaving Reed rather more exposed. In fact, Columbia seems to have left the script of Our Man in Havana to Greene and Reed indeed in places the screenplay incorporates actual pages from the novel pasted onto type sheets (Adamson 1984:94), but the actors were another matter and the entertain ment element of the film was certainly strengthened by the inclusion of the popular U.S. figures Burl Ives and Ernie Kovacs, as well as the Irish American actress, Maureen OHara, and the young starlet, Jo Morrow. Burl Ives had just starred in the film of Tennessee Williamss Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and had won an Academy Award for his part in William Wylers The Big Country He had also testified for Joseph McCarthys House Committee on Un-American Activities, naming several of his fellow singers and actors as possible Communists, which gives an interesting edge to his role in this film as Dr. Hasselbacher, Wormolds friend, who first betrays him and then is killed for trying to warn him of the betrayal. Jo Morrow, nineteen when she played Milly, just couldnt act, according to Greene, which seems fair comment. 7 She was also far too old for the part and turns a spoiled adolescent into a flirtatious and manipulative young woman. Kovacs was best known as a TV comedian, which would inevitably color perception of his role as Havanas police chief, though he surprised critics with the assurance of his performance. Greene reports that Cubas Revolutionary government did not really approve of the novel (Greene 1980:249). For them, it minimized the brutal ity of Batistas dictatorship, particularly in what they saw as the softening of the character of the infamous police captain, Esteban Ventura Novo, into the cynical but not absolutely unsympathetic Captain Segura. Ventura Novo (1913-2001) had been responsible for much of the torture and murder in Havana that marked Batistas repression in the years 1956 to 1958. Greene tells the story of how Ventura was going to be left behind by Batista but forced his way onto the departing dictators plane at gunpoint. He eventually settled in Miami, as in the novel Segura suggests he himself would do if the regime fell another indication of Greenes prescience. 8 7 Graham Greene in an interview with Judith Adamson, June 21, 1982, in Adamson 1984:98. 8. Greene 1980:249-50. On Ventura Novos death the exiled Cuban journalist and histo. Greene 1980:249-50. On Ventura Novos death the exiled Cuban journalist and histo rian, Octavio R. Costa, opined that Ventura was an effective enforcer against civil upris ings: He did his job, and he did it in a way that responded to the circumstances of that era, Miami Herald May 23, 2001.
191 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? In April 1959 a member of the Film Division of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior, Clara Martnez, was assigned to the production team to represent the interests of the new Cuban government. 9 On their behalf she requested a number of changes in two main areas. She wanted the character of Captain Segura to become more villainous, in order to correspond more closely to his model, and in the various nightclub scenes she wanted the strippers to take off fewer clothes than Reed and Greene wanted them to take off, which was already considerably fewer than they would have taken off before the Revolution, which was all of them. (After the Revolution, the only prerevo lutionary cabaret left untouched was the Tropicana where the characters go in the novel and the film for Millys seventeenth birthday party which had a chorus line but no strippers.) So in one respect the new Revolutionary government wanted more realism, in another respect less realism. Ironically, Greenes own early visits to Havana had been for exactly those aspects of the city that motivated Revolutionary distaste: the brothels, the high living, the drugs, the gambling, and the obscene cabarets. After his first visit, in 1954, Greene wrote: Havana has been a fascinating city, quite the most vicious I have ever been in. 10 Under Batistas dictatorship the Mafia controlled Havanas huge gambling industry. 11 The Mafias role in Havana had originally been developed by Charlie Lucky Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania), who had been serving thirty to fifty in a U.S. penitentiary in 1943 when he appealed for a reduction of sentence in return for services rendered to the nation. Luciano had cooperated with the U.S. authorities to catch German spies on the east coast dockyards, which he still controlled from prison. He may also have eased the path to the U.S. invasion of Sicily. One of his deputies in New York, Vito Genovese, one of the major drug traffick ers of his day, certainly ended up as official interpreter and advisor to the U.S. military governor in Naples. The U.S. army originally worked with the Mafia in Sicily because the Mafia hated Mussolini who had cracked down on their activities. But after the War, the Mafia turned out also to be impec cably anticommunist, so the relationship with the U.S. intelligence services continued. 12 It was eventually a Mafia boss in Havana, Santo Trafficante, Jr., who was involved in a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1960. 13 9 See His Men in Havana, Time April 27, 1959; and Ginna 1959. According to His Men in Havana, the Cuban Interior Minister, Lus Orlando Rodrguez, had a copy of the script translated into Spanish and then suggested changes to Reed and Greene. 10. Letter to Natasha and Peter Brook, September 6, 1954, in Greene 2007:211; and see Adamson 1984:93-94. 11. See in general Enrique Ciruless two books, 2004 and 2006; Lacey 1991, chapters 13 and 14; Schwartz 1997, chapters 9 to 12; and English 2008. 12. See Robb 1999:32-33. 13. See Santo Trafficante, Reputed Mafia Chief, Dies at 72, New York Times March 19, 1987.
192 PETER HULME Luciano had been released in 1946 but he was not allowed to stay in the United States. Havana was as close as he could get, but the U.S. authorities lent on Batista to get him back to Italy, possibly with the connivance of his friend Meyer Lansky, who was the person who eventually lost most financially through the success of the Cuban Revolution. Lansky is a very interesting if still rather shadowy figure, the most important Mafia boss without an Italian back ground. He had had contacts in Havana since the 1920s, when Cuba became a conduit for bootlegging during Prohibition, and had spent the winter months of 1939 and 1940 there; but he moved into the city in a serious way only in 1952 when Batista called on his services to develop Havana into a major gambling center. Lansky appears in fictionalized form in a number of films and in Mayra Monteros fine novel about this period, Son de almendra 14 In late 1957 at exactly the moment when Greene started to write Our Man in Havana there was a major fight in the Mafia over the distribution of the massive profits emanating from Cuba. Since Lansky did not have to worry about government interference, with Batista being paid a handsome cut, he and his associates had free rein to establish a string of casinos which produced cast-iron profits. In early 1957 the U.S. family headed by Alberto Anastasia complained about the small size of their share of this sumptuous cake. With Anastasias truculence perceived as threatening, Lansky had him assassinated in classic style in a barbers chair in midtown Manhattan. 15 To deal with the resulting crisis, the families convoked an urgent peace confer ence on November 14, 1957 at Joseph Barbaras house near Apalachin in New York state, attended by sixty Mafia bosses from all over the country. It was probably the biggest meeting of the Mafia ever to take place and it was a complete disaster because the FBI raided it often regarded as their biggest ever victory against organized crime (Sondern 1959:3-17). And, of course, the meeting was pointless because the prize of Havana, over which they were squabbling, was about to be taken away from them all. The Mafia-run Cuban leisure industry plays a significant part in Our Man in Havana When in Havana Greene himself used to stay at the SevillaBiltmore Hotel, close to the Presidential Palace, run by Amletto Battisti and famous for the easy availability of cocaine and female company. That is also where Hawthorne stays in the novel, although in the film he stays at the Capri, a new hotel owned by mobster Santo Trafficante, Jr., which opened in November 1957, featuring a luxurious casino overseen by Mafia asset and 14. Lansky has been played by Lee Strasberg (as Hyman Roth) in The Godfather Part II (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1974); Mark Rydell in Havana (dir. Sydney Pollack, 1990); Ben Kingsley in Bugsy (dir. Barry Levinson, 1991), Richard Dreyfuss in Lansky (dir. David Mamet, 1999); and Dustin Hoffman in The Lost City (dir. Andy Garcia, 2005). Mayra Montero, Son de almendra (2005), translated 2008. 15. Anastasias murder was not officially solved, so its connection with Lansky and Havana remains speculative: English (2008:224-34) furnishes a strong case for the connection.
193 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? ex-film star, George Raft. All the film principals on Our Man in Havana also stayed at the Capri, and it is the Capris rooftop swimming pool which features in the films opening shots (Figure 1). 16 Greenes choice of Cuba as the setting for his novel was presumably influ enced by the islands recent irruption onto the world stage. In December 1956, eighty-two rebels had landed on Cubans southeastern coast. After a few days only around a quarter were left. These survivors slowly gained a foothold in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra and started to win some small military successes, but they were under severe pressure because a peas ant traitor was giving directions to Cuban fighter planes that were strafing the rebel camps. It was at this difficult moment that Fidel Castro decided to organize a visit from a foreign press correspondent, calculating that clear news of his survival in the mountains would put Batista on the back foot both in Cuba and internationally. The man chosen for the interview was Herbert Matthews, foreign editor for the New York Times Supposedly on holiday, Matthews and his wife drove undercover, with Cuban minders, from Havana into the foothills of the Sierra Maestra, and Matthews walked into the mountains to meet Castro. Castro gave the jour nalist the story of the landing, an analysis of the military situation, and an explanation of the ideals of the Revolution. Matthews and his wife then trav 16. Lansky started at the Montmartre Club, a place for high rollers, and in 1955 he got the contract to run the new casino at the Hotel Nacional; but his big project was the Hotel Riviera, which opened on December 10, 1957. Figure 1. The opening scene, shot on the rooftop of Hotel Capri
194 PETER HULME eled on to Santiago, from where they flew back to Havana. After a brief visit to their old friend Ernest Hemingway, the couple returned to New York with Matthewss notes hidden in his wifes girdle. Confident that no one else had the story, the New York Times waited until the next Sunday, February 24, 1957, to print the first part of Matthewss scoop, while running trailers during the week about revolution in Cuba to raise interest and expectation. When Matthews had returned from Cuba, one trailer said, with a story thats sure to startle the world (quoted in DePalma 2006:98). Then on the Sunday, under the head line Cuban Rebel Is Visited in Hideout, and subhead Castro Is Still Alive and Still Fighting in Mountains, and alongside a large photograph of Castro holding a rifle with a telescopic sight, Matthewss historic report opened like this: Fidel Castro, the rebel leader of Cubas youth, is alive and fighting hard and successfully in the rugged, almost impenetrable fastnesses of the Sierra Maestra, at the southern tip of the island. 17 It was one of the biggest journalis tic scoops of all time. The Cuban government responded by calling Matthewss story a chapter in a fantastic novel. It noted that there was no photograph of Matthews with Castro; asserted that, whether Castro was dead or alive, he cer tainly had no supporting forces; and claimed that the interview could not have taken place because the Sierra Maestra was enclosed by a ring of steel. The following day the New York Times published a photograph of Matthews sitting next to Castro, both smoking cigars. The Cuban government declared it a fake, making Batista look even more foolish (Matthews 1961:45-50). One aspect of Matthewss scoop is particularly relevant to Our Man in Havana The main reason that Castros survival had not been reported is that most of the international journalists and diplomats were in Havana, 600 miles west of the Sierra Maestra. To get the story, Matthews had to be prepared for a long journey east to the province of Oriente, which had always been the center of revolutionary activity in Cuba. When he started to work on his novel in November 1957, just nine months after Matthewss journalistic scoop, Greene decided that he needed to find something out about the rest of the country and so he followed Matthewss footsteps: I set about curing a little of my igno rance. I made Cuban friends, I took a car and travelled with a driver around the country (Greene 1980:241). He was unable to get to Santiago by car, but not for the mechanical reasons which give Wormold a similar problem in the novel: There were military roadblocks all round the capital of Oriente and every foreigner arriving by private car was suspect. So Greene flew in by plane: An unofficial curfew began at nine p.m. dangerous to ignore, there were arbitrary arrests, and often when day broke a mans body would be found hanging from a lamp-post (Greene 1980:243). There were no tourists and a general atmosphere of suspicion pervaded the city. Between Matthewss visit to Santiago in February and Greenes in November, the city had indeed 17 New York Times February 24, 1957, 1 and 34.
195 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? been in turmoil. On July 30, the leader of the rebels in Oriente, Frank Pas, had been murdered on the street in a police ambush. By chance, the new U.S. ambassador, Earl E.T. Smith (a businessman and Republican Party fundraiser without diplomatic experience), arrived in Santiago two days later. Herbert Matthews had told Smith that Havana was not Cuba and that the atmosphere in the rest of the country was very different, and I suggested that he travel around and see things for himself (Matthews 1961:71). Smith arrived to find a large group of women demonstrating against Batista and being beaten up by the police. Asked for an immediate public comment Smith said Any sort of excessive police action is abhorrent to me. Opposition forces were heartened to hear a U.S. ambassador seeming to protest on their behalf while Batista was outraged and threatened to make Smith persona non grata Smith himself was highly annoyed that he had been encouraged to go to Santiago where he was clearly out of his depth. He did not make the same mistake again and soon repaired his bridges with Batista. 18 While Greene was there, three sisters, aged between eight and ten, were seized from their home in the middle of the night by soldiers to be used as hostages against their father, who had joined Castro in the Sierra. The following day a mass demonstration by children forced the release of the girls. Just before leaving Havana for Santiago, Greene had been to a party where he met a fidelista courier who was going to be traveling on the same plane as him. She asked him to take sweaters and socks needed by the men in the mountains in his suitcase because it was easier for a foreigner to explain win ter clothes. In Santiago Greene experienced what he calls a comedy of errors as absurd as anything described in Our Man in Havana He was accompanied to Santiago by the correspondent of Time magazine, hoping for a story. Greene thought he ought to warn the courier about the correspondent, and his host from the previous evening told him to await her phone call in his hotel, the Casa Granda in Plaza de Cspedes. Inevitably the Time correspondent showed up the next morning just as the phone call was expected, accompanied by a man claiming to be Castros public relations man in Santiago though Greene thought him too old and too smartly dressed. Managing with some difficulty to get his visitors to leave, Greene took the call and was asked to go to a house in Calle San Francisco. Afraid even to consult the desk clerk, Greene took a taxi, did a tour of the sights, and then asked the taxi driver to take him to the old church of San Francisco, assuming that if such a church existed it would be in Calle San Francisco. Clearly all that work for the Secret Service 18. See Earl Smiths own self-serving, defensive, and hysterically anti-Castro account (1991). Greene recalled this incident in Ways of Escape (1980:243-44), noting that Smith had been rebuked by John Foster Dulles: In the eyes of the United States Government terror was not terror unless it came from the left. Wayne Smith, a junior officer in the Embassy from 1957, saw Earl Smith and Gardner (his predecessor) as entirely out of their depth (1987:18).
196 PETER HULME had not gone to waste. 19 Telling the taxi driver he wanted to pray and would then walk back to the hotel, Greene set off up Calle San Francisco only to be approached by a car carrying the Time correspondent and Mr. X, who was indeed who he claimed to be and had now been told about the rendezvous. All three arrived together at the house of assignation, where they met the courier and her mothe r, a priest, and a young couple who turned out to be Hayde Santamara and her husband Armando Hart who had just made a dramatic escape from the law courts in Havana where he was being taken under mili tary escort for trial, and who was now in the process of having his hair dyed as part of a new disguise. Greene recalls that Santamara had been taken by the police to see the blinded and castrated corpse of her former fianc (Boris Lus Santa Coloma) after his torture and murder for taking part in the attack on the Moncada barracks in 1953. (Her brother Abel had been tortured and murdered at the same time.) Greene notes quietly: I remembered that story when the wife of the Spanish Ambassador spoke to me of Batistas social charm. 20 It quickly turned out that the reason the Cubans wanted to talk to Greene was to ask him to intercede with the British government, which was prepar ing to sell planes to Batista which would obviously be used against the rebels. Greene subsequently got a friendly Labour MP, Hugh Delargy, to ask a question in the House of Commons, to which the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ian Harvey, replied that no arms had been sold to Batista though, as it happened, negotiations were already taking place to do so. 21 Earlier, Cuba had been almost entirely dependent on the United States for arms, but the latter started to get queasy during 1957 since Batista was using U.S. B-26 aircraft and tanks to stamp out internal revolt, thereby associating the United States with a repressive government and violating the terms under which the arms were sold, which forbad their use for internal security. These considerations were not actually strong enough to prevent the continued sale of U.S. arms to Cuba, but the U.S. government did begin to defer the sale of arms as a lever to try to modify Batistas behavior, particularly by getting him to commit to holding elections in June 1958. Batistas response was to seek weapons from the United Kingdom and from Canada. 22 ( Our Man in 19. The CIA certainly kept an eye on Greene during the filming in Havana in April 1959 (Sherry 2005:142-43), so they might well have been following him in 1957, unless they shared the British unwillingness to stray too far from Havana. 20. Greene 1980:248; cf. Santamara 1980 and Hart Dvalos 2004. Greene met Hayde Santamaria again when he returned to Cuba in 1966: see his letter to Catherine Walston, October 3, 1966, in Greene 2007:285-86. 21. See Greenes letter of October 23, 1958 to Delargy, asking him to raise some opposi tion to the sale of British planes to Batista, in Greene 2007:232-33; and Parliamentary Debates Commons, 1958/59, vol. 584, 888, March 17, 1958. 22. This and the following paragraphs draw extensively on Phythian & Jardine 1999 and on Hull 2007.
197 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? Havana s passing reference to U.S. attitudes comes when the U.S. consul speaks at the lunch where Wormold is nearly murdered: He spoke of the spiritual links between the democracies he seemed to number Cuba among the democracies [p. 217]). In August 1958 after the completion of Greenes novel but before its publication the United Kingdom agreed to sell Comet tanks and Sea Fury aircraft to Batista on the back of a matchless Foreign Office assessment that the chances are now remote ... of Fidel Castro coming to power and our consequently finding ourselves in the embarrassing position of having sup plied Batista with arms. 23 Twelve of the seventeen aircraft ordered reached Cuba by December 1958, just in time to be used against the guerrillas in the last days before Batistas departure. A parliamentary row over the export of the Comet tanks was caused by a question asked on November 19, 1958 by Greenes friend, Hugh Delargy, this time of Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd. Would it not be better not to supply arms to either side, Delargy enquired, given that a civil war is raging? Lloyd refused to recognize that there was civil war: There is a good deal of disagreement as to what is taking place in Cuba today, he said. But he did agree that the situation had changed since the deal was made and said he would inform the House of Commons before any fur ther weapons were sent. 24 Lloyds capitulation on this point was deplored by the Cuban ambassador in London, who pointed out that Cuba had supported Britain in the United Nations over Suez (the only Latin American country to do so), and so expected support in return against its own rebels (Hull 2007:601). Any embarrassment was short-lived because of Batistas fall from power, and the potential future embarrassment of previous U.K. support for Batista when faced by his replacement was avoided by the new Cuban governments grati tude for having come into possession of recently delivered heavy arms with which to defend the Revolution. So, when Castros army finally rolled into Havana on January 8, 1959, it did so atop an array of military hardware which included fifteen British tanks. Greenes immediate response was to write a letter to The Times which began: The welcome success of Dr. Fidel Castro in overthrowing the dictatorship of Batista reminds us again of the extraordinary ignorance of Cuban affairs shown by the British Government and goes on to ask: What kind of information ... was the Foreign Office receiving from its representatives in Cuba? 25 In June 1959 the new Cuban government upped the ante by saying that they would like to swap their Sea Furies (five of them still undelivered) for more powerful Hawker Hunter jets. Selwyn Lloyd was rather inclined to 23. Memorandum from H.A.A. Hankey, August 6, 1958 (PRO: FO371/132175/ak1192/6), quoted in Phythian & Jardine 1999:35. 24 Parliamentary Debates Commons, 1958/59, vol. 595, 1133-34, November 19, 1958. 25 The Times January 3, 1959, in Greene 1989:74-75. That comment inevitably reflects on the failings of Sir Stanley Fordham, British ambassador to Cuba between 1956 and 1960.
198 PETER HULME agree, but the U.S. government in turn increased the pressure, notably in a series of memoranda from the Secretary of State, Christian Herter, who suggested that Cubas new government might use the planes for purposes hostile to the principles for which the Free World stands, conceivably post poning the inevitable day when Castro will have to face judgement. 26 Lloyds reply was skeptical about Herters assessment, but of course Lloyd did not know because he was not told that Herter could be upbeat about Castros imminent encounter with judgment because the CIA was already plot ting with Cuban dissidents in Florida to engineer his downfall. The real reason that the United States did not want Great Britain to sell arms to Cuba was that it knew that any new weapons would be used to resist the U.S.-backed invasion which was already being planned, and which would soon get approval from the outgoing U.S. president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. So the British government decided against selling more planes to Cuba, or replacing the Sea Furies with Hunters. The Cabinet was told that the decision had been taken because of U.S. pressure: although our trade interests in Cuba might suffer if we refused the [Cuban] request, a failure to support the U.S. where their strategic inter ests were involved might have even more harmful effects on our economy. However, it would be desirable to publically relate the decision to the continu ation of tension in the Caribbean rather than to U.S. pressure. 27 As a result of this British decision, Cuba had a very small airforce in April 1961 at the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion: just 13 planes, five of which were put out of commission in a bombing raid two days before the inva sion. However the remaining British Sea Furies proved extremely effective, disabling the freighter Houston and preventing it landing equipment, and hitting the CIA command vessel, the Barbara J. forcing it to withdraw. As a result, a British Sea Fury has pride of place on the forecourt of the Museo de la Revolucin in Havana. Though not fully aware of all these machinations in late 1958 and early 1959, Greene surmised enough to conclude that the Foreign Service and the Secret Service amply merited the gentle ridicule of Our Man in Havana (Greene 1980:249). As Greene noted, any tourist to Santiago (as he had been in November 1957) could have told Selwyn Lloyd that the conflict in Cuba did amount to a civil war with the unspoken implication that the British ambassador and any members of the Secret Service in Cuba never bothered to leave Havana to find out what was happening. The only two additions to the film of Our Man in Havana with a political dimension come in the Wonder Bar scenes where Wormold and Hasselbacher 26. Washington telegram no. 2335 to Foreign Office, Herter to Selwyn Lloyd, November 4, 1959 (PRO: FO 371/139474/AK1223/88), quoted in Phythian & Jardine 1999:50. 27. November 26, 1959 (PRO: CAB 128/36 C60 (59) 4), quoted in Pythian & Jardine 1999:54.
199 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? meet to drink and chat. On one occasion the headline in the newspaper on the bar reads: Latin America in Need of Dollars Not Arms. Then, when Wormold is explaining to Hasselbacher why he wants to take Milly away from Cuba, he says Civil war, men like Segura. That reference to civil war is Greenes very pointed comment at the ignorance of the British gov ernment and its intelligence services about events in Cuba as revealed by the Foreign Secretary in that short period between the publication of novel and the making of the film. The most significant difference between novel and film is the absence from the film of the episode with greatest resonance for the Cuban politi cal situation as Greene experienced it in late 1957: Wormolds trip east to Santiago. 28 Wormold always travels in his old Hillman, but when it breaks down in Santa Clara he decides to go to Santiago by coach: Perhaps in any case it was quicker and safer that way, for in the Oriente province, where the usual rebels held the mountains and Government troops the roads and cities, blocks were frequent and buses less liable to delay than private cars (Greene 1958:77). The phrase the usual rebels perhaps echoes Casablanca s the usual suspects and is entirely characteristic of Greenes careful prevarica tion. It could certainly be Wormolds own phrase, the slightly cynical expres sion of an English expatriate in a Latin American country, always hearing about rebels in the mountains. But just as the original phrase was used by Captain Renault to camouflage Ricks involvement in the killing of Nazi officer Major Strasser, so the usual rebels might equally well obscure Greenes knowledge that the rebels were by no means usual. Any such echo would, in any case, suggest an equivalence between the French resis tance and the struggle against Batista, something that the new Revolutionary government might have had in mind when allowing the film of the novel to be made in Havana. In a delicious twist, the chief of the Service Service in London has a hunch that these rebels do not even exist, that they are just an excuse fabricated by the Cuban government to shut down a censorship over the area, a neat joke of Greenes given his awareness of Batistas attempts to suggest that the rebels did not in fact exist. The tone of the novel darkens considerably during this Oriente epi sode. The evening hours in Santiago are described as the empty dangerous hours of the unofficial curfew (Greene 1958:77). The shops are closed, the streets almost deserted, the greenery hangs dark and heavy. Everyone treats Wormold with suspicion. On his way back from an inconsequential meeting with his retailer (Trade was bad [Greene 1958:78]), he is stopped by two olicemen who want to know what he is doing out so late. It was ten oclock. There is no curfew, as Wormold unwisely points out: 28. Quentin Falk suggests that the film of Our Man in Havana follows the book faithfully with merely a handful of incidental scenes omitted (Falk 2000:105), but this Santiago sequence is far from incidental.
200 PETER HULME Suddenly, without warning, one of the policemen slapped his face. He felt shock rather than anger. He belonged to the law-abiding class; the police were his natural protectors. He put his hand to his cheek and said: What in Gods name do you think ...? The other policeman with a blow in the back sent him stumbling along the pavement. His hat fell off into the filth of the gutter. He said, Give me my hat, and felt himself pushed again. He began to say something about the British Consul and they swung him sideways across the road and sent him reeling. (Greene 1958:79) This sudden violence changes the tone of the novel dramatically. Not for the first time and just as it had done for Greene himself a trip from Havana to Santiago has provided an education in how matters really stand in Cuba. The rumors of repression and brutality no longer seem quite so much in the back ground. Since Wormold focalizes the novel, this almost random violence visited on him in Santiago at the hands of the police is quite startling. It also compromises Wormold morally. When he is threatened with further violence he invokes the name of Captain Segura: He is a friend of my daughter ... I dont think Captain Segura would be pleased (Greene 1958:82), which serves to frighten the policemen into releasing him. Casablanca 29 set a template for postwar political thrillers which it was almost impossible to escape, and the film provides an interesting lens through which to read Our Man in Havana There are some obvious and fairly gen eral similarities between the two: a Third-World setting, a moment of politi cal transition, an individualistic hero caught up in a larger war, a woman who flies in and disrupts the heros life. But most significant is the similarity between Segura and Renault, the two police officers whose ambiguously shifting loyalties lie at the center of the respective works. Both are womaniz ers, though unlike Renault Segura operates entirely properly and Greene is careful not to suggest that Milly is in any imminent sexual danger even though she is a wholly innocent sixteen-year-old when the novel opens, only just within the age of consent. Segura is in fact rather touchingly committed to convincing Wormold that he would make a suitable husband for Milly. He is obsessed by doing things correctly, and his lack of realization as to how little chance of success he has increases his vulnerability, and there fore makes him more sympathetic to readers than he would otherwise be. Renault though superficially a more engaging character with his ready wit and devil-may-care attitude is in fact sexually voracious, selling exit visas to desperate women in exchange for sex, an aspect of Casablanca which only narrowly got past the censors and which the film rather glosses over in its rush to the start of a beautiful friendship ending, with its homoerotic undertones, once Ilsa Lund has, to her evident dismay, been ushered on to the plane to spend the rest of her life with Victor Laszlo. 30 29. Dir. Michael Curtiz, 1942. 30. The Production Code Administration objected to the suggestion that Renault seduced women in exchange for exit visas, see Harmetz 1993:162-64.
201 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? Even more pertinently, both Renault and Segura cover up the murders com mitted by the works respective protagonists. Both culminating scenes take place in airports, where Renault protects Rick from the consequences of him killing Strasser, while Segura, taking his failure to marry Milly with eminently good grace, lets Wormold leave, while giving him the bullet that killed Carter to show that he knows that Wormold is getting away with murder (Figure 2). Greene offers no physical description of Wormold, but conveys an impression of a diffident middle-aged man who is not exactly physically active: anxious and criss-crossed, and fortyish (Greene 1958:4). Alec Guinness, forty-five exactly Wormolds age when he played the part in the film, provides a handy enough image. Wormold is a difficult character to read as Greene no doubt intended. In one sense he is the hero of a comedy and therefore his role is preordained: he will survive all difficulties and get the girl at the end. The problem comes in reconciling the diffidence necessary to get him into trouble in the first place the badly paid job in a Caribbean outpost, the broken mar riage, the daughter out of control with the activity necessary to get him out of the trouble he has got himself into killing the enemy agent who has been sent to murder him. In some ways Greene seems to have looked inwards for this reconciliation: Wormold is often read as something close to a self-portrait and his creation of an imaginary spy network and missile system is presented as the work of a would-be novelist of some considerable imagination. At one point Wormold tells Milly he is becoming an imaginative writer. His char acters the invented agents grew in the dark without his knowledge. You talk like a novelist, Beatrice says to him (Greene 1958:91, 127, 133). Norman Sherry (2005:133) reckons that Wormolds inventiveness makes him closer to Figure 2. Segura with Wormold and Milly at the airport
202 PETER HULME Greene than any other created character in the authors repertoire. Wormold is even given a hint of Greenes own difficult schooldays when Greene was, as he recalled, tortured by a boy called, inevitably, Carter. 31 Even more intriguingl y, the novel clearly suggests that Wormold has the kind of detailed knowledge of Havana nightlife that Greene himself possessed. When Milly suggests going to the Shanghai nightclub for her birthday, Wormold is startled that she has even heard of it; but he knows it well it is where, as he later notes, three pornographic films were shown nightly between nude dances. 32 When 31. For there was a boy at my school called Carter who perfected during my fourteenth and fifteenth years a system of mental torture based on my difficult situation. Carter had an adult imagination he could conceive the conflict of loyalties, loyalties to my age-group, loyalty to my father and brother. The sneering nicknames were inserted like splinters under the nails. I think in time I might have coped with Carter there was an element of reluctant admiration, I believe, on both sides. I admired his ruthlessness, and in an odd way he admired what he wounded in me. Between the torturer and the tortured arises a kind of relationship. So long as the torture continues the torturer has failed, and he recognizes an equality in his victim (Greene 1971:79-80). 32. Before the Revolution the Shanghai was infamous for its live sex shows featuring Superman and numerous female companions. In the novel Superman is actually referred Figure 3. Wormold and Beatrice in the Shanghai nightclub
203 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? Wormold and Beatrice have to warn Teresa, one of his supposed agents work ing at the Shanghai, Wormold knows that the second performance will not yet be over (Figure 3). And to Carters question about where Wormold plans to take him, Wormold replies Any one of a dozen whore-houses. They are all the same ... About a dozen girls to choose from. Theyll do an exhibition for you (Greene 1958:246). Wormold clearly knows his way round the seamy side of Havana. The importance of all this only becomes apparent when Wormold is preparing to kill Carter. Carter has murdered Hasselbacher and tried to kill Wormold and will no doubt try again. So, strictly speaking, Wormold needs no further motivation. But it is apparent that his author feels the need for a differ ent kind of motivation for Carters killing: Carter has to be humiliated before he is killed. By this point in both novel and film, Wormold has gained considerably in status. His wife had left him, he remembers, because he just stands there, as she had put it. But his pseudo-spying activities have given him a new lease of life. He has attracted Beatrice, played in the film by Maureen OHara, then nearly 40 (Beatrice is 31 in the novel), but still a very beautiful woman who had recently played opposite John Wayne in Rio Grande and The Quiet Man to as performing at the San Francisco brothel, but Greene had seen him at the Shanghai, just as he had seen a lesbian show at the Blue Moon, where Wormold takes Carter in the film (Greene 1980:241). Apparently Greene spent quite some time during the filming of Our Man in Havana trying to track down Superman, who had gone underground after the Revolution. For a contemporary account of the Shanghai, see Roberts 1953:226-29. Figure 4. Carter failing to undress the stripper
204 PETER HULME lending Wormold by association an image of masculinity that his demeanor hardly suggests. He has outdrunk Captain Segura and taken his gun, a sym bolic unmanning which requires little interpretation. Just in case we fail to get the point, in the first nightclub they stop at Carter is approached by a stripper to unhook her black lace corsets. (From the front in the film, and they are a lighter color; Figure 4). Carter fumbles and blushes, clearly unfa miliar with the finer points of womens underwear, and Wormold offers to help him. Then, when they approach a brothel, Carter gets even more flus tered and lurches into a pathetic confession that he tries to want women but It doesnt work, Wormold. I cant do what they want (Greene 1958:250). So throughout all these scenes Wormold becomes more and more like his author, with a kind of worldly assurance, and Carter becomes more and more pathetic. Carter tries to argue with Wormold that they are both foot soldiers in some great political struggle and should therefore have some fellow feel ing, but Greene has ensured a deep character division as embodied in dif ferential sexual adequacy, as if to drain any possible empathy in his readers towards Carter. But then, characteristically, Greene pulls back from the divi sion he has just created because Carters humiliating confession makes it less easy for Wormold to kill him: I have to do it, Wormold thought, before he confesses any more to me. With every second the man was becoming human, a creature like oneself whom one might pity or console, not kill (Greene 1958:250). Nonetheless, kill him he does, Greene protecting his hero by hav ing him shoot back as Carter tries to kill him (Figure 5). The figure of Segura is certainly the key to the novels relationship with Cuban realities. Greene did not keep up the pretence that Segura was not based on a real person: in Ways of Escape he openly discussed Ventura Novo, Figure 5. Wormold shooting Carter
205 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? while noting that he had changed a savage Captain Ventura into a cynical Captain Segura. 33 Greene was clearly not interested in simply writing a novel about Batistas Cuba. But the connections between Ventura Novo and Segura are certainly there, most significantly perhaps in the references to torture. Whenever Greene wrote about pre-Revolutionary Cuba, he stressed its reli ance on torture. In the letter he wrote to The Times immediately after Castros overthrow of Batista, berating the British government for the intelligence fail ures which had led to it supplying arms to Batista, Greene highlighted the mutilations and torture practised by leading police officers. 34 Three years later, in a further letter to The Times he broadened the claim, recalling that President Batistas police state, addicted like most police states to the prac tice of torture, was supported not only by the American Government of the time, not only by the more influential racketeers of Las Vegas, who controlled the gambling concessions and brothels of Havana, but also, in a blinkered way by the present British Government (Greene 1989:109). Seguras reputation as a torturer therefore provides one unbreakable con nection to Ventura Novo: Hasselbacher notes that Segura specialises in tor ture and mutilation (Greene 1958:39) and it is well known that he carries a cigarette case made of human skin. But Greene did not want to make Segura a simple copy of his despicable model, partly for generic reasons a com edy thriller cannot have a genuinely evil villain, and partly for intellectual reasons Greene never created black or white characters: the relationship between Segura and Wormold works because of the way Greene complicates our sympathies and expectations. So Segura is given some real complexity as a character. Making Segura a suitor to Wormolds young daughter immediately puts the two characters into an archetypally tense personal relationship, particularly since the two men belong to the same generation: Seguras age is not mentioned in the novel, but Kovacs was forty when the film was made, just five years younger than Wormold (and Guinness). Segura is also allowed a philosophical outlook which could be seen as responding to his islands position within the world order: he is, quite literall y, more worldly-wise than the Englishman. His description of the distinction between the torturable and the untorturable is undeniably cyni cal: One never tortures except by a kind of mutual agreement (Greene 33. Greene 1980:249. He also owns up to Stewart Menzies, head of MI6 during the War, as a model for aspects of the Secret Service chief, and Baron Schacht, whom he had known in Capri, for Hasselbacher (Greene 1980:250). The unsympathetic British ambas sador would have been based on Stanley Fordham. 34. Cubas Civil War, The Times January 3, 1959, in Greene 1989:74-75. He recalled the same incident in a further letter to The Times supportive of the Cuban Revolution on February 21, 1962 (Greene 1989:109-10).
