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New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010):179-223 KENNETH BILb B Y SURVIVING SECULARIZATION: MASKING THE SPIRIT IN THE JANKUNU (JOHN CANOE) FESTIVALS OF THE CARIBBEAN In certain parts of the Americas colonized by the English and built with the labor of Africans and their descendants, the holiday season at the end of the year was once and in some areas still is celebrated by parading bands of masqueraders whose danced processions created an ambiguous, highly charged space of their own.1 These outdoor performances by enslaved Africans amused, mystified, and discomfited the Europeans who observed and wrote about them during the nineteenth century. The loud drumming and singing, wild dancing, and extravagant costumes topped with horned ani mal masks and towering headdresses overloaded the senses of these white onlookers, and suggested to them something inscrutably and dangerously African, even when certain European elements could be recognized within the unfamiliar mix. Unlike the pre-Lenten Catholic carnivals that were appropri ated and refashioned by Africans in several parts of the Americas, this was a festival created by the enslaved themselves. Over time it was accepted by the ruling whites, who came to view it as a necessary evil a kind of safety valve through which the simmering tensions on slave plantations could be periodi -1. This article is based on comparative fieldwork and library research supported by a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago and the Alton Augustus Adams Music Research Institute in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (20034), as well as a subsequent Fellowship at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charlottesville (2006). I am most grateful to these institutions. I would like to express spe cial appreciation to Olivia Bowles, Sebastian Cayetano, Jerome Handler, John Mariano, Eris Moncur, Alson Titus, and Jerris Valentine for their contributions to the larger, ongo ing project on Jankunu of which this research is a part. I would also like to thank Samuel Floyd for urging me to write this article in the first place, and Shannon Dudley for his insightful comments on an earlier draft. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the thought ful comments and criticisms of an anonymous reviewer for this journal, which, owing to limitations of space, I am unable adequately to address herein, but which I intend to take up in future writings on the topic.
180 KENNETH BILb B Y cally released and kept from exploding. In certain parts of the Caribbean and Central America, variants of this enigmatic festival are still practiced. Indeed, this Christmas and New Years festival, known as Jankunu (John Canoe, Jonkonnu, Junkanoo, John Kuner) has, for some, become a powerful symbol of a surviving African spirit in the English-speaking Americas.2 In the words of the renowned Caribbean poet and historian Kamau Brathwaite (1990:90-91), the [jon]konnus that we know throughout Plantation America are the visible publicly permitted survival ikons of African religious culture. Yet Jankunu today is characterized by most local commentators, including the majority of practitioners themselves, as a fundamentally secular tradition. How could a tradition almost universally perceived as secular, and said by participants themselves to be devoid of spiritual significance, be interprete d by a leading scholar and cultural insider as an iconic embodiment of reli giosity? What might explain this apparent contradiction? In this essay I offer some possible answers to this question and examine its broader implications. In my view, Brathwaite is correct. His representation of Jankunu, I believe, captures a profound historical truth one that can be clearly appre hended and verified only through a genuinely diachronic perspective that moves beyond one-sided modes of historiography that depend exclusively on written forms of documentation. Only by employing contemporary eth nography to overcome the limitations of written sources and help us bridge past and present in a more balanced way, I would argue, can we really arrive at such a perspective, enabling us to recover a crucial but previously inaccessible dimension in the history of an important, but poorly understood, Afro-Atlantic performance complex. AbB SENCE OR PRESENCE OF S SpP IRIT IN JaA Nk K UNU: VaA RYING PERSp P ECTIv V ES In my very first interview with a Jamaican Jankunu practitioner, in 1974, when I gingerly raised the question of a possible spiritual dimension to his tradition, I was told flatly, no man! ... Jankunu is only a pleasure.3 Three 2. To suggest common origins and the continuing relatedness of all the traditions going by variants of this same name, I use a single spelling, Jankunu, throughout this essay. This spelling more accurately reflects the pronunciation of the word that I have heard practitioners almost everywhere use (/jngkunu/) than do the usual spellings of John Canoe, Jonkonnu, Junkanoo, etc. (see Cassidy 1966:47-51). (The exception is the Bahamas, where I most often heard /jngkanu/.) In quoted passages I retain the original spellings unless otherwise noted. I also use Junkanoo when referring specifically to the official version of the Bahamian festival that reigns in Nassau. 3. Interview with Simon Augustus Lewis, seventy-four-year-old leader of a Jankunu troupe, St. Anns Bay, Jamaica, January 26, 1974. It is of course possible that at least some
181 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION decades later, when I began comparative fieldwork on Jankunu in various other parts of the Caribbean, I heard many similar statements. A respected cultural authority in the Bahamas, who had himself experienced a local ver sion of the Jankunu masquerade every Christmas season while growing up in a small village on Cat Island, told me that Jankanu was totally separate from religion, and insisted that there was not a scintilla of spirituality in it.4 Some weeks later, in Belize, a Garifuna cultural activist and museum direc tor used the term secular to describe to me the local version of Jankunu practiced by his own people.5 Such characterizations remain the norm almost everywhere that variants of the tradition continue to be found (in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and along the Atlantic coast of Central America). It is hardly surprising, then, that most scholars who have had actual expe rience with contemporary performances and practitioners tend to represent Jankunu as being devoid of religious significance. In what remains probably the most comprehensive study of Jankunu as a pan-Caribbean phenomenon to date, the art historian Judith Bettelheim (1979:227) concludes that this tra dition is fundamentally secular in nature. In a later publication, she main tains this position, arguing that the evidence suggests ... that Jonkonnu is a secular festival. To say a festival is secular, she continues, means, above all, that it does not systematically address gods or spirits in a uniform or codified manner (Bettelheim 1988:40).6 In another extensive overview, the historian such statements may represent attempts to protect insider understandings from outside scrutiny, or forms of subterfuge motivated by the speakers discomfort with the idea of publicly admitting adherence to stigmatized African-derived religious concepts. However, subsequent conversations with Mr. Lewis and many other practitioners, as well as similar comments frequently encountered in the contemporary literature on Jankunu in Jamaica, eventually persuaded me that such statements usually represent candid expressions of the speakers actual views. When Martha Beckwith inquired into the possible religious significance of the tradition while carrying out fieldwork in Jamaica in the early 1920s, she was likewise told by most of the practitioners she encountered that John Canoe was simply to make fun (Beckwith 1928:11). 4. Interview with Eris Moncur, District Superintendent of the Ministry of Education and Training, Knowles, Cat Island, Bahamas, March 19, 2004. 5. Interview with Sebastian Cayetano, Belize City, May 8, 2004. Mr. Cayetano, how ever, remained open to the possibility that Jankunu might have certain esoteric spiritual meanings for leaders in the tradition, of which casual participants and other Garifuna observers might not be aware; and he was strongly supportive of the idea of investigating this question further. 6. Bettelheimss succinct statement about what is meant by secular in this context raises a number of important theoretical questions that are not directly treated in the present paper. What, after all, do secular and religious mean precisely? Is the dichotomous opposition between these terms not inherently problematic? Does this dichotomy, long embedded in Western thought, not in itself replicate structured relations of power (and fun damental assumptions associated with them) that ought continually to be thrown into ques
182 KENNETH BILb B Y Michael Craton (1995:14) similarly concludes that all the differently named variants of the Jankunu festival, like the Bahamian version, are essentially secular. Viewing the tradition from a Bahamian perspective, the ethnomu sicologist Clement Bethel (1991:12-14) goes even further, denying not only any spiritual significance in the present, but also the possibility of a religious connection in the past. However attractive the theory that John Canoe was the relic of some deeply religious African ritual, he argues, it must be discounted ... [The] suggestion of a religious origin of John Canoe must be laid aside.7Religious origins had earlier been suggested by a number of scholars whose understandings had been shaped primarily, if not exclusively, by his torical accounts of Jankunu during the slavery era, viewed alongside written accounts of West African festival traditions that provided evidence of striking parallels. For a scholar interested in long-term historical processes unfolding over time, statements made by present-day Jankunu practitioners, although not to be dismissed, need not carry much weight in attempts to determine what the tradition might have meant to participants during its heyday in the tion? Certain recent contributions to the study of religious life in the Caribbean (e.g., Khan 1999; 2004:24-25, 101-20; Paton 2009) stress the need to question such basic categories as religion and religious, showing how they have served to structure reality in ways that favor the projects of some (e.g., the agents of colonialism) and overrule those of others. Other than repeatedly pointing out the inapplicability of the secular/religious dichotomy to contexts in which broadly shared African cosmological concepts and understandings prevail, I do not interrogate here such problematic terms as secular, religious, or spiri tual. Rather, I use them advisedly in somewhat loose and commonsensical ways that reflect the usages and discursive practices of both those I interviewed for this study and the literature to which I am responding. I invite readers to keep the problematic nature of these largely unexamined terms in mind, while at the same time keeping in focus the central argument of this paper. It is an argument not so much about semantic categories and how they came to be (for instance, what is the difference between religion and superstition, and who decides what to place in which category?) as about recovering some of the funda mental meanings and understandings what Palmi (2010:91) characterizes as minimal assumptions about the workings of the world that may once have lain behind practices poorly understood by outside observers, based on previously unavailable ethnographic evidence of various kinds. In fact, by uncovering deeper spiritual meanings in suppos edly secular practices, and relating these to broadly shared African conceptualizations that fall outside Western categories of thought, such a project, I believe, by its very nature challenges the standard religious/secular dichotomy, and suggests how, in the Caribbean setting, it became fundamentally intertwined with and, indeed, continues today to sup port ideologies and structural relations of power that date back to the colonial era. 7. The anthropologist Janet DeCosmo, writing specifically about Bahamian Junkanoo, disagrees with Bethels conclusion and acknowledges the African religious roots of what is now a secular observance. Though providing no documentation to back up her claim, she states that in the early stage (1800-1899) Junkanoo still held close affinities to African religious ritual (DeCosmo 2003:246, 248).
183 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Meanings that held sway centuries ago could easily have been replaced by others in more recent times; original reli gious or spiritual meanings could have been lost or become submerged over time through a process of cultural erosion supported by hegemonic colonial ideologies that powerfully stigmatized any visible traces of the African past. Given what was known of festival traditions in various parts of West Africa which often included similar combinations of drumming, processional music, costuming, and masked dance the hypothesis of a religious origin for Jankunu was bound to arise. Both masking and dance were pervade d by spiritual meanings across West Africa, where the European bifurcation of pub lic life into separate secular and religious domains did not exist. Pointing out the similarities between Jamaican Jankunu and African masked dances, Orlando Patterson (1969:244-47) proposed that the origins of the Jamaican tra dition could be found in three clusters of West African festival traditions: the yam festival of the Mmo secret society of the Igbo peoples; the Egungun mas querades of the Yoruba; and the Homowo yam festival of the Ga people. All three of these are filled with spiritual purpose and closely tied to rites venerat ing ancestors. Following Pattersons lead, a number of other scholars working on Jamaican Jankunu, includin g Sylvia Wynter (1970:37-45), Sheila Barnett (1979:25-28), and Cheryl Ryman (1984), have similarly argued that its origins lie in West African harvest festivals or other religious rites. While pointing to a variety of possible sources, these authors have tended to privilege the Yoruba Egungun festival and/or the masked dances of the Poro societies spread across a large part of the region from which the enslaved were drawn. Discussing the cognate John Kuner festival of North Carolina, which is attested in several locations in that state during the nineteenth century but appears to have died out early in the twentieth century, Sterling Stuckey (1987:67-73) also notes very suggestive similarities with Yoruba Egungun observances, and concludes that such parallels clearly indicate that this North American version of Jankunu represented an African-derived religious expression of reverence for ancestors. Far from being purely academic exercises, these investigations of possible origins may be seen as part of a larger search for meaning. They constitute, at least in part, attempts to recover deeper meanings that have presumably been lost, or only vaguely retained, among present-day Jankunu practitioners. In the context of larger societies where Jankunu has gradually come to be seen as an important cultural legacy and a symbol of identity, such research into origins often takes on an aspect of soul-searching. Bridging past and present in the pursuit of answers to these kinds of experiential questions, however, is no easy matter. In the absence of reliable oral evidence in the present speak ing directly to this question, how are we to arrive at a historically grounded understanding of what Jankunu meant to practitioners when it flourished on slave plantations in the Caribbean and parts of the United States? The con temporaneous written accounts left by European and white American observ -
184 KENNETH BILb B Y ers are decidedly inadequate in this regard. As the Jamaican musicologist Laura Murray (1972:109) noted in passing, when researching Jankunu as part of a larger study of cult music in Jamaica, it is impossible to judge from early records whether the festivity had any religious significance in the negroes mind. So far as records go it was a mere social festivity without reference to the exorcising of evil spirits or care for the spirits of the dead. Murrays passing remark brings us face to face with a perennial historiographical and epistemological dilemma one familiar to all who have a stake in the interpretation of the past in places where plantation slavery reigned. How is one to access such pasts? Given that the vast majority of contemporaneous written documentation, particularly in the Anglophone Caribbean, was produced by authors who were not only hostile to the cultural worlds that interest us, but largely ignorant of them, where do we turn for our evidence? If we, like Michael Craton (1995:15), wish to reach beyond the scarce and often purblind accounts of contemporary whites in an attempt to understand quite what Junkanoo was like and what it meant to British West Indian slaves, what can we do, other than rely on our imaginations? As Erna Brobder (1983:7) asks, where will we find the admissible data on the behav iour of people who left no memoirs? And if we wish to extend our vision beyond observable behavior to the complex interior world of cultural mean ing, by what means might we be able to (re)construct deeper knowledge of such people and the lives they created? Theorizing about the historical origins and possible spiritual foundations of Jankunu brings us squarely into this largely uncharted epistemological terrain.8When we turn to the Bahamas, we are confronted with yet another appar ent variation on this theme in this case, one containing certain ironies. Of all the present-day outposts of Jankunu, the Bahamas is surely the society where the tradition (officially spelled Junkanoo) is most visible, most vigorous, and most ubiquitous; in short, this is where, in some respects, the tradition seems most alive. At the same time, it is here that the tradition appears to have strayed farthest from its historical roots, departing in startling ways from older forms while developing rapidly in new directions. In the Bahamas today, Junkanoo is an enormous national festival rivaling in energy and scale the famous pre-Lenten carnival of Trinidad and the numerous Eastern Caribbean festivals patterned after it, as well as a primary symbol of Bahamian identity. Associated with a complex structure of official and commercial patronage, codified and governed by a strict set of regulations, featuring ever more elabo rate costumes and thematic displays designed and constructed by competing 8. This epistemological terrain has been explored in innovative ways in the work of Richard Price on the Saramaka Maroons of Suriname (e.g., Price 1983, 1990, 2008) whose influence on my own thinking will be apparent here and has also been a primary area of concern in some of my own work on Jamaican Maroons (e.g., Bilby 1995, 1997, 2005b).