206 PETER HULME 1958:189); but it is followed by a sharply observant account of just who belongs to the torturable class: The poor in my own country, in any Latin American country. The poor of Central Europe and the Orient. Of course in your welfare states you have no poor, so you are untorturable. In Cuba the police can deal as harshly as they like with migrs from Latin America and the Baltic States, but not with visitors from your country or Scandinavia. (Greene 1958:189) Greene had a good eye for postcolonial realities. As with Vietnam in The Quiet American he saw how Third-World countries could become merely the setting for cold-war hostilities with which the global players would prefer not to sully their own territories. In Our Man in Havana Captain Segura is allowed a mea sure of respect, both because ultimately he is a nationalist and because Greene senses that the greater evils are elsewhere. Indeed Segura voices Greenes own analysis, a remarkably prescient one for 1958: Of course we are only a small country, but we lie very close to the American coast. And we point at your own Jamaica base. If a country is surrounded, as Russia is, it will try to punch a hole through from inside. (Greene 1958:188) Oriente never did see the establishment of those large weapons which looked like the insides of a vacuum cleaner, but something not dissimilar happened in 1962 when Khruschev sent nuclear weapons to be stationed on Cuba (actually in the west, in Pinar del Ro). 35 Segura is even allowed to explain away the cigarette case made of human skin: the skin belonged to a police officer who had tortured Seguras father to death. 36 So this was an individual gesture of revenge which serves at least partially to deflect the stories of police brutality and torture. Wormolds final judgment on Segura in the novel is: All the same, he wasnt a bad chap (Greene 1958:262). 37 Admittedly, when Wormold passes this judgment he is in Seguras debt and has committed a murder, so it is not entirely obvious that 35. Greene even managed to parody a future novel about the Cuban missile crisis, Leon Uriss mammoth cold-war tome, Topaz (1967), which was later turned into probably the worst film he ever made by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock had offered ,000 to buy the film rights to Our Man in Havana but Greene had never admired Hitchcock, and wanted Reed to direct the film (Greene 1995:559). On the secret kinship between Greene and Hitchcock, see Sinyard 2003:96-108. 36. Even Captain Segura is allowed a father who was tortured to death by a previous gen eration of policemen, a personal fate which removes him from the gallery of wax figures inhabited by the believers in thrones and powers. His cruelty has a basis in his personal life while theirs belongs to a bland placing of institutions before people (Smith 1986:143). 37. In the film, slightly less ringingly, hes not without humor, perhaps a knowing refer ence to Kovacss TV career as a comedian.
207 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? we should concur, but the remark further blurs any clear divisions readers might want to make between these two characters, one supposedly associated with torture and brutality, the other an upstanding Englishman who knows lit tle about politics but would kill to avenge his friends murder. Judith Adamson (1984:99) suggests that Segura is treated mildly despite being responsible for the books violence: The far less sadistic Harry Lime [in The Third Man ] received a much harsher sentence. But Lime is guilty of killing and maim ing scores of children through his penicillin racket. Although Segura is hated by habaneros and has a reputation for violence, he does not commit any violent acts in the novel. Despite Wormold originally suspecting Segura of Hasselbachers murder, the killer turns out to be Carter, whom Wormold had initially been so pleased to see because Carter stood for the English mid lands, English snobbery, English vulgarity, all the sense of kinship and secu rity the word England implied to him (Greene 1958:210). Wormold felt safe with Carter who had come to Cuba to murder him. All the killings we see in the novel and film are actually done by Englishmen: Carter kills the pilot and Hasselbacher; Wormold kills Carter. So much for English kinship and security, notions that Greene was very keen to puncture. In November 1964 Graham Greene wrote a deeply sarcastic letter to The Daily Telegraph contrasting the U.S.-supported Vietnamese armys trium phalist photographs of their torture of Vietcong prisoners with the good old days in which hypocrisy paid a tribute to virtue by hushing up the tor ture inflicted by its own soldiers and condemning the torture inflicted by the other side (Greene 1989:114-15). Then in November 1971 he berated the British Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling, for his defense of what he called the deep interrogation of IRA suspects long hours of enforced standing, hooding, permanent noise, sleep deprivation. Nobody has ever suf fered permanent injury from these techniques, Maudling said, foreshadow ing Donald Rumsfelds breezy dismissal of exactly the same techniques at the Guantnamo Bay Naval Base. When applied by communists or fascists, Greene noted, we call it torture, but when applied by the British we down grade it to ill treatment (Greene 1989:154-56). The CIA calls it enhanced interrogation. 38 That, fifty years on from Our Man in Havana torture is still at the forefront of debates about how to combat terrorism, and that those debates should still focus on Cuba, but now on a U.S. base situated within the island one suspects that none of this would have come as much of a surprise to Graham Greene. 38 See Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality, A Report by Human Rights First and Physicians for Human Rights, August 2007, http://www.humanrightsfirst.info/pdf/07801-etn-leave-no-marks.pd f ; and McCoy 2006.
208 PETER HULME RE F ERE N CE S ADA M S O N, JU DI TH 1984. Graham Greene and Cinema Norman OK: Pilgrim Books. , 1990. Graham Greene: The Dangerous Edge: Where Art and Politics Meet London: Macmillan. ALL AIN, MA R I EFR AN O IS E 1983. The Other Man: Conversations with Graham Greene Trans. Guido Waldman. London: The Bodley Head. BE DA R D B.J., 1974. Reunion in Havana. Literature Film Quarterly 4(2): 352-58. CI RULE S, EN R IQ UE 2004. The Mafia in Havana: A Caribbean Mob Story Trans. Douglas E. LaPrade. Melbourne: Ocean Press. , 2006. La vida secreta de Meyer Lansky en La Habana Havana: Editorial Ciencias Sociales. [Orig. 2004.] DEP A LM A, AN THO NY 2006. The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times New York: Public Affairs. EN GL IS H T.J., 2008. Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba ... and Then Lost It to the Revolution New York: HarperCollins. EVANS, PETER WI LL IA M 2005. Carol Reed Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press. FA L K, QUE N T IN 2000. Travels in Greeneland: The Complete Guide to the Cinema of Graham Greene London: Reynolds and Hearn. [Orig. 1984.] GINNA, RO B ERT EMMETT 1959. Our Man in Havana. Horizon 2(2): 26-31, 122-26. GREE N E, GR A H A M 1958. Our Man in Havana London: William Heinemann. , 1969. Collected Essays London: The Bodley Head. , 1971. A Sort of Life London: The Bodley Head. , 1980. Ways of Escape London: The Bodley Head. , 1989. Yours etc.: Letters to the Press Ed. Christopher Hawtree. Harmondsworth: Reinhardt Books. , 1990. Reflections Selected and introduced by Judith Adamson. London: Reinhardt Books. , 1995. Mornings in the Dark: The Graham Greene Film Reader Ed. David Parkinson. London: Penguin. , 2007. A Life in Letters Ed. Richard Greene. London: Little, Brown. HA RMET Z, ALJE AN 1993. Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casa blanca Bogart, Bergman, and World War II London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson HA RT DAV LO S, A RM AND O 2004. Aldabonazo: Inside the Cuban Revolutionary Under ground, 1952-58: A Participants Account Ed. Mary-Alice Waters. New York: Pathfinder.
209 GR A H A M GREE N E AND CU BA: OUR MAN IN HAVANA? HULL, CHR IS 2007. Our Arms in Havana: British Military Sales to Batista and Castro, 1958-59. Diplomacy and Statecraft 18(3):593-616. LA CE Y, RO B ERT 1991. Little Man: Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life London: Century. MCCO Y, AL F RE D W., 2006. A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror New York: Metropolitan Books. MA TTHEW S, HER B ERT L., 1961. The Cuban Story New York: George Braziller. MO N TERO, MAY R A 2008. Dancing to Almendra. Trans. Edith Grossman. New York: Picador. PH Y TH IAN, MA R K & JO NA TH AN JA R DIN E 1999. Hunters in the Backyard? The UK, the US and the Question of Arms Sales to Castros Cuba, 1959. Contemporary British History 13(1): 32-61. RO BB, PETER 1999. Midnight in Sicily London: Harvill. RO B ERT S WA LTER AD OLPHE 1953. Havana: The Portrait of a City New York: CowardMcCann. SAN T A M A R IA HAYD E 1980. Moncada: Memories of the Attack that Launched the Cuban Revolution Trans. Robert Taber. Secaucus NJ: Lyle Stuart. SCHW A RT Z RO SA L I E 1997. Pleasure Island: Tourism and Temptation in Cuba Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. SHERR Y NORM AN 2005. The Life of Graham Greene, Vol 3: 1955-1991 London: Pimlico. SINYA R D NE I L 2003. Graham Greene: A Literary Life Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave. SM I TH EA RL E.T., 1991. The Fourth Floor: An Account of the Castro Communist Revolution Washington DC: Selous Foundation Press. [Orig. 1962.] SM I TH GR A H A ME 1986. The Achievement of Graham Greene Brighton, U.K.: The Harvester Press. SM I TH WAYN E S., 1987. The Closest of Enemies: A Personal and Diplomatic Account of U.S.-Cuban Relations Since 1957 New York: W.W. Norton. SO ND ER N JR., FRE D ER I C 1959. Brotherhood of Evil: The Mafia London: Victor Gollancz. WI LL IA M S O N MA LCOLM 1963. Our Man in Havana: Opera in Three Acts: Libretto by Sydney Gilliat Based on the Novel by Graham Greene London: Josef Weinberger. PETER HULME Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies University of Essex Colchester CO4 3SQ, U.K.
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008):211-235 CA THER IN E BE N O T S AINT M ARTIN S C HANGE OF P OLITICAL S TATUS : I NSCRIBING B ORDERS AND IMMIGRATION L AWS ONTO GEOGRAPHICAL SPACE Anthropologists often analyze globalization as the circulation of goods, peo ple, and ideas that triggers the decrease in nation-state prerogatives and the opening of nation states borders. In such an analysis, migrations are trans national: people move back and forth between their home country and the host country. Economic and demographic change in St. Martin seems to be a model for the usual scholarly approach to study globalization. 1 As for the circulation of goods and capital, the economic growth of St. Martin as an offshore financial center and a free port has been due to the movement of untaxed capital for the development of tourism. Where the circulation of peo ple is concerned, up until recently no visa was required for Caribbean citizens, and the absence of a border between the French and the Dutch sides ensured the movement of people from the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe who make up nearly 80 percent of the total population between the two parts of the island. The recent migrations of these people succeeded the migrations of St. Martiners themselves who, from the late nineteenth century until the 1960s, moved to other Caribbean islands or the east coast of the United States either seasonally or permanently. Thus residents of St. Martin have family networks that cover several continents and which can be characterized as transnational. Finally, with regard to the circulation of ideas, English is the mother tongue of St. Martiners, while French and Dutch are the official languages used by the governments. Most residents are multilingual and speak English, French, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. The change in the institutional status of the two parts of the island toward total independence from their respective regional 1. This article was translated from French by Hanneke Teunissen. I use St. Martin to designate the whole of the island, Saint Martin for the French part, and Sint Maarten for the Dutch side. The term Saint Martinois refers to those fami lies living on Saint Martin for several generations, Sint Maarteners to people on Sint Maarten, and St. Martiners includes everyone. I use the term residents for the entire population, including foreigners. For a map of the island, see Figure 1.
212 CA THER IN E BE N O T metropoles, Guadeloupe and Curaao, and a less restricting relationship with France and the Netherlands appear to be the political culmination of eco nomic, demographic, and cultural flows. In reality, only very specific categories of people and goods may move freely to and throughout the island. The poorest migrants who move to St. Martin do so at a high price: they live in a highly precarious legal, social, and financial situation. These residents, most of them without residency docu ments, earn less than the legal minimum wage and live in unhealthy housing conditions. They cannot leave the island for fear of not being able to return; they move around the island with difficulty for fear of being deported. Their mobility is the opposite to that of tourists, residents of European origin, and investors, who enjoy the benefits of duty-free shops and tax breaks on their personal and company incomes. A second anthropological approach to globalization articulates the move ment and the enclosing of populations, the development of international institutions or multinationals, and the reinforcement of certain prerogatives of the nation-state. The globe has not become smaller, it has been reorganized into a hierarchical unity of unequal spaces (Heyman 2004). In the anthropol ogy of borders, which has until recently focused on the study of transborder communities, the analysis has shifted to the political definition of the bor Figure 1. Map of St. Martin Marigot French Airport Saint Martin Terres Basses St. Maarten International Airport Philipsburg 0 1 2 km N S E W
213 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S ders of contemporary states, and studies have shown how the borders of the most prosperous zones are being strengthened. 2 Examples of these borders are the wall at the Mexico-U.S. border, the minefields on the eastern border of Europe, and the wire fences around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco. However, borders are also represented by restrictive legislation on the entry and stay of foreigners. In this article, I examine, above all, the articulation between Saint Martins institutional change and the production of a political space charac terized by the legal and spatial redefinition of the islands borders. A proc ess of territorialization accompanies the creation of the overseas collectiv ity of Saint Martin, causing the islands borders to be closed to foreigners from the Caribbean and the presence of the French state to be reinforced. 3 Furthermore this article introduces two aspects of Caribbean migration that are infrequently dealt with. I bring to light the existence of intra-Caribbean migratory movements, in contrast to most studies that focus on migration to the European and North American continents, and describe the political and legal barriers restricting these migratory movements, which the concept of transnationalism has in part helped to mask (Puri 2003). THE ECO N OM I C AND DEMOGR A PH I C EV OLUT I O N O F ST. MA RT IN In the referendum of December 7, 2003 on the status change of the over seas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Saint Martin, a commune of Guadeloupe, opted to separate from Guadeloupe both administratively and politically, and to increase its autonomy in relation to the French metro pole. In February 2007, Saint Martin became an overseas collectivity (COM, Collectivit doutre-mer) administered by a territorial counsel elected by the population. 4 Sint Maarten is following a similar evolutionary path. In a series of referendums between 2000 and 2005, the islands of the Federation 2. Wilson & Hastings 1998, Vila 2003, Cunningham 2004, Cunningham & Heyman 2004. 3. The following analysis is based on several stays on Saint Martin since 1994 which were dedicated to the therapy management of people living with HIV or sickle cell anemia, and to the change in institutional status. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of this journal for their suggestions and advice, as well as Franck Bardinet and Claire Rodier for their feedback, and Marie Duflo for her attentive and painstaking reading of the analy sis of immigration laws in overseas France. I would not have been able to draw the map of Saint Martin without the assistance of Frank Fulchiero at Connecticut College. 4. St. Barthelemy, formerly a commune of Guadeloupe, is engaged in the same process. Legally, the two COMs are governed by the Loi Organique (2007-223) which states the application of the Constitution and the Loi Ordinaire (2007-224), both dating from February 21, 2007. They fall under the authority of a prefect delegated to the prefect of Guadeloupe.
214 CA THER IN E BE N O T of the Netherlands Antilles, consisting of Curaao, the seat of the federal government, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten voted to change their status. The Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist as a federation. Each island will have a one-on-one relationship with the Netherlands, either with tighter or looser ties to The Hague. In the very near future, Sint Maarten will become an autonomous territory of the Netherlands. The political evolution of St. Martin is a response to the great economic and demographic upheavals that the island experienced since the 1960s for the Dutch part, and for the French part it was in the 1980s when economic development based on tourism was set in motion. THE DE V ELOPME N T O F TOUR IS M The economic development of St. Martin is based on the offshore and tour ism services it offers. Between the beginning of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1990s, the number of tourists and cruise ship passengers choosing St. Martin as a vacation destination increased fiftyfold. 5 In 2004, with approxi mately 1.5 million visitors from cruise ships per year and nearly 500,000 visitors coming to St. Martin by air from the Dutch side few visitors come by air or sea to the French side because the international airport and deepwater harbor are located in Philipsburg St. Martin has become the island with the most visitors of all the islands in the Lesser Antilles. 6 St. Martin has the worlds highest tourism penetration index among forty-seven islands with comparable demographic characteristics and a similar level of development. 7 The French and Dutch sides of the island attract very different types of tour ists. Restaurants in Grand Case and luxury boutiques in Marigot appeal to a wealthy clientele, whereas tax refund electronics stores and shops for cheap jewelry in Philipsburg and hotel-casinos draw more middle-class tourists. Klaus de Albuquerque and Jerome McElroy (1991) have proposed a model for the development of tourism that explains the economic, demo graphic, and environmental changes of the small islands of the Caribbean whose development is based on tourism. 8 The model describes three stages: 5. In 1965, 23,835 tourists visited the island; in 1993 there were more than 1,100,000 visitors. See Chardon & Hartog 1995. 6. Central Bureau of Statistics Netherlands Antilles: http://www.central-bureau-of-sta tistics.an/traffic/traffic_n7.as p and http://www.central-bureau-of-statistics.an/traffic/traf fic_n9.asp. 7. That is, islands with a population of one million inhabitants and an area less than 20,000 km 2 which have opted for tourism-based development. See McElroy 2004. 8. These authors have simplified and adapted the model to the Caribbean situation, basThese authors have simplified and adapted the model to the Caribbean situation, bas ing it on the product cycle model developed in the 1980s by Butler (1980). This model was criticized because characteristics of one stage of development could also be those of
215 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S emergence, expansion, and maturity, the last being characterized by slow or no growth at all (de Albuquerque & McElroy 1991, 1995). The evolution of tourism on St. Martin is a good example of this process. From an island that was frequented by the jet set, it has become an island of middle-class tour ism, one that consists in particular of cruise ships that disembark a stream of visitors who come to spend one day in the tax refund stores in Philipsburg. 9 The emergence phase corresponds to the 1960s, when subsequent to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, St. Martin became a destination for wealthy Americans (Samson 1989). The first hotels were small and were built on the waterfronts at Philipsburg and Little Bay. The expansion phase began in the 1970s in Sint Maarten and in the 1980s in Saint Martin. On the Dutch side it was marked by the development of mass tourism with the construction of hotel complexes that had a capacity of 100 to 600 rooms and a casino. The number of rooms doubled between 1980 and 1990. 10 Investments that made possible the development of tourism on the French side were prompted by tax exemption regulations; the first, called Loi Pons dates from 1986 and reduced the income taxes of individu als and introduced tax breaks for companies. The number of hotels increased by more than thirty between 1986 and 1992. Marinas were constructed to attract luxury yachts. In 1990, the Caribbean was the primary tropical tourist destination: eleve n million tourists vacationed there, and St. Martin was the most popular destination in the Lesser Antilles with 23.6 percent of all who visited that part of the archipelago going there. In 1990, St. Martin became the fourth most popular destination for cruise ships after Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The number of cruise ship passengers spending a day on the island increased fivefold in ten years. 11 In twenty years, the number of tourists arriving via Princess Juliana International Airport was multiplied by five: from 100,000 in 1970 to 528,315 in 1991. The 1990s correspond to the maturity phase. Hurricane Luis (1995) is generally seen as the cause of the decline in tourism because of the infrastruc ture it destroyed, and because it was followed by other hurricanes (George in 1998 and Lenny in 1999). Effectively, since 1995 the number of people coming to the island had decreased, while vacancies in hotels had increased, though the early warning signs of diminished tourism could already be detected since the early 1990s. Since 2003 the number of visitors and the other stages and because they represent the development as being linear, which it is not always the case (Thomas, Pigozzi & Sambrock 2005). See also McElroy 2006. 9. The following remarks are based on my own observations and those of Sanguin 1982, Samson 1989, Chardon & Hartog 1989, 1995, and de Albuquerque & McElroy 1991, 1995. 10. From 1,670 in 1980 to 3,500 in 1990 (de Albuquerque & McElroy 1995:76). 11. 105,000 visitors in 1980 as compared to 515,000 in 1990.
216 CA THER IN E BE N O T occupancy of hotels have risen on the Dutch side, though they have not yet attained pre-Luis figures. On the other hand, the number of cruise ship pas sengers spending a day on the island is increasing significantly. 12 THE DEMOGR A PH I C COMPO SI T I O N O F ST. MA RT IN The construction and exploitation of the tourism infrastructure on St. Martin has relied on labor from the poorest Caribbean islands. These laborers were employed in construction and in the very lowest positions in the service industry and they lived in precarious conditions. Management positions, on the other hand, were held by Europeans, mostly from France. From 1970 to 1990 the population increased by a factor of five and went from 14,000 in the 1970s to more than 60,000 at the end of the 1990s. 13 In 1999, the year of the last census of the entire population of Saint Martin, 14 French of metropolitan origin or from Guadeloupe constituted just over 65 percent of the total population, with those said to be originally from Saint Martin estimated at 15 percent of the total population. 15 The proportion of people of foreign origin was about 32 percent of the population, with a majority from the Caribbean. The proportion of the population living in Saint Martin that originally came from Haiti was 11 percent, about 5 percent came from Dominica, and 4 percent from the Dominican Republic. 16 In 2001 the demographic composition of Sint Maarten was appreciably different from that of Saint Martin. The Dutch population originally from the Netherlands, the Federation of the Netherlands Antilles, or born on Sint Maarten was 50.6 percent. It was thus smaller than the French population of Saint Martin, though Sint Maarteners are more numerous than Saint Martinois, accounting for 30.5 percent of the population. The foreign-born population on 12. From 1991 to 2006 the yearly number of visitors has tripled: it has gone from 469,667 to 1,421,645 (personal communication, Edward Dest, St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, 2007). 13. According to the 1999 census, 29,112 on the French side. According to the intermediar y census in 2001, 30,594 on the Dutch side. In 2005 the population of the island numbered 73,035, 38,000 on Saint Martin (data estimated by INSEE Antilles Guyane & ACSE 2006:9), and 35,035 on Sint Maarten (data estimated by the Central Bureau of Statistics 2005:13). 14. Since January 2004, the census of the resident population in France has been carried out annually and is based on a sample of the population. Before that, it was taken every eight years and concerned the entire population. 15. This is an estimate because the census does not distinguish between Saint Martinois from the French Antilles and metropolitan French contrary to the census of Sint Maarten, which does make the distinction. 16. I calculated these percentages from the data of INSEE Antilles Guyane & ACSE (2006:17).
217 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S Sint Maarten is more significant, constituting nearly 50 percent of its popula tion. More than 30 percent of the total population is Caribbean: 10.1 percent of the population on Sint Maarten is from the Dominican Republic, 9.7 per cent from Haiti, 12.4 percent from Jamaica, Dominica, and Guyana. According to the 1990 census, the percentage of foreigners living on Saint Martin was comparable to that of Sint Maarten, with proportionally more Haitians living on the French side. 17 Between the census in 1990 and the one in 1999, the number of foreign-born inhabitants decreased by 5,700, with 2,600 of them being Haitians. 18 The population of foreign-born inhab itants on Saint Martin decreased by 38 percent; whereas it represented 53 percent of the population in 1990, it was no more than 32 percent in 1999. The reduction in the number of foreigners on Saint Martin is directly related to the policy of deportations implemented by the French government. From 1992 to 1997, this policy led to the deportation of 3,275 foreigners. 19 From an emigration island, with its population in the 1950s migrating to the United States, the island has become an immigration island, with the original population having become a numerical minority and the Caribbean population being kept in a situation where they do not have immigration papers. 20 In the Caribbean context, such demographic dynamics and fates of foreigners are not exceptional. The same is happening on other small, dependent territories such as the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as the Bahamas, which in the 1960s also opted for economic development based on offshore financial services and tourism. The exploitation of labor, largely of Haitian origin, enabled development, and now that the infrastructure of these islands has been completed, these laborers are subject to deportation (St. Jacques 2001; Brown 2004). The border prerogatives of nation-states are revealed in the monitoring of labor-related migrations (Puri 2004). 17. The data available from the 1999 census do not give percentages per nationality but according to the double criteria of nationality and place of birth, that is, immigration sta tus. An immigrant is a person born a foreigner in a foreign country but living in France. A foreigner is a person living in France who does not have the French nationality. On Saint Martin the percentage of foreigners and migrants being more or less the same, I felt I could compare the percentage of migrants on Saint Martin with the percentage of for eigners on Sint Maarten (INSEE Antilles-Guyane & ACSE 2006:5). The appearance of the category of migrant in INSEE statistics is in fact recent and is based on the political stakes studied by Spire 1999. 18. INSEE Antilles-Guyane & ACSE 2006:8. 19. In the aftermath of Hurricane Luis there were 2,769 expulsions and 506 voluntary departures (personal communication with the air and border police (PAF), August 1998; I was unable to obtain the figures for 1990-1991 and 1998-1999). 20. For an introduction to the complexity of Caribbean migration patterns in regard to the legal/illegal status of migrants, see Martinez 1999.
218 CA THER IN E BE N O T Because there was no monitoring of foreigners by the French government before the former were admitted to the island, deportations took the place of the nonexistent border inspections and therefore played the role of exter nal borders. Until August 2007, Saint Martin was an exception as regards the administration of its borders. First of all, the French government had no means of monitoring foreigners entering the island, regardless of whether they were visitors or residents. A large majority of people coming to the island come via Princess Juliana Airport or the harbor at Philipsburg, both on the Dutch side, where the air and border police (Police de lair et des frontires, PAF) cannot operate. Besides, there is no border checkpoint that stands as a physical reminder of the border and shows the links of the two sides with their European metropoles or regulates the flow of people and goods between the two parts of the island. Travelers and residents move from the Dutch to the French side without being asked to show identification, in accordance with the Treaty of Concordia, which, in 1948, ratified the joint use of the island by France and the Netherlands and set the conditions for the circulation of people and goods. Only a monument erected in 1948 to the glory of three centuries of peaceful coexistence stands as a physical reminder of the border. The borders of the French territory are thus defined by Dutch legislation and are monitored by Dutch police. Deportations occur at a proportionally greater frequency in the overseas territories than on metropolitan French soil. The French laws regulating the conditions for the entry and stay of foreigners in France contain specific articles for these territories which facilitate monitoring and deportations. IMM I GR A T I O N LA W S AND THE RE INF ORCEME N T O F BOR D ER S The overseas regions that, together with the French metropole, make up the Republic of France, include several institutional categories of territories. Apart from uninhabited territories and New Caledonia, which has a spe cific status, the first category of territories includes the former colonies of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Runion, which have acquired, with the assimilation law of March 19, 1946, the status of French overseas department (Dpartement doutre-mer, DOM). Since 2004 these DOMs have been designated as departments and overseas regions (Dpartements et rgions doutre-mer, DROMs), confirming that each of these entities is a monodepartmental region. 21 The second category comprises the overseas 21. In continental France, departments and regions are two distinct administrative entiIn continental France, departments and regions are two distinct administrative enti ties, the region encompassing several departments. Each administrative entity is repre sented by an assembly the general council for a department and the regional council for a region. The DROM is both a department and a region and it is represented equally by two assemblies.
219 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S collectivities of St. Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia, St. Barthelemy, and Saint Martin. The French Republic is a plurilegislative state (Rolland & Lampu 1949). Legislation concerning the DROM comes under the principle of assimila tion and is identical to that of the departments and regions of France on the continent, unless, as the constitution of 1958 the founding text of the Fifth Republic, which is still in force indicates, their situation requires adaptations. These measures may not concern certain spheres such as nation ality, civil rights, the administration of justice, and criminal law. The laws regarding the COMs, with the exception of those applicable to St. Pierre and Miquelon, are based on the principle of exceptionalism: the laws are not applied automatically but only when their application is signaled by specific language to that effect. The presence of foreigners in overseas territories is considered by the legislature to be a specific situation requiring adaptive measures. These mea sures may concern a department or even a district within a department, in the case of Saint Martin, or specific regions within a department, in the case of French Guiana and now Guadeloupe, showing the territorial applicability of the law. These measures accompany more restrictive policies than those defined for the territory of the French metropole. In the case of the COM, legislation is defined by an ordinance specific to each collectivity. An analysis of the legislation concerning the conditions for the entry and stay of foreigners allows for a concrete understanding of the implementation of immigration policies by the French government. It shows that a border is not so much a physical demarcation as a political project. The boundary is not a spatial fact with sociological consequences, but a sociological fact that forms itself spatially, to quote Georg Simmels 1993 groundbreaking analysis (Frisby & Featherstone 1997:143). 22 Borders must be analyzed not as a limit, but in the context of the internal political project of the country that constructs them (Febvre 1962, 1949). Until 2005, immigration laws in France were governed by the ordinance of November 2, 1945 on the entry and stay of foreigners in France. This ordinance was regularly modified in accordance with immigration policies defined by the government, leading on March 1, 2005 to the Code de lentre et du sjour des trangers et du droit dasile (Ceseda; Code concerning the entry and stay of foreigners and the right to asylum), which has already been modified by two laws. 23 Following the 1973 oil crisis the French government 22. Georg Simmels analysis of boundaries is part of an essay published in 1903, Soziologie des Raumes, translated for the first time in English in 1997 with the title Sociology of Space in Frisby & Featherstone (1997). 23. The law of July 24, 2006 regarding immigration and integration and the law of November 20, 2007 regarding control of immigration, integration, and asylum.
220 CA THER IN E BE N O T put an end to labor immigration. The modifications to the 1945 Ordinance, with the exception of the modifications made during the first office of the French socialist president, Franois Mitterand (1981-1988), and two laws passed modifying the Ceseda are inclined toward restrictions to the entry and stay of foreigners on French territory. It was not until 1980 with the act of January 10 called Loi Bonnet that the scope of the applicability of the 1945 Ordinance was extended to include the overseas departments. Until then, immigration laws were governed by two decrees dating from colonial times, one from July 29, 1935 for Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Runion, the other from November 4, 1936 for French Guiana. Nevertheless, certain aspects of these decrees regarding the circula tion of foreigners between the overseas departments and the French metro pole applied until 1987 (Rodier 1999). Since 1980, immigration laws always contain specific articles for the over seas territories. These adaptations are characterized by more restrictive condi tions for the entry, transit, and stay of foreigners, extended identity checks, and the easier and more rapid implementation of deportations. 24 Legislatively, notably for Saint Martin, these adjustments took several forms: The application of a law favorable to the conditions of stay of foreigners on French continental territory may be deferred for the overseas depart ments. Thus Loi Deferre an act passed in 1981 which repeals the unfa vorable provisions of Loi Bonnet was postponed for five years for the DOMs. 25 The application of particular articles of a law may be postponed. Thus the law of August 2, 1989 created the Commission du titre de sjour (an advisory body which conveys its recommendation to the prefecture as to the right of a foreigner to apply for the renewal of his or her resident permit) which the prefect must consult if he/she considers refusing the granting of or the renewal of a residency visa, the commission being only an advisory body. The law of January 10, 1990 created the possibility of filing a suspensive appeal with a judge against a deportation order so that a foreigner may be allowed to stay in France until the decision by a tribunal. These two laws postponed for five years the application of these provisions for the DOMs and St. Pierre and Miquelon. The law of August 24, 1993 once more prolonged this exception for another five years, after which Loi Chevnement of 1998 extended it once again for five years for Saint Martin and French Guiana. 24. For a chronological review of legislation concerning foreigners, see Alaux 1997; GISTI, Cercle Frantz Fanon, Association des juristes pour la reconnaissance des droits fondamentaux des immigrs 1989; GISTI 2007 25. In fact it never took effect because in 1986 the return of the political Right to power in the first coalition and the passing of the Loi Pasqua in the same year also meant a return to the positive aspects of the Loi Deferre
221 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S The permanence of restrictive provisions that were supposed to be tem porary. The internal security law of March 18, 2003 makes permanent the postponement of five years for the creation of a Commission du titre de sjour and the possibility of suspensive appeal for Saint Martin and French Guiana. The extension of articles enacted for one commune or one DROM to other communes or DROMs. The July 24, 2006 law called Loi Sarkozy extended for a period of five years to the whole of Guadeloupe the nonsuspensive character of appeals against deportation orders; until then this provision had only existed in the department for the commune of Saint Martin. The same law gives Guadeloupe and Mayotte the right to carry out identity checks without written permission from the district attorney; until then that possibility had only existed for French Guiana (since 1997). 26 The right to asylum, which is the same for the metropolitan and overseas ter ritories is, in fact, applied differently, and overseas requests for refugee status have little chance of succeeding (Castagnos-Sen 2006). In the same way as for immigration laws, circulation between the DROM and the metropole betrays a dual perception of French territory: The enforcement decree of the Schengen Convention, signed in 1995, which allows a foreigner with a short-stay visa (called a Schengen visa) entering one of the signatory countries, or one of those associated with the convention, to travel freely between these states does not apply to the French overseas territories even though it does apply to the overseas ter ritories of Spain the Canary Islands and Portugal the Azore Islands and Madeira. A Schengen visa, which is valid for entry to the French metropole, is not valid for the DROM and vice versa. Even if no visa is required to enter the French metropole, a visa may nev ertheless be required for the DROMs, depending on the nationality of the foreigner (Duflo 2007). Different visas are necessary to travel from one DROM to the other, except those in the Americas (Rodier 1999). DEPORT A T I O NS IN THE GU IS E O F BOR D ER CO N TROL Between 2002 and 2007, when the present president of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, was the Minister of the Interior (2002-2004 and 2005-2007) five laws pertaining to immigration or asylum and five other laws concern 26. In France, the police may only check ones identity in the event of a flagrant delict or with a written order from the public prosecutor for a specific zone in the territory where offences are likely to occur.
222 CA THER IN E BE N O T ing criminal infractions, the war on terrorism, and security were passed. In 2003 the implementation of a policy aiming to increase the number of deportations of foreigners without documents led to, in 2006, quotas being assigned to each prefecture, and the civil servants at these prefectures are penalized if they do not meet their set targets. 27 The creation of a Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity, and Co-development (Ministre de limmigration, de lidentit nationale et du co-dveloppement) by presi dential decree on May 18, 2007 upholds the idea that migrants threaten the identity of the French nation insofar as the concept of a national identity is pertinent and that they must be deported. The use of the word rafle (raid) for the massive arrests of foreigners is subject to debates in France because historically it was used as a term for the arrests of Jews during World War II and the Algerian population during the Algerian War of Independence. The Dictionnaire historique de la langue franaise (The historic dictionary of the French language) unambiguously defines rafle as a police method consisting of arresting people in great numbers (Rey 2000). An examination of the attitude and methods of the French police in the past and today shows similarities that justify using the term. There are at least four similarities: a certain number of individuals living on French soil are considered unde sirable; techniques used to detain people designated as suspects are identical: sending misleading invitations to prefectures to trap the undocumented foreigner once there, the school arrests of children for so-called humani tarian reasons, that is, so as not to separate deported parents and children though detaining parents whose children are born and go to school in France could be considered humanitarian home arrests, mass arrests by neighborhood racial profiling; confinement in detention centers before deportation; group deportations, these days in charter flights. 28 27. Because they had not met the quotas assigned to their departments, nineteen prefects were summoned on October 14, 2007 by the Minister of the Interior (M. C. T. & A. N., Brice Hortefeux convoque les prfets qui nexpulsent pas assez, Le Figaro October 14, 2007). The French president dismissed the director of the police gnrale of the prefecture of Paris (DPGPP) by decree on January 16, 2008 for not having met the deportation quota: he had been responsible for only 2,800 instead of 3,680 deportations (Giovannoni 2007). 28. For this analysis I draw upon Terray 2006, and blogs by Jean-Pierre Dubois, Techniquement, rafle est le mot juste, Contrejournal 27 September 2007, http://contrejour nal. blogs.liberation.fr/mon_weblog/2007/09/jean-pierre-dub.html, and Laurent Giovannoni, Les rafles ont commenc quand la police avait du mal atteindre ses objectifs, Contrejournal 28 September 2007, http://contrejournal.blogs.liberation.fr/mon_weblog/ 2007/ 09/giovannoni.html.
223 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S The increase in the number of deportations and the manner in which arrests are conducted have led the secretary general of Cimade, an association which plays a major role in France in supporting and defending foreigners, in par ticular of people requesting asylum, to speak of the industrialization of deportations. 29 Though the raids in metropolitan France in their current form reappeared in 2003, when through the circular of October 22, the Ministry of the Interior requested that the number of deportations be doubled, they had already been taking place in the overseas territories at the beginning of the 1990s, espe cially in French Guiana and on Saint Martin, where adaptations to the 1945 Ordinance facilitated deportations. Everyone living on Saint Martin in the 1990s can recall the early-morning police raids: the red vans of the PAF driv ing towards the Haitian neighborhoods, men warning, by telephone or by cries, of the arrival of the police, the encircling of the neighborhoods, warrant less work and home arrests, and the airplanes on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Grand Case airport that flew off the deportees without the legal deportation measures having been observed. Hurricane Luis, which in September of 1995 left the island in ruins, presented the French state, the municipality of Saint Martin, and the government of Sint Maarten with the opportunity of razing the shanty towns of the island, the collection of cardboard palaces as two jour nalists called them, and increasing the number of deportations. 30 A delegation of lawyers, members of a Martiniquan association in support of foreigners rights (Association Solidarit Karayib, ASSOKA), as well as a larger delega tion consisting of several French associations for the protection of the rights of foreigners and the unions of judges and lawyers of France (Syndicat de la magistrature, Syndicat des avocats de France) concluded that the destruction of these homes was illegal. Several French tribunals recognized the respon sibilities of the municipality and the French government, but appeals slowed down the procedures leading to compensation (Manville 1999). The arrests took place in the morning at the time that workers were heading to their jobs, and on days when Maternal and Child Health Office (Protection maternelle et infantile) visits were held at the hospital or public clinics. This led to dimin ished activity at the hospital in Marigot and there was a notable decrease in the number of deliveries following Hurricane Luis (Bardinet, de Caunes & Hamlet 1995). From 1993 to 1997 there were about 460 to 600 deportations 29. Karl Laske, Interview de Laurent Giovannoni On est confront une industrialisa tion de lloignement, Contrejournal December 28, 2007, http://contrejournal.blogs. liberation.fr/mon_weblog/2007/12/on-est-confront.html. 30. Mario Kleinmoedig & Henky Looman, Paleizen als van karton, Beurs Magazine no. 12, 1995, pp. 14-17. Where Saint Martin is concerned, as of December 31, 1995, the number of official voluntary returns since September 6, 1995 was 506, the number of deportations between September 6 and December 31 was 190 (ASSOKA et al. 1996).
224 CA THER IN E BE N O T per year. They seem to have decreased thereafter: from 2001-2006 there were 1,931 deportations, an average of 257 per year. 31 The year 2006, which is the year deportation quotas were introduced, marks a turning point in the increase of deportations. They reached a figure of 413, surpassing the objective of 280 set by the Ministry of the Interior. The number for the first half of 2007 was 263, whereas the goal set by the Ministry of the Interior was 300 for the year. Identity checks are carried out as part of the raids, or on a more individual basis, such as in the operating room of the hospital of Saint Martin. The refusal of employers to register their employees, the near total absence of social assistance for undocumented or documented foreigners from the com mune of Saint Martin and the regional council of Guadeloupe, and the infre quency with which residence permits are granted together shape the precarious ness of the living conditions of the foreign population, so that these populations are more susceptible to economic exploitation. The foreign population lives in legal and structural marginalization, to quote Paul Brodwins character ization of the Haitian situation in Guadeloupe, which makes their economic exploitation easier and facilitates their deportation when they are deemed to have become too numerous (Brodwin 2003). Undocumented foreigners are people who work but who are not registered. In many cases employees, if they wish to be registered, pay their employers social security taxes. The number of jobs rose from 2,800 in 1982 to 12,000 in 1990, but there were hardly 400 employees registered between 1985 and 1991 for the 2,685 companies oper ating on the island (Marie 1991). After Hurricane Luis, to protest against the growing number of deportations which were going to deprive them of cheap labor, some entrepreneurs went as far as slashing police car tires to limit the number of round-ups (Alaux & Tillie 1996). According to the local intelli gence services, between 5,000 and 10,000 persons are presently undocumented on Saint Martin, which amounts to between 40 and 80 percent of the 13,000 immigrants living on the territory (Comit interministriel de contrle de limmigration 2007:170-1; INSEE Antilles Guyane & ACSE 2006:9). INB ETWEE NI T Y, THE POL I T I C A L BOR D ER S O F SOC IA L WEL FA RE, AND THE REG I ME O F MO BI L I T Y The concept of inbetweenity proposed by Dennis Brown (2004) to characte r ize the position of Haitian migrants on the Turks and Caicos Islands also applies to the Caribbean migrants on Saint Martin, particularly 31. Comit interministriel de contrle de limmigration (2006, 2007) for the period 2001-2005 and year 2006 respectively. Personal communication with the PAF for the first half of 2007.
225 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S Haitians. As a result of their undocumented sojourn, migrants occupy the social and spatial fringes of their host country the bush on the Turks and Caicos Islands, certain neighborhoods on the periphery of Saint Martin where they hide away for fear of being deported. In a context of discrimina tion and human rights violations, on Saint Martin, just as on the Turks and Caicos Islands, migrants access work with difficulty, and health care and social services limitedly. In fact, the borders are deterritorialized; they are institutional (Spener & Staudt 1998). For John Crowley (2005) the institutional border consists of mecha nisms which turn access to social security into a site of immigration con trol away from the physical border enclosing a territory. On Saint Martin, this institutional border has always existed because of the difficulty, if not impossibility, for foreigners, even those with documents, to get access to the welfare benefits that French law guarantees. In a sense this institutional border became territorial in 1999 with the introduction of CMU (Couverture mdicale universelle, free basic medical care for everyone) which requires foreigners to show proof of having been on French soil for three months in order to receive care. This border has been strengthened in that social assis tance and the prefecture demand additional proof of residency in order to provide social care or grant residency permits. Take, for example, the question of the one-year resident permits for care (visa de sjour pour raison mdicale) which intersects that of visa delivery and access to social assistance. Obtaining such a one-year, renewable permit, extended to foreigners who suffer from an extremely serious illness which cannot be treated in the country of origin, is a real obstacle course, replete with persecutory measures. How well the file is put together depends upon the abilities of the social workers at the hospital who have increasingly been led to educate themselves about the law in order to be able to deal with the difficulties and arbitrariness of the administration. The notifications of the medical inspector of Guadeloupe have always been in favor of granting these permits, which the prefecture has never denied until now. Today nearly 350 foreigners benefit from this right to a stay for medical reasons. Nevertheless, the person requesting permission rarely receives an actual document giving permission, but only three-month extension slips. The actual permits are printed in France, and employees of the prefecture recently protested that there was no request form to get them, even though the form is available on the internet. And in the case of permits delivered a few days before their expiry date, employees of the prefecture either throw them away or staple them to the receipt of the renewal request if the receipt is ready at that moment. The permits are only delivered or renewed with great difficulty under the pretext that the person requesting such a permit has committed vari ous offences. Such is the case of Mr. R, who had been suffering from a chronic
226 CA THER IN E BE N O T illness for ten years and in August 2005 was refused a seventh permit, with the claim that Martinique had issued a deportation order for him in 1980. 32 Mr. R asserts that he has never been to Martinique. Since many surnames in the Caribbean are homonymous, there is a strong chance that the deporta tion order on Martinique was issued for someone else. The subprefecture of Saint Martin, however, demanded that Mr. R supply them with proof that the order has been repealed if he wishes to remain on Saint Martin. In November 2006 the prefecture of Martinique informed the subprefecture of Saint Martin that it cannot repeal the deportation order because the file of Mr. R or the per son with the same name has been lost. The prefecture specified that if Mr. R does not pose a threat to the public order there is no reason to deny him a medical permit. It was necessary for a Paris-based medical NGO to inter vene and appeal to the Prefect of Saint Martin for a temporary authorization for Mr. R, which was granted in July 2007, allowing him to stay for three months. For more than two years, Mr. R did not have residency papers and had lost his medical coverage as an undocumented foreigner he no longer had access to social assistance and the various forms of social assistance that he had received until 2005. Moreover, he was in a very vulnerable posi tion if he were to be arrested and issued a deportation order. In a more banal and practically systematic way, the difficulties with this type of visa begin when the file is put together. Few foreigners are able to furnish the necessary proof of residency, that is, a rent receipt and a water bill bearing their name, or proof of housing with a photocopy of the ID of the renter no landlord likes to declare that he is lodging an undocumented migrant, if only to avoid being convicted for helping undocumented migrants. As for the required identification papers, a passport, and a birth certificate, the spelling of the names is often different on all documents, leading to suspicion about the identity of the plaintiff. When all documents have finally been assembled, the vigilance, support, and expertise of the medical team at the hospital are needed to trace the files, prepare the renewal requests for the permits two months before the expiry date, keep a copy of the file, and photocopy the permit requests and extension slips, which the prefecture often claims to lose. The visas for medical reasons belong to the regime of mobility that Horng-Luen Wang (2004) conceptualized to designate state control over the movement of persons from the moment a passport or visa has been issued. This regime of mobility which defines the political border is based on territorial residency and is more restricted now that Saint Martin is a collectivity. 32. The name and place of residence of this person have been changed to protect his identity.
227 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S THE CRE A T I O N O F NEW BOR D ER S A speech by the mayor of the commune before the senatorial commission on the island in January 2006 set the tune for upcoming policies concerning foreigners. After having described the way in which the presence of the population of immigrants overburdens the collectivity in collective needs and resources he specified [that] the territory of Saint Martin must be made socially less attractive for its Caribbean neighbors. Revising family reunifi cation is a priority. The same goes for the criteria for settling in the territory, which must become more restrictive. Without this the collectivity will not be able to function and is destined for failure. 33 The territorial council governing the collectivity of Saint Martin elected in July 2007 is currently preparing for the transfer of administrative compe tencies from the department/region of Guadeloupe and from the French gov ernment in the domains of taxation, regional planning, economic develop ment, and social affairs. Activities of the French government proper, such as foreign affairs, security, and immigration laws will remain under the control of the state. The change in status for Saint Martin will see even more restric tive migration policies being put in place. First, just as in the other COMs, an ordinance whose implementation is foreseen in 2008 will regulate the conditions of entry and stay of foreigners and will make deportations easier. Next the enforcement decree of a cooperative accord between France and the Netherlands on the shared surveillance of the islands borders published in 2007 has allowed the PAF to begin the inspection of foreigners arriving on the island. THE CRE A T I O N O F AN IN TER NA L BOR D ER: THE RE INF ORCEME N T O F THE INS T I TUT I O NA L BOR D ER AND OR DINAN CE Even though it is difficult to say precisely what a future ordinance for Saint Martin will contain, it is possible that it will be inspired by that of Mayotte, a COM in the Indian Ocean that has the most deportations of all French overseas territories. The number was at 13,258 in 2006, or 20 percent of the foreign population. 34 The employees of the prefecture of Saint Martin draw a parallel between the migratory situation on Saint Martin and Mayotte. The poorest people in the Caribbean or on the Comoro Islands are said to be 33. For the full text of the speech, see http://statut.sxml.com/index.php?option=com_con tent&task=view&id=202&Itemid=35. 34. At the time of the census in 2002, there were 160,265 people. In 2006, there were 9,633 documented foreigners as opposed to an estimated 50,000 undocumented foreigner s (Comit interministriel de contrle de limmigration 2007:171).
228 CA THER IN E BE N O T attracted to the island and they are said to migrate to French territories not because they find work there, but because their families benefit from social welfare, their children have access to the French educational system, and the women can deliver their babies in a French hospital. In the case of Saint Martin, one forgets that undocumented foreigners were reported to the PAF in hospitals and that numerous foreigners, in particular Haitians, had their passports confiscated at the front desk until they were able to pay the costs of their care, which could amount to several thousands of euros. 35 Without an internal border, people are able to circulate freely, that is, with out an identity check, between the French and the Dutch sides of the island. The French and Saint Martin authorities ceaselessly emphasize that not only undocumented foreigners living on the French side use the social, sanitary, and educational infrastructure, but also foreigners living on the Dutch side, who are not able to access care and the educational system without costs. The issuing of permits and the granting of social assistance will require a greater number of documents proving residence by the French side. The ordinance will reincorporate the restrictive articles of the law of July 24, 2006, called Loi Sarkozy 2 for Guadeloupe, notably the identity checks without written authorization from the district attorney within a one-kilomete r zone along the coastline. Given the shape and layout of Saint Martin, the inspections along the coastlines on the east and west will in fact function as internal border inspections while the border has no physical presence in the form of border control checkpoints. THE MA TER IA L IZA T I O N O F AN EX TER NA L BOR D ER: SH A RE D BOR D ER INS PECT I O NS B ETWEE N THE FRE N CH AND THE DUTCH An important change, tied to the signing on August 21, 2007 of an enforce ment decree of a cooperative treaty between France and the Netherlands on the shared inspection of the borders and retroactive since August 1, 2007, is going to take effect. 36 A pilot committee of ten people, amongst them two lawyers, is being assembled for the implementation of this treaty. PAF agents will be in charge of border surveillance for Saint Martin, while agents of the foreign police are charged with the responsibility on Sint Maarten. According to Article 13 of this treaty, agents will carry out the inspection of foreign nationals, except those from European countries, coming from countries to be drawn up in a 35. It was not until September 2007 that one of the key figures involved in this form of embezzlement was arrested and incarcerated in Guadeloupe. 36. This accord, the groundwork of which began in 1979, was signed by France and the Netherlands on May 17, 1994 and then ratified by the French National Assembly on July 25, 1995 and the parliament of the tripartite Kingdom of the Netherlands in October 2006.
229 SAIN T MA RT INS CH AN GE O F POL I T I C A L ST A TU S list by the pilot committee. The pilot committee will instate a working group in charge of identifying flights that are sensitive; the list will be kept upto-date for joint controls. An emergency procedure will be put in place for flights that are not on the list but which turn out to need inspection. Entry will be granted in accordance with the conditions defined by Article 4, that is, essentially the possession of a visa or a disembarkation authoriza tion valid for both sides of the territory allowing the crossing of the border. This treaty will lead to the harmonization of the list of countries from which the citizens must have a visa to enter the island. If PAF agents ask for the removal of a person, the police of Sint Maarten will make the decision to remove that person. The border is an active verb wrote Henk van Houtum (Van Houtum, Kramsch & Zierhofer 2005:3). In the case of the French overseas depart ments, the borders are active verbs of inspection and rejection of foreigners. Upon a proposal by the present Minister of European and Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner, the senatorial committee of foreign affairs adopted, on December 11, 2007, a bill on transborder cooperation between France and Suriname to monitor the movement of people from one side of the Maroni River, while the populations living along the river have always occupied both sides at the same time their settlements could be on the French side while their gardens were on the Surinamese side. 37 The treaty is supposed to be the cornerstone of future policies on border inspections on Saint Martin, to such a point that for some employees of the prefecture if the inspection of the entry of adults is going to be sorted out at Juliana Airport, we must focus on the code of nationality and the children. On Mayotte, Ceseda already authorizes the registrar to contest the acknowl edgement of paternity, and a bill seeking to revise the nationality code was up for proposal in Parliament before being rejected by the Council of State (Uni-e-s contre une immigration jetable 2007). In this context of border closings, the border is not simply a physical line marking the separation between two territories, it is made up of ports of entry which are, according to the analysis by Heyman (2004), the nodes of a world that is shutting itself off to the movements of populations. CO N CLU SI O N The status change suggests four issues for a future research agenda. First, the institutional evolution of St. Martin toward a status of association with, rather than total independence from, the European metropoles follows the evolu 37. For a summary of Bernard Kouchners hearing before the senatorial commission on foreign affairs, see http://www.senat.fr/bulletin/20071210/etr.html#toc.
230 CA THER IN E BE N O T tion of numerous small microinsular states which do not seek total political independence but which explore the various kinds of associations with their metropoles in order to retain the political and economic advantages tied to this dependence. 38 Even more paradoxical, however, is that the transformation of Saint Martin into a COM reinforces the presence of the French government on the territory. How, therefore, do we characterize the postcolonial situation of the French overseas territories? Second, the creation of the COM entails the creation of a territory at an almost primary level: the delimitation of a new political entity by means of borders. As such, the anthropology of borders is also an anthropology of nationalisms that need to be closely explored (Wilson & Hastings 1998). Third, the place of Saint Martin in migratory policies illu minates the central role of the peripheral territories in defining France and Europe. Since the 1990s the island has been closing itself off to migrants, and the status of COM creates and strengthens new borders. St. Martin, called the Friendly Island, is often described as a laboratory for cultural encounters (Guadeloupe 2006), but in reality the island is an experimental laboratory of repressive policies regarding foreigners (Migrants Outre-Mer 2007). The cooperative accord on the shared monitoring of the islands borders, the pos sibility of border inspections at the airport, the reinforcement of the insti tutional border for access to social assistance, the greater ease with which identity checks can be done and with which deportation can take place are all means which France and the European Union have also put in place to moni tor the presence of foreigners on European soil (Tsoukala 2005). The island has become an outpost for the most restrictive immigration policies of France and Europe. The borders of Saint Martin, like those of other DROMs, are the borders of overseas Europe. The overseas fortress is thereby one of the first walls of a Europe which is closing itself off to migratory movements (Uni-e-s contre une immigration jetable 2007). Actually, the study of border crossing in the context of globalization is the study of the permeability of borders, especially as concerns the circulation of capital, but it is also the study of the bounding of bordering process (Newman 2005), of rebordering (Spener & Staudt 1998), and of the closing of borders to the poorest populations and political refugees (Guild 2005). In the case of Saint Martin, and also of French Guiana and Mayotte, these borders are closing to the historical movements of populations in the region. For Mayotte and French Guiana, the migrant populations considered to be illegal are populations who, not long ago, were French, such as that of the Comoros before the 1975 independence from France, or populations that never defined themselves as French or non-French 38. For a typology of the kinds of governance in the Small Antilles and the advantages of dependence, see Hintjens 1994, 1997, McElroy & Pearce 2006a, McElroy & Sanborn 2005, McElroy 2006. For an analysis of separatist and autonomous tendencies, see Taglioni 2005. For the Dutch Antilles see Oostindie 2006, Oostindie & Klinkers 2003. For Sint Maarten see Altink 2003.
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New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008):237-263 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT S OI -D ISANT C OLUMBUSES : T HE D ISCOVERY OF D OMINICA S B OILING L AKE AND THE C OMMODIFICATION OF K NOWLEDGE IN C OLONIAL SOCIETIES No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the Main. John Donne, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1623) My picture would be in the Illustrated London News , he explained, rather pathetically. I have always wanted to be in the Illustrated London News . Elizabeth Peters, The Mummy Case (1985) It may indeed be a truth universally acknowledged that no man is an island, entire of itself. Nonetheless, the entirety upon itself that Donne assumes as a given in connection to islands may be true only as far as geography and geometry are concerned or perhaps, in the case of the poet, as far as the pure idea, the literary conceit, goes. The truth is that given the pernicious history of European colonization around the world, no island has retained its entirety of itself for very long after being discovered by Europeans. One may thus wonder if Donne himself was quite unaware of the irony implicit in his verses. In 1596, more than a quarter century before he penned his famous lines, he had had his own brush with conquest and colonization. In that year, he had enlisted in the Earl of Essexs unsuccessful privateering expedition against Cadiz, and in 1597 he had sailed with Essex and Sir Walter Ralegh in the near-disastrous Islands Expedition, which had sought to intercept Spanish ships bringing gold and silver from South America as they sailed past the Azores. The un-colonized island, like Donnes entire-of-itself-man, is a rare phe nomenon. Discovery, whether of island or man, entangles the discovered in a complex web of relationships and connections of power, of capital, of language, of culture that forestalls self-containment. It means to move from
238 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT self-containment to the ambivalent state of being a piece of the continent, a part of the Main. The hierarchy of discovery may place the discoverer in an advantageous position, but it constitutes nonetheless a fleeting, unrepeat able moment, since once the surprise is surpassed, discoverer and discovered must turn to each other with an identical question now what? The answer to that question, as far as islands around the world are concerned, has been a broad variety of colonialisms as many, perhaps, as there have been islands to colonize. The processes that have become known as colonization are perplexingly complex, as they have emerged out of interactions between the colonizer and the colonized, each transformed by the other through peculiar symbioses, neither to remain the same. The colonization of islands, spaces where self-containment has often led to varied and idiosyncratic cultures, has produced myriad forms of colonialism that can hardly be subsumed by one singular term. The forms they take and the changes they undergo in response to specific historical, political, economic, and social circumstances are directly the result of the specificities of local conditions. They can best be understood, not by totalizing theories that essentialize a colonial expe rience and critique some apparently understandable and graspable notion of colonialism, but by a detailed knowledge of the historical and material conditions responsible for specific phenomena at specific times. A rich vein of colonial phenomena whose study yields significant glimpse s into the various forms colonialism takes in the West Indies is found in the discoveries of Caribbean geological sites and phenomena that followed in the wake of Charles Darwins momentous five-year scientific expedition of 1831-1836 recounted in his Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle (1839). Between 1839 and the first decade of the twentieth century years during which natural history emerged as a scientific discipline a number of scien tific and pseudoscientific travelers, aided and abetted by the increased ease of travel fostered by new technologies and bankrolled by Victorian prosperity, descended upon the Caribbean islands in search of anthropological glimpses at native societies and the opportunity to gaze at and collect specimens of local flora and fauna. Their particular gaze on the Caribbean entered into the debate over colonial control of the islands cultural, political, and economic development raging in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Among the targets of discovery in this period was Dominicas Boiling Lake, a site whose exposure to the larger world in 1875 became the focus of heated debate in the island between Euro-American scientific knowledge and local lore. The lake is the centerpiece of the Valley of Desolation, a rockstrewn, barren, rumbling valley of bubbling fumaroles and simmering pools of water nestled deep within the range of high forest-clad mountains of southern Dominica. The lake itself, fenced in by perpendicular banks of ash and pumice sixty to a hundred feet high, extends about seventy yards across and one hun
239 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E dred and ten yards in length. It lies 2,300 feet above sea level, and its waters, heated to near two hundred degrees Farenheit, rise and fall to the pressure of escaping gases. It appears to the traveler, in the words of William Palgrave, one of its earliest European visitors, as a gigantic seething cauldron, covered with rapid steam, through which, when the veil is for a moment blown apart by the mountain breeze, appears as a confused mass of tossing waves, crossing and clashing in every direction a chaos of boiling water (Palgrave 1877:372). I would like to offer here through a discussion of the discursive com plexities of the discovery and exploration of the Boiling Lake an example of the various ways in which the visits and resulting texts of the lakes dis coverers enter the discourse of national formation in the Caribbean, seeking in many cases to reinscribe colonial and imperial categories threatened by emerging Creole elites and newly emancipated peasantries in the islands postslavery economies. The rhetorical complexities of the narratives of dis covery and exploration of the Boiling Lake opened a space where conflicting versions of history, clashing discourses, and contrasting disciplines conflated. The attempts of its discoverers to impose upon a specific Dominican space the cultural categories of Euro-American pseudoscientific discourse came up against a contestatory local discourse, resulting in a struggle to determine what negotiations were necessary for a particular narrative of the history of the lakes discovery to emerge. The Boiling Lake was allegedly discovered that is, first visited by white Europeans in January 1875. Its discoverers, Edmund Watt and Henry Nicholls, were young midlevel colonial officials in Dominica. Although only in their mid-twenties, they held the sort of positions unattainable for someone of their youth and inexperience except in colonial settings. Watt was a magistrate, and Nicholls, a recent graduate from the medical schools at the universities of Aberdeen and London, was superintendent of hospitals. As officials in the growing bureaucracy of the empire, they interpreted their mandate as representatives of the Crown as requiring their chronicling in great detail the natural and anthropological phenomena encompassed within their imperial gaze. Themselves avid readers of exploration narratives, and aware of the publicity value of such publications to help them out of a colo nial backwater, they reported their feat widely in the scientific journal Nature and the more popular Illustrated London News The Times and The Field They recounted the strenuous hike as Dominican anthropologist Lennox Honychurch realistically describes it in the tones of dramatic Victorian adventure, similar to exploring the Congo or reaching the source of the Nile (Honychurch 1991:62). Their zeal in spreading the tidings of their momen tous achievement was such that by the time Hesketh Bell arrived in 1899 to take up his post as Dominicas administrator, he acknowledged the lake to be the chief sight of Dominica (Bell 1946:10). My interest in encounters such as that of the Boiling Lake stems in part from the understanding that such discoveries serve to historicize the speci
240 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT ficities of the various forms of colonialisms operating in the West Indies in the second half of the nineteenth century. In The Historical Anthropology of Text, Neil L. Whitehead argues for the necessity of fully contextualizing the texts that result from first contact situations such as that of the discov ery of the Boiling Lake, which constitute a special class of historical event which is much rarer and more limited than its iconography in current debates would suggest (Whitehead 1995:55). Methodologically, he proposes that, in addition to the study of the internal tropes through which these accounts have been constructed, we consider native social and cultural praxis, particularly as expressed in native tropes, of course retrospectively constructed from artefactual, tex tual and oral records. While the description of this native praxis is obvi ously an initial object of European textual description, native praxis is itself a necessary and viable context for the interpretation and analysis of European texts: quite literally, it is a context it goes with the text. (Whitehead 1995:55) My approach to the study of this particular encounter as illustrative of the responses of colonial representations and practices as specific to par ticular social, political, and geographical circumstances follows Whitehead as well as Nicholas Thomass Colonialisms Cultures which argues for an understanding of a pluralized field of colonial narratives, which are seen less as signs than as practices, or as signifying practices rather than elements of a code (Thomas 1994:8-9). Thomas has based his notions on Pierre Bourdieus analytic strategy, which situates colonial representations and narratives in terms of agents, locations and periods conducive to a vision of colonialisms rather than colonialism (Thomas 1994:9). The colony of Dominica had a complex early history. It had been one of several territories granted by Royal Decree to the Earl of Carlisle in 1627, but it was not successfully settled until the mid-eighteenth century, when French planters established sugar plantations on the island. Despite com ing firmly under English control on 1805, it remained, until well into the twentieth century, French at heart. The peasantry, and to a certain extent the powerful colored Creole elite of small-scale planters and merchants, held adamantly to their French patois or Kwyol even though government schools (to which the peasantry had very limited access) taught only English (Eliot 1938:222). British influence, however, was manifest in the institutions, the administrative and legislative patterns, the political model, and the style of social life among the community of English settlers (Paravisini-Gebert 1996:3-4). This white community was small and generally not very wealthy. Landowners often allowed their overseers to run their estates, and the island lacked the society rooted in grand estate houses that characterized the white upper classes of Antigua and Jamaica.
241 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E The island had, in fact, never partaken of the legendary riches spawned by the plantation economy. The fertility of its soil was legendary, but the sugar plantation was already past its heyday when the price collapse of the 1880s virtually wiped it out. Dominica, moreover, had always been a relatively inef ficient sugar producer. The planters ill-fated decision to switch from coffee to sugar cultivation in the 1840s had come just a few decades before market prices began the irrevocable decline (see Trouillot 1988:56-57). The islands rugged terrain and poor infrastructure had kept the size of plantations small, and they could not compete with the larger, more technologically advanced plantations on other islands. The dependence on local overseers many of them of mixed race had contributed to the entrenchment of the powerful colored elite who exerted considerable influence on local government. The topography also made the black population much more independent; there had been, even before emancipation, large settlements of free Blacks and Mulattoes who owned land or lived as squatters on abandoned or neglected estates. After the sugar industrys collapse, a number of potentially profitable cash crops were tried cacao, vanilla, and spices, cassava for starch, rubber, Liberian coffee, limes, and most recently, bananas. Moreover, the colored elite dominated the Legislative Council; the Brown Privilege Bill of 1831 had ended political discrimination based on race, leading to a majority of col ored members in the legislature by 1838 (Honychurch 1984:34). Throughout the nineteenth century the British colonial government attempted unsuccess fully to curb the influence of the colored elite by proposing changes that would give colonial officials more influence on government matters. Henry Nichollss career as a colonial official in Dominica developed against the background of these political tensions. An ambitious man who held appointed positions in the local legislative council until his death in 1929, Dr. Nicholls built his reputation (and a modest fortune) on his scientific endeavors. In his two reports to the government (1880 and 1894) on the cure for yaws (which translated local curative practices into scientific discourse) added to the fame he had earned as the lakes discoverer. His experiments in the cul tivation of lime at his estate at St. Aroment, it is claimed, set the foundation for the Dominican economy from the collapse of sugar exportation in 1885 until the late 1950s. (Nicholls worked with his mentor, Dr. John Imray, on adapting the Martiniquan process of extracting essential oil from the lime rind [Trouillot 1988:60].) When James Anthony Froude visited Dominica in the late 1880s, he described Nicholls as the only man in the island of really superior attainments (Froude 1888:164-65). The discovery of the Boiling Lake in 1875 was, for Nicholls, the beginning of a career as a colonial official of scientific accomplishments. His initial reaction to the discovery however, was marked by awe rather than scientific restraint. His description of the expedition to the lake, published in the magazine The Field in June 1876 attempts to imbue the moment of arrival with all the wonder of grandiose achievement:
242 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT Scrambling over the masses of sulphur we attained the summit and from thence beheld a most marvellous sight. We seemed to be upon the brink of an awful abyss, from whence were vomited up volumes of hot steam and suffocating vapours. Loud rumbling noises and peculiar bubbling sounds saluted our ears; noxious sulphureous gases filled our nostrils. Altogether the sound was so strange, so unexpected, so wonderful, that many minutes elapsed before we were able to speak to each other. We stood still and gazed on. After a time the wind veered and blew aside the vapours, when we saw at our feet a Boiling Lake! 1 Bernard Smith has suggested, in European Vision and the South Pacific that European control of the world required a landscape practice that could first survey and describe, then evoke an emotional engagement with the land that new settlers had alienated from its aboriginal inhabitants (Smith 1985:9). In this his first description of the view of the lake represented as being at our feet Nicholls makes a fetish out of his discovery, eroticizing it in a mimicry of surrender and signaling its first salvo as a tourist sight. Whether this fetishizing of the view will lead to the control that Nichollss rhetoric takes for granted is another matter entirely. A discovered site, Thomas has argued, could be subsumed to the form of a picture, and seeing a thing first as a representation and secondly as something beyond a representation created a peculiar sense of power on the side of the viewing colonist, which was of course not necessarily reflected in real control over the populations in any par ticular place (Thomas 1994:112). Ironically, when placed in the context of Dominican society in 1875, Nicholls and Watts will-to-discover might very well have been inspired by their perceived need to help firm up English con trol over a colony and a local population consistently slipping out of British grasp. Lennox Honychurch has argued convincingly in The Dominica Story (1984) that so successful was the local resistance that Dominica became the only West Indian island where British colonial control was successfully chal lenged in the nineteenth century (see Savory 1998:5-6). Nichollss rhetorical approach is above all a mimetic element that lays bare the language of its pretext, revealing its antecedents in a growing litera ture of geographical exploration and discovery. His bombastic dissemination of information about the discovery of the Boiling Lake, of which the article in The Field is but one example, fulfills two functions. It indicates to the reader how he/she ought to assess the importance of the achievement at hand, while equating the text generically with the contemporary accounts of geographical discovery flooding the European book market. Nicholls, for example, appeals to the readers sense of wonder an almost de rigueur rhetorical response to a discovery. Stephen Greenblatt, writing about the literature of the explora tion of South America, identifies wonder as the discoverers stock response: 1. Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls, Dominicas Boiling Lake, The Field June 1876, p. 6.