185 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION Junkanoo bands with hundreds of members, this Bahamian festival mobilizes thousands of people and receives a great deal of media coverage. It has also become one of the main tourist attractions of the Bahamas and is by far the most commercialized of the surviving variants of Jankunu.9Though undoubtedly a vibrant and deeply meaningful expression of iden tity for many Bahamians, Junkanoo could easily be seen as the least spiritual, and the most evidently secular, existing form of the tradition. The degree of commodification, the close links with tourism, the cooptation by the state, and the decreasing grassroots control characterizing the contemporary tradition all work against a sense of sacredness. Although this appearance of secu larity may have become particularly glaring in Bahamian Junkanoo of late, the idea that Junkanoo is devoid of religious meaning is not new there. Like their counterparts in Jamaica, most Bahamian practitioners in the 1970s and probably their predecessors going back several decades would likely have reacted negatively to the suggestion that their tradition might have religious or spiritual significance. Yet, as with the blues and jazz in the United States (Reed 2003; Stuckey 1995), there is evidence that at a deeply intuitive level many Bahamians have sensed, and continue to sense, something that could only be called spiritual in the music, dance, and costuming of Junkanoo. In popular writings on Junkanoo produced for both local and tourist con sumption, generalized invocations of spirit and spirituality are common, often in conjunction with references to the African past, the ancestral experience of slavery, and the deep and ineffable sense of shared identity many Bahamians feel when participating in the festival. In one such publication, Junkanoo is described as a motivation to become one with the inner spirit, and a spirit touching experience (Chipman 2001:26). Junkanoo is tightly plaited into the Bahamian psyche, according to another such publication, yet seldom do we dwell on its roots, that have been within us since we first became aware of ourselves. When Bahamians do take the time to listen to the stories of their elders, continues this author, we are borne back through the years to understand the drum that beats always within us: the drum that is the spirit of our ancestors ... [whose] voices call out to us across the centuries (Nash Ferguson 2000:3). Such statements suggest a tendency in the Bahamas, when expressing the symbolic associations of Junkanoo, to con flate a racialized national identity with vague notions of a surviving African spirituality. In the words of one anthropological observer, Junkanoo allows [the Bahamian people] to gather pride and strength from their heritage and their spiritual roots in Africa (DeCosmo 2003:254). One outspoken local commentator, Patrick Rahming, writing at a time of noticeably mounting government involvement and intensifying institu-9. A good discussion of how the Junkanoo festival of Nassau has entered Bahamian popular culture, spawned new genres of local popular music, and been integrated into nationalist discourse may be found in Rommen 1999.
186 KENNETH BILb B Y tionalization of Junknaoo, clearly captured both the general uncertainty as to Junkanoos beginnings and original meanings, and the coexisting sense that it constituted an ancestral vehicle for deep feelings of a spiritual kind, the sanctity of which was threatened by increasing rationalization, routinization, and commercialization. At one point, he raises the soul-searching question, what is Junkanoo?... what is the essence of this thing? (Rahming 1992:31). He goes on to complain thatthe experience of junkanoo is not one that can be easily filed into specta tor-performer categories. The performers are not minstrels and acrobats providing entertainment for an audience. They are participants in a thera peutic ritual with important personal and natural implications. The fact that the cultural memory is so vague that the original basis for the ritual is foggy is no reason to disrespect the yearnings expressed. In other words, at least for the time being there is still validity in the spiritual roots aspect of the festival/ritual. (Rahming 1992:32)Particularly noteworthy here are the allusion to cultural memory (an idea to which we will return in the last section of this essay) and the explicit acknowledgement of a spiritual aspect associated with the roots of Junkanoo. This ostensible spiritual dimension is made yet more explicit in another passage by the same author suggesting that the attempt to formulate an intellectualized, standardized aesthetic of Junkanoo for the purpose of judging performances in official, state-sponsored contests may constitute a kind of sacrilege (a passage that, it is worth noting, would likely resonate with many performers in the black American musical tradition as well):Successful junkanoo evokes strong emotional response, which cannot be replaced by intellectual rationale, even concerning so-called artistic excellence. The judgement of strong emotional response is not easy ... If the commitment to judgement is made, then a concurrent commitment must be made to find a way to judge emotional response. It scared the hell out of me is a more successful response than It was nice or Im so excited I cant breathe is a higher score than The costumes were very well done. I query the need to judge in the first place. (Imagine determin ing the best church service every Sunday, and awarding prizes for having the spirit.) (Rahming 1992:32)By the following decade, Rahmings misgivings were apparently shared by many in the larger society, including some of the festivals most prominent exponents and a number of public intellectuals interested in the question of cultural meaning in Junkanoo. In 2002 partly, one suspects, in response to the growing recognition that Junkanoo was at risk of becoming permanently
187 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION detached from its cultural moorings and losing its deeper meanings a major symposium on Junkanoo and Religion was organized at the College of the Bahamas in Nassau. The resulting publication (Minnis 2003) contains eighteen contributions by scholars and Junkanoo practitioners sympathetically examin ing the possible religious or spiritual dimensions of the tradition. One might find some irony in the fact that the subtitle of this volume is Christianity and Cultural Identity in the Bahamas, given that agents of Christianity (perhaps detecting an underlying African religiosity in Junkanoo) have been among the most ardent opponents of the festival, both in the Bahamas and other parts of the Caribbean. Even today, there is considerable opposition to Junkanoo from some Christians in the Bahamas. Vivian Wood (1995:333) notes that in 1994 religious leaders and Christians continued to denounce the Junkanoo parade and its music as being sensual and of the devil. In response to these attacks, listeners to Christian radio shows spent hours calling in for on-air discussions of the immorality of Junkanoo, Junkanoo music, and Showtime dancing. Despite this sometimes virulent opposition, other Bahamian Christians have in recent years enthusiastically embraced the festival, introducing Christian music and themes into the annual parades and incorporating ele ments of Junkanoo into church services (Wood 1995:332-35). The 2002 symposium on Junkanoo and Religion clearly an example of the kind of scholarly soul-searching alluded to above no doubt came about partly in response to this growing phenomenon. Several of the papers presented at the symposium raised the issue of Junkanoos compatibility with Christianity; some explored the implications of this controversial question in greater depth, and a few touted the festivals positive potential as a means of indigenizing Christian theological praxis in the Bahamas. Breaking faith with the traditional Christian denigration of African religiosity, even some of the most committed Christians among the participants in the symposium were able to take the position that Junkanoo represents a surviving expression of a funda mentally African mode of worship, and should be welcomed as such. Kirkley Sands (2003a:10), an Anglican priest and canon of Nassaus Christ Church Cathedral, for example, asserted that the original life setting of Bahamian Junkanoo is Bahamian slave religiosity, i.e. the spirituality and religious cul ture of Bahamian slaves. It is clear, in his view, that Junkanoo is a New World slave religious cultural celebration whose antecedents are rooted in West African religious culture (Sands 2003a:13). Indeed, Sands (2003a:15) contends, this cultural celebration embodied the slaves propheti c voice, and constituted a demand for dialogue with their ancestral faith. Junkanoo, he concludes, is deeply rooted in Bahamian slave spirituality and West African religiosity (Sands 2003a:17). In another paper delivered at the same symposium Sands (2003b:73) suggests that, even today, Junkanoo is more than a secular cultural celebration. It is a unique embodiment of Bahamian slave spirituality which is itself Junkanoos immediate life setting. A num-
188 KENNETH BILb B Y ber of other authors represented in the collection express similar views. Yet, in the foreword to the volume, the historian Gail Saunders injects a note of uncertainty. While agreeing that the spirit of Junkanoo is truly the soul of the Bahamian people, she seems to require further proof of its religious pedigree, not to mention its impact on the development of Bahamian forms of spirituality. Have we come any further in pinpointing the origins of Junkanoo in the Bahamas? she asks, after having reviewed the collected papers. And how much did early Junkanoo and slave spirituality affect the Christian Church in the Bahamas? (Saunders 2003:4). It was just this kind of unresolved ambiguity regarding origins, and the associated lack of consensus on the question of secularity versus spiritu ality, that some years earlier in Jamaica had led me to wonder whether the inherent difficulties of investigating this essentially historiographical problem might be addressed, and perhaps partly overcome, through ethnography. Could there be older forms of Jankunu or related festival traditions still existing in Jamaica forms retaining more from the past than any of the varieties yet doc umented whose living practitioners might speak more clearly to the question of spiritual meaning? In the absence of firm evidence one way or the other, I was not prepared to discount the intuitions of the many in Jamaica who seemed able to divine a surviving undercurrent of spirituality in the professedly secular fun of Jankunu. In 1991, relying in part on intuitions of my own, I found some answers to these questions in the rural parish of St. Elizabeth.10 CCOk K ER, S ST. E ELIZab AB ETH, JaA Ma A ICa A In the country district of Coker, nestled in the Nassau Mountains of west ern Jamaica, public celebrations of Christmas have traditionally been held in and around two particular areas named after the communitys nineteenthcentury founders. These sections of the community, known as Rhoden Town and Brown Town, are inhabited by Cokers old people. So old are some of these members of the community that they require special care: Rhoden Town and Brown Town, in fact, are cemeteries. Here lie not only the original founders and apical ancestors of Coker, Benjamin Rhoden and Bob Brown, but many of their descendants as well, who are also remembered by name. Near each of these ancestral towns is a sacred clearing consisting of a traditional danceground and a healing ground. Known as Big Yard and Brown Yard, these cleared areas have for generations served as sites for com -10. The ethnographic clues that led me to the discovery of the surviving older variant of Jamaican Jankunu described below are discussed in Bilby (1999), which includes additional ethnographic background on this tradition, only a sketch of which is provided in the present essay. See also Bilby 2007.
189 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION munity ceremonies revolving around myal a term of unknown derivation referring to possession by spirits, including those of departed ancestors.11 The ancestors of Coker, honored by their descendants, have on the whole shown benevolence toward the living. Until recently, they have returned regularly in the bodies of living dancers, known as myal man and myal woman and in this form have used their knowledge of herbs and their special powers to tend to the needs of the living, healing spiritual afflictions and offering solutions to other problems. Throughout the years, as the need arises, they have contin ued to be drawn into the cares and concerns of their living descendants by the rhythms of the gumbe drum and the special myal sing (spirit-invoking songs) they have taught them, and in this way have remained a part of daily life. In such a setting, how could the ancestors not be a part of the major holiday to which the entire community looks forward as every year draws to an end? After all, the single most important local celebration of the Christmas season, centering on the unveiling of the house headdress itself known as Jankunu and the accompanying music and dance, was passed on from these older peo ple themselves. In addition to being myal specialists, Benjamin Rhoden and Bob Brown were also masters, or builders, of the Jankunu headdress, and renowned Jankunu dancers. They are revered as founders not only of the com munity of Coker, but of its Jankunu tradition as well. Buried alongside them are several of the successors they taught, most of whom also once served as spirit mediums in the local tradition, and who are remembered today as out standing Jankunu builders, dancers, drummers, and singers in their own right. The Coker variant of Jankunu performance differs conspicuously from the standard forms found elsewhere in Jamaica today. (The Coker version, for instance, has retained several characteristic features mentioned in eighteenthand nineteenth-century descriptions of Jamaican Jankunu that appear to have been lost almost everywhere else, such as the square or rectangular gumbe drum played with the hands, a leading dancer who wears a house headdress, and female singers who play a prominent role.)12 But it also displays important similarities. For one thing, like other varieties, it occurs in 11. nl-NL Maureen Warner-Lewis (2003:190) suggests a derivation from Kikongo nl-NL mayaalanl-NL, nl-NL meaning the physical representations of power. The term nl-NL myalnl-NL is frequently mentioned nl-NL in eighteenthand nineteenth-century accounts of Jamaica in connection with spiritual nl-NL beliefs and practices of the enslaved and their descendants, though never explicitly in connl-NL -nl-NL nection with John Canoe. Warner-Lewis also proposes a new etymology for the word nl-NL Jankununl-NL one which, in view of what is now known about older variants such as the one nl-NL in Coker, I find more persuasive than any of those previously proposed. The derivation nl-NL she suggests is from Kikongo nl-NL nza a nkununl-NL which she glosses as world of the ancestral nl-NL spirits (Warner-Lewis 2003:224). 12. nl-NL Craton (1995:31) notes that among the few features of [Jankunu] that were comnl-NL -nl-NL mon [to all variants in previous centuries] and therefore essential were the gumbey drum nl-NL music and the mysterious masked and fantastically head-dressed central figure.
190 KENNETH BILb B Y the context of street parades or processions. Yet, there is a significant differ ence here as well. For these processions, in the Coker tradition, represent but the tip of an iceberg, as it were. Traditionally, only after the break of day on Christmas did the Jankunu performers of Coker leave the ancestral confines of Big Yard and the immediate surrounding area to begin their procession through the wider community; and only after completing this circuit of their own community did they carry the festivities out to neighboring communities, entertaining crowds and soliciting donations as they went. Preceding these highly visible Christmas sports in outside locations was a series of private rites performed at home by the Coker celebrants for themselves and their ancestors. Few of the spectators amused by their exuberant antics as they paraded through towns and villages in this part of St. Elizabeth were aware of this hidden back stage; for this reason, most of those from other communities who witnessed the Jankunu bands of Coker which continued to go outside to perform at Christmas throughout most of the twentieth cen tury would never gain a clear idea of the spiritual meanings the festival held for the participants themselves. For those trained in the tradition, these deeper meanings are clear as day, flowing as they do from their immediate life experience (to borrow Kirkley Sandss evocative phrase). Virtually every aspect of the Jankunu tradition in Coker is permeated with explicit spiritual meanings, from the building of the house headdress to the songs, dancing, and offerings of food and rum to the ancestors on Christmas and New Years Day. This seasonal tradition, after all, is part and parcel of the larger ancestor-focused community religion practiced year-round by the gumbe drummers and myal dancers of Coker. The briefest account of a portion of the Christmas rites typically observed in Coker until very recently will leave no doubt as to the fundamentally spir itual nature of the local variant of the Jankunu festival that has survived here. Early on Christmas Eve, the entire community is summoned to a major gumbe play (myal dance) by the blowing of a conch shell. As one longtime participant told me, you see, the conch shell deh, them blow it that everybody know seh them a go play tonight. From them hear it blow, them know seh them a go have the met [public gathering, dance] tonight. The living hear, and the dead hear.13 As the night wears on, the time comes for the Jankunu headdress to turn out to be unveiled and brought out for public display after weeks of concealment in a specially constructed shack guarded over by the watchful spirits of the ancestors. Down at the two main family graveyards of Rhoden Town and Brown Town, the ancestors are fed with white rice, the blood of a chicken, and a specially prepared concoction known as egg punch (a drink that was closely associated with Christmas festivities in Jamaica during the nineteenth century). Back up at the neigh-13. nl-NL Interview with gumbe drummer Percel Titus, Coker, January 11, 1991.
191 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION boring dancing ground, the myal man and his assistants remove the sheet that has up to this point covered the Jankunu (as the house headdress itself is known), and carry the beautifully decorated object out into the open for all to see, placing it on a bench in the central performing space in Big Yard, known as the ring. Songs such as the following are sung to greet the arriv ing Jankunu and all who have come to join in the celebration:You tek me out a house And you put me out a open parade Chorus: Mornin maam-oh Mornin to you all-oh Mornin, Grand Queen-oh [the name of one such Jankunu house headdress] Mornin to you all-ohThe ancestors, too, are welcomed and honored with songs of their own. One might hear, for instance,Oy-oh, eh-de-oy, eh-de Roll de band a yard Det a grong a me fren [literally, the ancestral dead in the earth/cemetery are my friends]14Seh duppy a me fren [the spirits are my friends] Seh duppy a me fren Roll de band a yard Det a grong a me frenShortly before dawn, the leading myal man and Jankunu builder, with the help of his assistants, hoists the house headdress onto his head and proceeds down to the cemeteries of Rhoden Town and Brown Town, where he dances and displays his creation, so that its beauty can be enjoyed by the entire com munity of ancestors. In the words of one practitioner:Christmas night, before day, them have fe dance, and carry it [the house headdress] to all of the cemetery dem. Kompini [the assembled people] tek off sheet off of it, and carry it to all of the cemetery, and lean it [toward the individual graves], show it to all spirit ... [letting them see] how beautiful it be. Them [the ancestors] see it still [i.e. have already seen it], you know, 14. In Coker, the term det (derived from English, death) is synonymous with the Jamaican Creole term duppy, used throughout the island to refer to the spirit of a deceased human being.