243 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E Wonder thrilling, potentially dangerous, momentary immobilizing, charged at once with desire, ignorance, and fear is the quintessential human response to what Descartes calls a first encounter (Greenblatt 1991:20). Watt and Nichollss reports responded to a mimetic impulse mediated by the popularity of the narratives on geographical and scientific explora tion that had created a new breed of popular hero in Victorian England, the scientist-cum-explorer whose exploits were read widely in the pages of the Illustrated London News and other publications intended for the edifica tion and entertainment of the British middle and upper classes. The fabu lous expanses of terrain, the exotic locales and architecture, the wondrous tales of rituals and ceremonies, the unfamiliar peoples and races contrib uted to enhancing the nation and its Queen in the eyes of British subjects at home and abroad. As imperial propaganda, they served to justify conquest and colonization abroad, often providing the link between expatriate fami lies throughout the Empire. As entertainment, they encouraged the illusion among the middle classes that they possessed valuable knowledge that they could share with a pretense of culture during elegant dinner parties. The texts most closely linked to Nicholls and Watts adventure were those published between 1873 and 1875 by and about Lieutenant Verney Lovett Cameron (1844-1894) following his 3,000-mile walk across Africa from Zanzibar on the Indian Ocean to Benguela, on the Atlantic coast (later col lected in his Across Africa 1877). In 1872, Cameron had been commissioned by the Royal Geographical Society to lead an expedition to locate and bring aid to the missionary/explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873), thought to be lost in eastern Africa. Livingstones adventures had been one of the most closely followed and richly reported of all exploration narratives of the latter half of the nineteenth century, and this intense focus turned towards Cameron as his expedition, shortly after leaving Zanzibar, met Livingstones servants bearing his body and continued on to Lake Tanganyika to recover the late explorers papers. Camerons expedition had gone on to establish the lakes outlet at the Lukuga River and trace the Congo-Zambezi watershed, reaching the African west coast in 1875. The lieutenant, unabashedly entrepreneurial, exploited his fame and dashing good looks to further his career as an explorer. Upon his return to England he hit the lecture circuit with lan, followed his exploits with his best-selling book, Across Africa and for the rest of his short life was associated with commercial projects in Africa, among them the Cape to Cairo railway partially built by Cecil Rhodes and the African-Asian railway from Tripoli, Libya, to Karachi [now Pakistan]. Dominican writer F. Sterns-Fadelle, in a pamphlet grandly entitled The Boiling Lake of Dominica: A Historical and Descriptive Account of a Unique Phenomenon (1902), speaks of his own contribution to the discovery of the lake in 1875 as having consisted of lending Watt, an intimate friend from boy
244 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT hood, his copies of Camerons descriptions of his African expedition. Having read Cameron, Watt, who had always been given to indulge in the roving pro pensities which were to him as an instinct, was inspired with an enormous zeal to imitate his pedestrian prototype in footing it across the island (SternsFadelle 1902:4). Watts first Cameron-inspired transisland trek was a cheery catastrophe. Abandoned by his guides, he loses his way in the mountains an abandonment that Sterns-Fadelle compares, not without a trace of pompous irony, to Emanuel Gomezs abandonment of Ferdinand Magellan on his voy age of discovery through the South American Straits. Search parties are sent out in fruitless pursuit, and Watt emerges from the deep tropical wilderness a week later, a wild figure, clad in foul rags, with matted hair, bronzed and sunken cheeks and hungry eyes (Sterns-Fadelle 1902:5). His reports on his wanderings among the sulphur-crusted boulders of the Grande Soufrire and of his intimations of the presence of some important and unknown volcanic center in that region, would lead to a second expedition during which the Watt-Nicholls party would reach the lake itself. I want to return to Sterns-Fadelles report of Watts admiration and imita tion of Camerons texts as directly conducive to the Boiling Lake expedition, because it points to a most vital gap between their tale of the lakes discovery and its rhetorical models. The discovery of the lake is an enterprise mediated by the narratives of the achievements of travelers trekking across vast con tinents (Africa, Asia, South America) in quest of natural wonders, which in turn lead to the appropriation of vast expanses of land and the incorporation of myriad peoples into the expanding British Empire. The discovery of the Boiling Lake, by contrast, is an island-bound enter prise that does not lend itself to hyperbolic epic treatment without a slight tinge of irony, given the noncontinental dimensions of the terrain to be tra versed. Dominica is, after all, a small island some thirty-five miles long and fifteen miles wide at its broadest expanse. It is not a land mass, despite the thickness of its forests and difficult topography, that can hide its geologi cal treasures from the truly committed explorer for very long. In this finite island terrain, Camerons continental expedition must be reduced to Watt and Nichollss strenuous island hike. Watt and Nicholls may write grandiosely about their achievement without self-irony, but more objective observers such as Sterns-Fadelle cannot. The latter will write of the discovery of the lake as an expedition which marks an epoch in the history of Dominica, but cannot refrain from showering good-humored irony on his friend Watt, who is credited with surviving his earlier ordeal to write a thrilling narra tive of his earlier adventures and sufferings as he painfully wended his weary way through the four or five square miles covering the area of the sulphur beds (Sterns-Fadelle 1902:7, 6). If irony and parody are Sterns-Fadelles strategies to account for the rhe torical gap between Nicholls and Watts narratives and an enterprise that
245 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E lacks heroic proportions, the so-called discoverers will predictably seek to confer importance on their feat by turning to the native peasant population as ignorant, superstitious, unscientific mirrors to their comparative bravery and intrepidity. Discourses of conquest, Nicholas Thomas has observed, often seem to operate through denigrated stereotypes, through types of others such as the savage or lazy native as they do in most accounts of the discov ery of Dominicas Boiling Lake (Thomas 1994:124). Charles William Day, writing about Dominica in his Five Years Residence in the West Indies (1852) before the discovery of the Boiling Lake, already posited the white European would-be discoverer in a superior relationship to the native (peasant or Creole bourgeois alike), possessors of a lesser kind of knowledge, or of no knowledge at all. Claiming that two-thirds of the island territory has never been explored (revealing thus his own ignorance of exten sive eighteenth-century surveys and maps by the likes of Rigobert Bonne, Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, Thomas Jefferys, and Emanuel and Thomas Bowen), Day alludes to the natives lack of courage for exploration (i.e., enterprise) and intimates his belief that discovery is a European prerogative: No one here has spirit enough to organize an expedition into the interior, out of the beaten track. Vague rumours occasionally come down from erratic negroes: but to the civilized world if the term be not misapplied in toto to the white population out here the interior of Dominica is as much a terra incognita as the sources of the White Nile in Africa. ... A very fine, extensive lake is said to exist in the interior of Dominica but no white man has, as yet, seen it. Any race of whites might readily populate the moun tainous regions of these islands; and a very good way, too, it would be of gradually superseding the necessity for the negro. (Day 1852:239) Day is writing at a time when geographical exploration had become the Empires chief weapon for expansion and economic development. His critique of the Dominicans lack of enterprise fits into a well-developed rhetoric of jus tification of continued colonization that requires the presentation of the natives (regardless of race or class) as lesser beings whom it is quite fit to dispossess. Lacking in all the attributes needed for supremacy the result of ethnic, racial, cultural, technological, and economic inferiority they are not equipped to value and exploit the land and resources they possess. His anticipation of forth coming discovery by white [British] men, as these geological features are already known to erratic negroes, outlines a series of discursive strategies that we will find oft-repeated in the many accounts of travels to the Boiling Lake that follow in the wake its discovery. Bravery will be the province of Whites; cowardice that of the natives. True knowledge, as an attribute of white civilization, must eventually replace the natives erratic notions. Discovery and exploration must lead to white colonization, and thus to the replacement of
246 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT the native (whether that means substitution of natives by Whites or the replace ment of the native in his proper subordinate space, he does not make clear). It would be easy to set aside Days dismissal of the negroes incapac ity for enterprise as stemming from racialized presuppositions that are part and parcel of colonial thought. From this perspective, there would be no role for the black native (if the term is adequate to refer to populations made native by forced migration and enslavement), except as cheap labor, in the economic and social development of colonized territories for which geographical exploration was such a cornerstone. The negro, Day claims, will ever be a bad peasant; and nature has unfitted him for anything higher in the social scale (Day 1852:239). The fact, however, is that Day is writing, at best, with very little understanding of Dominica or, at worst, with a con scious intention of distorting the truth about the realities of island conditions. Of previous geographical exploration by the French colonizers who preceded the British in Dominica he seems to know nothing. Of the prosperous, eco nomically and politically powerful Creole elite (most of them colored) he has nothing to say in this context, except perhaps inasmuch as they are the whites only partially deserving of the title of civilized. The independentminded peasantry, which from his perspective is superfluous except to the degree that their labor was required for the renewal of the plantation econo my after emancipation must have appeared to him as a considerable threat to colonial control. The truth was that in Dominica, Creole and expatriate lack of enterprise in populating the interior the result, for the most part, of the obstacles to expansion posed by the often impenetrable mountainous ter rain had left it open to black peasant ownership. In Dominica, whose mountainous terrain and poor infrastructure had made it a site marginal to the large sugar plantation model that dominated the regions economy, local mulatto families had secured a foothold in the medium-scale plantation economy that set the standards for production on the island. As a result, it possessed a fairly entrenched Creole middle class. In any case, by the time of Days visit, those among the more recent English settlers (medical officers, government officials, vicars, and tutors) who ventured into planta tion agriculture (as did Dr. Nicholls and his mentor, John Imray) did so with varying degrees of moderate success, primarily because of unstable access to potential workers. As Rolph Trouillot has observed in Peasants and Capital in late nineteenth-century Dominica, the contradiction between property rela tions on the one hand and labor and distribution relations on the other was obvious: planters owned the land, but sharecroppers could exploit the low sup ply of labor to impose distribution conditions more favorable to themselves (Trouillot 1988:86). The presence of large settlements of free Blacks and Mulattoes who owned land or lived as squatters in abandoned estates had pro duced an independent-minded peasantry, which included a substantial popula tion of Caribs, who had a virtual free rein in the interior of the island and were
247 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E accustomed to negotiating the terms of their employment and the parameters of their acceptance or rejection of foreign and local power with greater free dom than their counterparts in neighboring islands. This was not a group of natives Creole, black, or Carib, peasant or bourgeois likely to accept the passive role imposed on them by these narratives of discovery without an attempt at inserting their own versions of events into the tale. Nichollss original account of their discovery becomes the mediating text for subsequent essays on visits to the site, and this narrative, as pub lished in The Field in 1876, seeks to place the local peasantry in the position of an audience so intellectually and courageously (because racially) inferior as to reflect the white discoverers feat in its proper, superior light. Nicholls acknowledges no irony in describing how he had sent two peasants as an advance party to open a track through the primeval forest they do so with such assurance of the most expedient route to the lake as to take the group there almost directly but disparages as superstitious the very knowledge of the local terrain that makes it possible for the group to find the lake by the morning of the second day. Given the relatively modest distance traversed, and the apparent certainty of imminent arrival, the expedition is more akin to a party of tourists led by experienced guides. William Palgrave, who accompanied Nicholls on his third expedition to the lake in 1877, juggles some torturous rhetoric in dismissing the pos sibility of previous native/local awareness of the lakes existence, only to acknowledge that Watt and Nichollss 1875 feat was somewhere between a task of verification and a discovery. The ascent to the lake, he concludes, though more than once attempted, had for seventy years at least remained unaccomplished: Tradition only, speaking through an old French description of the island, told of a large and active soufrire, nestled amid the highest ranges ... But for a century or thereabouts not only had no European succeeded in penetrating to this reported wonder; no negro charcoal-burner, however familiar with the bush, had pushed his rovings to the brink of the sou frire; the Caribs ... knew nothing, or at any rate had nothing to say, of the lonely region that towered above their abodes. The strong smell of sulphur, that when the wind happened to be from the southeast, reached the town of Roseau itself, though at a distance of fourteen or fifteen miles in a straight line, alone gave witness how huge must be the dimensions, how constant the activity of the soufrire whence it proceeded. (Palgrave 1877:367) This curious passage, which speaks with such authority about the natives igno rance and silence, unveils the assumption that knowledge can only be claimed by the existence of a text. Palgrave falls easily into the fallacy of assuming that a lack of literacy on the part of the native peasant population precludes the pos sibility of knowledge. The assumption had marked colonial thought since the
248 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT earliest writings of the Spanish conquistadores who privileged the mastery of writing as an unmistakably superior representational technology: The unlettered peoples of the New World could not bring the strangers into focus; conceptual inadequacy severely impeded, indeed virtually preclude d, an accurate perception of the other. The culture that possessed writing could accurately represent to itself (and hence strategically manipulate) the cul ture without writing, but the reverse was not true. (Greenblatt 1991:11) Drawing upon Tzvetan Todorovs work on the rhetoric of the conquest of America, Greenblatt wonders if there indeed is a technology of symbolism as capable of evolution as the technology of tools, and whether this indeed means that societies possessing writing are more advanced than societies without writing (Todorov 1984:80). The assumption has entered the rheto ric of discovery as a given, providing an a priori rationale for establishing and describing relationships between discoverers/colonists and natives. In the writings of latter-day discoverers, such as Nichollss, the absence of writing on which these cultural hierarchies were built is conflated with the absence of literacy, as if they were identical phenomena and resulted in iden tical incapacities for self-representation. The Dominican peasantry these discoverers encountered in 1875, how ever, did not live in a society marked by the absence of writing. They may have been illiterate in a literate society, but they had a working command of three languages (French, Kwyol or local patois, and English) and a rhetori cal tradition (which they shared with the local Creole elite) that had mastered parody, irony, mockery, and humor as ways of negotiating the subtleties of colonial rule. These negotiating strategies required a nuanced understand ing of the colonizers ways that allowed for veiled scorn and strategically deployed sarcasm. Long experienced in navigating colonial relations across three languages and in using irony and derision as weapons, they were well versed in the verbal artillery required to conduct a ritual of power plays. Faced with English colonial supremacy, the native Dominicans, peasant and bourgeois alike, struck back by mocking Whites. With these rhetorical complexities as background, it is perhaps easier to understand the temptation to silence the Dominican peasant in the narra tive of the discovery and exploration of the lake or to find a discourse the local population, peasant as well as bourgeois, did not command that of science. The strategy seems twofold: either the native has nothing to say for himself about the existence of the lake, or what he has to say is mere folklore that never rises to the category of science. Given the professionalization of science that had marked nineteenth-century Europe, true knowledge about the Boiling Lake was only possible through the writing of scientific or pseu doscientific texts. The development of scientific methodology in the century before had created a hierarchy of discourses that separated the information
249 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E accessible to the common man from that available to the specialist. Bruno Latour, in The Pasteurization of France uses the history of the laboratory to show how the creation of a space designed for isolated experimentation sepa rated scientific knowledge from commonplace experience (Latour 1988). In the laboratory, Latour suggests, unprecedented things were now to be expressed in written signs (Latour 1988:85) that created a hierarchy of its own formulas, equations, reports that constituted a separate discourse. Discovery in the laboratory as well as in the field followed by detailed expli cation of the features and uses of the phenomenon discovered was the mark of the true scientist. Hence the commodity value of the claim to discovery for Dr. Nicholls, who had, after all, been educated as a medical doctor in British universities that had trained many of the foremost British scientists and explorers of the day and that had followed his writings on the discovery of the lake with a number of serious scientific papers on various geological and botanical phenomena in the West Indies. Palgrave, a writer with scientific pretensions of his own, when forced to question the validity of Nichollss claim, will turn a critical eye on the latters own narrative of discovery, letting its own bombastic rhetoric they described [the lake] as by far surpassing in extent and grandeur anything yet known in the West Indies deflate itself when made to stand against his debunking of the enterprise as confirma tion rather than discovery (Palgrave 1877:366). But he will still attempt to salvage Nichollss claim to a discovery of scientific importance. His and Watts discovery, though difficult and even dangerous of access, may not be available to any ends (i.e., not exploitable comercially), but still remains something of curiosity, perhaps of science (Palgrave 1877:367). The issue of whether knowledge about the lake constitutes science and of who possesses and controls that knowledge is central to this discussion. Hence my interest in the natives unacknowledged knowledge. These narratives that silence the native or reduce his utterances to superstition or folklore prompt questions such as How much did the native know? And when did he know it? Bernard Cohn, writing about the conquest of India a continental conquest if there ever was one describes the importance of securing and disseminating official colonial knowledge to sustaining the notion of Empire: the conquest of India was a conquest of knowledge ... the vast social world that was India had to be classified, categorized and bounded before it could be hierachized (Cohn 1985:283-84). A similar colonial mandate motivates the many visitors to the Boiling Lake that followed in the wake of its discovery, but the scale of investigation is much narrower, as befits an island-bound enterprise. So here I must return to Dominicas island condition and the likelihood of the peasantry not knowing about the existence of the lake before its discovery. Nicholls acknowledges no prior information about the lake, other than the intimations in Watts narrative of his rampage through the woods. Day speaks of notions put forth by erratic negroes. Palgrave even denies the
250 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT natives the title of guides, as it presupposes prior knowledge, preferring to refer to them as the carriers of our provisions, hammocks, and so forth, claiming the existence of no track, except what we might make for our selves (a we that does not include the silent bearers who are actually open ing a path through the dense tropical forest with their cutlasses). Palgrave can, in the same breath, negate any prior knowledge on the part of the natives while chastising them for their silence and lack of imagination about the lake: I wish that I had some interesting legend to recount connected with the spot and for such we curiously inquired, but in vain, from our dusky atten dants. No negro, no Carib tradition adds the wonders of imagination to those of fact; no story of past demi-god or devil, of nymph or neckar, assigns an origin or a history to the Lake ... the Boiling Lake has, for aught that we could discover, remained a mere natural phenomenon for Indians and Creoles no less than for Europeans; and when ... one of our atten dants, turning back, addressed the vaporous gulf with a cabalistic SalaamAleykum picked up from some African cousin of Mohammedan origin, he gave the first and only expression of superstition aroused by the view. (Palgrave 1877:373, 374) Palgraves disappointed expectations of legends and myths betray his assump tion that the Dominican peasant, as a premodern man, would have responded to the existence of a Boiling Lake through archaic, nonscientific modes of thought and superstitious rituals. His rather keen disappointment upon find ing that the local peasantry has treated the lake as a mere natural phenom enon seems only to reduce the peasantrys own value as a phenomenon whose own myths and legends would contribute to the value of the lakes discovery. Surprisingly, Hendrik De Leeuw, upon questioning his guide in the 1920s, finds that many tales and legends have been hatched about this awe-inspiring place (De Leeuw 1937:225). Natives, he explained, feared visiting the place, believing that miserable and vengeful ghosts and evil spirits wander about, perpetrating dirty work and nasty tricks. Other superstitious natives would leave offerings of food at the lake to appease the mountain spirits and would warn visitors that they could be sucked to the bottom of the cauldron by a sudden and irresistible force as punishment for presuming to disturb the peace of the spirits. Inquiries about spirits and ghostly apparitions left the guide shaking like an aspen leaf, twitching about like a parched pea. Frederick Endlich, for example, writing for the American Naturalist in 1880, describes a minor volcanic eruption at the lake, presaged by a huge dark cloud hovering over Roseau and followed by a rain of fine particles of some gray, mineral-like material that covered all foliage and vegetation. He juxtaposes in his description the apprehension awakened in those believing the mysterious legends as to volcanic activity on the island with the cool observers, among whom Dr. Nicholls of Roseau was prominent (Endlich
251 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E 1880:766). Describing his expedition to the lake he claims that as his group neared the point of greatest chemical activity they were deserted by their guides adding that it was not that their guidance was in the least valu able, but [that] we wanted them to carry specimens (Endlich 1880:765). No persuasion or threat availed to make them follow, he claims, since they believed that the mountain was inhabited by evil spirits. A refusal to get nearer because of an awareness of possible dangers connected to the environ ment does not seem to occur to him. However, there is little in the tradition of Dominican folk knts (tales) that would justify such fears relating to the Boiling Lake. Among the tales gathered by Gary Ray Smith in his compre hensive study of the Dominican oral tradition (1991), only one cautionary tale, The Dangerous Forest, could be indirectly connected to the dangers lurking within a lake such as the Boiling Lake. There is, however, a tongue-in-cheek nature to these tales of supersti tious natives that forces the reader to wonder particularly in the absence of any such superstitions surrounding the lake in Dominican folklore prior to the 1875 discovery if they have been invented by the writers, or more likely, by savvy guides who understood the value of legend and superstition as commodities bound to make the exotic experience of visiting the lake more titillating to tourists. There is a performative aspect involved in the dramatic Salaam Aleykum of Palgraves guide that suggests an impromptu response to the explorers expectations of superstition and legend, an implicit understanding that the addition of those elements would increase the touristic value of the lake and bring more income to the village of Laudat, from which the guides were drawn. Are the explorers, one wonders, having their prover bial leg pulled? Have their guides, indeed, invented a tradition of myth and legend to satisfy the expectations of foreign visitors? The possibility of an ironic reading based on the natives perception of the visitors expectations which they could have easily gleaned from the Europeans inquiries allows for a more nuanced analysis of these writings about the lakes discovery. Often in these texts, the natives fears (whether real or assumed by the writers) are countered by descriptions of the white visitors coolness and fearlessness. American geologist Kenneth Earle, describing the terrible spectacle of the Boiling Lake in his Geological Notes on the Island of Dominica, describes a small beach at the north end of the lake as accessible to photographers and other venturesome spirits but not to negro guides! (Earle 1928:182). However, the local guides fearfulness if seen from their perspective can be read as understand able caution. Most of the guides involved in the increasingly large number of visits to the Boiling Lake throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries belonged to the Rowle family of Laudat, many of whose members had witnessed or been the victims of all the fatal accidents that had taken place at that same beach to which they would not venture. When accounts of
252 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT their fearfulness are read from their perspective, fear becomes acceptable caution and the visitors courage turns into reckless arrogance. In visitors texts, the Dominican peasantrys easy familiarity with nature is the only knowledge they are easily granted. When abilities are acknowledged, they are physical rather than intellectual. Endlich has little to say in praise of the local guides, other than to commend their climbing quality and endurance (Endlich 1880:796). Likewise Stuart Elliott who, writing in 1951, in awe at his guides remarkable climbing ability, resorts to comparisons with animals: His soles were a half inch thick with callouses and were as tough as a tapirs hide; and his toes, unwarped by any artificiality, were broad and straight and widely spread. When he stepped on a slippery rock, his toes curled around the edge and gripped almost like the clutch of a bird. 2 A. Hyatt Verrill, in The Book of the West Indies credits the natives superior understanding of the physical conditions that makes access to the lake safe (he relies on their knowledge of when they would be safe from poisonous gases) but falls into delighted surprise when he sees how cleverly the men use the lakes boiling waters and hot steam to prepare their food in Natures stove (Verrill 1917:23). Familiarity is expected, ingenuity is not. Frederick Ober, an American naturalist who visited the lake in 1879, is the first visitor who grants the Dominicans a voice, thus breaking the peasants customary silence in these narratives. Proud of being the first American to look upon [the lake] and the first of any nationality to take a photograph, he is also the first to include in his account extended instances of reported speech (Ober 1904:333). In his Camps in the Caribbees (1886), he describes the mountaineers who lead him into the forest in search of rare species of birds, as bronzed as to complexion, and very much mixed up as to ancestry ..., faithful, honest, untiringly zealous in serving, and as woodsmen ... unsur passed (Ober 1886:67). Perhaps Obers more democratic American perspective explains the vivid presence of the Dominican peasant in his writings, although this presence is not without condescension or an understanding that their evident superior ity in nature is nonetheless class-bound. His guide to the lake, a Laudat man known as Zizi (Jean Baptiste Rowle, Watt and Nichollss guide, who some years later died by falling into the lake), was the embodiment of all the serv ingmans virtues, and had moreover an overwhelming regard for the white man the white man whom he could respect who, he said, was next to the Bon Dieu. White man he next to God; I thank ze Bon Dieu eef I can speks ze Eengleesh (Ober 1904:333-34). 2. Stuart E. Elliot, The Mouth of Hell, Natural History December 1951, p. 443.
253 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E Ober opens the narrative of his visit to the lake in 1877 by questioning the possibility of its remaining undiscovered and unknown until so recently: It seems incredible that in an island with scarce one hundred miles of coast line, and containing only three hundred square miles, there could exist not only a lake of boiling water, detonating frequently with loud reports, but a large area of volcanic activity, without any human being being aware of the fact through several centuries (Ober 1904:336). He, moreover, allows one of his boys, Joseph Rowle, to tell the story of Watts clueless ramble in some approximation of his own words: Msieu Watt he walk, walk, walk, pour tree day: he lose hees clos, hees pants cut off; he make nozing pour manger but root; he have no knife, no nozing; hees guide was town neegah ... ; zey was town neegah, sah, and leab him and loss him. Bien, he come to black mans ajoupa in wood, an ze black man sink he jombie an he run; when he come back wiz some more men for look for jombie Msieu Watt he make coople of sign for he have loss hees voice and was not to spek an zey deescovair heem. (Ober 1886:67-68) Figure 1. Joseph Rowle and family, Laudat, Dominica, circa 1890 (courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History) This version of Watts Lost in the Woods episode underscores the foolish ness and credulity of young Watt as he embarks on his nearly disastrous ramble through the dense Dominican tropical forest. Seen from the native peasants perspective, it would be sheer madness to venture into the forest trusting to town people unfamiliar with the terrain, with no knife or cutlass of his own to cut through the bush, and with no ability or knowledge to secure anything to
254 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT eat but roots. When he emerges from the forest, traumatized and unrecogniz able as a man, he resembles someone who has gone to the other side, who has endured a sort of death, a jombie And in an inversion of the norm in narratives of discovery, Watt goes native (i.e., he is silenced and needs to communicate by coople of sign) and the natives must deescovair or recognize him. Ober may have been charmed by Rowles quaintness of language and expression into including this first-person narrative into his account, without realizing that it represents an almost revolutionary stance. From questioning the possibility of the lake having remained undiscovered until 1875 to ridiculing Watt, his account reveals a peasant in full command of his rational powers, ready to read Watts behavior in a critical light, expressing his own superior under standing of what was required to avoid such an unnecessary adventure. Similarly, in an 1880 letter to the Royal Geographic Society, G.B. Blanc, the islands Surveyor General, inserts into his description of a recent erup tion at Dominicas Grand Soufrire his second-hand account of the report of a team of villagers from Laudat. Here, the villagers report is appropriated into a scientific account published in one of the premier forums for such information in the world. Their narrative reverts to the benefit of the surveyor general to whose reputation as a scientist it contributes while the peasants themselves remain outside the scope of scientific discourse: this morning the people of Laudat ... observed that the ridge which divides the watershed of the central branches of the Roseau Rives from the north ern branch of the Point Mulatre River has almost disappeared ... I sent a party of experienced woodmen to ascertain the extent of the country destroyed, and they reported that after passing the middle branch of the head-waters of the Roseau River, the path ... was completely obliterated ... They were obliged to follow the middle branch up, wading knee-deep in the soft, sandy ash thrown out by the convulsion ... From the ridge, which had considerably fallen in height, away to the east as far as the deep valley of the Point Mulatre below the Boiling Lake, was a bare, barren mass of debris; not, they say a standing tree or leaf to be seen ... Whether the lake as a lake existed or not they could not tell as they did not get within a mile of it. (Blanc 1880:62, my emphasis) These accounts, however, are exceptions among the many narratives that reduce the native to the role of a silent bearer, a strategy that would be easy to attribute to a racist impulse or monolingual arrogance that seeks to impose sci entific discourse over superstitious ramblings as the means to assert the social and economic hierarchies of colonial societies. But in Dominica in 1875, social and economic categories were not so simply defined in terms of black and white/English vs. native, as the island had a strong French-derived mulat to elite whose recognition of English authority was never unproblematic. For Watt and Nicholls, as minor colonial officials, this discovery represented an
255 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E opportunity to distinguish themselves among those readers in England who could further their careers. It is not that their discovery of the Boiling Lake could necessarily lead to territorial expansion or to profitable exploitation, but that Nicholls, particularly, recognized the potential career advantages of a publicity campaign centered on his discovery of the lake and consequently, on his emerging reputation as a scientist. In this he was quite successful he would go on to discover the cure for yaws from watching native healing practices and was eventually knighted for his services to the island. These career-enhancing factors coupled with Watt and Nichollss con queror-like arrogance in naming the mountains surrounding the lake after them selves (we have, as a result, Morne Nicholls and Morne Watts) were given additional snob value when in 1901 a young Englishman, Wilfrid Meysey Clive, a cousin to the Earl of Denbigh and a descendant of Clive of India, died of asphyxiation by lethal gases during his visit to the lake. Clive was setting up his camera on the very spot from which Ober had taken the first photograph of the lake in 1877 when one of his two guides (a man named Wiley) was overcome by the fumes and toppled into the water. Clive dispatched the second guide to Laudat for help but was himself stricken by the gases and died before the rescue party arrived. Ober, writing after his second visit to the Boiling Lake in 1903, describes the pathetic scene in the language of romantic tragedy: Through the wild forest which we had traversed so light-heartedly, over the rough trail beneath the giant trees, amid the dense tropic growth, the relief party made their return march by night, lighted by torches of gum wood, and bearing their ghastly burdens on hammocks between them. Years before a similar party had borne to Laudat poor old Zizi, my guide and friend, another victim of the Lake, who had scalded to death in its waters. (Ober 1904:340-41) After the Clive tragedy, Nicholls would insert the tale of the young mans death rewritten as a heroic attempt to save his guides life as a requisite element in his own narrative of what had by then become his discovery, in acknowledgment that the death of this young aristocrat gave the enterprise the perfect martyr, one who through his connection to Clive of India would enhance the importance and significance of the achievement. For a native narrative of Clives death we have to wait until 1951, when Cyril Rowle, grandnephew to Obers guide, Zizi, tells the story to Stuart E. Elliott, an American visitor. Cyrils vivid story, which Stuart claims had been received directly from his grandfather, was that upon their arrival at the lake, an enormous bubble, which all but covered the entire lake, rose, swelled ... and broke into foam, releasing its gases into the air ... Wiley fell where he stood, never to move again. Rowle, who happened to stoop down in a slight declivity where a rivulet sought the lake, escaped the worst of the gas cloud, but he felt a dreadful nausea. Clive scrambled down and stood beside him.
256 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT From Rowles account, Clive refused to believe that Wiley was dead. He tried to revive him with brandy, while Rowle pleaded with him to leave the spot before another bubble should come. However, Clive could not grasp the danger, and belittling the warning, he ordered Rowle to return to Laudat for medical aid. So bidden, Rowle left, and the last time he saw Clive alive, the Englishman was standing with his back against a bank, gazing down on Wiley. When, hours later, Rowle returned with the rescue party, Clive was still in the same position, looking down at the prostrate guide. Clives eyes were open but saw nothing. He was dead, and so was Wiley. 3 Rowles account of Clives death debunks the latters heroism, so central to the narrative of English colonial expansion. Clives efforts to save his guide proof of British noblesse oblige and selfless heroism emerge in this version as a foolish refusal to heed the warning of his experienced guide, a fatal inability to recognize that Wiley was beyond help, and an arrogant use of his authority as employer/white man to peremptorily send away his only hope for survival. It is the Others version of history, perhaps as flawed as the one generally accepted as truth, but one which underscores the malleability of narrative to serve particular interests, such as those of the colonial officials, exemplified by Nichollss dependence on the lake for relentless self-promotion. Nichollss discovery of the lake, the intense self-promotion that followed and his success in making it serviceable to the advancement of his career and income drew the fire of that very mulatto elite whose political and economic power rivaled that of the British authorities. There were manifest political ten sions between Dominicas colonial bureaucracy and this Creole elite of French descent, two fairly distinct groups whose differences went beyond language and social patterns and spilled into the dominant political debates of the perio d (see Paravisini-Gebert 1999). The Creole elite dominated the Legislative Council and used its strength to counter the British administration at every pos sible turn. It was most successful in keeping out of the Council those among the recent English settlers they perceived as conservative in political, social, and racial matters, despite the power open to them as members of the colonial administration. Such was the case with Nicholls, a conservative in all mat ters important to the Creole elite, who failed at numerous attempts at election despite a thriving medical practice and promotion to Chief Medical Officer. Nicholls, in turn, was lionized by the expatriate community in Dominica and neighboring islands, coming to be known as the Uncrowned King of Dominica (Menzies 1926:203). 4 To the annoyance of Dominicas Creole elite, British residents and visitors sung the praises of Sir Henry Nicholls for 3. Stuart E. Elliot, The Mouth of Hell, Natural History December 1951, p. 476. 4. J.H. Menzies, The Uncrowned King of Dominica, United Empire no. 17, 1926, p. 203.
257 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E his unremitting efforts and zeal for his Empire and Dominica (De Leeuw 1937:226). Hendrik De Leeuw, visiting Dominica after Dr. Nichollss death in 1926, wrote of Sir Henry as having arrived in Dominica at a time when the planters again were going to rack and ruin, and the peasants, who were on the point of starvation, were abandoning their work to go to more prosperous neighboring islands (De Leeuw 1937:219). De Leeuws rewriting of history credited Dr. Nicholls with almost single-handedly restoring the Dominican economy through his introduction and encouragement of the cultivation of limes, the islands chief crop throughout most of the twentieth century. Quoting his English sources, he described Dr. Nicholls as the Joshua who led the people of Dominica into the Promised Land (De Leeuw 1937:219). Nichollss career, however, was emblematic of how, even when coloniz ers surround themselves with the persuasive scenery of possession and rule, the gaps between projection and performance are frequently betrayed by the anxieties of their texts, which reveal the gestural character of efforts to gov ern, sanitize, convert and reform (Thomas 1994:16). Nicholls was the poster boy for the successful colonial official: he had gathered honors in his profes sion, had been knighted, had run a moderately successful plantation where he conducted his botanical experiments, had been widely published in journals devoted to colonial medicine and science, had raised a prosperous large family after his marriage to the daughter of a rich Creole, he had been lionized by his peers for his accomplishments. Yet the recognition of his local society eluded him it was, in fact, consistently and consciously denied in an act of sustained resistance to what he represented as a colonial officer of conservative notions. Nowhere had this been clearer than in the Creole elites response to the discovery of the lake. The editors of the Dial the newspaper of the Creole/ mulatto middle class, had greeted the news of the feat with undisguised scorn, repeatedly claiming that early map makers and local hunters had known of its existence for a century or more before Nichollss visit. It is true enough that the Grand Soufrire area and the Valley of Desolation of which the lake is the cen terpiece appear in earlier descriptions of the island, although whether they refer to the lake as a specific feature of that landscape is not always clear. Thomas Atwoods 1791 book, The History of the Island of Dominica offers the follow ing description of the Valley of Desolation in a tone of awe markedly different from the scientific/discovery rhetoric of almost a century later: These sulphureous mountains are certainly among the most wonderful phenomena of nature, and command our astonishment and admiration. To see vast tracks of land on fire, whose smoke, like clouds, stretched far around; brimstone in flames, like streams of water issuing from the sides of precipices; in the vallies large holes full of bituminous matter, boiling and bubbling like a cauldron; the earth trembling under the tread, and bursting out with loud explosions, are objects truly terrific to the beholder s; who,
258 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT on the spot, are struck with awe and admiration, on viewing such dreadful works of the Almighty, who causes them to exist, for purposes only known to him. (Atwood 1931:78) Atwoods detailed description of the area surrounding the lake was cited often by Nichollss political enemies as proof of the emptiness of his claim to have discovered the lake. Nicholls would also seek to validate his claim by allud ing to a seventeenth-century legend related to a Lake of Fire somewhere in Dominicas interior never visited by a white man (De Leeuw 1937:220). According to this legend, there existed in the neighborhood of this Lake of Fire, at a distance of two or three hours from Roseau, a monstrous serpent with a jewel the size of a carbuncle embedded in its head that illuminated the forest for miles around. The legend is reported to have lured Nicholls and Watts into the forest, leaving the populace sitting on pins and needles for three days, until they emerged with the startling news that they had discov ered the legendary lake, a boiling one at that and thus closed a romantic episode in the history of Dominica (De Leeuw 1937:220). The lakes discovery served as the focus of an intense political debate that did not abate until Nichollss death and had less to do with the lake itself and more with the tensions between local native knowledge and its commodi fication abroad for the benefit of a white colonial elite bent on using scien tific/discovery enterprises to enhance their status with both the colonial and colonized societies. In nineteenth-century Dominica the Creole merchant and planter class was forever ready with a contestatory discourse which used irony as its principal weapon, as we can see in the following passages, taken from a 1887 response to yet one more article by Nicholls flaunting the discovery. They convey not only the mulatto elites case against Nichollss claim of dis covery (still going strong twelve years after the fact), but also the importance of the issues at stake in the Dial s repeated attempts to discredit Nicholls: How Dr. Nicholls can claim to be the discoverer of the Boiling Lake of Dominica with Mr. Watts Lost in the Woods still legible in the introduc tion to one of the Old Dominica Almanacs?, and how, with the Boiling Lake marked on an old map of the island, and with Dr. Clarkes [sic] reference to this most wonderful phenomenon in 1797, either of the two soi-disant Columbuses can unblushingly lay claim to having discovered the Boiling Lake is an enigma we do not pretend to solve. 5 The three documents cited here are of particular interest, not only because they support the Creole elites contention that Nichollss discovery of the lake represented an appropriation of knowledge already claimed by others, but because the sources were closely allied to the French-derived Creole elite 5. Windward News, Dominica Dial May, 7 1887, p. 2.
259 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E and not to British colonial representatives, and could thus be claimed as local knowledge. Watt, he of the hysterical scramble through the woods, had grown up in Dominica and was connected to many Creole families. Hence the arti cles willingness to give him and his text, Lost in the Woods, 6 primacy as the preferred report on the discovery over Nichollss own essay in The Field The claim to the lakes being marked on an old map could refer to any of a handful of extant maps displaying unnamed features that could be identi fied as the Boiling Lake: Archibald Campbells Sketch of the Coast (1761), the earliest published map of the island by Emanuel Bowen (1745), the maps by LeRouge of the 1778 French survey of the island, and those by Thomas Jefferys (1775), Thomas Bowen (1778), Thompson (1814), the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1835), and George Phillip & Son (1856). They offer evidence of fairly comprehensive surveys dating back to 1745, making it impossible to contend the assertion that Dr. Nichollss discovery constituted the first visit to the area by native or European. Of greater importance in the Creole elites arsenal against Nichollss claim is a book by James Clark, a physician who spent a number of years working in Dominica (1771-1788, 1789-1796, and 1804-1818) researching the incidence and treatment for yellow fever, typhus fever, dysentery, malaria, dry bellyache, cholera, and tetanus. In A Treatise on the Yellow Fever as It Appeared in the Island of Dominica (1797), Clark analyzes the hot baths at Soufrire and makes reference to the most wonderful phenomenon in the Valley of Desolation. As only one of two books written about Dominica in the eighteenth century, before the island was ceded to the English by the French the other being Atwoods History of the Island of Dominica (1791) Clarks account bears the additional authority of his outstanding reputation as a scientist. Being that Clarks work was the most comprehensive medical treatise on Dominica to that date, critics of Nichollss questioned whether the newly appointed superin tendent of hospitals could have been unaware of the books existence or unfa miliar with its contents, particularly since a lengthy synopsis of the book had appeared in Clarks 1797 work. In 1880, reporting on a recent volcanic erup tion in Dominica to the Royal Geographic Society, Mr. G.E. Blanc, SurveyorGeneral of the island and a member of the colonial elite, assured his readers that the Boiling Lake was visited for the first time, in this generation, five years ago; but its existence was known of a century previously, as it is referred to in a work by one Dr. Clarke, F.R.S., dated 1777 (Blanc 1880:366). To the evidence against Dr. Nicholls claim, as outlined in the preceding, the editors of the Dial add a heavy dose of sarcasm and what amounts to public repudiation: 6. Watts Lost in the Woods had appeared in a local publication, The Dominica Almanac
260 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT But if Dr. Nicholls is able to prove himself the discoverer of the Boiling Lake then an ungrateful world should hasten to christen this lake locus fer vidus Columbi Nicholii in recognition of the talented explorer who about the same time tried hard to get our woodsmen to change the name of one of their familiar mountains to Morne Nicholls and if the real Dr. Nicholls would only drown himself in the phenomenon and not reappear, Phoenixlike, from his own bouillon, this part of the world would be saved much of that kind of fustian writing about this island with which the little doctors article winds up. 7 The editors of the Dial would heap further scorn on Nicholls and Watts by reminding readers that the mountains they had named after themselves were quite appropriate in their shape as Morne Watts was tall and thin and Morne Nicholls was short and squat. Compared to the sarcasm displayed by the Dial the lightly sprinkled irony that flows over Sterns-Fadelles description of Watts and Nichollss feat with manifest gusto in The Boiling Lake of Dominica (1902) must have been read as almost flattering. Writing twenty-eight years after the discovery, Sterns-Fadelle, a Creole of French descent, educated at the University of Paris, demonstrates the persistence of the campaign against Nicholls, which can only be explained as necessary to the continued struggle to disenfranchise the British colonials of which he was a salient representative. His feat of discovering the Boiling Lake as later his claim to have discovered the cure for yaws had left him vulnerable to persistent attacks through which the Creole elite sought continuously to rebuff the full extent of English control. The mulatto-controlled Dominican liberal press, through its ideological struggle, opened a contestatory space that was both political and proto-literary. The Dial s main weapons to counter its opposition were wit, irony, and satire deployed through impassioned argu ment and mordant commentary and inviting public participation through letters to the editor (see Paravisini-Gebert 1996). Nichollss appropriating gestures the discovery, the poetic raptures, the naming of mountains after himself were easy targets for his enemies satire precisely because they were not his intended audience, which was at home in England. The contestatory role belonged to those in place, in a position (as his English readers were not) of having access to the landscape and being able to measure the gap between the prose and the reality it purporte d to reflect. The gap was broad enough for Nichollss credibilit y to be nullified and for his claim to discovery (i.e., possession, however abstract given the lakes untouchability) to be openly challenged, a challenge symboli c of the Creole elites refusal to accept British control without a struggle. Bolstering the Creole elites relentless mockery of Nicholls is the belief that discoveries such as that of the Boiling Lake, whether they privilege 7. Windward News, Dominica Dial May, 7 1887, p. 2.
261 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E scientifi c discourse or sentimental rapture at the islands natural wonders, usurp local knowledge through publication and dissemination abroad and generally serve to reinforce colonial power relationships and racial hierar chies. In the case of nineteenth-century Dominica, however, a society with a wealthy and politically independent local elite and a savvy and moder ately empowered peasant class, those attempts at colonial appropriation of knowledge through scientific enterprise or the travelers gaze generate the discourse of resistance evident in the Dial and in the peasantrys counternarratives of discovery, which allows the natives, who have long possessed the knowledge others claim to have unveiled, to use irony and parody to ridicule the colonizers pretensions and destabilize their power. It is fair to say that the efforts of the Dominican Creole elite to subvert and contest colonial control succeeded in many ways precisely because Dominica was a small island of relatively little importance in the Imperial scheme. Its colonial officials never had the advantage of a strong military establishment to uphold their pretense to power, nor were they able to sustain control with out continuous negotiations with the well-established Creole elite bent on recovering its entirety-of-itself and a peasantry which, given the availability of abandoned estates, had to be coerced away from subsistence agriculture to work on estates. The type of colonialism that emerges in Dominica in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, as a result, is more akin to a negoti ated truce in which the hierarchies of colonial control become malleable and flexible. The perennial struggle for control manifested itself through myriad compromises and uneasy pacts that reflected the fluidity of colonial rela tions in a tiny outpost of the Empire. Of the many forms of imperialism pos sible, Dominica forged its own through continued adaptation to local events and circumstances of which the discovery of the Boiling Lake is but one. Dominicas version of colonialism is drawn from its insularity. An island a small island at that it found its insularity to be its best defense. RE F ERE N CE S ATWOO D, THOM AS, 1931. The History of the Island of Dominica London: Cass. [Orig. 1791.] BELL, HE SK ETH 1946. Glimpses of a Governors Life: From Diaries, Letters and Memoranda London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. BL AN C, G.E. 1880. Recent Volcanic Eruption at the Grand Soufriere, in the Island of Dominica. Proceedings of the Royal Geographic Society and Monthly Record of Geography 2(6):363-66. CA MERO N, VER N E Y LO V ETT 1877. Across Africa London: Daldy, Isbiter & Co.
262 LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT CL A R K, JA ME S 1797. A Treatise on the Yellow Fever as It Appeared in the Island of Dominica in the Years 1793-4-5 London: J. Murray & S. Highley. COH N, BER NA R D 1985. The Command of Language and the Language of Command. In R. Guha (ed.), Subaltern Studies IV Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 276. DA RW IN, CH A RLE S 1839. Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle Under the Command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N., from 1832 to 1836 London: H. Colburn. DAY, CH A RLE S WI LL IA M 1852. Five Years Residence in the West Indies London: Colburn & Co. DE LEEUW, HE ND R IK 1937. Crossroads of the Buccaneers Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott. DO NN E, JOH N 1623. Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, and Severall Steps in My Sickness London: Printed by A.M. for Thomas Jones. EA RLE, KE NN ETH 1928. Geological Notes on the Island of Dominica. Geological Magazine 65(4):182-83. EL I OT, ED W A R D CA RL Y O N 1938. Broken Atoms London: Geoffrey Bles. END L I CH, FRE D ER I C K M ., 1880. The Island of Dominica. American Naturalist 14(11): 761-72. FROU D E, JA ME S AN THO NY 1888. The English in the West Indies; or, The Bow of Ulysses London: Longmans. GREE NB L A TT, STEPHE N 1991. Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. HO NY CHURCH, LE NN O X 1984. The Dominica Story: A History of the Island Roseau: Dominica Institute. , 1991. Dominica: Isle of Adventure Basingstoke, U.K.: Macmillan. LA TOUR, BRU N O 1988. The Pasteurization of France Cambridge MA: Harvard Univer sity Press. NI CHOLL S, HE N R Y AL F RE D AL F OR D 1880. The Fourth Report of the Medical Super intendent of Yaws Hospital London: London: Waterlow & Sons. , 1894. Report on Yaws in Tobago, Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia and the Leeward Islands: Addressed to Her Majestys Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies London: HMSO. OB ER, FRE D ER I C K A 1886. Camps in the Caribbees: The Adventures of a Naturalist in the Lesser Antilles Boston: Lee & Shepard. , 1904. Our West Indian Neighbors New York: James Pott & Co. PA LGR AV E, WI LL IA M 1877. West Indian Memories: The Lesser Antilles and the Boiling Lake. MacMillans Magazine 35(209):366-74.
263 THE DIS CO V ER Y O F DOM INI C AS BO I L IN G LAK E PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT, LIZAB ETH 1996. Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press. , 1999. A Forgotten Outpost of Empire: Social History in Dominica and the Creative Imagination. Jean Rhys Review 10(2):13-26. PETER S, EL IZAB ETH 1985. The Mummy Case New York: Congdon & Weed. SAV OR Y, EL AIN E 1998. Jean Rhys Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. SM I TH, BER NA R D 1985. European Vision and the South Pacific New Haven CT: Yale University Press. SM I TH, GA R Y RAY 1991. The Dominican Kont: An Analysis of Folktales and Storytelling on a Caribbean Island. Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. STER NS-FAD ELLE F., 1902. The Boiling Lake of Dominica: A Historical and Descriptive Account of a Unique Phenomenon Roseau: Dominica Office. THOM AS, NI CHOL AS 1994. Colonialisms Culture: Anthropology, Travel and Government Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. TO D ORO V, ZV ET AN 1984. The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Harper & Row. TROU I LLOT, MI CHEL-ROLPH 1988. Peasants and Capital: Dominica in the World Economy Baltimore MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. VERR I LL, A HYA TT 1917. The Book of the West Indies New York: Dutton. WH I TEHE AD, NE I L L. 1995. The Historical Anthropology of Text: The Interpretation of Raleghs Discoverie of Guiana Current Anthropology 36(1):53-74. LIZAB ETH PA R AVISINI-GE B ERT Randolph Distinguished Professor Chair Vassar College Poughkeepsie NY 12604, U.S.A.
MA R Y TUR N ER T WO A TTORNEYS AND AN OVERSEER Plantation Jamaica 1750-1850: Capital and Control in a Colonial Economy. B.W. HI GM AN Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2005. xiv + 386 pp. (Cloth US$ 65.00) Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World. TRE V OR BUR NA R D Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004. xii +320 pp. (Cloth US$ 45.00, Paper US$ 21.95) These two works from differing perspectives add significant new layers to our knowledge of plantation management in the Caribbean. Both focus on Jamaica, Higman straddling the preand postemancipation period (1750-1850) and dealing with the attorneys (i.e. agents, managers) who administered estates for absentee proprietors, and Burnard depicting in unique detail the life of an overseer, right-hand man for attorneys and resident planters alike, and his rise to landed proprietorship. The books usefully complement one another. Attorneys and great attorneys were significant in Jamaican development because from about 1740 sugar profits increasingly enabled planters to return to Britain if they wished to do so. The debate about their positive and nega tive qualities began among contemporaries then and has rumbled on through Caribbean historiography since Frank W. Pitman (1917) and Lowell J. Ragatz (1927) identified absentee proprietorship and its corollary, management by agents, as a key British West Indian problem. It was seen as promoting care less, cruel, and extravagant management and leaving estates in the real con trol of overseers. These judgments were first queried in a seminal article by Douglas Hall (1964) which pointed out that absenteeism had promoted the emergence of professional estate managers and concluded that without further careful research generalizations were likely to prove indefensible. Higman re-opens the debate, investigates evidence from an impressively varied range of primary and secondary sources and presents his findings in a comprehensive overview (Book 1) complemented by two case studies (Book 2) based on published attorney-proprietor correspondence of attorneys
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 266 at work preand postemancipation, Sir Simon Taylor (1765 -1775) at Golden Grove and Isaac Jackson (1839-1843) at Montpelier. His findings lead him to conclude firstly that the managerial class which emerged in the wake of absenteeism was well trained and efficient and con stituted an elite of professional planters. These men gradually took over from the managers appointed by the first waves of absentees who were, character istically, fellow proprietors, merchants, relatives, or friends. Secondly, Higman establishes that the professional attorneys were typi cally men who arrived as young white immigrants, often Scottish, from var ied educational backgrounds and worked their way up the plantation man agement hierarchy, accumulating knowledge and skills as bookkeepers and overseers before taking over as the proprietors representative. They were planters by profession, a meritocracy in no way inferior to or less efficient than resident proprietors. In 1832 when emancipation loomed, this elite num bered just 200 men who were in charge of 745 properties, characteristically larger than those belonging to residents. Their holdings included more than 50 percent of the sugar estates (some with associated pens) and they super vised more than 45 percent of Jamaicas slaves. Thirdly, Higman resolves the vexing question of just how great the great attorneys were. Most attorneys managed just one property for one employer. Some 25 percent, however, had charge of five or more proper ties and worked for multiple employers; Higman ranks these as great. The single most outstanding figure in 1832 was William Miller on Jamaicas northwest sugar belt; known as the Attorney-General, his responsibili ties included 26 sugar estates and 7,700 slaves belonging to 22 absentees. Statistics are firmest post-1817 (when Slave Registration became obliga tory), but evidence suggests that in earlier decades, when more estates were operational and attorneys fewer, Miller was outclassed by men with as many as 49 sugar estates and 13,000 slaves. Higman elaborates these findings with maps and commentaries that define geographically the extent of great planter domains and the rounds they rode, link attorneys and employers, and establish interattorney linkages and networks. All this, embedded in a wealth of supportive evidence, cre ates a new historical relief map of Jamaica with differentiated densities of attorney control superimposed on estates, pens, and plantations and on the slave population. It will prove an invaluable tool for further research. The attorneys at work (Book 2) illustrate shifts that took place in the profession and in labor relations across the period. Taylor, heir to the for tune amassed by his immigrant father, was a typical mid-eighteenth-century appointee employed by a personal friend and paid the customary 6 percent commission on the crop produced. He had wide decision-making powers limited chiefly by his employers control of capital expenditures and the legal obligation, imposed by resident owners in the Jamaican Assembly (1740)
267 RE VI EW ART I CLE on attorneys to provide yearly statements regarding the total produce of the estates for which they were responsible, sworn on oath for the public record to protect the interest of absentee proprietors. Attorney professionalism was shaped by proprietor-attorney common concern to maximize profits. Taylors employer, like most absentees, was reluctant to increase Golden Groves labor force (reduced from 540 in his fathers time to 369). Taylor consequently made sure that the overseers he hired and fired worked the slaves on the pushing system. As a result the acreage cultivated by every slave rose from 1 to 1.5 acres and hogsheads of sugar rose from 1 per slave to 1.3. Taylors letters to his employer meanwhile eloquently expounded his humanitarian views on slave management. Isaac Jackson (1839-43) was a typical nineteenth-century meritocracy man, an immigrant who rose through the ranks and by 1830 officially com bined the roles of attorney and overseer for a sugar estate. This joint function together with payment by salary, a common practice by the 1820s, suggests that absentees adjusted to reduced profit margins by securing attorneys at a fixed rate and increasing their responsibilities. These adjustments rather pale into insignificance when compared to the labor-management power shift that characterized emancipation. Employed (at 600 a year) by Lord Seaford (pillar of the West India Interest in Parliament) at Montpelier, Jackson, with labor in short supply, faced workers free to nego tiate hours, wages, and rents and free to back up demands by strike action and threats. At the same time every unoccupied scrap of land sprouted ground pro visions and he was forced to fence off estate pasture to keep out the workers livestock and horses. Jackson professional, persistent, hard-working did his best to keep things going but strongly advised Seaford to follow the British Guiana example and import Indian contract workers at lower wages, though without success. Sugar production went down steadily to 1843. Higmans wide-ranging discussion is a pleasure to read a pleasure enhanced by the outstanding quality of the publication itself. He makes a per suasive case for the professionalism of the planting attorneys and the extent of their influence and their activities. Like all good investigative history, however, it provokes questions. Can we altogether accept this reassessment without complementary studies of resident planters? And the sheer scale of the great attorneys operations, their 6 percent commissions on profit, and Taylors Golden Grove on the pushing system unavoidably recall the accu sations made at the beginning of the debate: that the common interest of absentees, attorneys, and by extension overseers primarily in crop production made for a cruel system in which overseers were responsible for flogging the work out of the slaves. The attorneys pre-emancipation success in delivering profits and maxi mizing commission earnings was dependent on lower management ruthless ness.
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 268 Overseers, however, tend to be marginal in the literature and appear only sporadically in attorney-proprietor correspondence. The 36-volume diary of Thomas Thistlewood, 17 years an overseer, 20 years a small proprietor, which chronicle his daily life (1750-1786) are therefore uniquely important. Brought to public view initially by Douglas Hall (1989) they are com prehensively analyzed and contextualized here by Trevor Burnard. His book is a rich, densely informative study of mid-eighteenth-century society on Jamaicas developing sugar frontier in Westmoreland, more than half of which concerns slave-management relations. Thistlewood, son of a Lincolnshire tenant farmer, tried his hand at trading ventures, including a two-year voyage to India and Brazil. But at twentynine, he had failed to find a footing in England. In Jamaica he had choices. Employed first as a pen keeper (40 slaves at 50 p.a.) by a prominent resident planter (Florentius Vassall), he moved up the plantation hierarchy to a sugar estate called Egypt (90 slaves at p.a.), owned by another resident planter, and remained there (one year excepted) until 1767 when he achieved his original goal and became, not an attorney, but a small proprietor. Thistlewood the slave manager rapidly emerges in Burnards pages as a true professional. After observing his proprietor employer giving three hun dred lashes to a delinquent driver, he established his authority at Vineyard Pen by whipping half the women and two-thirds of the men in the year he was there. On agroindustrial Egypt, work conditions were harder and relent less whipping (50-150 lashes) continued, elaborated for repeat offenders by imposing iron collars and chains. Thistlewood targeted runaways in particular. Short-term (2-3 day) absen tees disrupted work routines and required two more slaves to bring them back; long-term runaways, more seriously, undermined owner/overseer authority and threatened brigandage. Once captured both categories were severely punished either by being whipped and having pepper rubbed in their wounds, or being covered in molasses and buried for ants to attack. More generally disruptive were the starving times regularly induced by provi sion crop failures. Slaves caught eating young canes and diminishing crop prospects were severely flogged. And worse followed: slaves died of malnutrition or ate cassava roots in desperation as a way of poisoning themselves. In these circumstances, in order to deter cane eating Thistlewood added to his existing terrorist techniques by inventing Derbys dose (one slave defecated in anothers mouth), adminis tered occasionally from January to August 1756. His recourse, seen here as a reflection of individual character, is rather an example of human proclivities inevitably encouraged by conditions that are socially sanctioned (if only in a laboratory) to exercise unlimited personal power where the victims are with out redress. Thistlewood was arguably an average product of a vile system.
269 RE VI EW ART I CLE Customarily established brutalities characterized his regime at Egypt. As his slaves expressed it, he was no For Play (p. 255) he demanded respect. Thistlewood exacted sexual services as well as work from slave women usually more than once a day. He was careful, however, not to engage with women attached to lite workers, in particular gang drivers, on whose coop eration he depended to maintain work routines. He respected their property rights to particular women while exercising his own property rights over the rest though at times acknowledging by payments and gifts that he had enjoyed an extra service. Burnards twenty-first-century critique of Thistlewoods conduct, while unexceptional in itself, rather underestimates the force of well-established Jamaican sexual mores on an individual who in contrast to the Moravian missionaries in neighboring St. Elizabeth was not committed to changing them. Jamaican mores, in any case, also sanctioned informal semiperma nent arrangements which Whites with sufficient means often established as Thistlewood and Sir Simon Taylor did with slave women as their house keepers. And if Thistlewood had the unnatural and bestial longings of a quintessential sexual predator how does one characterize Lord Byron? Thistlewoods housekeeper Phibbah, a strong-minded country-born slave (who had her own history of sexual encounters) emerges as a char acter in her own right. Shrewd, with a network of connections among the slaves, she became Thistlewoods working partner whose influence extended beyond the household they established. Burnards study lends a new dimen sion to our knowledge of women in her position. The interface of slave manager-slave worker relations is one of the most interesting aspects of this book. Despot Thistlewood had a close if contentious relationship with his African confidential servant, Lincoln (the first slave he purchased), taught slaves to fish, loaned out guns, led them in border wars to prevent slaves from neighboring plantations from robbing provision and fish ing grounds. Most importantly, perhaps, he paid attention to slave health and compiled a collection of sixty recipes found useful for this purpose. Undercurrents of tension, however, were always there. In his early days at Egypt, Thistlewood confronted and fought a runaway while his slaves stood by, waiting to see who would win before helping him out. He overheard them plotting his murder and found one serviceable woman in his bed with a knife. His nephew, sent out to train in planting, drowned when hunting alone in the swamp in ambiguous circumstances, having (against all advice) taken over the gang drivers woman. And when slave rebellion broke out in May 1760, at first defeating the militia, and then spreading to the neighboring estate, Thistlewood took a risk and armed his slaves. Fortunately for him the military rapidly gained the upper hand, depriving the slaves of the opportunity to murder him. Slave manager Thistlewood had intellectual interests; he arrived in Jamaica with almost one hundred books and a commission agent in London
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 1 & 2 (2008) 270 supplied new ones. He had wide interests science, mathematics, history, horticulture, and philosophy and built up a circle of professional men and small planters who exchanged books and discussed them with one another. To become a small proprietor he built up a twenty-seven-strong slave jobbing gang, investing shrewdly in a period of rising slave prices, mostly in young African men and women. In 1767 he moved with them and Phibbah (whose owner still insisted on collecting a year for her) to Breadnut Island Pen (66 acres of dry land and 78 acres of swamp), where he raised cattle, goats, and small stock, renting out slaves at harvest and planting. The move improved his social status and allowed him to apply his horticultural knowledge and (perhaps following Voltaires advice) plant a garden which became a showpiece of tropical botany. As both manager and proprietor, however, his fortunes rested on slave labor. Burnard deals thematically with all aspects of Thistlewoods life, bring ing sound judgment and sound scholarship to locate him convincingly in the Anglo-Jamaican world of his time. Readers might demur at the repeated identification of Thistlewood as a sadist. He was, arguably, just a conformist getting on with his life in a slave society and becoming, as Burnard puts it a vital cog in an oppressive order (p. 5). RE F ERE N CE S HA LL, DOUGL AS, 1964. Absentee Proprietorship in the British West Indies to about 1850. Jamaica Historical Review 4:15-35. , 1989. In Miserable Slavery: Thomas Thistlewood in Jamaica, 1750-86. London: MacMillan. PI TM AN, FR ANK W., 1917. The Development of the British West Indies, 1700-63. New Haven CT: Yale University Press. RA G A T Z, LOWELL J., 1928. The Fall of the Planter Class in the British Caribbean, 17631833. New York: American Historical Association. MA R Y TUR N ER Institute of Commonwealth Studies University of London London WC1B 5DS, U.K.
B OOK REVIEWS Travels with Tooy: History, Memory, and the African American Imagination RI CH A R D PR I CE. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. xiv + 452 pp. (Paper US$ 24.00) PETER RE DFI EL D Department of Anthropology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill NC 27599-3115, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > Ethnography has proved a flexible form over the course of the twentieth cen tury, not only in its presentation, but also in the range and depth of research that it reflects. Despite official invocation of ideals of extended engagement, relatively few ethnographers have produced truly long-term studies of particu lar groups or communities, even before moving out of villages. And although collaborative approaches enjoy a current vogue amid discussions of method in contemporary American anthropology, the conception of collaboration tends to focus on present interest and political claims rather than longer historical or cosmological trajectory. Richard Prices latest offering, Travels with Tooy is thus a doubly rare and precious thing: the product of extended, histori cally minded engagement with a people and their worldview, simultaneously cast in a collaborative mode. Featuring Prices multifaceted (and multisited) encounters with a Saramaka wise man and healer, it is intensely personal in terms of both subject and mode of exposition, as well as rich in scholarly detail. The authors commitment to his interlocutor remains palpable on every page, matched only by an equal concern for academic rigor. Such a level of engagement stems directly from a lifetime of study. For some four decades Richard Price has faithfully returned to visit Saramaka Maroons, first in Suriname, and later, following political conflict and sub sequent migration by members of the group, in French Guiana. Although thus geographically anchored, the products of this research (authored both individually and jointly with Sally Price) have been strikingly wide-ranging in terms of topic, conceptual approach, and narrative form. Travels with Tooy is no exception; the text manages to be classically ethnographic and experi mental at one and the same time. The work contains a treasure trove of mate
272 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) rial related to Saramaka cosmology and esoteric language, all of lasting value in the archival sense to both specialists and the Saramaka themselves. At the same time it illustrates the actual practice of this knowledge by concentrat ing on the experiences of one bia-man named Tooy. In presenting his story, Price emphasizes that it is neither unique nor typical, but rather exemplary. Moreover, Tooy is a close friend, in the complicated sense of a distinct, chal lenging equal, rather than the breezy American euphemism for a pleasant acquaintance. Even as Tooy shares his work with Price the anthropologist, he incorporates him into it, treating him in a parallel role as assistant. As noted in a prelude discussion of authorship (pp. viii-ix), however, though their lives may intertwine, they maintain separate spheres of expertise. In the end it is up to Tooy to prescribe treatments and to Price to write a book. The complexities of relationship between the protagonists are apparent from the start. Rather than French Guiana or Suriname, Prices adopted home town in Martinique serves as an initial narrative stage, when the author helps broker an attempted healing by Tooy for a Martiniquan businessman. Arriving by plane to consult with this client, the healer stays at the anthropologists house and enlists his aid as a translator in performing the initial rituals. But the anthropologist is already deeply involved, connected by extensive vil lage ties to the businessman, by a lifetime of study to the Saramaka, and by long-standing interest to the subject matter. Although the moment may appear extraordinary, as the work continues it grows clear that this is but a minor amplification of Tooys usual practice in French Guiana. There, a BMW or Mercedes can easily park by his modest shack at the outskirts of Cayenne, its occupant drawn by promised relief from a personal problem, and following a chain of connections, beliefs, and recommendations that lead to this door. In following and describing Tooys vocation, Price traces many roots and tendrils, from a page of a grimoire worn by a Saramaka soldier in World War II to the multiple plants and gods that infuse this particular bia-mans prac tice. It is here that the book most obviously rests on decades of cumulative research, as Price refers to an almost dizzying array of names, events, and story fragments, sorting them into the vast and ever-shifting puzzle of cos mology that informs Tooys consultations. Moving back and forth between exposition and synthesis, the author allows the reader to share in moments of discovery and realization as well as suggesting underlying patterns. Most critically, perhaps, what emerges is an intricate and partial map, one that suggests both the full measure of his protagonists knowledge and simultane ously how many gaps and loose ends remain for them both. No individual, not even a master practitioner like Tooy or a lifelong student like Price, can quite claim the whole. Nonetheless, they can certainly master a great deal, as both the healers practice and the anthropologists book attest. In between Tooys ritual performances, Price recounts other aspects of his subjects life: his political standing in the Saramaka community; a recon
273 BOO K RE VI EW S struction of his chronology; and his everyday relations with family members and friends. However dedicated to knowing gods, spirits, songs, and stories, the healer is very much a worldly man in a Saramaka way, renowned for his sexual appetites. Amid the pantheon surrounding Tooy is a troublesome spirit known as Frenchwoman. Despite warnings from his matrilineage, he fails to come to terms with this spirit before finding himself the subject of a court case, charged with rape from an encounter many years earlier with an underage partner. The ensuing trial, in which Price becomes involved both as a friend and as a cultural authority, is alternately fascinating and disturb ing, a mix of minor tragedy and farce in a late colonial context. As Price (p. 177) summarizes, This is not a pretty story and it has no heroes. In the event Saramaka understandings of sexuality prove incommensurable with those of French law, and Tooy is convicted. The same state that intervenes to punish him, however, ultimately saves his life by diagnosing him with a heart condition and providing medical treatment. Tooy is eventually released from prison on medical grounds, and resumes both his practice and efforts to achieve full recognition as a Saramaka political leader. After chronicling this dramatic moment, Price likewise returns to his cosmological explora tions, offering a summation and comparison with other Caribbean religions, appropriately entitled Reflections from the Verandah. All said Travels with Tooy is a supremely rich and ambitious text. An unapologetic display of serious scholarship, chockablock with careful eth nographic and historical detail, it nonetheless breaks with classic conven tions by highlighting personal experience and interweaving multiple threads. Fortunately the writing remains engaging throughout, and the many chapter and section breaks allow the reader to move in nonlinear fashion to check and retrace connections. Although the book lacks an index, it has an exten sive coda detailing the esoteric language it references (with audio files acces sible at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/price/), as well as a helpful list of dramatis personae. But ultimately the work stays true to the classic eth nographic challenge of presenting another worldview: this is Tooys story, and to follow it we must travel along. It is deeply appropriate, as well as heartening, that Travels with Tooy has won the 2008 Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing.