192 KENNETH BILb B Y for them go and come weh-paat it a build [to the place where it is built]. But, you know, that is just a old-time original thing them have fe carry it to the cemetery.15After daybreak, the crowd moves out onto the road, marching along with the musicians and leading Jankunu dancer through the different sections of the community while singing yet other songs. Only after December 25 is the Jankunu ensemble allowed to venture out to perform in other communities. Finally, some time in January, when the Christmas spirit has begun to fade away, the ancestors provide indications that the time has come to mash up (destroy) the Jankunu. A last gumbe play is called and the master of the Jankunu the myal man who built it places the headdress on his head and carries it down to Rhoden Town and Brown Town, where he performs a final dance for the ancestors. Before daylight, the spirits of ancestors enter the bod ies of younger dancers, who then tear the headdress to pieces, thus bringing the annual cycle to its proper end. Thoughts of the Jankunu need not occupy the communitys attention again until the next Christmas season approaches. As I was later to find out, Coker is not the only place in Jamaica where ancestors regularly take part in the Christmas celebrations of the living, or have done so within living memory. I know of at least three different rural communities in other parts of St. Elizabeth and in the neighboring parish of Manchester where related Jankunu traditions tied to ancestral myal rites and family burial grounds have either survived in attenuated form, or are clearly remembered by older people. In yet another parish, St. Catherine, very similar, and still vibrant, rites for community ancestors take place in the context of the local Buru festival a Christmas masquerade historically related to Jankunu, which today, in this particular community, still features African-derived drumming, dancing, singing, offerings of food and rum to the ol sumaadi (old people), and non-stop parading from dawn to dusk along a route carefully chosen by these same ancestors (Bilby 2005a). Nor am I the only researcher to have encountered Christmas festivities in Jamaica in which unambiguously spiritual gestures and meanings clear expressions of African religiosity remain alive. At least one other writer, Honor FordSmith, mentions the existence of similar rituals on the other side of the island in the parish of St. Thomas, where certain Jankunu performers still pay hom age to the spirits of their predecessors by making offerings to them before appearing in public processions. With its roots in the secret society rituals, Jonkonnu still invokes spirits and aims at social control, she states. In St. Thomas, for example, performers sometimes sprinkle rum on the graves of ancestors before going out on to the streets (Ford-Smith 1995:153-54).15. Interview with Percel Titus, Coker, October 30, 1991.
193 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION And what does this story of masked spirituality in Jamaican Jankunu spirituality that has been submerged in private family contexts and ren dered mostly invisible to the larger Jamaican public tell us of the various traditions bearing the same name in other parts of the Caribbean? If we accept that all the far-flung Christmas festivals known by the name Jankunu (those, that is, whose practitioners did not recently borrow the name but have used it since time immemorial to refer to what they do) share common roots, or at least are historically related as I believe the evidence suggests then these revelations of an undeniable, actively maintained ancestral presence in the oldest surviving forms of Jamaican Jankunu gain in significance.16 Might traces of similar spiritual meanings be found in the Jankunu tradition across large stretches of time and space? As in the Jamaican case, the historical writ ings that describe cognate forms in the Bahamas and Belize are of little help in searching out the deeper cultural meanings that interest us. Once again, if we wish to achieve greater insight into this question, we must depend on the recollections of living practitioners, as well as the cultural memories passed on from previous generations off the record. CCaA T I ISLa A ND, BaA Ha A Ma A S Of the forty or so inhabited islands of the Bahamas, Cat Island has the repu tation of being the one that has retained the strongest African cultural heri tage. Tourist guides single it out as the island in which, more than any other, African-derived bush medicine and obeah have continued to thrive (Baker 2001:361; Dold, Folster & Vaitilingam 2003:277). Ironically, as I found short ly after arriving, the indigenous Jankunu festival of Cat Island died out several decades ago. Tourists who encountered Junkanoo performances there in the late 1990s had no way of knowing it, but what they were witnessing was a calculated attempt to revive the festival on the island; the colorful, competi tive parades staged during this period, performed mostly by younger people who had never experienced the older varieties that had once flourished on Cat Island, were based on the contemporary Nassau model and were supported in part by the Bahamian government. Perhaps because this glossy, commercial -16. My thesis that the varieties of Jankunu that exist today in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Central America (and once existed in the southern United States) are cognate forms that spring from a common root tradition, which was originally practiced on eighteenthcentur y Jamaican slave plantations, cannot be further elaborated here but will be sup ported and discussed at length in a book I am in the process of writing. In this respect, I am in agreement with the two scholars who have conducted the most extensive panCaribbean surveys of Jankunu to date, Bettelheim (1979) and Craton (1995:34), who both see Jamaica as a central crucible of the [Jankunu] complex.
194 KENNETH BILb B Y ized Nassau version was perceived to some extent as a foreign implant, it failed to take root, and after a few years was abandoned.17In seeking after knowledge of old-time Jankunu on Cat Island which appears to have faded away in the 1950s or early 1960s one quickly discovers that there was a remarkable amount of variation for an island with a popula tion that has probably never exceeded a few thousand.18 But there were also many commonalities from village to village. One thing that seems to have been shared from one end of the island to the other is that local forms of Jankunu were everywhere linked with religious spheres and activities through over lapping memberships and closely intertwined celebrations of the Christmas and New Years holidays. Yet, at the same time, actual Jankunu performance was carefully kept separate from formal (i.e. Christian) religious contexts in theory, if not always in practice. As for connections with African-derived reli gious ideas, hints of some possible past relationship with spirits of the dead do exist here and there in vestigial elements of folklore that may represent witnesses in spite of themselves (Bloch 1953). In the community of Dumfries, for instance, children until relatively recently (1930s or 1940s) would annually take to the streets shortly after Christmas to join in play processions mimicking the serious Jankunu masquerading they had seen adults perform during the holiday season; the masks fashioned by these children from cardboard, with large holes for eyes, resembled human skulls. While imitating the perfor mances of their elders, they sang songs such as the following:Sperrit [spirit] walking on wire Jook [poke] he foot in the fire19To the north, in Orange Creek, instead of donning actual masks, Jankunu rev elers would sometimes coat their faces with white powder20 a widespread practice in Central and West Africa, as well as among the Maroon peoples of 17. Interview with Eris Moncur, Knowles, Cat Island, March 19, 2004; and conversa tions with Bradley Russell, New Bight, Cat Island, March 16, 2004, and Jason Russell, New Bight, March 20, 2004. The increasing influence of the newer evangelical Christian churche s on Cat Island, most of which are opposed to dancing of any kind outside of church, also played a role in the demise of this recent version of Junkanoo imported from Nassau. 18. Eris Moncur (personal communication, March 19, 2004) estimates that the present population is around 1,600. Though the island is only one to four miles wide for most of its length, it is roughly forty-eight miles long. The population is widely scattered in a number of small villages spread across the entire length of the western coast. People liv ing in the North (for example, in Orange Creek or Arthurs Town) often speak of those in the South (say, McQueens or Old Bight) and vice versa as if they were noticeably different, with unfamiliar customs of their own. 19. Interview with Eris Moncur, Knowles, Cat Island, March 19, 2004. 20. Interview with Olivia Bowles, Orange Creek, Cat Island, March 16, 2004.
195 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION the Guianas, where it symbolizes, among other things, the ancestral dead and the spiritual power emanating from them.21Nonetheless, I was unable to find any evidence of an explicit ancestral presence in the accounts of old-time Jankunu given by Cat Island elders. Certainly nothing like the close, interactive relationship between living and dead that characterizes the older Jamaican variants of Jankunu discussed above, exemplified by institutionalized spirit possession and offerings to spe cific ancestors, can be gleaned from their recountings. Rather, what I found is a complex duality suggestive of a history of resistance and accommoda tion a separation of performance contexts into two symbolic domains, one thought of as inside and explicitly religious or spiritual, and the other as outside and worldly.22 This division clearly reflects the impact, on an island with a long history of intensive Christian missionization, of Western theological principles. For those with whom I discussed old-time Jankunu festivities, music and dance performed inside the church is, by definition, 21. nl-NL See Thompson (1984; 1993) for numerous mentions of the use of sacred white clay nl-NL (kaolin) in the altars, artwork, and rituals of a number of peoples in Africa, as well as among nl-NL African descendants in several different parts of the Americas. In Central Africa, and in nl-NL Western hemisphere contexts influenced by Kongo culture, such use of powdered white clay nl-NL (nl-NL mpembanl-NL in Kikongo, nl-NL pembanl-NL in the languages of the eastern Guianese [Ndyuka, Aluku, and nl-NL Paramaka] Maroons) represents, among other things, the powers of the white realm, the nl-NL kaolin-tinted world of the dead (Thompson 1984:134). Similar meanings are attached to nl-NL the use of nl-NL hyirenl-NL (white clay) among the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Cte dIvoire nl-NL (Thompson 1993:120). During my fieldwork among the Aluku Maroons of French Guiana nl-NL and Suriname during the 1980s, I very frequently saw spirit mediums in a variety of relinl-NL -nl-NL gious contexts with faces coated in nl-NLpemba dotinl-NL (powdered white clay). (For a photograph nl-NL of Ndyuka Maroon spirit mediums covered with nl-NL pemba dotinl-NL during a nl-NL Papa Gadunl-NL rite in nl-NL Suriname, see Price & Price 1980:176.) The use of whiteface masks in Jankunu and other nl-NL Caribbean festivals, noted in a number of historical accounts from Jamaica and other parts nl-NL of the region, has often been interpreted, with good reason, as a ritualistic form of mocnl-NL -nl-NL kery aimed at the European oppressors in keeping with the larger significance of such nl-NL festivals as rites of rebellion. (In some present-day versions of the Jankunu tradition, as nl-NL among Garifuna performers in Belize and Honduras, wire-mesh masks which are a relatinl-NL -nl-NL vely recent introduction are painted white or pink and are explicitly thought of in this way, nl-NL sometimes being given additional features, such as mustaches and goatees, meant to show nl-NL that they represent Europeans.) By pointing out that African-derived spiritual meanings nl-NL might have once underlay the whitening of the face (or the wearing of white masks) in nl-NL Jankunu, I do not mean to contradict such interpretations. There is every reason to believe nl-NL that Jankunu performances in the past, as in the present, contained complex, multiple layers nl-NL of meaning; and both of the meanings suggested here could have come into play at different nl-NL points and in different contexts, or even simultaneously. 22. See, for an interesting comparison, the discussion by Morton Marks (1974:67-75) of Brazilian carnival, which similarly has a dual nature, indoor and outdoor, white and black (Marks 1974).
196 KENNETH BILb B Y sacred; in contrast, those varieties performed outside in street proces sions, such as Jankunu, are, by definition, not. As such, they should be kept apart. Yet, in these elders accounts, the boundaries between these opposed symbolic domains and the distinct physical spaces associated with them were revealed to be permeable in practice. Such was the degree of overlap in per formance modes, musical qualities, movement style, and actual contexts and performers during Christmas and New Years celebrations that a strict divi sion between the sacred and the secular could not always be sustained. The underlying vision that is suggested by this interpenetration of opposed symbolic domains is a familiar one to those who have viewed diasporic arts from an African perspective. As Marta Moreno Vega (1999:48) among a great many others points out, African Diasporan creative expressions continue to blend the boundaries between the sacred and secular, connect ing divine aesthetic knowledge to worldly artistic endeavors. For those African descendants in the West who share this profoundly holistic vision, the opposed categories denoted by the terms secular and sacred, even if firmly embedded in thought at the level of ordinary discourse, are regularly overruled in ritual contexts by the deep structures of an experiential universe in which spirituality and the sacred are omnipresent and inseparable from the mundane. There is much evidence (of the kind adduced by Brennan 2008, Reed 2003, Stuckey 1995, and Turner 2009 in connection with the blues, jazz, and other diasporic musics) to suggest that these experiential deep structures have survived in music, dance, and other aesthetic practices throughout the African diaspora, whether or not these are explicitly tied to religious contexts.23 The old-time Jankunu of Cat Island would seem to represent yet another example of the subsuming over time of imposed theological dichotomies separating the spiritual from the material within a larger, indivisible sense of the sacred a process greatly favored by the inextricability, in much of the diaspora as in Africa, of musical sound and movement and the spiritual charge they carry. This process has also been helped along by the general tendency toward fluidity characterizing the musical cultures of Africa and the diaspora, leading to a constant flow of aesthetic forms and stylistic features across genres and contexts. Let us briefly consider the manifestation of these tendencies in the case of Cat Island and its Jankunu tradition. The first thing that strikes one is a close connection between the forms of movement characterizing secular Jankunu performance and those associated with spiritual church music: in both traditions, Christmas and New Years were celebrated with processions. Although these occurred outside on the streets in the case of Jankunu and inside, within the walls of a house of worship, in the case of the church 23. See, in this connection, Morton Markss groundbreaking study (1974) of underlying ritual structures, code-switching and style-switching in Afro-American music.
197 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION processions, the two varieties, tellingly, were referred to by the same term: rushing.24 People remember the two kinds of rushing as being stylistically distinct: rushing in church featured only vocals and handclapping, and was generally done at a faster tempo, while Jankunu rushing was accompanied by the rhythms of the goatskin drums, scraped saws, rattles, and occasion ally other instruments such as the banjo. Some of the elders with whom I spoke made a distinction between marching and dancing; reflecting the traditional European Christian antagonism toward dance in sacred contexts, they categorized the sacred shuffling dance of those who rushed in church (a dance closely resembling the ring shout of the U.S. coastal Sea Islands to the north) as marching in opposition to the sometimes very similar dancing of those who rushed in Jankunu processions.25 The two processions were of necessity also quite different in terms of their use of space; rushing in the restricted inside space of the church involved lines of dancers moving up, down, and across aisles (or in some cases, I was told, in circles, when there was sufficient space inside the church); Jankunu processions, in contrast, trav eled along streets and lanes, following linear paths and circuits that took them through whole villages or from one community to another, with periodic stops to perform at the gates of residents along the way. But despite these differ ences, there was a good deal of aesthetic and kinetic overlap between the two kinds of rushing. For example, according to a musician and singer who used to participate in both church rushing and Jankunu rushing, the two kinds of performances, despite the absence of drums in the former, sometimes used the same beat the same beat, but only singing different songs.26This is not at all surprising, since many individuals participated in both settings. Both, after all, were linked to the same seasonal calendar, and occurred at roughly the same time, in celebration of the same holidays. As might be expected, there was a considerable amount of movement back 24. This dual sense exists more widely in the Bahamas, as noted in the Dictionary of Bahamian English, which gives two definitions for the verb to rush: to participate in a Junkanoo parade; 2. to march or strut up and down the aisle of a church to a lively spiritual, singing or clapping in rhythm (Holm & Shilling 1982:173). 25. nl-NL Rushing in Bahamian church services, both on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, is nl-NL briefly described in Hedrick & Stephens (1976:23-24). See also Parsons (1928:455-56). nl-NL Joyce Marie Jackson (2006:96-101) describes an updated form of rushing, backed by nl-NL an electric gospel band, she witnessed in a Pentecostal church on Andros Island in 1996. 26. Interview with Olivia Bowles, Orange Creek, Cat Island, March 16, 2004. After witnessing both Junkanoo rushing in Nassau and church rushing on Andros Island in 1996, Jackson (2006:98) noted the similarities between the two: the traditional move ment [used in Junkanoo rushing] is a basic slide step in which the right foot slides up and the right hip goes down, the left hip goes up and out simultaneously. This is the exact movement used in the sacred Rushin ritual [on Andros Island] and it is the performance practice that connects one ritual to the other.