274 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Eric Williams and the Making of the Modern Caribbean COL IN A. PA LMER Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. xii + 354 pp. (Cloth US$ 34.95) AN THO NY P. MAIN GOT Department of Sociology (Emeritus) Florida International University Miami FL 33317, U.S.A. < Anthony.Maingot@fiu.ed u > British historian E.H. Carr always warned his students to study the historian before they began studying the historians presentation of the facts. In a way, Carr had adopted this methodological stricture from his nineteenth-cen tury compatriot, Herbert Butterfield, who warned that one should be aware of the big difference between history written after the facts and history written as events were unfolding. How very important, but also how very difficult both strictures are for anyone attempting to record the career of Eric E. Williams, the Caribbeans politician cum historian par excellence The story of this Trinidadian man of words and of action can be said to have started with the writing of his Ph.D. thesis at Oxford and its publication in 1944 as the path-breaking Capitalism and Slavery to have continued with The History of the Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago written in the heat of the 1961 electoral campaign and move to independence, and his premature auto biography, Inward Hunger (1969); and to have ended in 1970 with his mag isterial From Columbus to Castro. Never, during that extraordinary stretch of time, was it ever evident that Williams did anything other than write history as explanation and as guide to his all-consuming interest in politics. It is evident, therefore, that it would take a person with highly developed analytical insights into the dramatis personae as well as mastery of long stretches of local and regional history to produce something original. Some half dozen attempts at biography were already on the shelf. Was there really a call, let alone an intellectual need, for yet another portrait of Williams the politician? Colin Palmers deliberate decision not to write another biography was a felicitous one. His was a more complicated plan: to elucidate Williamss activities on the larger Caribbean stage by tracing what he calls the dialec tical relationship between his domestic imperatives and his political posi tions those taken on his own initiative and those cast upon him. Needless to say, writing this sort of history in such a way as to produce something original and relevant to our times required a wide array of multidisciplinary skills. Palmers fine-honed insights into human nature and more specifically into Williamss own complex personality, his knowledge of the Trinidadian
275 BOO K RE VI EW S and wider Caribbean context, and, crucially, his dexterity and knowledge of archival research all contribute to his success. He is the first to have accessed whole batches of official sources on the man and his times in London and Washington. Palmer begins the story in 1956 with the electoral victory of Williamss political creation, the Peoples National Movement (PNM) and ends it in 1970, when the Black Power rebellion came close to destroying everything Williams had created. It was an era in which both the nation state and the region were roiling in the turbulent seas of decolonization. Palmers chapter on the struggle with the United States over the World War II antisub marine base, Chaguaramas, helps focus the decolonization battle in its wider (i.e., not simply British colonial) dimension. His analysis of the dissolution of the West Indies Federation and the failure to create a unitary state with Grenada is simply first rate. Palmer is equally enlightening when showing that even as Williams was crossing swords with the British and the Americans, he had to confront something that, although not of his making, was a problem he often did much to exacerbate: the racial and communal question that had long divided Trinidad (and British Guiana) but which had now reached a boiling point. Even as he was excoriating the Indo-Trinidadians for speaking of Mother India, Williams was attempting to solidify his Afro-Trinidadian base by a prolonged tour of West African nations. In both cases the attempts at a pri mordial link were shown to be nothing if not wishful thinking. The historical connection between West Africa and the West Indies, Williams told some university students upon his return, is nothing to be ashamed about, though the West Indians dont like it and I get the feeling that the West Africans like it even less (p. 235). From then on he seemed to be governed by the old Trinidadian saying, You have to grow where you are planted not an easy sell in a society so divided. Any student of ethnonationalism will benefit from reading this study of the intractability of nation-building when one side sees the nationalist movement as little more than an attempt at forcefully imposing racial and cultural homogeneity. Palmer is masterful in describing the thrust and parry of racial campaigning followed by contrite attempts at amends only half-heartedly accepted. It is sad but true that the society was more ethnically divided when the father of the nation passed away in 1971 than it had been when he began his politics in 1954. Where Palmers approach leaves some unfortunate informational lacunae is in his final discussion of the 1970 Black Power riot and the mutiny of the mili tary Regiment. The nearly total dependence on British and American diplomat ic dispatches proved to be inadequate to the task of unraveling so complex an affair. As much of Palmers previous scholarship shows, he is aware that there exist ample published scholarly eye-witness accounts of that dramatic period. Those accounts could, and should, have complemented the archival documen tation he used. That said, however, Palmer has given us a terrific read which
276 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) will surely stand the test of time amidst the many other studies on the life and times of this fascinating but complex personality which are sure to follow. RE F ERE N CE S WI LL IA M S, ER I C E., 1962. The History of the Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago London: Andre Deutsch. , 1969. Inward Hunger: The Education of a Prime Minister. London: Andre Deutsch. , 1970. From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969. London: Andre Deutsch. , 1994. Capitalism and Slavery Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. [Orig. 1944.] Nation & Citizen in the Dominican Republic, 1880-1916 TERE SI T A MA RT N E Z-VERG N E. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. xviii + 235 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) SA MUEL MA RT N E Z Department of Anthropology University of Connecticut Storrs CT Unit 2176 06269, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org u > Thoroughly researched, and imaginatively and subtly interpreted, Nation & Citizen in the Dominican Republic, 1880-1916 is a must-read for students of Dominican history and society. It also merits close reading by students of Latin American and Caribbean politics, historians of gender, and students of feminist research methods. Those who know the literature on Dominican history may be surprised by what little salience Martnez-Vergne accords to processes that loom as giant developments in other historians accounts of this period. The definitive entry of the Dominican Republic into the United States neoimperial orbit and the rise of large-scale sugar producers to eco nomic and political dominance are topics dispatched in a page or two in Nation & Citizen Rather than dwell on these obviously momentous shifts, Martnez-Vergne devotes page after page to minute concerns of daily gover nance of the capital city of Santo Domingo and the eastern sugar port city of
277 BOO K RE VI EW S San Pedro de Macors. Minutes regarding trash disposal problems and court records of property and interpersonal disputes and on cases of petty thievery and drunken and disorderly public behavior, on the one hand, and idealistic initiatives to build a modern infrastructure and institutions of education, civic life, healthcare and hygiene, on the other hand, and perhaps above all, memo randa of the constant and, it seems, often frustrated efforts to police and regulate the daily lives of these cities poorer denizens these are the main sources from which Nation & Citizen builds its picture of urban life. Rather than being mainly about the development of a sense of nationa l identity in the Dominican Republic, as its title might suggest, the book makes an argument, not so easily pigeonholed into trendy categories of analysis, that the Dominican political landscape of the period witnessed an inchoate and short-lived blossoming of ideals of liberal, participatory democracy. While Martnez-Vergne disclaims any intention of debunking earlier accounts, this argument may look surprising to scholars who think of this period in Dominican history as the era of the caudillo when governments were sus tained and changed by the rifle rather than the ballot box. Not surprisingly, Martnez-Vergnes emphasis on the ascendance of lib eral ideals is most persuasive with regard to elite visions of a future of everexpanding enlightenment and progress. She makes a notable contribution to Dominicanist history especially by analyzing the way patriarchal conjugal and family ideology resolved the contradiction between liberal meritocratic ideals and the exclusion of women (even those of education, property, and respectable family backgrounds) from political office and full enfranchise ment as citizens. She hits shaky ground when she asserts that working people, in seek ing to enlist the support of state agents for their own ends, acted upon both a new subjective sense of themselves as citizens with rights and tacitly validated the states authority as an impartial arbiter of rights claims. She is at times judiciously ambivalent in putting forward this argument, duly taking note of the dismal opinion that the Dominican elite held of the abilities and habits of their lower-income co-urbanites. Ambivalence gives way to confu sion, however, when Martnez-Vergne makes claims that seem diametrically opposed; at one point she writes that the working class of Santo Domingo and San Pedro act[ed] precisely as the intelligentsia had envisioned an active citizenry (p. 155), but elsewhere states that seemingly everywhere, the work ing class posed a threat to the renovation of the nation (p. 127). While her argument, that the working class actively sought incorporation in the project of liberal governance, is worthy of serious consideration, it rests on sources that are simply too sketchy and uninformative to sustain sweeping generalizations about the subjectivities of the urban proletarian and artisanal classes. Based on the evidence she provides, it is not clear, for example, what plaintiffs in interpersonal disputes, lumped by the authorities under the heading of escndalos
278 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) (scandal or disorder), had in mind when they approached the police for assis tance. Were they asserting rights, as Martnez-Vergne claims? Or were they acting out of an injured sense of honor or decency? In soliciting the aid of the authorities, were these people making an implicit claim to citizenship or positioning themselves as dependent clients of the police officers, bureaucrats, and politicians whose help they sought? Many other such questions could be raised. The larger point is that Martnez-Vergne does her own case no favor by giving short shrift to the other models of politics that might viably explain her evidence. Her argument, that an inchoate cross-class consensus was emerging around principles of liberal governance, might have been strengthened had she made a sustained effort to reconcile or contrast this fin-de-sicle vision of the Dominican future with the caudillist politics that Dominicanist scholars widely understand to have held sway during this period. It is therefore telling that at one point Martnez-Vergne writes that work ing men and women were asking the government ... to validate their rights, although they may not have used that word (p. 160, my italics). Especially in a historical context in which the terms citizenship and rights might have been new or even alien to many working-class Dominicans, the mean ings of their actions are not as transparent as Martnez wishes us to think. At the books end, I am left hungry for more evidence to sustain, refute, or, more likely, complicate the depiction of the working-class politics of scandal and honor that Nation & Citizen so innovatively if only partially illuminates. Tuning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television YE IDY M. RIV ERO Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2005. xii + 264 pp. (Paper US$ 21.95) JO SSIANNA ARRO Y O Department of Spanish and Portuguese University of Texas Austin TX 78712, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > Yeidy M. Rivero points out that in spite of Puerto Ricos political relation ship with the United States, the representation of blackness on Puerto Rican television has been defined through a complex range of relationships, dia logues, and the re-articulation of local, Caribbean, and Latin American con texts. In addition to contributing to the historicizing of these relations, her
279 BOO K RE VI EW S essay includes an analysis of racism and the ethnic frontiers in Puerto Rican television. Understanding the complexities of the representation of blackness in Puerto Rican television goes beyond the deconstruction of discourses of racial democracy Puerto Rican style that have developed around myths such as racism doesnt exist, everybody is mixed, or talking about race or racism merely imitates intellectual discourse in the United States. Rivero historicizes the key moments of these representations in the period 19401990 and she closes with an epilogue in which she discusses the dilemmas of local Puerto Rican television when confronted by the supremacy of huge corporations such as Univisin-Puerto Rico, based in the United States. The first chapter, Caribbean Negritos: Ramn Rivero, Blackface and Black Voice in Puerto Rico, focuses on the artistic trajectory of the famous comedian Ramn del Rivero (Diplo) and his use of blackface in Puerto Rican theater and television, making the connection clear between Cuban teatro bufo (1860s, a genre whose influence can be traced back to the Spanish Golden Age) and the blackface of the Puerto Rican author. The influence of what Rivero, following critic Csar Salgado, calls Cubarican sociocultural expression is central for her argument, since she goes fully into a transnational consensus of the representation of race in both countries. These alliances clearly occurred in popular culture (Diplo saw the mask for the first time on Cuban comedian Leopoldo Fernndez), and as Rivero points out, they strengthened with the Vanguard movements and cultural and liter ary negrismo (ngritude) as in the poetry of Pals Matos and Nicols Guilln. During those years, Fernando Ortz was already the director of the Sociedad de Estudios Afrocubanos (Society of Afro-Cuban Studies) where Toms Blanco presented his conference Racial Prejudice in Puerto Rico. The allusion made to a particular discourse on race and racism that was being articulated in simi lar modes on both Hispanic Caribbean islands indicates that the radicalism and the complexity of Diplos black mask goes beyond a mere copy of the scripts and accent from Havana. It is a trans-Caribbean mask that represents from the top and from the bottom a series of discourses and social, cultural, and political issues. In the transition to television the radicalism of the scripts was transformed, making way after the death of Ramn del Rivero to other repre sentations in blackface, such as Paquito Corderos character Reguerete (1965, La taberna India ) and the Negrito Doroteo by Tino Acosta (1960), that lose the social and political cleverness of Diplos characters. Chapter 2, Bringing the Soul: Afros, Black Empowerment and the Resurgent Popularity of Blackface, analyzes the 1970s in Puerto Rico and a more politicized discourse on racism in the mass media. Political and social alliances created by Puerto Ricans in the diaspora with African Americans in cities such as New York and Chicago are central to understanding the sociocultural and political debates about race. Rivero highlights the found ing of the Young Lords, the Puerto Rican chapter of the Black Panthers in
280 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Chicago, and the visit of Stokely Carmichael to Puerto Rico and his meeting with Juan Mari Brs, the leader of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. The first part of this chapter presents several interviews, photos, and images of variety shows, from the beginning of Lucecita Benitezs career as a singer of the nueva ola (new wave) until the moment of her political radi calization. Rivero points out that this can be seen at a musical level on her record Raza pura (1971) in which the singer interprets songs with a radical political edge, and at a visual level, in the singers choice to transform her hair to an Afro style and to dress in a masculine manner. These gestures forced her out of local television for a number of years, although it gave her a degree of international fame: Lucecita won the Festival OTI in Mxico in 1969, singing Gnesis dressed in a blue gabardine suit and donning an Afro. Rivero points out that discussions of race also touch on issues of gen der and sexuality and analyzes Lucecitas polemic Afro in that intersection. Ironically, local programming closely followed musical shows in which African-American soul styles were the fashion, and Rivero mentions the Boricua version of Soul Train with Carol Myles and Meln Fal, the latter with a U.S.-style Afro. The second part of this chapter concentrates on the victory of Wilnelia Merced in the Miss Mundo contest and the reaction of the press. Rivero argues that Merceds victory revealed the ambiguity of racial categories in Puerto Rico. If for some journalists Wilnelia was triguea (brown-skinned), for others her skin color was due to the strength of the tropical sun rather than her racial origin. Chapters 3 and 4, The CubaRican Space Revisited and Mi familia : A Black Puerto Rican Televisual Family, concentrate on comedies of the 1980s and 1990s. Rivero explores the importance of the presence of Cuban screenwriters such as Manuel Montero Membrillo and Felipe San Pedro for the production of comedies on local television. The world of Latin American soap operas owes a large debt to scripts for Cuban radio soap operas such as El derecho de nacer (The right to be born) written by Delia Fiallo, and Puerto Rican comedies also reflect the influence of Cuban scripts and comedies that arrived on the island before 1959. After the Revolution of 1959 and with the emigration of Cubans dedicated to media-related work, producers, directors, and scriptwriters went on to form part of the mass media of Puerto Rico. If, as Jos Cobas and Jorge Duany (1997) point out, an anti-Cuban dis course against the new emigrants began in the 1960s (Cubans are rightwing, they always talk about Cuba, they think they are better than Puerto Ricans, etc.), scriptwriters such as Manuel Montero Membrillo repre sented these issues in television comedies, interrogating, deconstructing, and redoing many of these stereotypes. The comedy Los suegros (The in-laws) is a clear example of these ethnic and international borders in Puerto Rican television. Rivero analyzes the scripts of several episodes to trace the interac tion between the Puerto Rican and Cuban families, and at the same time, to
281 BOO K RE VI EW S show how they reacted to Kathy, the character from the United States. The quality of the scripts created a conflict between Montero and various sectors of the Cuban community in Puerto Rico who considered that he was not anti-Fidel and did not have a clear political commitment to Cuba. One of the contributions of this chapter is the elaboration of this Cuba-Rican border in social, political, and cultural arenas. It also makes clear that the Cuban community in Puerto Rico since the 1960s has been as heterogeneous in its political visions as it is today in any part of the world. Chapter 4 deals with the popular series Mi familia starring Otilio Warrington (Bizcocho) and the late Judith Pizarro, highlighting the puer torriqueidad represented by the characters that created a de-racialized image one of the shows initial proposals. Rivero analyzes which of these instances are positive and negative vis--vis that de-racialized image, while underlining its importance and popularity on Puerto Rican television. He points out that the comedy was a workshop for many black Puerto Rican actors, and contrary to other African-American series, it wasnt necessarily focused on upperor middle-class black families. After the chain Univisin purchased Channel 11 and turned it into Univisin-Puerto Rico in 2001, many local programs disappeared. Mi familia was canceled in 2003. The books Coda discusses the social, cultural, and political implica tions of the control that conglomerates now hold over programming in Puerto Rico and Latin America more generally. If Puerto Rican television has not been a mere copy of programs from the United States or Latin America but rather a creative and dialogical expression of local contexts and spaces, what are the repercussions of programming that does not speak about local or national debates and racial, ethnic, and sociopolitical borders? Due to pres sure from the large U.S. television chains, numerous Puerto Rican actors now live in Mexico, Miami, or Los Angeles to participate in this market. Making the jump from the local to the U.S. pan-Latino representations is equiva lent to the creation of new languages of interpretation that, contrary to spaces such as the Cubanorriqueo (of a pan-Caribbean nature), make reference to postnational and globalized contexts. Are positive results possible or is local Puerto Rican television a colonial victim of the equalizing and commodify ing currents of globalization? Rivero does not answer all of these questions, although she does emphasize that the products, actors, and creations of local television need to be defended and that there is a sense of urgency for academ ics on the island and in the United States to make these debates visible. RE F ERE N CE CO BAS, JO S A. & JORGE DU ANY, 1997. Cubans in Puerto Rico: Ethnic Economy and Cultural Identity Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
282 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Slave Ship Sailors and Their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807. EMM A CHR ISTOPHER. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. xviii + 241 pp. (Paper US$ 21.99) ED W A R D E. AND REW S Department of History University of New Hampshire Durham NH 03824, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org u > Slave Ship Sailors and Their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807 is Emma Christo phers ambitious attempt to fill a significant gap in the historical literature on the eighteenth-century transatlantic slave trade. While historians have rightfully focused on either the statistical significance of the trade or African slaves suffering within it, no study has thoroughly examined the role of the thousands of sailing men (and some women) who made the transatlan tic slave trade possible. Christopher makes careful use of sailors journals, Admiralty Court records, newspaper reports, and other printed material to build on the scholarship of W. Jeffrey Bolster, Marcus Rediker, and others (see, for example, Bolster 1997, Rediker 1987, and Linebaugh & Rediker 2000). In doing so, she tells a compelling story about sailors who demanded their own liberty while they kept others in chains. The book is divided into two sections of three chapters each. Christopher first traces why slave ship sailors took up the task, acknowledging that it entailed poor pay, hazardous working conditions, and little chance of eco nomic improvement (even as the well-connected slaving captains could make fortunes off the trade). These sailors were often crimped into service, through methods that could involve trickery, bribery, and even outright force. The second chapter examines the multiracial makeup of slave ship voyages. Though there might have been more on the women or Asian lascars involved in the slave trade, this chapter effectively contradicts the assumption that only white sailors carried black slaves. The section ends with a gruesomely disturbing chapter on the brutality and violence that characterized a slaving voyage. Herein lies the central paradox of sailors experiences: while they were often targets of the captains cat-o-nine-tails, slave ship sailors could just as easily turn that vicious whip onto their captive cargo. Section 2 begins by following slave ship sailors prolonged visitations to West Africa, either as convicts in British prisons, runaways seeking refuge, or womanizers looking for a good time. In fact, Christopher is at her best when discussing the sexual interactions between slavers and African women. Invoking Orlando Pattersons idea that slavery is best understood as a pro
283 BOO K RE VI EW S cess, she also suggests that slave ship sailors were the crucial mechanism whereby African captives were commoditized during the Middle Passage into African slaves (through the use of violence, subjugation, and then cleaning). The book ends with a detailed examination of the conditions that these sailors faced once in the West Indies. While they were necessary for the slave trade, ships that took less risky cargo from the Caribbean had no need for slave ship sailors, making the skills they learned during the Middle Passage virtually obsolete once slaves were sold on land. Stuck on the islands, they often main tained close friendships with slaves and free Blacks, making the local elite increasingly uneasy about alliances that cut through both race and class. As fascinating as this text is, Slave Ship Sailors also leaves many ques tions unanswered. First, Christopher claims that the unique situation of slave ship sailors put them at the forefront of the fight for freedom in the eighteenth-century Atlantic. Their close proximity to African slaves obvi ously gave them a point of comparison from which to draw rhetorical energy. Sailors thus used their unique position of being close to slavery, but not actu ally in it, to resist unfair wages and nasty working conditions. This argument is not as clearly developed as it might have been, as Christopher could have used more examples to examine how sailors individual fights for freedom had wider implications throughout the Atlantic world. Another problem is the issue of chronology. The title claims that the period from 1730 to 1807 will be covered, but the book never explains why these dates were chosen. Readers are left to assume that Christopher chooses 1730 because that was when British slave trading intensified. The official conclusion of British involvement in that trade, 1807, is an obvious ending point. Between these two dates, however, there is no sense of historical development or change. Did slave ship sailors lives get better or worse over time? How was the nature of slave ship sailing transformed as a result of Atlantic revolutions? Perhaps most importantly, how did the end of the slave trade affect these poor seamens lives? Did this momentous event represent for them a golden opportunity or a financial disaster? While Christopher does an admirable job of tracing sailors journeys throughout the space of the Atlantic world, she seems less concerned with charting their historical changes through time. This book nevertheless makes an important contribution by investigating an aspect of the slave trade that historians have too often neglected. Though it will probably not catalyze a paradigm shift in our understanding of slav ery, maritime culture, or the Atlantic world (in fact, when Christopher cites historians, she often does so to support her own interpretation rather than to disagree with them), this was not the intention of the work in the first place. Instead, the text fills an important gap, examining the sailors who served as cogs in the massive wheel of the transatlantic slave trade. As Christopher reminds us, to ignore these Sons of Neptune is to misunderstand the central
284 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) role that slaving seamen played in the construction of racial slavery, transat lantic commerce, and ideologies of freedom. RE F ERE N CE S BOL S TER, W. JE FF RE Y, 1997. Black Jacks: African-American Seamen in the Age of Sail. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. LIN E BA UGH, PETER & MA RCU S RE DIK ER (eds.), 2000. The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press. RE DIK ER, MA RCU S, 1987. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic World, 1750-1820. DOUGL AS J. HA M I LTO N. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005. xv + 249 pp. (Cloth .00) NI CHOL AS CANNY Department of History National University of Ireland, Galway Galway, Ireland
285 BOO K RE VI EW S Hamilton shows that throughout these two centuries there were always some people in Scotland, driven more by want and social dislocation than by the spirit of adventure, who saw the possibility of making good in the Americas. However he finds that Scots could take but scant advantage of the better oppor tunities that this region presented until they were enabled by the Act of Union of 1707 between England and Scotland to engage as equals with their English counterparts in trade and colonization in the Atlantic. Thus, he concludes that after the events of 1707, Scots who would make their careers or fortunes over seas looked increasingly westward rather than, as previously, to the Baltic regions of continental Europe, and to the province of Ulster in Ireland. As they sought after opportunity in the Caribbean, Scots found that little was available on islands that had long been in British possession, and they therefore concen trated on islands that were only then being developed by the British (notably Jamaica), or those that came into British possession at the conclusion of the various treaties that ended the sequence of wars fought during the late seven teenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe and on the Atlantic. Thus, again, as Hamilton portrays it, politics determined where in the Caribbean Scots would make their most enduring impression, while domestic political configurations determined which Scots gained access to the patronage networks in Britain that determined who might purchase estates or procure appointment to civil and military positions in the British islands of the Caribbean. Those of most interest to Hamilton are those who became members of the emerging colonial elites on the islands of Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent, and Tobago. He has much to say also of the Scots whose educa tional attainments at home qualified them to hold positions as bookkeepers, financial managers, lawyers, doctors, merchants, clerks, and ship captains in the businesses associated with the various Caribbean islands on which Scots became a significant, or even a dominant element, and from which they estab lished transcolonial networks extending from Demerara to Berbice to Florida. Hamilton gives special attention to the clannishness of the Scots, whether of Highland or Lowland origin, but more compelling is what he has to say of the progress made by Scottish merchant houses in advancing themselves in English port towns, notably Bristol and London. Most interesting is his account of the great Scottish trading house of Houstoun & Co., whose rise he attributes to its application in the Caribbean of the store system associated with the tobacco trade in the Chesapeake, and whose fall he attributes to its practice of investing its profits in British land that could not be easily liqui dated to deal with the financial crises that arose at moments of uncertainty. This brief summary will convey some impression of the original explora tions and findings in Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic World while the bibliography, and especially the detailed list of manuscript sources that shed light on the Scots in the Caribbean, means that this book will be the essential starting point for future scholars working on any aspect of British
286 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) trade and settlement in the Caribbean. My only regret is that Hamilton has failed to use his sources more fully to reconstruct the quotidian experiences of a few exemplars of the Scottish community in the Caribbean, which also would have enabled him to give more attention to Scottish, as opposed to English, responses to the inhumane work regimes with which traders and planters in the Caribbean were necessarily associated. The British Atlantic Trading Community, 1760-1810: Men, Women, and the Distribution of Goods SHERR Y LL YNN E HA GGERT Y Leiden (the Netherlands): Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. xiv + 287 pp. (Cloth US$ 120.00) A Deus ex Machina Revisited: Atlantic Colonial Trade and European Economic Development P.C. EMMER, O. P TRE-GRE N OU I LLE A U & J.V RO I TM AN (eds.) Leiden (the Netherlands): Brill Academic Publishers, 2006. xxx + 358 pp. (Cloth US$ 134.00) RU SS ELL R. ME NA R D Department of History University of Minnesota Minneapolis MN 55455, U.S.A.
287 BOO K RE VI EW S centuries, thus crossing the divide between the old and new colonial ism. Despite its broad temporal and geographic scope, the contributors reach several common conclusions. First, they point to the fact that with the pos sible exception of Britain trade to and from the non-Western world was marginal and served as a chasse garde for uncompetitive firms (p. xxviii). Second, they note that all authors agree that the spin-off effects of nonEuropean trade were limited in economic as well as in geographic scope (p. xxviii). This implies that the question is best explored at a local rather than a national level. Third, most contributors confirm the fact that the British model of expansion and colonial trade seems to have been the exception and not the rule (p. xxix). On the whole the essays are persuasive. While it is unlikely that this book will end the debate, certainly those who wish to support the notion that colonial trade played a major role in the development of Europe will have to contend with the evidence and arguments it presents. While I learned a lot from these essays, I do have a complaint. The volume lacks a full scholarly apparatus. Several of the essays are only lightly footnoted, a major handicap in a volume that is often historiographical in its focus. Further, there are no maps and no bibliography. Certainly, given the prices Brill charges, readers have a right to expect a more impressive scholarly apparatus. If A Deus ex Machina is a direct frontal assault on the notion of Atlantic history, Sherryllynne Haggertys study is an oblique flanking movement. The major competitor to the idea of treating the Atlantic littoral as a whole is the much older tradition of slicing it up into several discrete parts defined by the empires of the various European nations that colonized the Americas. Thus there is a British Atlantic, French Atlantic, Iberian Atlantic, and so on. As Haggertys fine study demonstrates this older tradition still has much to recommend it. Haggerty uses case studies of Philadelphia and Liverpool to study the British Atlantic trading community over the years 1760 to 1810. Usually, studies of those involved in trade have focused on elite male merchants. Haggerty breaks with the dominant historiographical tradition by defining trader more broadly to include everyone involved in the distribution of goods retailers, auctioneers, peddlers, higglers, and hucksters and this allows her to assess the role of lesser traders, including women in the distribution of goods around the Atlantic. Although Haggertys argument that Britains Empire of Goods could not have functioned without the contributions of these lesser folk is persuasive, I am not fully convinced that all these trad ers constituted a community. Haggerty argues that they shared a common business culture of risk, enterprise, trust, and reputation, and that they con stituted a community of interests (p. 966) because of similar concerns with politics and government. While she tells us a lot about who these traders were and how they functioned within the distribution network, she fails to
288 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) show them coming together to pursue a common political goal and thus is not fully persuasive that the traders constituted a community. Despite her failure to show that traders in either city actually functioned as a community, Haggerty has written an important book that deserves the close attention of all students of Early Modern trade. By defining trader broadly, she is able to show in great detail how goods were distributed in the British Atlantic world of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The compari son of Philadelphia and Liverpool is effective and illuminating. The two cities shared enough to merit comparison: both aspired to be the second city of the Empire, both were deeply involved in Atlantic trade and were home to substan tial Quaker populations, both are well documented, and the volume of trade between them was high. While the two cities were similar in many respects, there were enough differences to make comparison revealing. Haggertys stan dards of scholarship are high. She makes good use of the available sources, city directories, newspapers, court records, and the private records of traders. Her care in using city directories is especially impressive and should be consulted by anyone contemplating using such sources. While this book is primarily a contribution to the history of trade and commerce, it is also an important con tribution to womens history, for Haggerty shows how, despite the substantial legal and cultural obstacles they faced, women still played a central role in the business of distributing goods throughout the British Atlantic. Haggerty does not directly take on the issue of the impact of colonial trade on European development, but some of her results do speak to the issue. First, she seems to agree with the contributors to A Deus ex Machina that the profits of colonial trade did little to finance industrialization. With the exception of sugar refining and shipbuilding, few of the traders Haggerty studied invested in manufacturing activities. On the other hand, the distribu tion and credit networks she describes, initially created to serve the needs of Atlantic and colonial trade, could easily be turned to serve the needs of Englands new industrialists. Indeed, it is here, on the impact of colonial trade on distribution and credit networks and associated institutions rather than on the sources of capital for industrialization that the debate over the impact of the Americas on European economic development is likely to focus in the future. Finally, the networks Haggerty describes seem to have been entirely contained within the British Empire, suggesting that while there clearly was a British Atlantic, the larger, more inclusive Atlantic World that has so cap tured the attention of historians in recent decades is largely the product of the imagination of a few historians.
289 BOO K RE VI EW S Caribbean Slave Revolts and the British Abolitionist Movement GEL I E N MA TTHEW S. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006. xiv + 197 pp. (Cloth US$ 42.95) AL VIN O. THOMP S O N Department of History and Philosophy University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
290 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) slave rebellions was the achievement of emancipation (p. 10). At the same time, she argues that the theory of emancipation from below is seriously flawed because it ignores that slavery was practically ended by British par liamentary legislation and erroneously elevates slave rebellion above other factors in the achievement of emancipation (p. 11). Certainly, Matthews has not reflected the contention of Williams here, for, as noted above, he argued that the British parliamentary decision to end slavery was based largely on economic circumstances in Britain that had made slavery in the Caribbean colonies an anachronism, and he praised the humanitarians for the propa ganda campaign that they conducted (1994:136, 169, 178). The strength of Matthewss study does not lie in any attempt to determine whether emancipation was effected from above or below, but rather to show in much more elaborate and careful detail the interrelationship between slave rebellions and antislavery propaganda. She assembles more than enough evi dence to build a cogent argument for the view that the leaders of the antislav ery movement moved cautiously, but in the end boldly, to the conclusion that slave rebellions were a logical reaction to the brutalities of slavery, and that such rebellions were used to promote the cause of abolition in Parliament. She opines that whereas before, members of the antislavery group were largely on the defensive when the pro-slavery group (represented largely by the West India interest in Britain) accused them of directly or indirectly fomenting rebellion in the colonies through their propaganda (p. 3), they now openly attacked the pro-slavers by arguing that it was the latter who were responsible for the rebellions (pp. 92, 103, 106, 121, et passim). She also argues that by the early 1830s it was these rebellions that were putting the pro-slavers on the defensive, while providing ammunition for the antislavery arsenal (pp. 55, 96). Using the Jamaica rebellion of 1831-1832 as one of several examples, she declares that the crucial lesson of their failure helped stir the abolitionists into propaganda action (p. 111). She goes on to point out that the London Anti-Slavery Society decided to hold public meetings in several parts of the United Kingdom to highlight the plight of the enslaved in Jamaica that led to the revolt and its brutal suppression. Matthewss book is well researched. Her primary sources include various published debates and other documents of the British Parliament; numerous pamphlets and other publications produced by the Anti-Slavery Society and a number of leading abolitionists unpublished documents in the British National Archives, the various missionary societies, the West India Committee, and so on; and the large body of polemical literature found in various magazines, newspapers, and periodicals in Britain. The debate on British abolitionism will continue long after the publication of her study, but her work should find an important place in the vast body of literature on the subject. My only regret about this work is that it does not include an index. I can only presume that this was due to an oversight (a major one) on the part of the publishers.
291 BOO K RE VI EW S RE F ERE N CE S HA RT, RI CH A R D 1985. Slaves Who Abolished Slavery Blacks in Rebellion Vol. 2. Mona, Jamaica: Institute of Social and Economic Research. WI LL IA M S, ER I C E. 1994. Capitalism and Slavery Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. [Orig. 1944.] Flight to Freedom: African Runaways and Maroons in the Americas AL VIN O. THOMP S O N. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2006. xi + 381 pp. (Paper US$ 40.00) RI CH A R D PR I CE Department of Anthropology College of William and Mary Williamsburg VA 23187-8795, U.S.A.
292 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) government, which demand greater depth. Its dependence on older historical syntheses (those of Yvan Debbasch, Gabriel Debien, and Jos L. Franco) rath er than works by anthropologists who have lived with Maroons considerably lessens its overall persuasiveness. For example, to write about Maroon treatymaking without drawing on (or even citing) Kenneth Bilbys incisive compara tive analysis (1997) or to deal with the aftermath of treaties and the return of runaways without reference to Alabis World (Price 1990) undercuts its analy sis and conclusions. And to discuss the formation of the two largest Maroon societies in the Americas, the Ndyukas and Saramakas, without reference to the two most important books on Ndyuka history (Thoden van Velzen & Van Wetering 1998 and 2004) and without any mention at all of any of the halfdozen relevant books by the Prices on Saramaka history published since 1983 (see, for the full list, http://www.richandsally.net) seems at best puzzling. Thompsons judgments sometimes run counter to current orthodoxies. He deserves praise for arguing against the thesis, promoted by John Thornton and others, that Maroon communities based their organization on African ethnic identities. But much of the available evidence for his argument is in sources he does not cite. Since Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas (Price 1973) first laid out the contours of the field, a significant number of general books have appeared on runaways, maroons, and slave revolts by schol ars as diverse as Eugene Genovese, Michael Craton, Gad Heuman, Rafael Duharte Jimnez, and Flvio dos Santos Gomes. Thompsons new synthetic attempt adds little to that growing shelf. Indeed, the in-depth studies that con tinue to appear on the history of particular Maroon societies (such as Bilby 2005, Price 2008, or Thoden van Velzen & Van Wetering 2004, to mention just a few) often seem to go farther toward answering the kinds of questions that Thompson poses what was the role of African ethnicity? how did gen der roles develop? what was Maroon military organization like? what was the role of ideology in the formation of these societies? and so forth than this historically and ethnographically uncontextualized summary. RE F ERE N CE S BI L BY, KE NN ETH 1997. Swearing by the Past, Swearing to the Future: Sacred Oaths, Alliances, and Treaties among the Guianese and Jamaican Maroons. Ethnohistory 44:65589. , 2005. True-Born Maroons Gainesville: University Press of Florida. PR I CE, RI CH A R D, 1973. Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas New York: Anchor Books. [3d rev. ed. 1996, Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.]
293 BOO K RE VI EW S , 1990. Alabis World Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. , 2008. Travels with Tooy: History, Memory, and the African American Imagination Chicago: University of Chicago Press. THO D E N VAN VEL Z E N, H.U.E. & W. VAN WETER IN G, 1988 The Great Father and the Danger: Religious Cults, Material Forces, and Collective Fantasies in the World of the Suriname Maroons Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Foris. , 2004. In the Shadow of the Oracle: Religion as Politics in a Suriname Maroon Society Long Grove IL: Waveland. Mambisas: Rebel Women in Nineteenth-Century Cuba TERE SA PR AD O STORRE I R A. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xii + 185 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) ADA FERRER History Department New York University New York NY 10012, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > With Mambisas: Rebel Women in Nineteenth-Century Cuba, Teresa PradosTorreira has provided a much needed exploration of the role of women in Cubas struggle for independence from Spain. In the last ten or so years, there has been a resurgence of work on Cuban nationalism and anticolonial insurgency, much of it focused on the links between slavery, race, and nation alism. But none of this work has taken as its central concern the participation of women in anticolonial politics. On that score alone, Mambisas represents an important contribution to our understanding of the history of Cuban inde pendence and the history of Cuban women. But what is further noteworthy about the book is the fresh and dynamic way Prados-Torreira goes about recovering that history. She begins with three background chapters devoted to the place of women in Cuban society before the start of the first war of independence in 1868. The heart of the book, however, is in the following chapters, which treat in depth the period of insurgency against Spain, beginning with the Ten Years War (1868-1878), the interwar period (1880-1895), and the final War of Independence (1895-1898). Prados-Torreira lays out the main problems at stake in each of the conflicts and argues that womens participation was
294 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) central throughout. Using brief, well-crafted, and engaging biographical por traits to carry her narrative forward, she paints a dynamic portrait of women active in both the military and political wings of the nationalist movement. Thus, though the term mamb was usually used to denote armed (or unarmed) insurgents camped in the woods and doing physical battle against the Spanish army, Prados-Torreiras mambisas are that and more. For both wars, she finds ample evidence of women taking active roles in armed insurgency: as fight ers, as messengers, as nurses traveling with the troops, and in rare cases as officers. But she also pays significant attention to women who participated in different ways, as members of organized pro-independence groups in exile, as journalists and essayists, and, in general, as civilian activists who raised money, advocated, and participated centrally in debating and imagining the nation. These were women who met semisecretly with Ulysses S. Grant to request protection for Cuban medical students recently arrested by the colo nial government; who outlined petitions to the United States to grant bel ligerency status to the Cuban rebels; and who served as delegates to receive funds being sent from revolutionary Cubans in exile. Though much of the womens activism and energy was devoted to the cause of independence, there were some instances in which they sought an expansion of their rights not only as Cubans but also specifically as women. Early in the first war at the meeting of the First Constitutional Assembly, Ana Betancourt took the floor to praise the revolutions willingness to destroy the enslave ment of the cradle ... [and] the slavery of color and to call on it to attack the unfreedom of women as well (p. 84). In the final war, women such as Edelmira Guerra and Aurelia Castillo wrote specifically about the expansion of womens rights in independent Cuba, the former (unsuccessfully) petitioning the rebel government to include womens suffrage in the rebel and then the national constitution. For Prados-Torreira, these women represent the double aspira tions for Cubas freedom and womens citizenship (p. 82). Still, she argues, for most of the women studied in the book, it was the former that appeared to take precedence. In this way, her study of Cuban women is broader in scope that Lynn Stoners important work on twentieth-century Cuban women (1991), which limited its focus largely to women and politics explicitly feminist. Prados-Torreira has done a commendable job with a topic inherently chal lenging because of the scarcity of sources. Information on women involved in the military campaigns is diffuse in the records and, when present, it is often enticing but frustratingly thin. Prados-Torreira acknowledges and dis cusses these obstacles and then goes about constructing a lively narrative that is still able to convey a world of politics and war populated, if unevenly, of women of different class and racial groupings. Less satisfying at times is her discussion of the things that moved these women to become involved. Though the answer most often is nationalism, that nationalism too often remains a vague and naturalized entity. Laying aside the certainty that that
295 BOO K RE VI EW S was always the motivating factor, or going further in questioning particular meanings of nationalism at particular moments might have left more room for richer interpretations of womens patriotic poetry, of vibrant letters writ ten from wives to husbands, and of womens public and private defenses of their incursion into the male world of war and politics. Still, Prados-Torreira has written an important and original contribution to the study of Cuban women and Cuban nationalism. In this admirable book, we see a facet of the independence movement that not only has long been overlooked, but one that was a central feature of its operation. RE F ERE N CE STO N ER, K LYNN 1991. From the House to the Streets: The Cuban Womans Movement for Legal Reform, 1898-194 0 Durham NC: Duke University Press. Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba. RO BIN D. MOORE Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. xvi + 350 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) MA RE IA QU IN TERO-RIV ER A History Department University of Puerto Rico Ro Piedras Campus, San Juan 00931, Puerto Rico
296 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) The book addresses the trajectories of major popular genres, placing a spe cial emphasis on the impact of cultural policies upon music production, and the ways in which musicians have responded to changing political and social circumstances. It is broad in scope and contains rich and detailed informa tion on the islands musical milieu clearly, the result of years of extensive research. Aside from the impressive documentation effort, the main contribu tion of Music and Revolution in my view, is its focus on how transforma tions in musical styles and in music-making take place. Moore succeeds in presenting Cuban music within the context of changes in the islands politi cal, economic, and social conditions since the 1950s, and yet not merely as a reflection of those transformations. Thanks to a great amount of testimonies, as well as a careful examination of music production, he manages to trace the ways in which musicians participate in the shaping of new styles and practices. Music is addressed here as a site for negotiating individual and collective concerns about the role of culture within a socialist society. The books introduction states its purpose examining the relationship between socialist thought and cultural policies in socialist states, using Cuba as a case study (p. 2). The consideration of how Marxs ideas, Soviet social realism developed under Stalins rule, or the Chinese Cultural Revolution influenced Cuban cultural policies is indeed an interesting subject, partial ly addressed in Music and Revolution However, Cuban political and cul tural history presents too many particularities, within the context of former Socialist states, to serve as a locus for answering such a far-reaching initial question. Throughout the book, Moore offers interesting references on cul tural policies in the Soviet Union and other socialist contexts, but the book is clearly focused on Cuba and its specificities as a Caribbean and Latin American socialist society. Even though Music and Revolution focuses on the decades following 1959, it provides substantial background information on Cubas music environment before the Revolution. Actually, Moore devotes a whole chapter to a depiction of the musical scene of the 1950s. In subsequent chapters, while examining the trajectories of specific genres, he offers valuable references to the preRevolutionary period. This approach is worth noting, since it enables an anal ysis of cultural transformations in socialist Cuba that does not overemphasize a radical rupture. While addressing the impact of significant changes in the political and economic spheres on music-making, Moore also develops inter esting explanations for musical transformations that take into account certain persistent practices and traits of Cuban cultural dynamics. For instance, a his torical overview of dance music, allows him to suggest that the dance music genres, such as modern timba, continue to offer a place for the Afro-Cuban youth to affirm blackness in a society where racial prejudice defies political changes. It should be mentioned that Moore is also the author of an excellent book on Afro-Cuban culture in the prerevolutionary period (Moore 1997).
297 BOO K RE VI EW S The impact of sudden transformations due to new political situations in music-making and the development of cultural policies under the social ist regime are the subjects of Chapters 2 and 3. Among the issues discussed here are: the early compositions praising the revolutionary triumph; the crisis of cabarets as a result of the sudden decrease in tourism and the closing of casinos; the nationalization of theaters and cultural spaces; the intellectual and literary effervescence during the first years following the Revolution; the inauguration of a massive literacy campaign; the promotion of an ama teurs artistic movement; the establishment of significant cultural institutions such as Casa de las Amricas and the ICAIC (Instituto Cubano de Artes e Industrias Cinematogrficas); the initial abolition of copyright and its con sequences to the music industry; the development of specialized music edu cation; the centralization of music businesses under the states control; and questions concerning artistic freedom. Chapters 4 through 7, which develop analyses of dance music, nueva trova, Afro-Cuban folklore, and sacred music, constitute the core of the book. All of these case studies stand as great contributions to the history of musicmaking in socialist Cuba. The decision to encompass such a broad historical period and such a wide range of genres, however, limits the possibilities for deeper analyses. Even though Moore provides certain musical examples to sustain his views, none of the musicians or styles addressed in the book is the subject of a profound discussion. Music and Revolution is a fundamental contribution to the understanding of cultural dynamics in contemporary Cuba. It is well written and supported by serious research. Readers who are not familiar with the Cuban Revolution will find a fascinating overview of political and social processes, through the lens of musical production. At the same time, connoisseurs of the Cuban process will discover new perspectives and insights into the multifaceted relationships of culture and politics in the island. RE F ERE N CE S MOORE, RO BIN D ., 1997. Nationalizing Blackness: Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920-1940. Pittsburgh PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. ROJ AS, RAFA EL, 2006. Tumbas sin sosiego: Revolucin, disidencia y exilio del intelectual cubano Barcelona: Editorial Anagrama.
298 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Cubas Agricultural Sector J O S L VA RE Z Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. xxvi + 307 pp. (Cloth US$ 75.00) Reinventing the Cuban Sugar Agroindustry JORGE P RE Z-L PE Z & JO S L VA RE Z (eds.). Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2005. xxv + 323 pp. (Paper US$ 27.00) AL AN DY E Department of Economics Barnard College, Columbia University New York NY 10027, U.S.A.
299 BOO K RE VI EW S small private farmers markets, and the limited role of foreign investment in agriculture. Part 3 examines problems of food security and environmental degradation. And Part 4 offers some valuable reflections on the future of Cuban agriculture. One of the laudable aspects of the work is its broad focus on the agricul tural sector as a whole, including export crops (sugar and tobacco) and the major food crops. The main proposition involves a comparison of changes in productivity after 1959 in state and nonstate sectors. Alvarez finds that from 1959 to 1993 state production was consistently less productive than nonstate production, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. This is in spite of the fact that nonstate agriculture faced disadvantaged access to factors of pro duction. Furthermore, although the 1994 reforms introducing UBPCs were expected to improve productivity by providing stronger incentives, Alvarez concludes that they generated mixed results at best, and an apparent decline in the productivity of the nonstate sector, as they transferred the problems that were plaguing the state sector to the nonstate sector. Reinventing the Cuban Sugar Agroindustry gathers an all-star cast of experts on Cuban sugar, including the editors, Jorge Prez-Lpez and Jos Alvarez, and reflects a remarkably forward outlook on recent developments, international context, and prospects for recovery of the Cuban sugar indus try. Given limited space, it is impossible to assess the contribution of each of the outstanding essays in this extraordinary collection. Although collec tions of this nature usually display significant variability in quality and some significant gaps in coverage, this volume suffers from neither weakness. All the essays are of the highest quality and the coverage exceeds expectations, with some truly imaginative and brilliant contributions. As a whole, it is an invaluable collection of analyses of the utmost relevance to the current prob lems facing Cuban sugar today. Part 1 consists of essays on four major dimensions of sugar agroindus trial development in historical perspective. The first, by Joseph Scarpaci and Armando Portela, explores how the each of the major historical periods has shaped the natural and cultural landscape. The second, by Jorge PrezLpez, is an analysis of the state of Cuban sugar at the end of the 1990s, relative to the post-1959 decades, showing the veil of inefficiency that was lifted by the ending of Soviet subsidies. The third, by Brian Pollitt, is an examination of the adoption of new technology in Cuban sugar production, which demonstrates, among other things, that the technical changes toward mechanization also produce more import-intensive technology, with obvious implications for the adjustment to the post-1990 crisis. The fourth essay, by G.B. Hagelberg, chronicles Cubas troubled history of international trade in sugar, leading to the decline of preferential purchases of sugar by the Soviet bloc and sugar-oil swaps in the 1990s. He shows that production targets are now no higher than those of the Great Depression.
300 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Part 2 examines the current international environment, which sets the parameters for Cuban sugar exports in the near future. Sergey Gudoshnikow examines prospective growth in international demand for sugar to 2010. Tim Josling considers the outlook for liberalization of the sugar trade in WTO negotiations. Devry Boughner and Jonathan Coleman explore the legal pos sibilities for a reopening of the U.S. sugar market to Cuban sugar. Part 3 examines the most pressing issues surrounding the uncertain but ongoing transition in Cuban sugar agroindustry. Jos Alvarez and Jorge PrezLpez outline how the restructuring of the Cuban sugar industry has proceed ed from 2002 to 2004, an important extension to the analysis Alvarez offers in his book Cubas Agricultural Sector As an important complement, G.B. Hagelberg and Jos Alvarez assemble the available evidence on the costs of sugar production. On the assumption that capital requirements for the recon struction of the Cuban sugar industry will pressure the Cuban government to privatize, Matas Travieso-Daz examines the problems that will emerge from outstanding legal claims of expropriation of sugar mills and plantations by former owners. Undoubtedly, these matters would become of greater signifi cance if the Cuban government, as part of the transitional plan, were to nor malize international relations with major industrial leaders. Travieso-Diazs essay gives a valuable examination of the issues and possible ways forward. Part 4 considers possible paths of future improvement and product diversification of the Cuban sugar industry. Guilherme Rossi Machado, Jr. explores the age-old problem of putting more research energy into the devel opment of new cane varieties. Jos Alvarez and George Snyder examine the possible benefits of the rice-sugar rotation program. Findlay Pate outlines the use of sugarcane by-products for cattle feed, discussing its advantages and limitations. Lindsay Jolly considers the possibilities for developing a market for organic sugar. Pedro de Assis examines the prospects for using sugarcane as a raw material for ethanol and electricity, as a possible way to reopen the seventy mills that have been closed, showing significant advantages that should be taken seriously if the forecasts for an international market for etha nol continue to develop. Sergio Trinidade extends this kind of analysis to discuss the revolutionary idea of a sugarcane biorefinery a value chain that uses sugarcane to produce an entire range of products, including solid and gaseous fuels, stillage, fiber, sucrochemicals, and ethanol-derived chemicals, clearly in expectation of continuing declines in the demand for sugar exports. All in all it represents a remarkable program for transforming Cuban sugar agriculture into a modern, green, and diversified sugar agroindustry. These two books are the most important works to appear on the range of proposals for a successful transition in Cuban agriculture. Critics may object to the continued focus on sugar when for decades economists have been recommending a more diversified industrial structure, but the extensive evi dence in the pages reviewed here makes clear that sugar remains the sector in
301 BOO K RE VI EW S which Cuba would have the greatest latent comparative advantage, if reforms could inject more capital for modernization, and the greatest depth of pro ductive knowledge and skills. Reinvigorating those skills, then attending to their spillover into other sectors, is a more promising strategy than abandon ing them in pursuit of a singular focus on tourism and other services. One of the most pronounced messages of these two books is that, to date, post-1959 state policies toward agriculture have ended in failure, but the prospects, if the right steps are taken, could reestablish Cuba as a leader in the global industry a goal worthy of pursuing. Islands, Forests and Gardens in the Caribbean: Conservation and Conflict in Environmental History RO B ERT S. AND ER S O N, RI CH A R D GRO V E & KA R IS HI E B ERT (eds.). Oxford: Macmillan Caribbean, 2006. xxii + 266 pp. (Cloth US$ 22.35) LA WRE N CE S GRO SS M AN Department of Geography Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA 24061, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org > The literature on environmental history in the Caribbean has been relatively limited compared to such research on other regions. Thus, Islands, Forests and Gardens in the Caribbean is a welcome addition. The collection had its origin in a 1991 environmental conference on the island of St. Vincent com memorating the two hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Kings Hill forest reserve on that island. It is regrettable that it took so long to appear. As in any edited volume based on a conference, the chapters vary in quality, but overall the collection is a valuable resource for Caribbean researchers inter ested in history and environment. The major focus is on environmental institu tions and legislation during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although most chapters focus on the British Caribbean, useful comparative material on French colonial environmental initiatives helps broaden the books appeal. The chapters excel in providing historical details and analysis, but little reference is made to broader debates in the literature on environmental history. Robert S. Anderson, the conference organizer, provides the context for the other chapters by focusing on two hundred years of environmental institutions and asserts that there is a direct lineage between todays population and those
302 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) in the late eighteenth century who established the St. Vincent botanical garden and the Kings Hill forest reserve. Roughly half of the chapters are devoted to St. Vincent (those by Richard A. Howard, Adrian Fraser, Michael Kidston et al., and Hymie Rubenstein), while others highlight cases from Dominica (Lennox Honychurch), Barbados (David Watts), Saint Domingue (James E. McClellan III), and Martinique (Clarissa Kimber). Two chapters are more comparative in orientation Richard Groves work on the origins of forest conservation in the Eastern Caribbean and Madeleine Ly-Tio-Fanes discus sion of plant transfers between the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean regions. Key themes throughout the chapters are the significance of early botanic gardens, attempts to control deforestation and soil loss, the impacts of settlement and plantation agriculture, and the cultural importance of gardens and forests. The most impressive part of the volume focuses on early botanic gardens in the region and their linkages to emerging empire-wide scientific networks in which plants such as coffee, cocoa, clove, nutmeg, and peppers were redis tributed throughout the world and provided the economic foundation for colo nial enterprises. Readers obtain a clear and comprehensive understanding of the endeavors of botanic gardens, which involved varying combinations of knowledge-seeking, experimentation, cataloging, intrigue, theft, coop eration, and strategic planning. Madeleine Ly-Tio-Fanes work is the most wide-ranging, discussing early Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch efforts at plant transfers and subsequent botanic initiatives by the British and French. Her insightful chapter portrays the importance of the search for medicinal plants as an initial inspiration for establishing botanic gardens, the resulting excite ment generated in Europe by the introduction of exotic flora and fauna, and the geopolitical and economic significance of plant transfers for competing empires. James E. McClellans article on the French colony of St. Domingue is enlightening in its portrayal of the environmental hazards and constraints faced by early settlers and the environmental impacts of plantations. Clarissa Kimbers chapter focusing on the first botanical garden in the French Antilles Le Jardin Colonial des Plantes de Saint-Pierre on Martinique is particu larly well researched. She notes that the garden contributed to the accumula tion of diversity within the gene pools of economic plants and to the islands biodiversity. Richard H. Howard describes the early years of the St. Vincent botanical garden, which was established in 1765, with a particular focus on the remarkable career and contributions of Alexander Anderson, the second director of the gardens who was instrumental in developing the ordinance to protect the forests on Kings Hill. The second strength of this volume is the analysis of scientific ideas about the environment and environmental legislation during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Two chapters stand out in this regard. David Wattss impressive discussion of environmental institutions and legislation on Barbados examines efforts by both successive government administrations
303 BOO K RE VI EW S and individual planters to cope with environmental degradation. He attributes the lack of legislation directed toward preserving environmental quality on Barbados to political uncertainty during the period and the emphasis at the time on using colonial resources to spur economic growth in the empire. The longest and most substantive of the chapters in the collection is Groves analysis of the origins of forest conservation in the East Caribbean during the eighteenth century, which carefully details early environmental initiatives on Tobago and St. Vincent and their relationship with intellectual currents within Britain. Groves chapter reveals a complex set of influences on the develop ment of environmental legislation, ranging from European conceptions about the relationship between forests and climate, initiatives of the London-based Society of Arts, and determined resistance by Caribs on St. Vincent. This collection is not meant to be a comprehensive review of environ mental history in the Caribbean. For example, it does not include any materi als on the critical period of the second half of the nineteenth century during which the Colonial Office in London spurred empire-wide efforts at control ling deforestation. Nonetheless, it is an important and worthwhile addition to the limited literature on Caribbean environmental history. The Kings Hill Enclosure Ordinance of 1791 the inspiration for this volume created a forest reserve on St. Vincent with the hope that it would attract clouds and rainfall. Hopefully, this volume will attract more interest in the environmental history of the Caribbean. The State and Small-Scale Fisheries in Puerto Rico RI C A R D O P RE Z Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. xx + 218 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) MAN UEL VA L DS PIZZINI Interdisciplinary Center for Coastal Studies and Sea Grant College Program University of Puerto Rico Mayagez 00681-9011, Puerto Rico
304 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Similarly, Ricardo Prezs The State and Small-Scale Fisheries in Puerto Rico is not a book about fishing, but an excellent monograph on the plight of coastal communities in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Using an eth nographic and historical approach to study three communities in the munici palities of Peuelas and Guayanilla in southern Puerto Rico, Prez intro duces readers to a riveting analysis of development and how that process was entrenched in the daily lives of coastal dwellers. Prezs meticulous examination of fisheries development provides a human face to the complexities of the colonial and postcolonial modernization projects. Through examination of a number of technical reports, unpublished materials, films, historical documents, and interviews with gov ernment officials and fishers, Prez reconstructs the role of the state in fisheries development and describes the ways in which such actions were intertwined with agrarian reform and the industrialization strategies of the government of Puerto Rico. Prez concludes that fishing was the last item on the list of priorities, given the array of developmental alternatives available to the island throughout the twentieth century, including the legacy of the New Deal (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) in the reconstruction of the local economy and the industrialization program of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In fact, fisheries development focused on the seemingly superficial aspects of the industry (the aesthetic and health conditions of the landing centers) while investing a dismal amount of funds in the buildup of the infrastructure needed for production growth. In other words, the government of Puerto Rico retarded fisheries develop ment, in a context dominated by the slow demise of agriculture, increased industrialization and modernization, and an always cheap supply of salted cod from Newfoundland. The state maintained the status quo in which the fishers and their communities remained a flexible source of labor for other, more important, sectors of the economy. Prezs well-documented and elegant analysis of fisheries development is perhaps the most important con tribution of his book. Indeed, recent debates on the local fisheries are using Prezs findings to assess policies and build strategies for the future. Coastal communities are at the epicenter of economic development, as they are located in landscapes characterized by high capital mobility and devastating transformations of nature imprinted in the fragments of mem ory of coastal peoples. The communities studied by Prez are located at the margins of the largest petrochemical complex and refinery built on the island, now partially defunct. Sponsored by the government in the late 1950s, the Commonwealth Oil Refining Company (CORCO) became the site for capital investment and infrastructure development for many transnational companies. As a result, the coastal environment changed dramatically and the agricultural landscape disappeared. Such enormous capital investment, construction, and production processes altered the social and labor fabric of
305 BOO K RE VI EW S the nearby towns, which attracted and forced many communities into wage labor in this new form of production or to migrate to other labor markets; a familiar process for many Caribbean islands, such as Trinidad and St. Croix. Prezs ethnography is a powerful documentation of the perceptions and memories of the environmental disaster that CORCO brought upon the land scape and its coastal communities and habitats. In that historical context, fishers, as petty commodity producers, were an essential component of the flexible communities that restructured household production and labor strategies to adjust to new opportunities, threats, and constraints imposed by industrialization. Fishers engaged in pro duction for the new markets and became operators of small-scale commer cial fisheries, as this type of fisheries required a small capital commitment to sustain (or further) production (p. 36). In this theoretical shuffle, Prez eliminates the use of the terms artisanal and traditional, often appearing interchangeably in the literature. Ironically, he uses the incomplete term of small-scale fisheries throughout the book, and even in the title. Prez covers plenty of ground in his book, as he criticizes maritime anthropology for its lack of a clear theoretical beacon. Instead, he argues, maritime anthropology must focus on the labor arrangements and diverse forms and relations of production into which coastal communities are inserte d on a local, regional, and global scale. To underscore his point, Prez presents short life histories of the complex trajectories of fishers-laborers on those scales. Although I should be the last person to critique such a point of view, I would argue that he brushes aside too quickly the value of a mari time anthropology interested in fisheries biology, ecological adaptations, and forms of knowledge. This is a minor concern, as Perezs review of maritime anthropology is one of the best critiques available. The book is a fundamental contribution to the anthropology of develop ment, postdevelopment, and coastal communities. Its narrative is a conduit for the many and different voices that experienced this colossal social change and development (including technocrats) voices gathered and organized from the fragments of memory, which should have been the title of the book, as was the original title of his dissertation. RE F ERE N CE FA R IS, JA ME S C., 1972. Cat Harbour: A Newfoundland Fishing Settlement Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [Newfoundland Social and Economic Studies No. 3.]
306 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness KA M A R I MAXIN E CL A R K E & DE B OR A H A. THOM AS (eds.). Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2006. 407 pp. (Paper US$ 23.95) FR AN CE WINDDAN CE TW IN E Sociology Department University of California-Santa Barbara Santa Barbara CA 93106, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > This edited volume, the fruit of a session at the 2001 American Anthropological Association meetings organized by Deborah Thomas, Kamari Clarke, and John Jackson, is a theoretically ambitious attempt to reframe globalization studies by placing blackness at the center. Clarke and Thomas seek to recu perate the power of race as a central category of social analysis without either falling into essentialisms or forestalling the possibility of developing a criti cal analysis that overarches the specificities of location (p. 3). Consisting of an introduction and sixteen chapters that cover Canada, Cape Verde, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, England, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States, it is divided into three sections. The contributors address a compelling range of cultural sites, from dance classes, fashion, heritage industry, housing, geo politics, and migrant labor to music, nationalism, religion, television, tour ism, gentrification, and modernity. In the process, they map new theoretical approaches and empirical sites in their analyses of the consumption, produc tion, translation, and negotiation of blackness. The volume is conceptually bound together by three theoretical strands. First, there is analysis throughout on the meanings and limitations of the concept of diaspora. Several of the authors problematize the concept, for mations, and racial logics of diaspora and diasporic communities as they have been imagined, institutionalized, and reproduced in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. There is also a sustained focus on capitalist mar kets, consumption, marketing, and the circulation of products and practices that present authentic blackness or Africanness. Commercialized versions of blackness are embedded in the negotiation of power and the meanings of Africanness. A third theoretical strand examines mobility, travel, and the spatial dimensions of racial and cultural production. Space, travel, and the racialization of specific neighborhoods, labor regimes, housing develop ments, and national narratives are examined in the chapters on Canada, Cape Verde, New York, and U.S./Nigerian relations.
307 BOO K RE VI EW S Commentary on a few representative chapters from each section of this rich volume may serve to illustrate the range of empirical data and the theo retical breadth. Part One, Diasporic Movements, Missions and Modernities, introduces the themes that will animate the rest of the volume. In two theo retically compelling chapters, Tina Campt and Jacquelyn Nassy Brown prob lematize and interrogate the limits and tensions of diasporic solidarity (p. 108). Campt, a historian, argues that diaspora does not constitute a historical given or universally applicable analytic model for explaining the cultural and historical trajectories of all black populations (p. 108). She notes that what distinguishes black Germans from U.S. Blacks is the lack of shared narratives of home, belonging, and community that sustain so many other black commu nities on which they draw as resources in numerous ways. As a result, [she goes on] black Germans have never regarded a sense of relation and belong ing among themselves or to other black communities as self-evident (p. 95). Browns analysis of the relationships between U.S. black soldiers and Blacks in Liverpool argues that gendered ideologies about locality produced black Liverpool and black America as social spaces to be differently occupied and that for black women in Liverpool, black America represented a resource for attaining a form of self-respect that was unavailable locally (p. 87). Part Two, Geographies of Racial Belonging, is organized around the theme of travel and spatial mobility. Kamari Maxine Clarke moves between South Carolina, Nigeria, and the U.S. academy to analyze the meaning, mar keting, and consumption of roots tourism by U.S. Blacks actively con structing transnational black identities. She concludes that African nobilityredemption and slavery narratives that emerged in the United States in the 1960s are central to conceptions of racial belonging embedded in a more aggressive form of capital institutionalism conducive to the marketing of black Americanness (p. 135). Kesha Fikes analyzes migrant labor codes in Cape Verde, exploring how a legal relationship to free or indentured travel constituted race and racial ambiguity through spatial distribution of bod ies, leaving residues on contemporary national debates. In Part Three, Popular Blackness, Authenticity and New Measures of Legitimacy, Ariana Hernandez-Reguant examines the popularity of timba music in Havana during late socialism and after the loss of Soviet support which generated an economic crisis in Cuba. As capitalist markets created new opportunities for disenfranchised Afro-Cubans, timba circulated on radio and television and in dance clubs and contested official national discourses by locating the black experience at the heart of what it meant to be Cuban in a post-Soviet era caught between the imperatives of socialist morality and market expansion ... it naturalized blackness and along with it difference and inequal ity (p. 251). Lena Sawyer analyzes the marketing, meanings, and consump tion of African dance classes by white European women in Stockholm, where Swedish women constitute half of the instructors of African dance. Sawyer
308 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) argues that African dance classes are a space where people performed Africa to debate and negotiate racialized, gendered, and sexualized understandings of belonging and community in Stockholm ... in these particular spaces African dance was commodified and formed through the desires of middle-class white Swedish women and working class black African men (p. 332). Oneka Labennet analyzes the cultural consumption of black New York girls of West Indian parentage in Brooklyn to understand their employment of food, fashion, music, and television to assert a transnational black identity. The editors and contributors to this volume deliver what they promise. This is a theoretically breathtaking contribution to the study of globalization, nation alism, racism, late capitalism, late socialism, migration, and cultural produc tion. With insights that will enrich interdisciplinary and international studies as well as African and black studies, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, European studies, and Latin American studies, it should be required readings in courses devoted to global capitalism, migration, race, and cultural studies, and not just to those dealing with Blacks or the African diaspora. Haitians in New York City: Transnationalism and Hometown Associations FR AN O IS PI ERRE-LOU IS, JR. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006. viii + 158 pp. (Cloth US$ 55.00) EL IZAB ETH MCAL IS TER Departments of Religion and African American Studies Wesleyan University Middletown CT 06459, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org u > This book is a tightly focused look at a single unit of organization home town associations among Haitian immigrants in New York City. Through this focus, Franois Pierre-Louis, Jr. is able to contribute to the literature on ethnic identity formation, transnationalism, immigrant citizenship, and the role of the sending state in transnational processes. Those particularly inter ested in the Haitian case, or in comparing transnational social organizations, will find this an interesting work. It is most useful in its description of the particular political dynamics of hometown associations and the tensions they mediate within Haitian society in its various locales. Hometown associations (which are never explicitly defined in this book) are voluntary clubs consisting of immigrants from a particular village (in this
309 BOO K RE VI EW S case in Haiti) now living in a host society (in this case New York City). PierreLouis describes how they are at once social clubs, fund-raising groups for development projects back in the hometown, political platforms from which to forge coalitions with other groups in New York, and arenas for cultivating pres tige and status. Drawing on the literature on transnational migration and eth nicity, he agrees with those who argue that Haitians have adopted a segmented assimilation pattern (in other words, maintaining cultural differences while at the same time seeking to incorporate themselves into the U.S. economic and political system). He sees hometown organizations as an arena within which to practice this strategy while simultaneously intensifying involvement in Haiti. They have become the linkage institutions that maintain contact with Haiti while helping immigrants integrate in U.S. society (p. 5). Pierre-Louis explores the interesting and perhaps not self-evident dynami c whereby a person who becomes active as a political actor in Haiti through a hometown association in New York is likely, in turn, to become active in politics in the United States. For Haitian immigrants, building prestige, con nections, and capital in one place translates readily into cultural capital in the other, and often politicians in New York will be expected to connect local issues with those in Haiti. Ironically, Haitians in New York have learned that when it comes to defending what they perceive as Haitis best interests they can be more effective as U.S. citizens than as mere legal residents (p. 10). Chapter 1 examines the differences between Haitian and Mexican reali ties. The Mexican state has been much more proactive in formalizing rela tionships with hometown associations as fully fledged partners of the state, which has led to the associations prospering, while the Haitian government has been unable to coordinate any formal support, leaving the Haitian orga nizations independent and struggling (pp. 18-19). Haitian hometown orga nizations in turn became spaces for ethnic identity formation in the United States. Pierre-Louis also argues that U.S. Haitians who learn participatory democratic practices work to bring those values and practices to Haiti. Chapter 2, The Social Construction of New Yorks Haitian Community, examines the history of Haitian migration to that city and explores how earlier exile politics differed from more current, integration politics. Chapter 3 looks at hometown associations as a hedge against African-American status and as organizations that do the development work the Haitian government has failed to perform. Chapter 4 looks explicitly at the failure of the Haitian state to pass any legislation to incorporate diaspora Haitians or hometown associations into the political process, but for a few measures in 2002 that do not equal other countries more effective policies. Pierre-Louis argues that hometown associations are more effective than foreign NGOs in addressing the needs of their region a significant claim that unfortunately goes unsupported. Chapter 5 focuses on New York City, and it presents data showing that Haitians involved in hometown associations are typically first-generation
310 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) immigrants who have maintained ties with Haiti, are U.S. citizens, and are also involved in other organizations such as churches, neighborhood groups, unions, and the PTA. Chapter 6, on race and religion, argues that Haitians dis affiliate with African Americans to some extent, and that anything that has to do with the country [Haiti] becomes sacred and revered (p. 102). Chapter 7 looks at the development, since the 1970s, of Haitians as a separate eth nic group and political voting bloc in New York, and demonstrates how Haitians have consistently organized separately from African Americans. Theoretical weakness marks this otherwise valuable work. Pierre-Louis alternates between the terms segmented assimilation, integration, and incorporation, without engaging the theoretical implications of these dif ferently freighted concepts. Likewise, no theory frames his discussion of the Haitian states relationship to hometown associations, especially in terms of long-standing systems of patronage (and corruption). Transnationalism theory is also underdeveloped. Pierre-Louis may be overly celebratory of hometown associations, which he says are democracy promoting and class leveling and contribute to the breaking down of historically oppressive social barri ers between urban and rural Haitians. The celebratory tone contradicts many problems illustrated in the book, such as the ways the associations concentrate development projects in the hands of ex-patriot benefactors without profes sional training or state coordination, the duplication of projects by compet ing groups, the tensions between local and diaspora Haitians, and the sheer potential for corruption and mismanagement of funds raised in New York. Pierre-Louis does a nice job of self-reflexively describing his own social posi tion as a first-generation immigrant to New York himself, as a Queens College political scientist who was also a cabinet member of former Haitian President Aristide, and as a member of a Haitian hometown association. His careful pre sentation of information on these interesting grass-roots transnational political and social organizations will be of great interest to many.
311 BOO K RE VI EW S Mobilizing India: Women, Music, and Migration between India and Trinidad TEJ AS W INI NI R AN J ANA Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2006. 272 pp. (Paper US$ 21.95) AIS H A KH AN Department of Anthropology New York University New York NY 10003, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > Mobilizing India is motivated by two central concerns. It represents Tejaswini Niranjanas encounter with Indo-Trinidadians and the ensuing questions about the construction of Indian identity that her own subcontinental sub jectivity raised during visits to the West Indies. And it represents her desire to join the scholars who have sought to displace Western/metropolitan vantage points as the standard against which questions about modernity, national ism, and gender in non-Western/nonmetropolitan contexts are measured and debated. In creating theoretical frameworks where comparative discussions among Global South countries can be undertaken, Niranjanas objective is to counter the conventional use of such concepts as gender and modernity and emphasize the different meanings they acquire in different contexts for example, what it means to call oneself Indian in two Southern locations, India and Trinidad. Arguing that she is what she is because of who the East Indian woman in Trinidad is (p. 20, her italics), Niranjana discusses the ways female indentured laborers were defined, notably in terms of their gender and sexuality, by Indian nationalist agendas which constructed the modern Indian woman as the bourgeois antithesis of her independent, bold diasporic sister in the cane. Niranjana suggests a linkage between this history and the meaning of Indian represented in contemporary cultural practices such as calypso, and in Indo-Trinidadian womens subversive agency in chutney soca the latter representing their refusal ... to be translated into defini tions of proper gender identities (p. 52). Ultimately, her project involves the search for alternative, non-Western/nonmetropolitan forms of consciousness about bases of solidarity that can emerge from popular culture. With her fellow South Asians in mind (p. 3), Niranjana raises a number of questions having to do with the ways we might learn to question the epis temological structures through which knowledges about Third World peoples are produced (p. 14). Making a point that echoes calls by such international ist thinkers as W.E.B. Du Bois (among others), Niranjana urges speaking to each other across the South (p. 13) in order to emphasize shared (colonial and neocolonial) histories and the similar stakes that multiple nationalities
312 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) have under particular historical conditions. Toward this end we are asked to consider what kinds of new significance might be given to old assump tions, for example, what happens when a South Asian reads the West Indian Kamau Brathwaite (p. 13). Yet this raises the issue of epistemological tra ditions and the subject positions emerging from them. Is there a possibility that such contrasts unwittingly sustain essentialized identities? Who is that South Asian, who is that West Indian? Also, while conversations between Southerners unmediated by the Global North are imperative, we must take care to approach all Global South locations as themselves hierarchically posi tioned economically, geopolitically and as objects in the Western/metro politan gaze. The spectacular international visibility of the Indian(p. 6) today partly reflects a hierarchy within the Global South. While Niranjana rightly critiques classical anthropology for studying the Other largely to tell the West about itself (p. 9), the goal of Indians in India to learn about their own past (p. 19) from South Asian diasporas requires careful crafting to avoid being similarly motivated or interpretable in the same way. This is not to suggest that comparative, revisionist efforts are not impor tant or that they are unrealizable, but only that the mutual influence that Southern localities have on each other is a multilayered and complex kind of juxtaposition. For example, Niranjana suggests that it is important for East Indians and India Indians not ... to disavow chutney-soca as derivative or hybrid, but to term it Indian, since doing so underscores the conti nuity and discontinuity of this identity, making it simultaneously Indian and Trinidadian (p. 54). On-the-ground examination, however, makes this simultaneity unlikely to be consistent: in local cultural politics Indian and Trinidadian are commensurate only according to particular contexts. Moreover, raised again is the question of essential, and Indian, identities. What are the cultural boundaries around the subaltern? If chutney soca is multiply resonant and subversive, then it could also be so among grass-roots Afroand other non-Indo-Trinidadians. Niranjana is clearly aware that the symbolic importance of India is put into play on the ground of Afro-Indo relations. Yet her interest in representations and the deployment of catego ries, such as women, for example, and disinterest in simply talking about empirical women (p. 218) requires that we steer our conceptual frameworks between the Scylla of overabstraction and the Charybdis of essentialism. Not only is empirical fieldwork never simple, but talking to (rather than merely about) empirical women allows them to contribute to any research project, especially ones that seek to de-center Western/metropolitan hierarchies and create alternative, ostensibly more just spaces for solidarity. Based on secondary and primary archival sources and complemented by a number of interviews conducted between 1994 and 2004, the discussion in Mobilizing India covers ground that will be familiar to Caribbeanists, for example, the politics of calypso and chutney, indenture and diaspora,
313 BOO K RE VI EW S Trinidadian history, contemporary racial tensions, and Third World schol ars relationship with the Other. But Niranjana is building on key works and themes in order to make a larger case for the value, nay, necessity, of com parative research agendas that displace an inherent asymmetry (p. 11), dis lodging the West from its centrality. If Mobilizing India traverses familiar terrain, it focuses our attention on some key issues in the relationships among colonial and postcolonial identity formation, popular culture, and modernity. It also productively reminds us about the always crucial question of episte mological perspective that shadows efforts, even revisionist ones, to chal lenge hegemony and reconceptualize hierarchy. Finally, it reminds us that diasporas are shaping and mediating forces in themselves, rather than yet another manifestation of cultural shreds and patches. Afro-Central Americans in New York City: Garifuna Tales of Transnational Movements in Racialized Space. SA R A H EN GL AND Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006. xvi + 274 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) GR AN T JEWELL RI CH Department of Social Sciences University of Alaska Southeast Juneau AK 99801, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org m > While a number of scholars have conducted helpful work on the Garifuna in Central America (e.g., Taylor 1951; Gonzalez 1969; Kerns 1997; Roessingh 2001), with several notable exceptions (e.g., Palacio 2005) there has been a relative paucity of research on the transnational migration of the group. Sarah England who has conducted field work in Limon, Honduras, and New York City has written an important book on this issue, including much dis cussion of the impact of family relations, economic practices, and grass-roots social organizations. The Garifuna are, as England aptly notes, an Afro Indigenous people born out of the mixture of Africans and Caribs on the island of St. Vincent, exiled to Central America, and turned trans national migrants to the United States since the 1940s. They are thus members of three diasporas the African diaspora, the Garifuna diaspora, and the Central American diaspora. They are simultaneously black, indig
314 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) enous, and Latino; Honduras, Belizean, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, and North American; part of Central America and part of the Caribbean. As an ethnic group they share a common language, history, and culture that unites them across national borders. (p. 1) England estimates the total population of Central American Garifuna to be about 200,000, with the largest concentration (about 100,000) in Honduras. She argues that the population of Garifuna in the United States is about the same as the total population of Garifuna in Central America, with the highest concentrations in New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. The book is sensibly organized. In the first chapter, England surveys the intellectual terrain, noting that she does not intend to privilege either Limon or New York City but instead to treat both with equal weight. She reminds readers that for two hundred years the Garifuna have traversed national bor ders for work, family, and ritual reasons, and thus, in one powerful sense at least, migration to the United States is not as much of a break with tradition as a continuation of a way of life. Her next chapter is a concise yet helpful his tory of the Garifuna from the St. Vincent years to the present. Her third chap ter examines matrifocal kinship as it is manifested transnationally. Chapter 4 focuses on the challenges of a division of labor when family members live in multiple nations. Finally, the last several chapters focus on the development of grass-roots organizations and on racial and ethnic identity politics in the Garifuna diaspora, especially given the realities of a Garifuna population that has been described as a nation across borders (Palacio 2005). What has motivated the continued migration? Among a number of factors, England notes the impact of success stories of migrants that appear, Horatio Alger style, to fulfill the American Dream of rags-to-riches. She relates the story of one such migrant who arrived in the United States in the 1970s and, working as janitor, sent a monthly remittance of about one hundred dollars home to his mother in Honduras. Ultimately, he was able to build a nice cinderblock house in Limon for his mother, complete with stereo, televi sion, a VCR, and an electric generator. While this migrant is seen as a model of a good native son, the Garifuna of modernity express a variety of views concerning migration. For some, it is viewed as progress; for others, it is the disintegration of economic autonomy for Garifuna villages. Indeed England notes that the Garifuna among whom she lived sometimes refer to remittance dependency as Garifuna welfare. England also notes the dramatic impact of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 on Honduras and the Garifuna. The devastation from this disaster left approxi mately 22,000 dead and three million homeless, destroying homes, roads, and crops and dramatically impacting the GDP of the nation. Before the hur ricane, the number of Hondurans migrating to the United States was sur passed by migrants seeking to avoid civil strife in El Salvador, Guatemala,
315 BOO K RE VI EW S and Nicaragua, but after it the number of Hondurans migrating increased. Deportations from the United States have also increased, and England dis cusses the issue of the deportation of tens of thousands of gang members to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (p. 58) who were reared mostly in the United States, many speaking no Spanish, whose only prospects for survival are to continue gang activity in Central America (p. 58). England attributes the fact that the murder rate in Central America has risen, even above Colombias notoriously high rate, to these deportations. Englands discussions of transnational migrations and social movements are intriguing, and one finds it hard to resist making comparisons between the Garifuna of Limon and the Garifuna in other nations and other indig enous Central American groups, such as the Maya. For instance, how have the sociohistorical and cultural contexts of these other groups along lines of race, class, and gender impacted cultural survival? Detailing such compari sons is a tall order and perhaps England has sensibly left such work for future researchers. Nevertheless, she has outlined some important developments in a Pan-Garifuna identity, such as transnational Garifuna activist groups and cultural organizations. Englands multisited ethnography represents a substantial contribution. It will undoubtedly be a book that both university libraries and scholars with interests in the Garifuna, migration patterns, and cultural survival will want to add to their collections. RE F ERE N CE S GO NZA LE Z, NAN C I E L., 1969. Black Carib Household Structure: A Study of Migration and Modernization Seattle: University of Washington Press. KER NS, VI RG INIA, 1997. Women and the Ancestors: Black Carib Kinship and Ritual Urbana: University of Illinois Press. PA L A C I O, P. (ed.), 2005. The Garifuna: A Nation Across Borders Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize: Cubola Productions. ROE SSIN GH, CA REL, 2001. The Belizean Garifuna: Organization of Identity in an Ethnic Community in Central America Amsterdam: Rozenberg. TAY LOR, DOUGL AS, 1951. The Black Carib of British Honduras New York: WennerGren Foundation.