198 KENNETH BILb B Y and forth between the two contexts. Indeed, the Christmas and New Years church services with rushing and the Jankunu festivities might be seen as complementary facets of a single, larger community celebration. According to one elder who participated in these parallel observances in the community of New Bight in her younger days, when you got tired of rushing in the church, you could simply go out onto the street and dance Jankunu.27 Another former practitioner of both traditions describes this overlap as she experienced it in the community of Orange Creek:Before-time [in the past], [at] Christmas time, you [go to church] like ten oclock [at night] ... then youll march from twelve oclock till high sun next morning. Till high sun. Big morning you coming home, sleepy and dragging on the side there. And you singing, rush out now. Theyd rush, theyd rush. And see Christmas? When you come out Christmas morning out of the church, you rush right into the Jankanu.28 You go right into the Jankanu. Youre drumming out there, beating! Beating! Faithful must join them! [The Jankanu performers were] waiting, waiting for you to come out of the church! When you come out of the church, you go into the Jankanu, into the Jankanu rush. There used to be some good times those days.29At another point, the same individual elaborated on this seamless movement of joint participants between inside and outside contexts:You hear what I tell you? The Jankanu, when the Christmas, as morn ings getting on the eve of breaking, the Jankanus who are leading up the Jankanu, theyre gearing up, for just how the church come out. Yeah, theyre gearing up for just how the church out, they join with the Jankanu, you know. Some of them [Jankanu leaders] was in church before. They go out in time to get ready for that Jankanu. Thats right. Well, they go, some 27. Conversation with Rita Russell, New Bight, Cat Island, March 16, 2004. Similarly, a church elder on Andros Island, reminiscing in 1996, told Joyce Marie Jackson (2006:90) that rushin was done in the church before the streets. Some older people remember a similar overlap between church services and Junkanoo rushing on the streets of Nassau in the old days (before the main Christmas parade was changed from December 25 to Boxing Day [December 26]). For instance, a Nassau resident reminiscing about the 1930s says, when I was growing up, Junkanoo was just cowbells and drums, no saxo phones and stuff, not the modern stuff ... It used to be Christmas Day. You go out there after church. After church you go to Bay Street [the site of the main Junkanoo parade] (Jenkins 2000:90-91). 28. In this and other passages directly quoting Bahamian speakers referring to older, nonofficial (i.e. pre-Junkanoo) forms, I use this slightly different spelling (Jankanu), since it more accurately reflects their pronunciation (/jngkanu/) than does Jankunu. 29. Interview with Olivia Bowles, Orange Creek, Cat Island, March 16, 2004.
199 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION of them get the drums heated, and get ready for that Jankanu, get dressed up, white up with skin powder and stuff.30The boundaries between the secular and the sacred appear to have been particularly frangible during the rolling out of the old year (as it was called) and the passage into the new a liminal time of heightened spiritual sensitivity. The Watch Night services of New Years Eve, with rushing and prayer that continued through the night and into the following morning, were held for the express purpose of pushing out the old year (again, as participants referred to it) and ushering the community safely into the new year, thus completing and rebirthing the annual cycle of ritual observances that mirrored the sacred cycle of life and death itself. Just before midnight, inside the church, the celebrants would go around shaking one anothers hands while singing a spiritual song:Jesus spare we another year Oh Lord, thank God Jesus spare we another year Oh Lord, thank God For my Jesus love his children Spare me another year, oh Lord Bless my soul this morning31At midnight the ringer would toll the church bell, and gun shots would be fired outside.32 Glad to get over in another year (in the words of one elder), the celebrants would begin rushing to anthems, some of them, such as the following, alluding to the thin line dividing life from death and thus, the living from the dead:Next year by this time I may be gone Into the lonesome graveyard Oh Lord, Im gone 30. Interview with Olivia Bowles, Orange Creek, Cat Island, March 16, 2004. 31. Interview with Matrid Armbrister, McQueens, Cat Island, March 20, 2004. Interestingly enough, this same song is still often heard in the Junkanoo festival of Nassau, where it is one of the very few spiritual songs thought to have been introduced to the festi val in the distant past by the forefathers (as opposed to religious songs that have entered the Nassau tradition more recently as a result of the growing impact of Christianity over the last few years). It belongs to a handful of Junkanoo songs considered to be old-time classics in Nassau (Nash Ferguson 2000:9). 32. See Parsons (1928:456) for an interesting description of a New Years Eve rushin meetin on Rum Cay in the Bahamas in 1927, which includes most of the features described here for Cat Island.
200 KENNETH BILb B Y Next year by this time We may be gone Into the lonesome graveyard We may be gone33Like the church services before and on Christmas Day, those on New Years Eve coincided with parallel Jankunu festivities held outside, and there was frequent movement by the faithful from the sacred setting to the worldl y one. In fact, a number of older people recall that the flow could go in either direction, though the movement from outside to inside was not always entirely smooth. One elder, a member since childhood of the Zion Baptist church in the southern community of Old Bight, remembers that when she was younger the Jankunu performers would sometimes rush right into the church in full costume, some with masks on where they would join in the rushing already going on inside (although they would not play the drums or sing Jankunu songs in the church). Some members of the church were displeased by this, complaining that they should not carry what they dance on the street in the church, because the church is a holy place.34 When I touched on this question again a few days later, the same veteran churchgoer confirmed her earlier account, stating that when they [costumed Jankanu performers] come in the church, we used to rush, and the preacher used to say, now, you all go out! You all go out! The Jankanu they didnt want them in the church.35 Nonetheless, others in the church according to this elder and a number of others did not mind their presence; the masquer aders would remain for a while in the line, rushing, singing the same spiritual anthems, and clapping along with the others. Nor was this musical interpenetration limited to the season with which Jankunu was normally associated. Another common performance context on Cat Island was that of the society anniversary. Each community had its burial societies cooperative associations that helped members to pool their economic resources for various purposes, and in the event of a death, to ensure a dignified burial. These societies, which were linked through crosscutting memberships to both local churches and networks of Jankunu per -33. nl-NL Interviews with Matrid Armbrister, McQueens, Cat Island, March 17 and March 20, nl-NL 2004. A version of this song, recorded in Old Bight in 1935 by Alan Lomax and Mary nl-NL Elizabeth Barnicle, may be heard on the compact disc nl-NL Deep River of Song: Bahamas 1935nl-NL nl-NL (Cambridge MA: Rounder Records, Rounder 11661-1822-2, 1999). The CD notes describe nl-NL this anthem as a favorite rushing song in Cat Island ... traditionally sung on New Years Eve nl-NL to accompany rushin in Baptist churches. After the evening service, the people of a settlenl-NL -nl-NL ment will march or rush through the aisle of the church, clapping their hands and stomping nl-NL their feet sometimes until daybreak (Lomax, Droussart & Lomax Chairetakis 1999:23). 34. Interview with Matrid Armbrister, McQueens, Cat Island, March 17, 2004. 35. Interview with Matrid Armbrister, McQueens, Cat Island, March 20, 2004.
201 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION formers, were clearly based partly on African models. 36 At different points throughout the year, each society would host its own anniversary celebration commemorating the date of its founding, to which the general public was invited. These celebrations often included outside street processions in which spiritual songs were sung; these were backed by the same rhythms used in Jankunu rushing, played on the same goatskin drums. The burial societies would usually have to hire Jankunu drummers for these anniver sary processions. Thus, in this outside setting, sacred songs normally restricted to inside (i.e. church) contexts were combined with the Africanbased style of Jankunu drumming customarily excluded from sacred con texts, temporarily clouding, once again, the dichotomy between spiritual and worldly. A certain amount of mixing up could not be avoided in such circumstances. And, as a former participant remembers, sometimes even Jankunu songs made their way into the mix:[In society street processions] they would sing spiritual songs spiritual songs with those same goatskin drums. Now, the society would mix up the songs while down the road there. Right? You see, on the road, you had to get these men [Jankanu drummers] to beat these things, to beat these drums, most of the time, for the society and things. And they would sing, they would play what they wanted to play, you know? Well, thats how they [the burial societies] got mixed up with the Jankanu dance. They [the Jankanu drummers] would play to make them [themselves] feel good, playing their music.3736. These cooperative associations, found in various parts of the Bahamas, are said to have been established by ex-slaves and/or indentured African immigrants shortly after the abolition of slavery, and closely resemble credit institutions and cooperative savings groups in various parts of West Africa and the Caribbean. That African-born individuals were among the founding members of these organizations on Cat Island is strongly sug gested by the fact that one of the most prominent of the burial societies still existing in the northern part of the island is known as Congo No. 2. There are, to my knowledge, no in-depth studies of these institutions on Cat Island. For additional background on contem porary burial societies in the Bahamas (also known as friendly societies, and in some areas, as asues), see Jenkins (2000:83-86). For historical background, see Johnson (1991). 37. Interview with Olivia Bowles, Orange Creek, Cat Island, March 16, 2004. In the same interview, Mistress Bowles revealed that genre boundaries could be crossed in the other direction as well, with Jankunu drummers and singers sometimes choosing to perform the occasional spiritual anthem during their own Jankunu processions as well. Furthermore, Jankunu crossed over to a number of other performance contexts; for instance, Jankunu music and dance became an integral part of celebrations of Guy Fawkes Day (a British holiday observed in several parts of the Bahamas on November 5), including those in Nassau (Jenkins 2000:94) and Cat Island (Olivia Bowles, March 16, 2004). See also Crowley (1958).
202 KENNETH BILb B Y But the ties between the burial societies and Jankunu went deeper than this, extending into the actual proper domain and season for Jankunu Christmas. For it was the custom to cap off the last Jankunu procession of the Christmas season with a final feast sponsored by these very same burial societies as an offering for the Jankunu performers and the general public. These communal gatherings, which featured traditional Cat Island foods and refreshments such as flour cakes, johnny cakes, and drinks made from the logwood and braziletto trees, symbolized community ideals of sharing and reciprocity.38We are confronted here with an ambiguously dual world a world in which spatial and cosmological dichotomies imposed in the distant past (and constantly reinforced in the present by ongoing evangelical activity by both local and foreign religious organizations) are repeatedly collapsed by communal performances bringing together and mixing older and newer per mutations of music and dance embodying a common African aesthetic and spiritual energy. In such a layered world, it would be difficult to cordon off the sacred from the profane in any definitive way. Cat Island Jankunu was an integral part of this social and cultural world and its ambiguous dual ism. As such, it was, in the final analysis, neither more secular nor more sacred than any other part which is to say that it too, at a deep level, constituted a reflection, alongside Cat Islands Afro-Bahamian recastings of Christianity, of irreducible and indivisible spirituality. In this sense, perhaps, it masked, even while contributing to, the enduring presence of the ancestors. DDaA NGRIGa A, BELIZE The Garifuna (also known as Black Caribs) are famous for their Jankunu (usually rendered as John Canoe in English and Yancun in Spanish, and known as Wanragua in their own language).39 Scattered along the Atlantic coast of Central America, from Belize to Nicaragua, the Garifuna emerged through a remarkable history of struggle against various European colonial powers that culminated in their displacement from their original homeland on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent to the Honduran coast in 1797. Of mixed Amerindian and African descent, they have maintained a unique cul ture that represents a thoroughgoing fusion of elements from both sides of their ancestral past, but which has been strongly influenced as well by the cultures of the colonial societies with which they have interacted since their 38. Interview with Olivia Bowles, Orange Creek, Cat Island, March 16, 2004. 39. nl-NL In their own language, nl-NLGarifunanl-NL is a singular form, and nl-NL Garinagunl-NL is the corresponnl-NL -nl-NL ding plural. In this paper, I follow the common convention in English-language publicanl-NL -nl-NL tions of using the first form for all contexts, to denote either singular or plural.
203 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION beginnings as a people (Gonzalez 1988). While their distinctive language is an Amerindian one, belonging to the Arawakan group (Cayetano 1997:86; Taylor 1977:14-15), much of their expressive culture, and especially their music, is clearly derived in part from African sources. In the literature on the Garifuna, there seems to be the same uncertainty regarding Jankunus origins and its spiritual significance (or lack thereof) that one finds in the accounts of Jankunu in Jamaica and the Bahamas.40 This ambiguity about both past and present meanings appears, for instance, in one of the first studies of Garifuna music. According to this work, the dances of the Caribs John Canoe festival are ... devoid of religious significance; in fact the Caribs themselves have no knowledge of their origin or significance (Whipple 1971:114). Yet, earlier in the same study, we read that lyrics for the John Canoe are characteristically spooky in nature favoring supernatu ral themes (Whipple 1971:48). As an example, the author provides the fol lowing Jankunu song, translated into English by the performer:Nighttime catches me. Nighttime catches me my dear. I saw a spirit open its wings: In front of me, my dear, at midnight. Joy, joy, they shouted. I saw a spirit open its wings. In front of me, my dear, at midnight. (Whipple 1971:48)Despite the suggestion of deeper meanings in such songs, most studies of Garifuna Jankunu, like those of the Jamaican and Bahamian versions, indi cate that the performers themselves think of what they are doing as a mere form of amusement or entertainment with no deeper significance. As Dirks (1979a:103) noted, none of the Caribs that I have talked to about John Canoe are willing to interpret its meaning. It is simply good fun.40. nl-NL Among scholars, as among the Garifuna themselves, there is no consensus regarding nl-NL the origins of Garifuna Jankunu (Wanragua). Some suggest that it was originally practinl-NL -nl-NL ced by the Carib Indian ancestors of the Garifuna, and was indigenous to the island of St. nl-NL Vincent. Others hypothesize that it reached the Garifuna directly from African sources. nl-NL My own position is that it represents a complex amalgam that has drawn on various nl-NL sources, but that its earliest forms were adopted by Garifuna who came into contact with nl-NL immigrants from Jamaica (or others who had adopted the tradition after such contact nl-NL themselves) some time after their arrival at Roatan off the coast of Honduras in 1797. nl-NL Thus, in my view, Garifuna Jankunu must be considerd a cognate of both Jamaican and nl-NL Bahamian Jankunu. The same view is succinctly expressed by Dirks (1979b:487), who nl-NL writes: one might say [Garifuna] John Canoe was born and raised on eighteenth century nl-NL Jamaican plantations.
204 KENNETH BILb B Y I know of only two or three published accounts of Jankunu in Central America contradicting this view. But these accounts speak so clearly of reli gious meaning and linkages with spiritually charged contexts that they would seem to suggest that the common representation of Jankunu in this part of the world, as in Jamaica and the Bahamas, as an unambiguously secular tradition needs to be reevaluated and researched further. In one of these sources, a prominent Garifuna Jankunu performer from Belize, discussing what he calls the Wanragua cycle, says that in the view of the previous Jankunu leader who trained him and a number of other leading performers in the art, wanaragua [Jankunu] had a very deep religious significance (Valentine 2002:42). Another author states that on the Miskito Coast an area spanning eastern Honduras and northern Nicaragua, known for a long history of social and cultural mixing between Garifunas, Afro-Amerindian Miskitos, and immigrants from Jamaica and other parts of the Anglophone Caribbean jaangkunu was formerly a dance performed at a memorial feast for the dead, later at Christmas (Holm 1978:212, cited in Holm & Shilling 1982:117). There is also a nineteenth-century account likely the original source on which the foregoing reference is based in which a traditional feast in memory of the departed among Miskito Indians is depicted as including John-Canoe, a particular kind of dance (Young 1842:30-31, cited in Bettelheim 1979:241). Clearly, the social conditions under which Jankunu took root and evolved in Central America were highly complex and fluid, involving much inter ethnic contact and cultural exchange.41 As a result, there is a good deal of variation in the Jankunu performed in this area today, with significant dif ferences, for instance, between Belizean Garifuna and Honduran Garifuna versions (and internal variations within each of these as well). The country with the largest Garifuna population by far is Honduras, where local variants of Jankunu have received very little scholarly attention and remain largely undocumented. Further work in that country promises to lead to many new revelations. It should be borne in mind, therefore, that the Belizean variant discussed below represents but a small part of the larger picture of Garifuna Jankunu in Central America. In the Belizean Garifuna capital of Dangriga, as I learned soon after arriv ing, Jankunu was traditionally directed by a number of trained specialists or leaders known as buti (a general term in the Garifuna language for chief 41. It is clear that some of this interethnic contact and exchange took place in the con text of joint Christmas celebrations. Greene (2005:208), for instance, points to Youngs  account of Christmas at Fort Wellington on the Mosquitia coast of Honduras, in which Spanish, British, Mosquito, Caribs [Garifuna/Garinagu], Poyer and Wankee [local Amerindians] assemble, play skin drums and other percussive instruments, and dance wildly.
205 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION or person in charge). Specialized knowledge of the tradition was passed on from one generation to the next by these leaders, who carefully selected younger individuals to follow in their footsteps. There were three main days on which Jankunu was performed each year (with scattered performances on some of the days in between): Christmas, New Years Day, and Dia-Rey (i.e. El Da de Reyes, Day of the Kings or Epiphany [January 6]).42 Each individual leader was given responsibility for one (or sometimes more) of these days. The three recognized leaders of the current generation were all trained by a single individual named Max Garcia, now deceased, who is revered as one of the last great authorities and truly knowledgeable practi tioners of Wanragua (Jankunu) in Belize. All of his three primary trainees acknowledge that the teaching they received from him differed individually, since each was assigned different responsibilities as was normal in the Jankunu tradition. It would not be surprising, therefore, if their viewpoints on the question of Jankunus spiritual significance varied to some extent. And this, indeed, is what I found. One of Garcias apprentices expressed a view similar to those of a num ber of other Garifuna with whom I had spoken about Jankunu, stating out right that the tradition had no religious or spiritual meaning (even while describing certain aspects suggesting spiritual significance, such as the wear ing of black arm bands during particular segments of Jankunu performances as signs of mourning for deceased Jankunu practitioners of the past).43 A full understanding of the view expressed by this individual, however, may require a brief digression. After speaking with several others about the question of a possible spiritual dimension, I was led to wonder whether this mans response, and similar ones, were as much as anything reflections of an implicit assumption that the only traditional Garifuna cultural practice prop erly deserving of the term religious or spiritual is the institution known as dg (defined in The Peoples Garifuna Dictionary as the most important of the propitiation rites held for Garifuna ancestors [Cayetano 1993:38]). The dg which is similar in many ways to the ancestor-focused neo-Afri can religions found in various parts of the Caribbean, but also has much in common with circum-Caribbean Amerindian religions is an institution 42. nl-NL There were also three somewhat distinct segments of Jankunu performed at different nl-NL points during the Wanragua cycle: Wrini (or Wrin, an opening and closing rite done on nl-NL December 24 and January 6); Wanragua proper (done on Christmas Day, New Years nl-NL Day, and at various other points); and Chrikanri (related to an older dance called Pia nl-NL Manadi, done on Boxing Day [December 26] and at various other points). There is not nl-NL sufficient space to discuss these distinct segments further here, but they will be treated in nl-NL more depth in a book on Jankunu in the Caribbean and the southern United States that I am nl-NL currently preparing. See also Greene (2005:210-18) for further background on all three. 43. nl-NL Interview with John Miguel, Dangriga, Belize, May 25, 2004.
206 KENNETH BILb B Y of central importance in traditional Garifuna society. 44 Having survived the challenges of Catholic and Methodist missionaries for nearly two centu ries, it now exists within a fractured theological zone in which religion has to some extent become compartmentalized, and what may properly be considered religious somewhat rigidly defined. Linguistic categories are also part of the problem I faced in trying to look under the surface of Garifuna Jankunu. Since all conversations and formal interviews took place in English, responses may have been influenced by the limitations imposed by English vocabulary and conceptual categories, which do not always fit neatly with those in the Garifuna language. (It may be significant that the only bilingual Garifuna-English dictionary includes no entries for religion, religious, or spiritual although it does have spirit, spirit-double, spiritualism, and spiritualist [Cayetano 1993:148].) I began to sense that for some of the Garifuna with whom I spoke, any aspect of Garifuna culture that did not form an integral part of either the institution of the dg or one of the recognized Christian churches in the area could not properly be rep resented (in English) as religious or spiritual. And, as I was repeatedly told, Wanragua has no direct connection with the dg (and certainly none with any of the established churches). This linguistic ambiguity may well help to account for the differences in the views expressed by the three Jankunu leaders I interviewed. These differences of opinion, in any case, were very significant. While the some what ambiguous responses of the first leader, suggesting an absence of spiri tual meaning, made me wonder why the ancestors who remain so impor tant in traditional Garifuna life would never take an interest in Jankunu, the responses of the other two left no room for doubt. According to both of them, the spirits of ancestors were very much concerned with, and involved in, Jankunu performances. One of these Jankunu leaders (now retired from this position), recog nized by many as the single most knowledgeable practitioner of his genera tion, explained that his teacher, Max Garcia, and other elders in the Jankunu tradition thought of the purpose of Wanragua or Jankunu as being to lift up the world ( lurahon ubu, in Garifuna). Garcia would sometimes tell him, when speaking of the deeper meaning of the tradition, that in performing Jankunu we are lifting up the world ( lurahon niwa).45 What he meant by this was that the performers were lifting up or raising up the spirits of all those around them, helping to spread through the entire community a feeling of celebration and happiness. Nor was this celebration meant only 44. nl-NL For further background on nl-NL dgnl-NL, see Jenkins 1983, Gonzalez 1988:83-97, Foster nl-NL 1994, and Valentine 2002; and on the music of nl-NL dgnl-NL Greene 1998 and 1999. 45. nl-NL These renderings of Garifuna phrases (nl-NLlurahon ubunl-NL and nl-NL lurahon niwanl-NL), as well as nl-NL their English glosses, were provided by the speaker, Jerris Valentine.
207 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION for the living. As previous generations thought of it, according to this former Jankunu leader, the spirits that were lifted by these ritual performances most definitely included the furugu, or spirits, of the Garifuna ancestors, who were very much present at such times.46 For this reason, and others, this Jankunu buti like Max Garcia before him, has always considered Jankunu performances to be fundamentally sacred.47The third of the Jankunu leaders with whom I spoke was also quite clear about what he saw as Jankunus spiritual dimension. Here is an excerpt from what he had to say on this question:Before Christmas, maybe a week, or maybe three days before Christmas, the spirit would appear and tell me that we are going to perform Jankunu ... [the spirit] would say I must [perform]. So I believe then that it is spiritual. Then you can go a little farther. Amongst the other dances [outside the context of the dg ] that Garinagu [Garifuna] people do, Wanragua is one of the number one where spirit can transfer into you. The spirit will trans fer into you. While celebrating, dancing Jankunu, spirits of your ancestors can come and transfer into you. It happens [even] to ladies, to woman, that the spirit of the ancestors borrow their body, transfer into them, and she will jump up. And you know that is something natural, that she is not the one that [is] doing that, that there is spirit in it.48According to this Jankunu buti, the ancestors were traditionally expected to attend the major dance performances on Christmas Day and New Years Day, and to participate in them along with the living. For this reason, at the 46. nl-NL In the Garifuna-English dictionary (Cayetano 1993:12, 40, 148), nl-NL furugunl-NL is glossed as nl-NL spirit, ghost, or spirit-double, while nl-NLgubidanl-NL (the term usually used in anthropological nl-NL accounts to mean ancestor spirit) has a narrower sense: spirit of deceased relatives. nl-NL Jerris Valentine (interview of May 24, 2004) explained that, for the Garifuna, every indinl-NL -nl-NL vidual has both a physical body, and a spirit that can also be seen. One may know nl-NL or recognize an individual not only by his physical body, but also his spiritual body, nl-NL known as nl-NLfurugunl-NL, which constitutes something like what would be called his personanl-NL -nl-NL lity in English. After death, the nl-NL furugunl-NL remains among the living, as an ancestor. As nl-NL Valentine (2002:23) writes, since the nl-NL furugunl-NL continues to live after the body is dead, the nl-NL Garifuna has no problem in offering food to the nl-NL furugunl-NL of the dead. 47. nl-NL Interview with Jerris Valentine, Dangriga, Belize, May 24, 2004. In addition to nl-NL being Max Garcias protg, Rev. Valentine, a Garifuna who was born in Dangriga, is nl-NL an Anglican priest. He is also known as a staunch defender of the right of his people to nl-NL maintain their ancestral culture. It is he who authored the statement cited above regarding nl-NL Max Garcias feeling that Jankunu had a very deep religious significance. 48. nl-NL Interview with John Mariano, Dangriga, Belize, May 20, 2004. In addition to being nl-NL a Jankunu nl-NLbutinl-NL, John Mariano is one of the most respected nl-NLbuyeinl-NL (Garifuna shamans) in nl-NL Belize, and regularly conducts healing services in the context of the nl-NL dgnl-NL .
208 KENNETH BILb B Y appropriate point in the ritual cycle an offering would be left for them in the ring, the central space where dancing took place. This ritual gesture would be made right at the outset of the festivities, during the more private part that took place at the yard of the presiding buti where the participants would assemble early in the morning and dance in preparation for their jour ney out into the more public spaces of the town:With our ancestors, before the Jankunu would start to move house to house, out there, [at] the yard where they are assembling generally its the yard of the boss [i.e. the buti] thats why they always take that white bottle, white bottle of rum, place it in the middle of the ring. Because Jankunu use ring, they dance in ring. [They] place it in the middle of that circle. And they started to play and sing. Thats for the spirit of our ancestors. Because we know and we believe that they will come and dance. So we do that first.49For one who had traveled the particular research route that I had, seeking clues that might lead me to masked forms of spirit presence in a perfor mance tradition long represented as essentially African yet somehow also essentially devoid of religious or spiritual meaning, such clearly stated reve lations seemed almost too good to be true. And I began to wonder whether, in fact, they were true that is, whether they truly were what they appeared to be. Could such explicitly spiritual associations, today expressed by only a handful of Garifuna elders formerly apprenticed to older experts, actu ally reflect accurately an understanding of Jankunu that had once been more broadly shared among participants and perhaps others in the wider community an understanding that had begun to fade away only in more recent times? According to the two Jankunu leaders who speak of a spiritual pres ence above, the answer is yes. Both explained the disjuncture between past and present in the same terms as the result of a breakdown of discipline, and a lack of respect among younger participants and the larger community. According to both leaders, Jankunu had always been not only entertain ment, not just a joke, but a serious tradition, based on certain rules, and requiring discipline. Faced with an increasing lack of commitment and respect, the older leaders had begun to withdraw, and to withhold much of their knowledge from those of younger generations. As a result, the tradi tion had lost, or only vaguely retained, some of its most important original meanings. As Jerris Valentine the buti chosen by Max Garcia to be his primary successor lamented, you have to understand what Wanragua has become. Wanragua has become something you laugh at. Wanragua has lost its sacredness its value. So it has no meaning, especially for the young people.50 The fact that the famous statue of a Jankunu performer that once 49. Interview with John Mariano, Dangriga, Belize, May 20, 2004. 50. Interview with Jerris Valentine, Dangriga, Belize, May 24, 2004.
209 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION stood as a proud icon of Garifuna identity near the entrance to Dangrigas main street is now gone would seem to bear out his assertion; repeatedly defaced by local vandals, the statue was finally torn down and removed a few decades ago, and is now remembered only by middle-aged or older people. MMaA Sk K ING THE S SpP IRIT aA ND S SURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION THROUGH S SaA CRED S SOUNDS In a recent study of religion in Jamaica, Dianne Stewart uses the masquerad ing of Jankunu as a metaphor for the defensive cloaking of African modes of religiosity that made possible their survival in new guises. The institution of masquerading, she writes, provided enslaved Africans in Jamaica with an aesthetic mode of concealment and protection that allowed them to preserve Obeah, Myal, and other African-derived religious traditions in variegated forms masked as Christian traditions. By the same token, Myal was also preserved literally within the Jonkunnu masking tradition. African religious practitioners who instituted the Native Baptist and Revival Zion traditions made a Jonkunnu out of Christianity a performance mask that they could wear and control in their efforts to safeguard African religious culture. (Stewart 2005:221) As she suggests, this masking metaphor can be applied to the Jankunu tradi tion itself, in which, as the present-day Jamaican community of Coker shows, the living ancestral presence could, under the right circumstances, be literally preserved through the practice of myal, or spirit possession, in the context of Christmas celebrations involving both material and aesthetic offerings and exchanges between the living and the dead. But such literal preservation of the bond with ancestral spirits, in the case of Jankunu performances, most likely required a particular kind of disguise of its own. In order to survive as a clearly understood (among practitio ners) expression of African religiosity in the context of plantation slavery, and especially in the period of continuing colonial domination and intense Christian missionization that followed, the Jankunu tradition had to mask (that is, pose) in public not as a form of Christianity (which would have been impossible given the centrality of African-style masked dance to it), but rathe r, as Christianitys harmless opposite a secular form of play. In this recontextualized, ostensibly secular form, it was given periodic license to roam the streets and spread holiday cheer precisely because it was perceived (or hoped) to be mere fun rather than an uncontrollable expression of a genuinely alternative worldview, or a still viable remnant of what the agents of colonialism thought of as a savage variety of religion
210 KENNETH BILb B Y (Christianitys opposite in a different, and ontologically much more threat ening, sense).51 The more African forms of masking and dancing associated with what was originally known as Jankunu were simply too far removed from what European Christians and their converts considered appropriate modes of behavior and appearance in religious contexts to be assimilated to them as such that is, to take on certain aspects of a Christian appear ance (as did some of the Native Baptist churches), or to mask as a form of Christianity, and then continue as before in this new guise. What most likely happened, rather, was that the practitioners of Jankunu, as part of the ongoing process of creolization, adapted to the harsh repression of visible or overt expressions of non-Christian religiosity by masking in a double sense, depending on context. In outside contexts, when parading in costume and making capers before a larger public in the streets of towns, or performing in the environs of the plantation great house, they masked the spirit in the sense of disguising its presence from crowds made up largely of uncomprehending spectators; in inside contexts, when performing only among family, co-religionists, and the ancestors themselves, they masked the spirit in the common African sense of embodying it.52Just such a bifurcation of Christmas performances into public and pri vate, outside and inside, contexts and spaces appears to have allowed Coker, and a few other relatively isolated rural communities in Jamaica, to maintain into the twenty-first century a Jankunu tradition that remains explic itly connected to the communitys ancestors and the religion practiced by the latter while they were alive. (And the division of old-time Christmas celebra tions in the Bahamas into outside/secular and inside/sacred spheres, the 51. nl-NL Even when understood as a secular form of play, Jankunu performances represennl-NL -nl-NL ted a potential threat to white authority during the slavery era as did any large gathering of nl-NL slaves and the temporary period of ritual license typifying the Christmas holidays made nl-NL them seem even more dangerous. This led the authorities to take extra precautions over nl-NL the holidays for instance, by placing the colonial militia on alert. After the final abolition nl-NL of slavery in 1838, some authorities still viewed Jankunu processions, especially those in nl-NL urban areas, as a dangerous form of public disorder, while others saw them as degrading nl-NL throwbacks to savagery, and periodic attempts were made to suppress them. Attempts by nl-NL the authorities to ban Jankunu performances in Kingston in the 1840s led to riots (Wilmot nl-NL 1990). One can imagine how much more difficult it would have been for Jankunu perfornl-NL -nl-NL mers throughout this period if they had regularly and overtly manifested unmistakable indinl-NL -nl-NL cations of African religiosity in public spaces (for instance, with spirit possession, sacrifices nl-NL and offerings to ancestors, etc.). This would have been especially true from the 1840s on, nl-NL when the presence and influence of Christian missions began to increase rapidly. 52. nl-NL This is not to suggest, of course, that in the public world, including the spaces most nl-NL clearly dominated by Europeans, they did not also nl-NL embodynl-NL the spirits at the same time that nl-NL they concealed them from unknowledgeable onlookers; the two kinds of masking could nl-NL conceivably occur simultaneously in outside contexts.