316 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Black Puerto Rican Identity and Religious Experience. SA M I R I HER NND E Z HI R A L D O. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006. xxii + 292 pp. (Cloth US$ 55.00) RAQ UEL ROM B ERG Department of Anthropology Temple University Philadelphia PA 19122, U.S.A. < email@example.com u > This book offers a welcome, timely history of religious pluralism in Loza, characterized in the national imaginary as one of the most African (and seemingly poorest) towns in Puerto Rico. Focusing on a number of recentl y established religious transformations within Catholic and Protestant churche s, Samiri Hernndez Hiraldo suggests quite convincingly that con trary to popular assumptions not all Lozans find the revitalization of their African heritage, in general, and the practice of Afro-Puerto Rican religions (such as popular espiritismo brujera and Santera), in particular, the proper answer for their spiritual/cultural needs. I consider this to be the most valu able contribution of the book. The centrality of religion in Loza is evidenced by the presence of more than thirty-eight registered Protestant churches as well as several nonregis tered small churches on every corner among a population of thirty thousand people. Also, Hernndez Hiraldo notes the rapid growth of traditional and nontraditional Pentecostalism and the dramatic transformation of historical Protestant and Catholic churches toward more charismatic modes of wor ship. The vitality of various religious organizations (especially Pentecostal) is further evidenced by a growing access and control of the media and par ticipation in national public debates and community services, as well as involvement in a thriving Christian-music industry. Hernndez Hiraldo claims that Lozans are primarily concerned about their identity individual, family, community, town, national, transnational, socioeconomic, religious, cultural, racial, generational and gender (p. 4) the religious management of their identity being both the cause and the result of this central role of identity (pp. 3-4). What remains unresolved throughout the book, however, is the empirical explanation for the mush rooming of religious institutions and the apparent obsession with identity of both religious leaders and churchgoers in Loza. Hernndez Hiraldo decides instead to focus on religion to explore iden tity (p. 5), which in my view ends up limiting the methodological and theo retical import of this book, particularly in addressing the complex phenom
317 BOO K RE VI EW S enology of religious experience. For instance, even though a large part is dedicated to tracing in great detail the competition, development, rise, and fall of various religious leaders and institutions, as well as the opinions of residents about their identity, readers learn comparatively little about how issues of identity are actually elaborated during worship in these institu tions and in the messages delivered by these leaders (except in the sermon of Pastor Correa [pp. 2-3]). Perhaps my expectations based on the books title explain my slight dis appointment at the end when I realized that it focused less on the connection between black identity and religious experience than on the develop ment of religious leadership and institutional dynamics, peppered with the opinions of religious and community leaders and residents as to the reasons for church attendance, and less (except the excellent discussions in chapters 6 and 9) on the actual religious experiences of those Lozans who perceive their blackness as a major aspect of their self-identification. Hernndez Hiraldo situates her research interests in Loza and in religion as a native (white) anthropologist and practicing Baptist raised in a nearby town. Readers learn that this closed as well as opened many doors for her during twelve months of fieldwork, consisting of an unspecified number of visits spread over seven years, during which she conducted archival, textual, and some participatory research that included administering a census and interviewing. The book reads well overall, except for a number of spelling errors, awk ward wording, and editing problems (such as offering dates for the found ing of organizations and explanations for new terms, after having already mentioned them earlier in the text). Also, some judgmental conclusions are unfortunate; for example, those that dismiss certain so-called tangible (i.e., expressive, emotional) aspects of charismatic Protestant worship and healing for gratifying poor and uneducated worshippers much as a placebo (pp. 84-85), and others that express the authors hope for more church activism in solving the problems of Loza. These misgivings aside, the book makes an important contribution to mapping the history, development, and internal dynamics of religious insti tutions in a highly competitive context, dispelling the public image of Loza as a hub of primarily Afro-Latin cultural and religious practices.
318 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Post-Emancipation Race Relations in the Bahamas. WH I TT IN GTO N B. JOH NS O N Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006. xii + 190 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) GR A CE TUR N ER Department of Anthropology College of William and Mary Williamsburg VA 23187, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org u > In the book under review author Whittington Johnson selected the period 1834-1865 as these were formative years for a free society in the Bahamas. Since the Bahamas was a former slave-holding society Johnson focused his research mainly on persons of African descent. This included those who were freed by the 1833 Emancipation Act, those who were free before 1834, and those Africans who had been rescued from slave ships and resettled in the Bahamas after the slave trade was abolished. As this transition period was very unsettled in places such as Jamaica and the southern American states, Johnson is most interested in understanding the factors that contributed to a peaceful transition in the Bahamas. Little research has been done on this period in Bahamian history so this book is a welcome addition to Bahamian historiography. Gail Saunderss Bahamian Society after Emancipation (1990) focuses more on the late nine teenth and early twentieth centuries. Johnson used an array of archival doc uments in examining the nature and extent of change to race relations in postemancipation Bahamian society. He examined the level of access black Bahamians had in politics, education, and the justice system as well as the role established religion played in this transformed Bahamian society. His questions about political change centered on issues of whether the nonwhite electorate would vote only for nonwhite candidates and create a nonwhite majority in the assembly. He also wondered whether Mulattoes would form their own political group or whether they would ally with Whites. The Removal of Civil Disabilities Act of 1833 accorded Creole Blacks the same privileges as Whites but was not extended to African-born persons. This was based on the prevailing attitude that Africans were not sufficiently civilized to be able to appreciate these privileges. Though Blacks were the overwhelming majority in the population only a handful were elected to parliament. On the Out Islands (those other than New Providence), white merchants easily manipulated the electorate because they controlled the supply of goods on which residents depended. In the pub lic service nonwhites (the term Johnson prefers to use) were appointed to
319 BOO K RE VI EW S a range of posts including a few top level ones. By the 1840s the colonial policy was to avoid using racial categorizations except in the case of Africanborn individuals. The Bahamas was not a prosperous colony. Johnson considered what impact the addition of over ten thousand freed laborers had on the postemancipation Bahamian economy. Most apprentices, as they were officially known, became sharecroppers or squatted on what was presumably govern ment land since the purchase price was generally too high for many to afford. The majority of the populace lived on the Out Islands but New Providence had the most varied population with the largest percentage of Whites and the largest number of upperand middle-class nonwhites. With few opportunities for cash wages, apprentices preferred the per ceived independence of small-scale production and maritime ventures as wrecking and collecting sponges. This had the greatest impact on the two main export products salt and pineapples. As exports there was money to be earned in their production but the production process made for difficult working conditions. Efforts to bring in more workers all failed. Johnsons primary finding on the postemancipation economy was that although former slaves were free to choose how they made a living, wealthy Whites still con trolled the colonys economy, so the substantial changes in their legal status did not translate into any equally significant economic changes. Johnson laments that the Anglican Church in the Bahamas did not make a greater effort to proselytize Bahamians of African descent. They estab lished several chapels on New Providence to accommodate apprentices and liberated Africans but little was done on the Out Islands where most people lived. Several Out Islands had no Anglican church and priests rarely visited. This opened the way for the Methodists and Baptists to win more converts throughout the Bahamas. After emancipation the Anglican Church maintained a policy against racially segregating their worship services or schools. In the Anglican cathe dral in Nassau seating set aside for the poor at the back of the cathedral and in the choir loft would have been filled by Blacks but middleand upperclass nonwhites were not restricted to these areas. The Methodist Church had no such policies and they developed their largest congregations on the few Out Islands with substantial white populations. The Baptists, on the other hand were most popular among black Bahamians. The Anglican Church was also very involved in public education in the Bahamas. However they focused mainly on elementary education. One attempt at establishing a college prep school failed because of disagreements between denominational groups. The colonial government gradually assumed more responsibility for education but this included no increased funding for facilities, staffing, or tertiary-level education. Wealthier families, regardless of color, were not affected by these policies. In the criminal justice system
320 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) the first black Bahamian lawyer was able to point out some of the inequities in a judicial system based on a highly stratified society. Johnson did a thorough analysis of the institutional effects of the immedi ate postemancipation years on nonwhite Bahamians. However his research suggests that other factors, such as population demographics and social sta tus, also served to limit access and stifle dissent. His point is well taken as the patterns that developed in this thirty-year period set the trends for the next century. For the Bahamas the hurdles to overcome were not just race but also social class. RE F ERE N CE SA U ND ER S, GAI L 1994. Bahamian Society after Emancipation. Kingston: Ian Randle. [Orig. 1990.] Planning the Past: Heritage Tourism and Post-Colonial Politics at Port Royal. ANI T A M. WA TER S. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. x + 123 pp. (Paper US$ 18.95) POLL Y PA TTULLO London SW4 0EY, U.K. < email@example.com k > The history of Port Royal has something for everyone, points out Anita M. Waters about the plans for the renovation of one of Jamaicas most famous towns as a heritage tourism site. That is part of the problem for Port Royal. It is also, perhaps, a problem for this interesting, well-researched if uneven piece of writing. There is a great story here as Waters has uncovered. The historical asso ciations of Port Royal, on the tip of the etiolated peninsula that frames Kingstons harbor, are rich and stimulating. Port Royal was once described as the wickedest town in the western world; nowadays, travel writers (and planners and tourist board bureaucrats) call it a sleepy fishing village. Its history is multilayered and depends on your perspective. Take your pick: Arawaks, pirates, sailors, admirals, prostitutes, slaves, free people, herbal ists, architects, fishermen, goldsmiths, inn-keepers, merchants, millionaires have all, at one time or another, peopled its community. Some characters, of
321 BOO K RE VI EW S course, are more fascinating and more problematic than others, especially if you are planning a theme-park Disneyfication of history. Proposals for the reconstruction of Port Royals history as a tourist attrac tion is the rationale of this book. People interpret the past in different ways according to their own needs and imaginations and, of course, many people, especially the powerless, have their pasts remembered for them by others. This is particularly relevant, as Waters, points out in the context of Jamaica and, indeed, the whole Caribbean. For tourism developers, Port Royal has two key historical identities to draw on: as a rip-roaring, piratical, and fantastically wealthy trading port in the seventeenth century, and as a British colonial naval station in the eigh teenth century, briefly visited by Lord Nelson. These two beams of colonial interest are chronologically separated by the earthquake of 1692 when Port Royal disappeared beneath the waves. Plans for the restoration of what is now a small and neglected town as a tourist showcase have been in the pipeline since independence. None, to date, have materialized. The reasons for this, Waters argues, are as much about an ambivalence of identity and historical representation as they are about a failure to secure investment and the product of political will. Waters documents the different proposals in some detail. All reflect changing trends in tourism thinking from a concentration on white sand beaches (with imported sand) and resort hotels to a more nuanced pack age that includes interactive street performers (p. 40) and an underwater archaeological museum. More importantly, she analyzes how, over the years, a Eurocentric narrative has been replaced by a more inclusive one. Even so, pirates a very Eurocentric preoccupation and Port Royal go together. Indeed, the pirate theme is popular throughout the Caribbean (Jolly Roger cruises in Barbados, a pirate museum in the Bahamas, for example) of the tourists imagination: pirates represent freedom (cruising around the high seas, no government to tell you what to do, with wenches on each arm and doubloons in every pocket). What is interesting though is that this iconogra phy does not extend to African-Caribbean populations and, in particular, to some African Jamaicans who view pirates as common thieves. Waters backs this up with evidence from a range of sources, including her own research among the contemporary community of Port Royal. Indeed, she finds pirates blamed for the crime rate in Jamaica. Renowned bucca neers such as Henry Morgan are being labeled as great Jamaicans. It is there fore not surprising that the Jamaican society is so besieged with so many delinquencies, commented a group of students who had made their own proposals for the redevelopment of Port Royal (p. 56). Beyond the developers, historians, tourists, archaeologists, and politi cians who are engaged in putting Port Royal back on the map are the towns residents. Waters does not forget this group of 1,100 or so citizens often
322 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) ignored in the design of tourism projects. While the developers sit on their hands, the environment of Port Royal suffers from neglect buildings and infrastructure crumble. Residents wait for something to happen. They, too, have different views of development some welcome it; some recognize how tourism brings negative impacts (Anywhere the money is, men come with their violence .... Badness might come here, too [p. 90].) Meanwhile, Waters discovers that members of the Port Royal commu nity know little of their own history; interestingly, they also identify with a colonial view of their towns story. What was unexpected was the extent to which Afro-Jamaican Port Royalists embrace the Anglocentric narrative. It seems to offer them a way of drawing distinctions between themselves and other Kingstonians (p. 103). Such conflict of interests and narratives among the players is one reason why Port Royal is still living in the shadows of its past, its population the victims of their own and other peoples consider ations of history. Waterss book is dogged by a style that suggests an anxious essay writer prone to throwing information at the reader for fear of leaving something out. It is also annoyingly repetitive; and theres no map. Yet this is a book that addresses important themes: it does so with enthusiasm and uncovers some revealing insights central to the development of Jamaican (if not Caribbean) identity along the way. The American Discovery of Europe. JA C K D FOR B E S. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007. xii + 251 pp. (Cloth US$ 34.95) BUC K WOO DA R D Department of Anthropology College of William & Mary Williamsburg VA 23187, U.S.A.
323 BOO K RE VI EW S historical canons, it is apt to remain, like Forbess early studies of marginal peoples, on the periphery of academic discourse. During a period when new ideas are continuing to surface and evidence mounts for a longer indigenous occupation of the Western Hemisphere, Forbess book enters into the debate with a surprising amount of documen tary and archaeological concurrence. From Caribbean maritime traditions to Greenlandic voyagers, it weaves nautical and botanical knowledge alongside recovered artifacts of seemingly bizarre placement. Translated obscure pri mary documents form testimonies of Indians visiting the coasts of Ireland, Norway, and France in boats made from either skin or dugout logs. While engaging for the reader, Forbess argument does little to address the wider impact of these Atlantic exchanges. More than likely, this absence is due to what most scholars have already concluded; occasional and inter mittent contact did occur between the Old and New World, but these interactions had little lasting effect on culture and were not sustainable. Admittedly, Forbes acknowledges that the majority of American discover ies are the result of forced landings from Atlantic storm systems, captives of long-range European fishing excursions, and contact with sparse human settlements along the edges of the Arctic. He fails to consider the relative size of the world prior to the emergence of a global system. Communication across a half dozen European languages, the lack of general literacy among the populace, and the instability of feudal Europe did not provide a uniform understanding of the globe or the climate for exploration beyond the limits of the known Old World. Equally, the examples presented suggest that voyages by American Indians occurred in a single direction, thereby limiting the diffusion of knowledge from one side of the Atlantic to the other. In turn, the amount of discovery that could result in large-scale cultural change or reverse exploration from the Americas to Europe was equally limited. Simply put, there is evidence to indicate that there were multiple cross-Atlantic con tacts between the Old and New World, but that testimony does little to alter our present understandings of human history or to reveal mechanisms that shaped cultures experiencing contact phenomena prior to the cataclysmic events surrounding 1492. Forbes is far-reaching in his assertions and hypotheses of continental exchange, often overlooking more conventional explanations for the offered evidence of genetic variation and anomalous archaeological findings. One such example centers on the presence of several Inuit bone harpoon points found along the western beaches of Ireland and Scotland. Forbes views these rare occurrences as archaeological evidence for an Inuit presence in Western Europe prior to 1200 A.D., but neglects to consider the numerous ways in which this deposition may have taken place. Ignoring his earlier arguments about the power and force of eastwardly moving currents that placed botani cal drift from America along the shores of Europes Atlantic coast, Forbes
324 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) never considers the possibility of expired, beached, or wounded mammals from Inuit waters depositing both carcass and points at the edge of the Atlantics eastern drift. While minor to the overall presentation, cases such as this, and far-reaching evidence for American Indian presence in Europe (i.e., Indians of the Roman or Medieval era) detract from The American Discovery of Europe s stronger arguments and cast an unfortunate shadow on an other wise engaging ethnohistory. In contrast to the focus on the possibility of American Indian discovery of Europe, the books stronger suit deals with the relatively unknown nautical tra ditions of the Atlantic Americas. Forbes offers examples of primary documents describing the various forms of Caribbean, South American, and Northeastern vessel types and indigenous knowledge of wind and currents as well as an overview of native material culture associated with seamanship, actually filling a void in the current scholarship on hemispheric maritime practices. More valuable are the references to numerous Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese primary documents. The books strongest sections translate Columbian writings and obscure Scandinavian references, and they chronicle the movements of peoples through the waters of the Pre-Columbian Caribbean and among Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland in the North Atlantic. Ultimately, Forbes hopes The American Discovery of Europe will forever change the way history of the Americas is defined and taught (Forbes 2007). He attempts to resituate the concept of discovery, challenging readers to con sider indigenous engagement and agency before and during the emergence of a global system. His book adds to the ongoing dialogue on the human expe rience and the events that foreground the beginning of colonial encounters. Unfortunately challenging notions of discovery will probably remain too unconventional and obscure to become the legacy that Forbes hopes. RE F ERE N CE S FOR B E S, JA C K D ., 1993. Africans and Native Americans: The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. , 2007. Did American Indians Discover Europe Long before Columbus? http://www. tonatierra.org/nauacalli.html
325 BOO K RE VI EW S Reading Erna Brodber: Uniting the Black Diaspora through Folk Culture and Religion JU N E E. RO B ERT S. Westport CT: Praeger, 2006. xiv + 278 pp. (Cloth US$ 94.95) BNDI CTE LE D E N T Department of English University of Lige B-4000 Lige, Belgium
326 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Myal (1988), and Louisiana (1994), three nonlinear novels which attempt to create a new social history of the Caribbean experience (p. 126). The first one, originally meant as a case study for Jamaican social workers, drama tizes the spiritual healing of Nellie, a young middle-class Jamaican of mixed ancestry suffering from cultural schizophrenia, and celebrates the crucial role played by black vernacular culture, including orality, in the construction of a healthy diasporan identity (pp. 100-101). However, Jane and Louisa can also be read, Roberts points out, as a political allegory of a nation which needs to overcome its Manichean social system and as an engagement on Brodbers part with the 1968 Walter Rodney affair. Roberts further surveys Brodbers methodological choices, which are meant to achieve communal ism (p. 90), and dwells in particular on the symbol of the kumbla an ambig uous trope, both prison and cocoon, and on Brodbers allusive prose which refers, as in the title, to a traditional ring game, but also to Lewis Carrolls Alices Adventures in Wonderland and to Zora Neale Hurston, a major influ ence on Brodber. Reading Myal requires a good knowledge of the Afro-based religious system that developed in Jamaica in the wake of slavery. Roberts therefore explains at length the dialectical tension between good and evil (p. 144), between Myalism and Obeah, that affects the spiritual awakening in the 1920s of Brodbers heroine Ella, the victim of colonial and patriarchal spirit thievery, who is eventually rescued by a group of black and white Myalists who communicate telepathically. Robertss extensive discussion of the novel also includes a focus on its secondary plot, Anitas story of rape and incest, on the functional role of this novel as an incentive to revise Jamaicas educational system, and, interestingly if more marginally, on the similarities between Ellas background and Bob Marleys. If in Myal Brodber already brings the Caribbean and African-American diasporas together through its heroines experience of passing, it is in Louisiana however, that she fully develops this fruitful parallelism, focusing this time on another aspect of African religiosity, spirit possession. This third novel focuses on a young anthropologist, first called Ella then Louisiana, who ends up a conduit for two dead Garveyites, Louise and Anna, two cross-diasporic spirit sisters (p. 238). Roberts reads Louisiana as an allegorical revision (p. 223) of the life of Zola Neale Hurston, both a writer and a researcher interested in African diasporic folklore, like Brodber herself, and she devotes many pages to arguing this comparison. She also demonstrates that the novel promotes a decolonization of anthropology (p. 264) at the same time as it operates a conciliatory reunification of various currents of diasporic thought, chiefly represented by Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois. The strong point of this otherwise loosely argued study which also con tains several irritating typos is the way in which it illuminates the cultural tapestry (p. 212) woven by Brodbers fiction. Reading Erna Brodber is also impressively wide-ranging. Yet it is to be regretted that it does not include
327 BOO K RE VI EW S Brodbers 2003 collection of lectures, The Continent of Black Consciousness a book that constitutes an interesting complement to the fiction of a truly remarkable writer. RE F ERE N CE S BRO DB ER, ER NA, 2003. The Continent of Black Consciousness: On the History of the African Diaspora from Slavery to the Present Day London: New Beacon Books. DO NN ELL, AL IS O N, 2006. Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature : Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History London: Routledge. Race, Culture, and Identity: Francophone West African and Caribbean Literature and Theory from Ngritude to Crolit SH I REE N K LEW IS New York: Lexington Books, 2006. xx + 167 pp. (Paper US$ 25.95) JA C Q UEL IN E COUT I Department of French Language and Culture University of Virginia Charlottesville VA 22004, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org u > Race, Culture, and Identity: Francophone West African and Caribbean Literature and Theory from Ngritude to Crolit is an ambitious endeavor. As Shireen K. Lewis indicates, her book is the first comprehensive study to date to map literary and theoretical discourse by Francophone intellectuals associ ated with Ngritude (Lon Damas, Lopold Senghor, Aim Csaire, Paulette Nardal), Antillanit (Edouard Glissant), Crolit (Jean Bernab, Raphal Confiant, Patrick Chamoiseau) (p. xii). She situates her diachronic analysis in the larger debate around modernism and postmodernism in order to trace the varying identitarian shifts within French West Indian literature. Lewis examines these shifts as they evolve from a concern with African origins and racial and cultural purity toward a preoccupation with creolization, hybrid ity, and fragmentation, arguing for the inclusion of female Martiniquan intel lectuals as significant participants in the birth of modern black Francophone and Caribbean literature. Doing so, she claims that she is the first scholar to conceptualize black womens relationship to Ngritude (p. xv).
328 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Chapter 1 presents the sole issue of lgitime dfense as the guiding manifesto for nine young Marxist-Leninist and surrealist Martiniquans and argues that it represents a flawed precursor to Csaires Ngritude Lewis contextualizes their cultural project within French modernism and argues that Martiniquan students of the time, despite their anticolonial stance and attack against the mimetic writing of most French West Indians, did not themselves create a poetry that was rooted in black experience or Creole culture. Ironically, while engaging in their own type of imitation, they merely reproduced the surrealist genre. In Chapter 2, Lewis reads Ngritude not only as an attempt to assert a modern black subjectivity, but also as the expression of modernism itself by black subjects in a colonized world. She argues that modernism influenced the Ngritude poets who in turn contributed to its development. Lewis pro vides a close reading of several poems from Damas, Senghor, and Csaire in order to present alienation, fragmentation, and disintegration as modernist themes that pervade Ngritude poetry during the interwar period (p. 30). And she emphasizes that while Ngritude encompassed the Francophone black world as a whole, much of the creative force at play in this project came from the French Caribbean. Chapter 3 explores a biography of Paulette Nardal in order to examine the ways in which gender shaped the Ngritude movement. Presenting a substan tial historical contextualization of the French Caribbean community in Paris, Lewis affirms that Nardal and her sister Jane blazed the trail for Senghor and Csaire. Indeed, she argues, Nardals essays and translations of Harlem Renaissance writers introduced Csaire and Senghor to ideas they would later develop in their movement. In Chapter 4, Lewis explores the work of Edouard Glissant and the theo retical models he developed, which influenced the creolists, particularly the questioning of historical knowledge. In doing so, she perceives Glissants notion of Antillanit as a bridge between Ngritude and Crolit In her attempt to historicize the local and the peripheral and to acknowledge the fragmentation of past events in her examination of Glissants postmodernist concerns, she glosses over his concepts of creolization and chaos-world. In Chapter 5, Lewis contends that in using Ngritude as the foil for their own aesthetics of Crolit the crolistes inadvertently contribute to the rel evance and revival of the declining Ngritude project. She provides a his torical contextualization of the crolistes movement, which she dates from the creation of the GEREC ( Groupe dEtudes et de Recherche en Espace Crolophone ) in the1970s, foregrounding the role of Jean Bernab in the cultural and political debates concerning the creole language. The broad scope of Lewiss study might disappoint some readers, par ticularly African specialists. Indeed, despite its title, it mainly deals with French Caribbean theory. Additionally, although she discusses Ngritude
329 BOO K RE VI EW S and Crolit as two antithetical movements, she does not delve into the dif ferences between the approaches of Csaire and Senghor, nor does she con textualize the backgrounds of these two writers. These authors share a desire to construct an Afrocentric identity within a French colonial field, but they are rooted in radically different sociopolitical contexts. The political and cul tural stakes of the Ngritude project in an African society are very different from those in a French overseas department. Equally problematic is Lewiss lack of attention to the political and racial complexity of the French Antilles, which leads to a simplification of key concepts such as Glissants notion of creolization. This prevents the nonspecialist reader from realizing how this sociopolitical context influences French Caribbean writers. Although Lewis does a thorough job of framing them within the context of France, she glosses over the context of their homeland. Finally, her survey of the field of French Caribbean literature is spotty. Striking examples of this include the omission of Suzanne Csaire among Lewiss women of Ngritude and the lack of engagement with important scholarship by Brent Hayes Edwards (2003) and Denean Sharpley-Whiting (2002). Despite some debatable claims and omissions (which are inherent to a project of this scale), Lewiss book contributes to a rethinking of traditional concepts within Francophone literature. In a predominantly Anglocentric field, her project is successful in its goal of moving away from treating Francophone literature as introductory or presenting it in terms of a survey (p. xiii) by introducing French Caribbean intellectuals as key agents in the devel opment of a black modern subjectivity. And it makes an important con tribution to the literature on Ngritude by highlighting the contributions of female writers such as Martiniquan Paulette Nardal. RE F ERE N CE S ED W A R DS, BRE N T HAY E S 2003. The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. SH A RPLE Y-WH I T IN G, T. DE N E AN 2002. Negritude Women Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
330 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) Autofiction and Advocacy in the Francophone Caribbean RE N E LA RR I ER Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006. x + 186 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) RO B ERTO STRO N GM AN Department of Black Studies University of California Santa Barbara CA 93106-3150, U.S.A.
331 BOO K RE VI EW S macadam In this last novel, the tragedy engendered by Rosettes inability to believe that her husband abused their teenage daughter Angela speaks to the need of those surrounding the colonial and gendered struggle to support the oppressed warrior. In Chapter 4, Larrier analyzes the character of Amabelle Dsir in Edwidge Danticats The Farming of the Bones as a Danmy fighter who overcomes obstacles, crosses borders, and builds new communities, rein scribing the diasporic odysseys of many Caribbean writers. As refreshing as it is to see Haitian literature studied as Francophone, one wonders how this par adigm limits the possibilities of analyzing relevant works written in Haitian Creole. With respect to Martiniquan Creole, Larrier displays great inconsis tency and frequently defers to French terminology. For example, she chooses rpondeurs over rpond and Laghia de la Mort over Ladjialam Chapter 5 deploys the metaphor of the Danmy to understand the multiple narrative positionalities in the work of Maryse Cond. By cataloguing Conds novels as first-person novels ( Moi Tituba and La Vie sclrlate ), third-person novels ( Sgou and La Belle Crole ), and multivoiced texts ( Traverse de la man grove Histoire de la femme cannibale ), Larrier constructs a shifting metacritical narrator in the midst of an entourage of onlookers who provide com peting, and often questionable, interpretations of the narrative struggle. Throughout the elegantly interlaced chapters, Larrier stitches the provoca tive, yet ultimately undeveloped notion of Collages text[les] in an attempt to present how the reappraisal of Caribbean identity in the novels she exam ines is founded on the deep commitment and advocacy that their authors have for their respective Caribbean homelands. While Larrier successfully under scores several of the authors activist roles in favor of education, freedom of expression, and other social justice causes, the full deployment of Collages Text[les] remains unexplored. As a term borrowed from Guadeloupean painter Franceline Dawkins, whose work graces the cover of Gisle Pineaus LEsprancemacadam Collages Text[les] embodies a strong sense of female solidarity across artistic media that could redefine traditional womens work into a form of gendered agency capable of effectively overcoming patriarchal oppression in the literary realm. More importantly, Larrier misses the oppor tunity to deploy the Caribbean feminist discursive needlework of Collages Text[les] to counterbalance the strong masculinism of the Danmy fight. Larriers broad knowledge of Caribbean popular culture and critical theory enables her to foresee how projecting First World theoretical paradigms onto the area would add to an already long list of political, military, and cultural impositions. Believing that Caribbean cultural products can break open their own shell from within, she re-interprets performativity as a creolized Caribbean aesthetic. This exempts her from the need to cite the work of Judith Butler, Joseph Roach, Victor Turner, and Richard Schechner, leading North American academics in the field of performance studies. Her critical boldness brilliantly re-enacts the very resistance of the Martiniquan dance combat leitmotif.
332 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) While Larriers critical understanding of Francophone Caribbean autobio graphical fiction is superb and ensures a well-focused argument, one wonders how the argument could have been strengthened through a sustained engage ment with literary, choreographical, and pugilistic traditions in other territories and linguistic traditions of the greater Caribbean. As it is, Larriers newest work marks a bold step in the development of a truly interdisciplinary and compara tive understanding of life-narration and performance in the Caribbean. Patrick Chamoiseau: Espaces dune criture antillaise LOR NA MI L N E. Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2006. 226 pp. (Paper US$ 62.00) PA TR I C IA KRU S School of Languages, Cultures and Religions University of Stirling Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland
333 BOO K RE VI EW S a postcolonial context. The starting point lies in Chamoiseaus own critical writing, and in particular his essay Ecrire en pays domin which presents the island of Martinique as a subordinated space under French economic, political, and cultural domination. Opening with a chapter that outlines the role of space in the forging of the communitys identity, the analysis places Chamoiseaus representation of Martiniquan identity within the wider con text of Caribbean discourses on cultural identity, mainly through the essays of Antonio Bentez-Rojo and Edouard Glissant. In Ecrire en pays domin Chamoiseau underscores the need for Martiniquans to differentiate them selves from a dominating French identity and develop community through a foundational event, which Milne identifies as the Middle Passage. Chapters 2-5 look at the affirmation of identity through an in-depth analy sis of four key spaces in Chamoiseaus imaginary which are embedded in the history of Martinique: the hold of slave ships, the market, the Creole habitat, and the forest. The hold of the slave ship is seen as the site of origin (or espace dorigine ) (p. 37) in Chamoiseaus writing. Milne demonstrates how it serves as communal site of experience not only for descendents of slaves but also for other Caribbean ethnic and racial groups. Displacement is viewed as an initiation, a passage from one place, one history, and one identity to another. The originality of Milnes analysis of the symbolism of the hold lies in her per ception of this particular space as a dual sign in Chamoiseaus fiction: a void which strips those who traverse it from their origin and by extension their original history and identity yet also a uterine space which serves as the cata lyst for the construction of a new history and identity. Chapter 3 explores the aesthetic representation of the traditional Creole market which in the contem porary Caribbean is gradually losing its social function as a place of commu nication and exchange. Although Chamoiseaus portrayal of the market could be interpreted as distorted and nostalgic, Milne argues that his imagery of the market space contributes to the transmission of the past to a new generation of readers. It then becomes a model for future generations and helps them to relate to the space they inhabit. The following chapters focus on constructed spaces (the Creole habitat) and natural places (the woods). Chapter 4 discusses how the Creole habitat, and in particular the quartier a fragile Creole entity in Texaco, is also a place of physical and cultural struggle between (post)colonial authorities and the ordinary people. Chapter 5 looks at quest and transforma tion through the trope of the woods, les bois a liminal space beyond the plan tations domination. The forest symbolizes the rejection of slavery and allows for the transformation and affirmation of a Creole identity. At the same time, Milne shows that Chamoiseaus images of the woods highlight their function as a site of encounter and rapprochement between bks and Creoles, espe cially in her reading of Lesclave vieil homme et le molosse Important aspects of Milnes analysis are, on the one hand, the constant links made between Chamoiseaus critical writing and his fiction, and, on the
334 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 82 no. 3 & 4 (2008) other hand, the attention given to his reflections on the creative process and the role of the writer. She concludes that Chamoiseaus own novels illustrate both the creative and political limits and the possibilities of fiction. Writing has what Milne terms nature mortifre a deadly nature that suppresses oral ity and crystallizes the representation of a world otherwise too unpredictable and subject to change to be fully grasped symbolically. But writing also has a political and aesthetic function: it promotes ones own values and recognizes the existence of alternative values. Milnes book includes a useful glossary of Creole words and expressions. It also provides an exhaustive and detailed examination of both Chamoiseaus critical and creative writing by looking at the development of the themes of identity and history through the symbolic representation of space. The book shows the evolution of Chamoiseaus poetics in his fiction which, despite being labeled magic realist, has received little scrutiny. RE F ERE N CE BER NAB, JE AN, PA TR I C K CH A MO ISS E A U & RA PH A L CO NFIAN T, 1989. Eloge de la Crolit/In Praise of Creoleness Paris: Gallimard.