211 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION former given over to Jankunu processions and the latter to Christian church services, might be seen as a related permutation that resulted from a somewhat similar process of adaptation one that, in the past, served in a similar way to enable Jankunu to survive through [apparent] secularization, even as it remained linked, at least during liminal periods, to the sacred.) Most of those who witnessed the public face of Cokers Jankunu performers when they paraded their masquerade, music, and dancing outside in other communi ties remained unaware of the inner meanings preserved in the inside spaces inhabited year-round by the performers and their ancestors. For the larger public, these bands of masqueraders were no more than what they appeared to be amusing, even exciting, forms of Christmas sport, perhaps tinged with a vaguely alluring air of mystery (and, for children, fear), but essentially devoid of deeper meanings, and because of this, welcome during the holiday season for the contribution they made to the general merriment that was seen as appropriate to this special time of year. By doing nothing to overturn this pub lic face to unmask the private significance of Jankunu when perform ing it outside the performers forestalled a clash of worldviews in which the balance of power (both material and ideological) was clearly not in their favor. Such a clash finally became unavoidable in the latter half of the twen tieth century, when a number of Christian evangelical churches (and, more importantly, their local proxies) penetrated the inside spaces of Coker and became active right in the heart of the community, where the ancestral pres ence surviving under the mask of Jankunu could not be concealed. Although the final outcome of this contentious encounter is not yet known, it has created a situation in which the continuing existence of Cokers Jankunu tradition is likely to depend on its increasing secularization via the ongoing incorpora tion of younger performers into touristic performance venues outside the com munity, official government-sponsored festivals, and the like a process that has already begun. This process may be seen as a recapitulation of the actual secularization (or partial secularization) that gradually overtook Jankunu elsewhere in Jamaica as it adapted to a number of changes in the larger society that favored the dissimulation of an absence of spirit (a kind of masking in the sense of concealment) and, at the same time, made the actual embodying of spirit (masking in the other, more profound sense) increasingly untenable. Whether, and how, the kinds of spiritual meanings embodied in the ancestors version of Jankunu will survive this process in Coker remains to be seen. Indeed, one may pose the question of whether, and how, similar spiri tual meanings meanings known only to the maskers themselves (or perhaps sensed by them at a subliminal rather than fully conscious level) have been able to survive under the secular mask of the mainstream or official forms of Jankunu that now dominate in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Belize. I would argue that even if the modern-day transformations effected by tourism, commercialization, nationalization, folklorization, festivalization, and other
212 KENNETH BILb B Y such processes have left the better-known contemporary varieties of Jankunu (e.g., Nassau Junkanoo) with a purely secular appearance, we cannot dis count the vague (if powerful) sense of the spiritual such modern secular performances seem to arouse in some participants. Nor can we deny the possibility that such perceptions might be rooted in memories of an actual cultural past that have been carried forth in various ways to the present.53 For the concept of cultural memory involves complexities and subtleties that have yet to be apprehended fully and may apply to a broader range of phenomena than previously thought. Particularly useful in thinking about Jankunu is the phenomenon that has been termed nondiscursive memory. One interesting example is provided in Rosalind Shaws recent study of pre viously unacknowledged memories of the slave trade among the Temne of Sierra Leone, which discusses the existence of nondiscursive forms of social memory that encode seemingly forgotten histories in ritual practices and sedimented memoryscapes rather than verbal narratives. Shaw (2002:22) characterizes these forms of cultural memory as histories of moral imagina tion that are told primarily in the language of practical memory through places and practices, images and visions, rituals and rumors. Another form of nondiscursive memory one that is particularly relevant in discussions of Africa and the diaspora is encoded in what Connerton (1989:74) refers to as a mnemonics of the body. By this he means a repository of perfor mative symbols ritually expressed through kinetic practices such as dance. Such bodily practices may play an important role in the reproduction and 53. nl-NL What I am suggesting here that the vague and ineffable (but powerfully felt) sense nl-NL of spirit often associated with ostensibly secular performances in the African diaspora nl-NL may constitute the present-day reflection, or trace, of specific forms of (non-Christian) nl-NL African religiosity or spirituality actually practiced in the past seems also to be borne out nl-NL in the case of the steelband (pan) tradition of Trinidad and Tobago. In his recent study, for nl-NL instance, Shannon Dudley (2008:14-16, 44-45, 55) points out that there are good historical nl-NL reasons for the common Trinidadian saying that pan is a jumbie (a spirit that possesnl-NL -nl-NL ses people). Dudley points to research by the Trinidadian playwright and scholar Rawle nl-NL Gibbons showing that there was extensive overlap between the Orisha (then known as nl-NL Shango) religious community and the steelband community at the very time when pan nl-NL was coming into being, and that some of the early panmen (steelband players) were also nl-NL Orisha men who brought to the steelband their drumming techniques, their song repernl-NL -nl-NL toire, and their understanding of music as a vehicle for the manifestation of divine power nl-NL (Dudley 2008:15). This helps to account for the fact that today, as Gibbons points out, the nl-NL pan is regarded by African-Trinidadians in particular as an instrument of spirit this nl-NL despite the fact that the majority of present-day Trinidadians, including many pan perfornl-NL -nl-NL mers themselves, seem to regard steelband music as essentially secular (except perhaps when Christian tunes are performed on the instrument). Using oral source s, Amon Saba nl-NLSaakana (Sebastian Clarke) also documents the significant input Orisha drummers had in nl-NL the development of steelband music in Trinidad (Saakana 2005:85-86).
213 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION transmission of a communitys cultural memory. In my own study of cultural memory in the Maroon communities of Jamaica, I found that such nondiscur sive, performative forms of memory, concentrated in the ceremony known as Kromanti Play or Kromanti Dance, were crucial to the process of social remembering, complementing and lending a powerful affective charge to the verbal narratives through which consciousness of the past is transmitted across generations (Bilby 2005b). I also found that among Jamaican Maroons, as among many others in the African diaspora, musical sound serves as a particularly important and effective medium for nondiscursive memories. It is precisely music (not to be separated from dance) that appears to have been key to the survival of a sense of spirituality in all variants of Jankunu even those most thoroughly transformed by the process of secularization. In the Jankunu of Coker, Jamaica, which is the least secularized variety of this festival known to exist anywhere in the Americas today, ancestral spirits are literally summoned into the heads of mediums by the rhythms of the gumbe drum (struck in a special spirit-drawing manner known as myal box), and there is also a special category of songs for this purpose known as myal sing (spirit invocation songs) (Bilby 1999:56). On Cat Island in the Bahamas, as we have seen, the underlying spiritually charged commonalities in sacred and secular music and dance allowed Africanized Christian churches and the Jankunu masquerade temporarily to merge (in a sense, to reunite) at least once a year in common celebration of a sacred rite of transition and renewal. For at least some Garifuna Jankunu practitioners in Belize, not only the explicitly religious drumming and chanting of dg spirit -possession cere monies, but also the performance of Jankunu itself, has the power to attract the spirits of ancestors; for when it is done properly, in the words of the Jankunu leader cited above, we know and we believe that they will come and dance. This close connection between music and spirit, in fact, is present throughout the African diaspora, where generations of scholars working in different areas have repeatedly encountered music, song, dances, and legends that have the power to attract, convey, dispel, honor, and celebrate the sacred energies of nature and the spirit world (Vega 1999:49). It is with this background in mind that one should interpret comments such as the following, about the present-day secular Junkanoo festival of Nassau:everyone knows that the music is the soul of Junkanoo. If the music is right, the costumes look better, and the performance becomes totally animated. Without the music, there is no emotional response from the public or the judges. The music must be able to make the body move involuntarily. It is the music that is the essence of the parade. (Nash Ferguson 2000:32)
214 KENNETH BILb B Y The very magic and mysterious power that still resides in this contemporary national festival is often expressed through metaphors of musical sound and motion, as when this same author states that the mere mention of the word Junkanoo evokes strange and inexplicable emotions and compulsions. At the very core of your being, your Bahamianness, the rhythm of a drum begins to pulsate, the beat vibrating through every pore of your body. A feeling of intense excitement slowly fills your soul (Nash Ferguson 2000:2). The state of mind evoked by this passage resembles the transcendent experience that some per formers call running hot, when the music locks into a groove that triggers a powerful, if brief, altered state of consciousness. As Vivian Wood (1995:410) describes it, when the Junkanooer runs hot she/he enters a very brief, trancelike state in which she/he experiences a feeling of ecstasy and intensity. In the run hot stage, she continues, the Junkanooers performance is heightened and becomes more intense, and the Junkanooer has a sense of being outside the realm of the event (Wood 1995:411). Michael P. Smith (1992:106), writing of the ostensibly secular performances of the Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans, speaks in a comparable way of the use of native African/West Indian rhythms and percussion to establish the spirit. During the more intense seg ments of their practices, according to Smith (1992:93), the rhythm and energy gradually build into a transcendent, throbbing, primal spiritual presence. As Daniel Avorgbedor (2003:30) points out, this ability of musical sound (and movement) to summon and channel the divine is not entirely dependent on sensory stimulation or the physiological reactions music may trigger (though these can certainly play a critical role), for spirit possession and trance also often occur in the absence of music and dance; rather, in a much deeper sense, this perception of music as spiritually potent must be seen as a cultural principle a cognitive predisposition transmitted, sometimes at an unconscious level, across generations that is widely shared across Africa and the diaspora, and constitutes yet another form of cultural memory.54The understanding that this inherently sacred quality of music links the living with an ancestral past would also seem to be widely shared in the cultural memory of people of African descent in the Americas. It is among what Samuel Floyd (1995:9) calls the imperatives of the cultural memor y to which black musicians have always been highly sensitive. Indeed, in confirming that the lingering spiritual presence in all varieties of Jankunu almost certainly reflects, however indirectly, an actual and not just a mythic or recently reimagined past, the present study would seem to bear out Floyds observation, following Jason Berry (1988), that the musical retentions and 54. Spencer (1996:44-45) takes a position very close to this when he asserts that black music itself is, from an Afro-conceptual viewpoint, theological sound, going on to suggest that perhaps what music is from such an Afro-conceptual viewpoint is sound (rhythm) that is unconsciously perceived of as being religious.
215 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION performance practices of African-American music helped and still help to preserve this [cultural] memory, recalling the mysteries of myth and the trap pings of ritual long after they are no longer functional (Floyd 1995:9). It also lends support to the insights of Rosita Sands, when she generalizes from Bahamian Junkanoo and the Mardi Gras Indians to other African-derived forms of masking and processional music and dance, noting thatthese celebrations speak to the deep spirituality embedded in the wearing of a mask and the assuming of another character, perhaps an ancestor or a person or people revered and admired. These are aspects of African think ing and qualities of African life, strong enough to have survived in the memories of the people and important enough to have served as the inspi ration for the carnival celebrations created by peoples of African descent in their New World environments. (Sands 1991:91)55In closing, I return to the observation by Kamau Brathwaite (1990:90-91) with which I opened this essay: the [jon]konnus that we know throughout Plantation America are the visible publicly permitted survival ikons of African religious culture. This summation neatly, and I believe accurately, encapsulates both the historical reality of Jankunu, and what it has become. Jankunu emerged in the Americas as an aspect of African religious culture that survived, remained visible, and was publicly permitted only because it succeeded in masking the African spiritual presence it embodied with an appearance of secularity; eventually overtaken by a gradual process of actual secularization (or partial secularization), it then survived as an icon of the African spirituality it had once both embodied and concealed.56 With histori -55. Interesting for comparison with the case of Jankunu (as well as the celebrations of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians cited by Sands) is another Afro-Caribbean festival tradition in which masking plays a prominent role the festival of Santiago Apstol in Loza, Puerto Rico. For some interesting recent writings on this tradition that touch on a number of issues related to those at the center of the present paper (e.g., forms of cultural memory, and hidden expressions of African spirituality), see Fiet (2006-7; 2007). 56. This notion of surviving iconicity in the aftermath of secularization invites further analysis along the lines of Gerard Achings examination of both real and figurative masks as devices [that may] maintain forms of (self)-knowledge in abeyance, and his explora tion of masking as a process that sometimes does not conceal the truth but embodies ideological distortion. Building upon the work of Fanon (1967) and others, Aching discusses masking practices in the context of postcolonial Caribbean carnivals not as techniques for hiding or disguising reality, but rather, as oppositional forms of identity reaffirmation that sometimes force viewers (through exaggeration, provocative juxta position, and the like) to see uncomfortable social, economic, and political truths that normally remain invisible (Aching 2002:4-5, 19-31). If, as Brathwaite suggests, Jankunu masquerades, despite their ostensible secularity, are still widely understood or
216 KENNETH BILb B Y cally grounded poetic imagination, Brathwaite (1990:101) goes on to sketch out, in his inimitable way, the outlines of this historical process: since these forms [of Afro-Caribbean festival behavior] ... were from another world, as it were; they under pressure of the State & Princes of the Church (the old process of seasoning/cultural brain washing & buying or bribing out) began to lose their old African [jon]konnu connection, materializing & success fully secularizing themselves. This took place in somewhat different ways in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Belize, different colonial settings and varying cultural input giving a unique stamp to Jankunu in each place; but gradual secularization appears to have occurred in all three places. Yet, as we have seen, this complex process of secularization, whether in Jankunu or other originally sacred arts of the African diaspora, is far from definitive, and traces of the spirit remain alive today in an almost infinite variety of new secular expressions. Viewed from this perspective, we can better understand how practitioners of certain music and dance tradi tions might speak (and at some level, think) of their performances as secu lar indeed, might firmly insist on such a characterization and at the same time might feel (and, at another level of thought, intuit and recognize) something profoundly (or, in Brathwaites terms, iconically) spiritual in these same performances. The apparent contradiction vanishes or rather, becomes transparent once we allow for the continuing operation of forms of consciousness, of cultural memory, embodying long histories of ideologi cal struggle, cultural suppression, and cultural reassertion. Not only were the outcomes of the confrontations and conflicts over meaning and morality that typified the process of creolization in the Caribbean extremely complex, but they were never truly conclusive; and in the end, even where Eurocentric cultural hegemony appears to have been strongest, they left powerful, though often submerged and sometimes masked, traces of an African worldview in which the sacred and the secular were indivisible, and spirits of ances tors and other manifestations of the divine were ever present. In the case of Jankunu, it is still possible, by using ethnographic methods to circumvent the limitations of the written record, to follow the traces of spirit even now present in ostensibly secular performances back to an undeniably religious (or spiritual) foundation (in which spirits of ancestors once actively and openly participated, and were explicitly acknowledged through material and symbolic exchanges). This endeavor has value not only because it allows sensed by those who view such performances today as survival ikons of African reli gious culture, it is not difficult to see how, as symbolic embodiments of something sup posedly gone yet still visibly present, they might operate in a similar oppositional fashion in a society such as Jamaica, where surviving expressions of African spirituality coexist uneasily with dominant forms of Christianity and, though they remain important to many, continue to be stigmatized, suppressed, and concealed.
217 SSURv V Iv V ING S SECULa A RIZa A TION us to enrich our understanding of one of the most important and widespread cultural institutions created by enslaved Africans in the English-speaking Americas (Burton 1997:65; Fabre 1994:55), but also because it reminds us that for its creators and early practitioners Jankunu was not simply the tempo rary rite of rebellion it appears (to present-day scholars who filter the past solely through historical documents written by uncomprehending European observers) to have been; more important than this, it was an expression of an alternative worldview maintained through an ongoing dialogue with the ancestors. Such evidence of relative cultural and existential autonomy among the enslaved says much more about the ways they were able to resist the condition imposed upon them than does the rebellious playacting sporadically observed by European writers (who understood and sanctioned this behav ior as an aspect of their own custom of Saturnalia) in public spaces dur ing the period of ritual license with which Jankunu performances coincided. The continuing presence of an underlying sense of spirituality in Jankunu even today suggests that what the enslaved kept behind the mask of this Black Saturnalia (Dirks 1987) was far more significant than what was displayed for all to see. Today, in the transformed Jankunu that has survived and is still with us, there is still more than meets the eye, encoded and carried down to us in secular yet sacred sounds to which, masked as ever, the spirit still dances. REFERENCESREFERENCES A CHING, G GERaARD 2002. Masking and Power: Carnival and Popular Culture in the Caribbean Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. AvVORGbBEDOR, D DaANIEL K., 2003. A Sound Idea: Belief and the Production of Musical Spaces. In Daniel K. Avorgbedor (ed.), The Interrelatedness of Music, Religion, and Ritual in African Performance Practice. Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen Press, pp. 15-36. BakAKER, C CHRISTOpPHER P., 2001. Bahamas, Turks & Caicos. Melbourne: Lonely Planet Publications. [Orig. 1998.] BaA RNETT, S SHEILa A 1979. Jonkonnu Pitchy Patchy. Jamaica Journal 43:19-32. BECkKWITH, M MaARTHaA W WaARREN 1928. Christmas Mummings in Jamaica New York: American Folk-Lore Society. BERRY, JaASON 1988. African Cultural Memory in New Orleans Music. Black Music Research Journal 8(1):3-12. BETHEL, E E C CLEMENT 1991. Junkanoo: Festival of the Bahamas London: Macmillan. BETTELHEIM, JUDITH 1979. The Afro-Jamaican Jonkonnu Festival: Playing the Forces and Operating the Cloth. Ph.D. thesis, Yale University, New Haven CT.
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New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010):225-251 JORGE D DUa A NY A TRANSNATIONAL COLONIAL MIGRATION: PUERTO RICOS FARM LABOR PROGRAM On July 25, 1898, U.S. troops invaded Puerto Rico during the SpanishCuban-American War and have retained a strong presence there ever since.1 In 1901, the U.S. Supreme Court paradoxically defined the Island as foreign to the United States in a domestic sense, neither a state of the American union nor an independent country (Burnett & Marshall 2001). The Court later ruled that Puerto Rico was an unincorporated territory belonging to but not a part of the United States, meaning that the U.S. Congress would determine which parts of the U.S. Constitution applied to the Island. In 1904, the Court declared that Puerto Ricans were not aliens for immigration pur poses and could not be denied entry into the U.S. mainland (Erman 2008). In 1917, Congress granted U.S. citizenship to all persons born on the Island, but did not extend them all constitutional rights and obligations, such as having Congressional representation or paying federal income taxes. In 1952, Puerto Rico became a U.S. Commonwealth (or Estado Libre Asociado in Spanish) with limited autonomy over local matters, such as taxa tion, education, health, housing, culture, and language. Still, the federal gov ernment retained jurisdiction in most state affairs, including citizenship, immi gration, customs, defense, currency, transportation, communications, foreign trade, and diplomacy. By most accounts, Puerto Rico remains a colony because it lacks sovereignty and effective representation in the federal government.1. Portions of this article will appear in The Puerto Rican Diaspora: A Postcolonial Migration? in Postcolonial Immigration and Identity Formation in Europe since 1945: Towards a Comparative Perspective edited by Ulbe Bosma, Jan Lucassen, and Gert Oostindie (forthcoming). I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos at Hunter College, which offered me a research grant through the CUNYCaribbean Exchange Program during the summer of 2008. Centro archivist Pedro Juan Hernndez and former reference librarian Jorge Matos provided substantial assistance. Edwin Melndez, Centros Director, invited me to present a summary of this article as part of Centros Lecture Series during the spring of 2009. Ulbe Bosma, Jan Lucassen, Gert Oostindie, Eileen Findlay, and Edgardo Melndez commented on the manuscript.
226 JORGE DU A NY Today, Puerto Rico is still an unincorporated territory that belongs to but is not a part of the United States. From the standpoint of interna tional law, the Islands inhabitants are subject to U.S. sovereignty; within the United States, they are often treated as legal aliens. Because all Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth, they have the right of abode in the conti nental United States, Hawaii, and other overseas possessions of the United States. When they move to one of the fifty states of the American union, Puerto Ricans are fully protected by the U.S. Constitution. This territorially grounded distinction in citizenship rights remains a defining characteristic of U.S. colonialism on the Island. As a result, Puerto Ricans in the United States have been dubbed colo nial immigrants. Colonial immigrants move abroad primarily for eco nomic reasons, tend to live in segregated quarters, work in low-status jobs, and attend inferior schools in their metropolitan countries. 2 As Ramn Grosfoguel (2004) has argued, Puerto Rico has much in common with other Caribbean dependencies that have sent large numbers of people to their European mother countries. For instance, colonial immigrants need not apply for a visa or change their legal status to vote in metropolitan elections. Although colonial immigrants hold metropolitan passports and are entitled to metropolitan subsidies, they often experience discrimination because of their physical and cultural characteristics. In particular, both Puerto Ricans in the United States and Antilleans in France and the Netherlands occupy subordinate positions within metropolitan societies, largely as a consequence of colonial racism, despite conditions of legal equality. 3 For some analysts, Puerto Rico resembles a postcolonial colony, com bining elements of classical colonial rule with political autonomy, a relativel y high standard of living, and a strong national culture (Duany 2002, Flores 2000, 2008). The Islands political status is largely based on majority will rather than sheer external imposition. Puerto Rican voters (some 95 percent) are now split between supporting Commonwealth and the Islands annexation as the fifty-first state of the American union, with less than 5 percent favor ing independence. Most value their U.S. citizenship, the freedom of move ment that it entails, and permanent union with the United States. Even the president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Rubn Berros, has advocated the unrestricted entry of Puerto Ricans to the United States, should the Island become a sovereign republic (Rodrguez 1997). At the same time, Puerto Ricans of all political ideologies, not just independence supporters, define and assert their cultural identities in intensely nationalistic terms. At any rate, Puerto Rico occupies a marginal space within the U.S. academy and particularly within postcolonial and transnational studies, partly because 2. Magdalys Rodrguez, Pedido de libre trnsito, El Nuevo Da March 14, 1997, p. 19. 3. See Cervantes-Rodrguez et al. 2009, Clegg & Pantojas-Garca 2009, Giraud 2002, Milia-Marie-Luce 2002, 2007, Oostindie & Klinkers 2003.
227 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION it is recognized neither as a colony nor as a nation in its own right. Yet, as I argue, the Islands government was one of the first modern states, colonial or postcolonial, to organize migration transnationally. In this article, I approach the Puerto Rican diaspora as a transnational colo nial migration. In so doing, I define Puerto Rico as a nation, an imagined com munity with its own territory, history, language, and culture. Nevertheless, the Island lacks a sovereign state, an independent government that represents the population of that territory (see Duany 2002). This unsovereign state has long sponsored population displacements from Puerto Rico to the United States. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, colonial officials embraced migration as a safety valve for the Islands overpopulation. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Commonwealth government spurred the Great Migration to the U.S. mainland. In particular, the Farm Labor Program, overseen by the Migration Division of Puerto Ricos Department of Labor, illustrates the com plicated negotiations required by a transnational colonial state. In many ways, Puerto Ricos postwar migration policies anticipated those of contemporary transnational nation-states, such as the Dominican Republic. FOLLOWING MIGR A NT CITIZENS TO ETHNOLOGIC A LLY ALIEN EN V IRONMENTS Soon after the U.S. occupation of Puerto Rico, the colonial government encouraged migration to the United States (Lapp 1990). This public polic y was based on the widespread perception that Puerto Rico was a small, poor, and overcrowded country with few natural resources. According to the first civilian U.S. governor, Charles Allen, Porto Rico has plenty of laborer s and poor people generally. What the island needs is men with capital, energ y, and enterprise. 4 In 1912, Governor Arthur Yager held that the only reall y effective remedy [to the problem of overpopulation] is the transfer of large numbers of Porto Ricans to another region. 5 In 1917, General Frank 4. Charles H. Allen, First Annual Report of Charles H. Allen, Governor of Porto Rico, Covering the Period from May 1, 1900, to May 1, 1901 (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1902), p. 75. Although the Islands name was the object of public contro versy after the Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898, most U.S. government and jour nalistic reports on the Island retained the American spelling of Porto Rico until 1932, when the U.S. Congress passed a resolution accepting the official name of Puerto Rico. As one of the reviewers of this manuscript noted, the common use of the terms Porto Rico and Porto Ricans reflects the colonial habit of removing foreign-sounding diph thongs from place names in order to Americanize them. 5. A rthur Yager Fundamental Social and Political Problems of Porto Rico, in Report of the Thirtieth Annual Lake Mohonk Conference of Friends of the Indians and Other Dependent Peoples (Lake Mohonk NY: Lake Mohonk Conference of Friends of the Indians and Other Dependent Peoples, 1912), p. 147.
228 JORGE DU A NY McIntyre, Chief of the Bureau of Insular Affairs, favored the colonizing of several hundred thousand of the Porto Rican people in Santo Domingo. 6 A 1919 report for the U.S. Department of Labor pondered migration to the Dominican Republic and Cuba, but concluded that it falls short of its pur pose when submitted to careful analysis. 7 Instead, the report recommended establishing an office of the U.S. Employment Service in Puerto Rico to facilitate the relocation of Puerto Ricans to the United States. Three decades later, the Committee on Insular Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives endorsed a wise and prudent program of emigration to alleviate the Islands lack of natural resources and congestion of population. 8 The earliest recruitment of labor on the Island under U.S. rule (especially between 1900 and 1930) was geared toward the sugar plantations of Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, particularly St. Croix. Smaller groups of Puerto Ricans built railroads in Ecuador, cut cane in Mexico, grew coffee in Colombia, and worked in a clothing factory in Venezuela. A few thousand picked cotton in Arizona during the 1920s. 9 However, the Puerto Rican exodus gained impetus during the 1940s, when it was largely reoriented toward the U.S. mainland. After World War II, thou sands found jobs in seasonal agriculture, manufacturing, domestic service, and other service industries in the United States. Notwithstanding its lack of sovereignty, Puerto Ricos government acted as a transnational intermediary for its migrant citizens for most of the twentieth century. 10 Thus, the Islands government set up several agencies in the United States under different guises: the Bureau of Employment and Identification (1930-48), the Office of Information for Puerto Rico (1945-49), the Employment and Migration Bureau (1947-51), the Migration Division of the Department of Labor (1951-89), and the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs in the United States (1989-93). Among other initiatives, these agencies issued identification cards for Puerto Ricans as U.S. citizens; 6. Frank McIntyre, Memorandum for the Secretary of War, April 17, 1917, in History Task Force, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos (ed.), Sources for the Study of Puerto Rican Migration, 1879-1930 (New York: Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos, Hunter College, 1982), p. 104. 7. Joseph Marcus, Labor Conditions in Puerto Rico (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1919), p. 49. 8. Committee on Insular Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, Report of the Committee on Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, 79th Congress, First Session (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1945), p. 25. 9. History Task Force 1979, Maldonado 1979, Mustelier Ayala 2006, Rosario Natal 1983, Senior 1947, Whalen & Vzquez-Hernndez 2005. 10. Edgardo Melndez, La poltica transnacional puertoriquea: Asuntos pendientes y problemas de investigacin. Paper presented at the workshop on The Caribbean Diaspora: Current Trends and Future Prospects, University of Puerto Rico, Ro Piedras.
229 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION promoted employment opportunities for Puerto Ricans abroad; oversaw the recruitment of workers; negotiated cheap airfares between the Island and the U.S. mainland; registered thousands of Puerto Rican voters in the United States; helped organize overseas Puerto Rican communities; and fostered Puerto Rican culture in the mainland. 11 To my knowledge, no modern state, colonial or otherwise, has engaged in more extensive and longstanding activi ties concerning its expatriates than the Puerto Rican government. 12 U.S. sociologist Clarence Senior, who later directed the Migration Division (1951-60), first elaborated the project of organizing and supervising Puerto Rican migration. In an influential monograph, Senior (1947) proposed an emigration office attached to the governors executive staff and working closely with the Islands Department of Labor. The main function of this office would be to facilitate the recruitment of workers to the United States and Latin America, especially Venezuela. The agency would provide migrants with information about job openings, training, transportation, settlement, and insur ance, as well as promote further emigration from the Island. Although the plan to relocate Puerto Ricans in Latin America proved too expensive, the idea of finding jobs for them in the United States later crystallized in the Migration Division. As Senior (1947:119) surmised, migration to the continental United States seems to offer the best immediate opportunities. Luis Muoz Marn, then president of the Senate (1941-48) and later the first elected governor (1949-64) of Puerto Rico, accepted Seniors blueprint for planned emigration. Muoz Marn agreed that it was necessary to resort to emigration as a measure for the immediate relief to the problem posed by our surplus population, while we seek permanent solutions in the long run. 13 The chief economist of the Office of Puerto Rico in Washington DC, Donald 11. Duany 2002, Garca-Coln 2008, Lapp 1990, Stinson-Fernndez 1996. 12. The best case for historical comparison with the Migration Division is the Bureau for the Development of Migrations Concerning the Overseas Departments, or BUMIDOM (Bureau pour le Dveloppement des Migrations Intressant les Dpartments dOutre-Mer), operated by the French metropolitan government between 1963 and 1982. According to Monique Milia-Marie-Lucie (2002, 2007), Puerto Ricos Migration Division served as a model for the BUMIDOM, especially its efforts to encourage mass migration, recruit workers, and facilitate their adjustment to the metropolitan country. Similar labor recruit ment schemes were established in the British colonies of the Caribbean, particularly in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad, and in the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname, after World War II (Cervantes-Rodrguez et al 2009:5) 13. Memorandum from Luis Muoz Marn to Max Egloff, Foro pblico sobre el problema poblacional de Puerto Rico. Resumen de las soluciones ofrecidas por los ponentes en la sesi n de julio 19, 1946, September 28, 1946; section IV: President of the Senate, 19411948; series 2: Insular Government; sub-series I: Fortaleza; box 1B: Office of Information; folder 16; Fundacin Luis Muoz Marn (hereafter FLMM), Trujillo Alto, PR. All transla tions from Spanish to English are mine.
230 JORGE DU A NY J. OConnor, also urged the resettlement of Puerto Ricans in the United States and other countries such as Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. According to OConnor, migration can accomplish what economi c pro grams on the island cannot do quickly 14 that is, create jobs and sources of income, while reducing population growth. In particular, OConnor advo cated the relocation of young unmarried women as domestic workers in the United States, especially in Chicago. High-ranking members of the ruling Popular Democratic Party (PDP), such as Antonio Ferns-Isern, Teodoro Moscoso, Rafael Pic, and Salvador Ti, concurred with OConnors opti mistic assessment. Thus began a state-supported project of emigration as a safety valve for Puerto Ricos socioeconomic problems. On December 5, 1947, the Islands legislature passed Law 25, estab lishing Puerto Ricos migration policy and creating the Employment and Migration Bureau. According to this law, the Government of Puerto Rico neither encourages nor discourages the migration of Puerto Rican workmen [ sic ] to the United States or any foreign country; but it considers its duty to provide the proper guidance with respect to opportunities for employment and the problems of adjustment usually encountered in environments which are ethnologically alien. 15 From its inception, the Bureau (and its heirs, the Migration Division and the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs in the United States) sought to follow its migrant citizens to facilitate their adjustment and adaptation in the communities in which they chose to live. 16 The policy of following migrant citizens, while officially neither encour aging nor discouraging their departure, paid off in the short run. The growth of the Islands labor force slowed down, as living standards rose substantially between the 1940s and 1960s. Population control was a key tenet of the PDPs development strategy throughout this period (Pantojas-Garca 1990). The PDP, which controlled the Islands government between 1941 and 1968, crafted the Migration Division as an informal consulate in the United States. For decades, the agencys basic mission was giving voice [empha 14. Memorandum from Donald J. OConnor to Jess T. Piero and others, Mainland Labor Force Needs in 1948-1949 and Puerto Ricos Opportunities to Exploit Them, August 10, 1948; section IV: President of the Senate, 1941-1948; series 2: Insular Government; subseries 1: Fortaleza; 1C: Office of Puerto Rico in Washington; folder 18; FLMM. 15. Asamblea Legislativa de Puerto Rico, Para fijar la poltica pblica del gobierno de Puerto Rico sobre migracin a Estados Unidos y otros pases, in Leyes de la Cuarta y Quinta Legislaturas Extraordinarias (San Juan: Administracin General de Suministros, 1947), p. 386. 16. Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico (hereafter ELA), Departamento del Trabajo, Divisin de Migracin, Informe anual, 1972-73, p. 2; microfilm reel 53: Annual Reports; box 2737, folder 3; Records of the Offices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the United States (hereafter OGPRUS), Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos, Hunter College, CUNY, New York.
231 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION sis in the original] to the thousands of Puerto Ricans who come to reside in the cities and towns of the United States. 17 Throughout the 1950s, the Division attempted to articulate the interests of Puerto Rican migrants to the American public and government officials. As Law 25 stated, the efforts of the Government of Puerto Rico in this connection should constitute a liaison at all times and under all circumstances between the Puerto Ricans who are going to reside in the city of New York and other cities of the United States, and the governments of such cities, states, and the United States. 18 In turn, U.S. public authorities often relied on the agency as the official mouthpiece of the overseas Puerto Rican population. Michael Lapp (1990) has criticized the Divisions attempt to co-opt the diaspora to further the interests of the Commonwealth government. Representatives of mainland Puerto Rican communities did not participate in formulating the agencys policies, which depended exclusively on the PDP during the period under consideration. In 1960, Muoz Marn thus summarized his partys migration policy: The government of Puerto Rico is the first that establishes offices here [in the United States], outside its own territory, to help its compatriots. The offices of our Department of Labor in New York, and in ten other cities, are devoted to this purpose of helping our fellow citizens adapt themselves to life in the new places of residence they have chosen, as quickly as possi ble. We constantly strive to combat the lack of information, the prejudices that, unfortunately, always tend to accompany the reception of the newly arrived, from all countries, regardless of what country they come from. 19 Representatives of the prolonged PDP administration explicitly connected economic development and sponsored migration. As a Division report stated bluntly, it is obvious that migration, although voluntary, is an integral part of the program of economic and social development that is being carried on by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It is so because migration helps to maintain the population index at a more or less stable level with the cor responding effects on employment and unemployment, education, housing, health, and all the other factors that affect the development of Puerto Ricos government programs. 20 According to Joseph Monserrat, who headed the Migration Division between 1960 and 1968, 17. ELA, Departamento del Trabajo, Divisin de Migracin, Informe anual, 1961-62, p. 182; microfilm reel 53: Annual Reports; boxes 2734-2736; OGPRUS. 18. Asamblea Legislativa de Puerto Rico, Para fijar la poltica pblica del gobierno de Puerto Rico sobre migracin a Estados Unidos y otros pases, p. 388. 19. Luis Muoz Marn, Discurso a los puertorriqueos en Nueva York pronunciado por el Gobernador Muoz Marn el 10 de abril de 1960, manuscript, p. 9; section V: Governor of Puerto Rico, 1949-1964; series 9: Speeches; box 16: Status; folder 7; FLMM. 20. ELA, Departamento del Trabajo, Divisin de Migracin, Informe anual, 1966-67, pp. 8-9, microfilm reel 53: Annual Reports; box 2736, folder 1, OGPRUS.
232 JORGE DU A NY Operation Bootstrap and Fomentos programs [promoting the Islands industrialization] have always had a senior silent partnerthe Puerto Rican migration to the United States. This migration, of which migrant agricultural workers formed an important segment, is and has been an intrinsic part and a basic factor in the economic growth and development of the island. 21 Another report asserted: the Office of Services to Migrant Agricultural Workers has contributed greatly to the mobility of Puerto Ricos population, thus providing a powerful escape valve to our great problem of overpopula tion and high chronic unemployment. 22 The metaphor of migration as an escape valve is a recurring theme in the official discourse of the period. When the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (NPP) gained power in 1969 and again in 1977 and 1985, it restructured the Migration Division to advance the Islands annexation into the United States. Apparently, the NPP did not advocate the same migration policies as the PDP, particularly the Farm Labor Program. In 1969, the agencys staff was downsized, together with its orien tation and educational programs for seasonal farm workers. 23 In 1979, NPP Governor Carlos Romero Barcel eliminated the Divisions Cultural Affairs Program, only to have it reinstated by PDP Governor Rafael Hernndez Coln in 1985. Finally, in 1993, NPP Governor Pedro Rossell and other pro-statehood leaders, then a majority in the Islands legislature, abolished the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs in the United States because they believed that the agency represented an unwarranted instance of applying public policy in another jurisdiction. Still, the Commonwealth government retains a formal presence in the mainland through the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA). Nowadays, this agency has greatly reduced its budget and influence over the diaspora. SUR P LUS HA NDS: THE RISE A ND FA LL OF THE FA RM LAB OR PROGR A M Postwar Puerto Rican migration has ebbed and flowed according to various stages of Operation Bootstrap ( Manos a la Obra in Spanish), the Islands pro 21. Joseph Monserrat, The Development, Growth and Decline of the Puerto Rican Migrant Farmworkers Contract Program, manuscript, 1991, p. 27; series: Subject Files; box 17, folder 2; The Joseph Monserrat Papers, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos, Hunter College, CUNY, New York. 22. ELA, Departamento del Trabajo, Divisin de Migracin, Programa de Trabajadores Agrcolas Migrantes, Informe anual, 1974-75, p. 1; microfilm reel 43: Reports; box 881, folder 4-box 882, folder 11, OGPRUS. 23. ELA, Departamento del Trabajo, Divisin de Migracin, Programa de Trabajadores Agrcolas Migrantes, Informe anual, 1972-73; microfilm reel 43: Reports; box 881, folder 4-box 882, folder 11, OGPRUS.
233 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION gram of industrialization by invitation (largely of U.S. manufacturing capi tal), as well as to the changing demands of the U.S. economy, particularly in the large urban centers of the northeast (Rivera-Batiz & Santiago 1996, Rodrguez 1989, Whalen 2001). Although Operation Bootstrap created thousands of factory jobs, it could not absorb many more thousands of unskilled workers displaced by a swift agricultural decline. In 1940, agriculture employed 44.9 percent of the Islands labor force; by 1970, that sector only employed 9.9 percent. 24 During this period, Puerto Ricos development strategy expelled a large share of its rural population, both on and off the Island. As Frank Bonilla (1994) once quipped, Manos a la Obra (literally meaning putting hands to work) could be renamed Manos que Sobran (surplus hands). The Farm Labor Program provides a fascinating case study of how Commonwealth officials navigated the colonial and transnational intrica cies of Puerto Ricos political status. Between 1948 and 1990, the program recruited 421,238 Puerto Ricans to work in the U.S. mainland (see Figure 1). This was the second-largest organized movement of temporary laborers in the United States, after the Mexican bracero program (1942-64) in the southwest. Indeed, Senior (1947:52) regarded the negotiations between the Mexican and U.S. governments as a model for the Migration Division. These agreements included recruitment, transportation, housing, wages, food, working condi tions, hours, savings funds, and repatriation of agricultural laborers. Although Puerto Rican farm workers traveled to many states, they con centrated in the northeast, especially in New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania (see Figure 2). The vast major ity were young men with little schooling and proficiency in the English lan guage. Most had been landless rural laborers in the sugar, coffee, and tobacco industries on the Island. 25 They were popularly known as los tomateros (the tomato pickers), because that was one of the main crops they harvested. Puerto Ricans also planted and cut shade tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley; picked corn, blueberries, asparagus, broccoli, and onions in the Delaware River Valley; strawberries, cabbages, and carrots in New York; apples in New England and Washington; potatoes in Maine; peaches in South Carolina; avocados and lettuce in South Florida; and other crops like cran berries, oranges, and mushrooms in various places. On May 9, 1947, the Puerto Rican government created the Farm Labor Program through Law 89. The main purpose of this law was to regu late the recruitment of workers in Puerto Rico and to make the Islands 24. Junta de Planificacin de Puerto Rico, Estadsticas socioeconmicas (San Juan: Junta de Planificacin de Puerto Rico, 1983). 25. Bonilla-Santiago 1988, Cruz 1998, Garca-Coln 2008, History Task Force 1979, Whalen 2001.
0 5 101520 25 1948 1953 1958 1963 1968 1973 1978 1983 1988 New Jersey Connecticut New York Delaware Massachusetts Pennsylvania Other states Figure 1. Number of Puerto Ricans Referred by the Farm Labor Program in the United States, 1948-90 (Thousands) Figure 2. Destination of Puerto Rican Farm Workers in the United States, 1963-87
235 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION Commissioner of Labor responsible for this process. 26 In 1948, nearly 5,000 Puerto Ricans traveled to the U.S. mainland under the Farm Labor Program. In 1951, the Wagner-Peyser Act, which established the Bureau of Employment Security within the U.S. Department of Labor, was extended to Puerto Rico. Thereafter, the federal government recognized the Island as part of the domestic labor supply in the United States. 27 In effect, U.S. officials treated Puerto Rico as a state of the American union concerning seasonal agricultural workers. Henceforth, the Islands Farm Labor Program processed thousands of interstate clearance orders from mainland employers requesting farm workers through the U.S. Department of Labor. The arrangement between the Commonwealth and federal govern ments worked reasonably well between the 1950s and 1970s. It produced the peculiar situation of a colonial state giving voice to its migrant citizens within a complex metropolitan legal structure and labor market. According to a lawsuit against the Migration Division, the operation of the Department of Labor of Puerto Rico relating to migrant farm workers is completely integrate d in, and interdependent with, a comprehensive fed eral scheme established by the Wagner-Peyser Act. 28 Thus, Commonwealth representatives insisted that Puerto Ricans were legally domestic in the United States. However, according to Petroamrica Pagn de Coln, who directed the Bureau of Employment and Migration, within official circles in Washington and in all states, the Puerto Rican worker was considered a for eigner who was going to displace other workers from their jobs. 29 Because most of the workers could not speak English, U.S. employers and journal ists often referred to them as aliens and semi-foreigners. 30 In addition, Commonwealth officials admitted that cultural differences ... represented some of the problems faced by Puerto Ricans in the United States, which 26. Asamblea Legislativa de Puerto Rico, Para regular contratacin de obreros o emplea dos cuyos servicios fueren a utilizarse en cualquier estado de la unin americana, sus ter ritorios o estados extranjeros, in Leyes de la Tercera Legislatura Ordinaria de Puerto Rico (San Juan: Administracin General de Suministros, 1947). 27. Monserrat, The Development, Growth and Decline of the Puerto Rican Migrant Farmworkers Contract Program, p. 10. 28. Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (hereafter PRLDEF), Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, February 18, 1975, p. 28; Legal Division, Litigation Files: Vazquez v. Ferre; box 7, folder 14; PRLDEF Papers, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos, Hunter College, CUNY, New York. 29. Petroamrica Pagn de Coln, Programa de trabajadores migratorios de Puerto Rico a los Estados Unidos (San Juan: Departamento del Trabajo, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, 1956), p. 13. 30. What Makes Martinez Run and Smile, Courier-Post September 11, 1965; micro film reel 7: Growers Association Files; box 516, folder 4-box 517, folder 19, OGPRUS.
236 JORGE DU A NY make their adjustment to the new environment difficult. 31 In a strange twist of the legal doctrine, Puerto Ricans were foreign in a domestic sense. The Migration Division developed into a formidable bureaucratic struc ture. By 1958, it had a staff of 130 persons and a budget of one million U.S. dollars. 32 At its peak in 1968, the agency had thirteen offices throughout the U.S. mainland. Many of its resources were geared toward seasonal agricultural workers. The Director of the Farm Labor Program supervised field operations near farm areas where the workers clustered, including Camden and Keyport, New Jersey; Newburgh and Rochester, New York; Middletown, Delaware; Hamburg, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; Boston, Massachusetts; and Cleveland, Ohio. The Division signed contracts with numerous agricultural employers, especially the Glassboro Service Association in New Jersey, the Curtis Burns Corporation and the Apple Growers Association in New York, and the Shade Tobacco Growers Association in Connecticut. The Farm Labor Program sought to meet the cyclical demand for work ers in such tasks as weeding, planting, fertilizing, picking, packing, loading, and unloading fruits and vegetables. Employers usually covered the cost of air transportation between Puerto Rico and the United States, to be repaid by the workers in weekly installments. Housing was provided at no cost to the workers. Working hours were typically from seven in the morning to six in the evening. Wages ranged from eighty cents to one dollar per hour in 1960 and from US$ 2.61 to three dollars in the late 1970s. The period of employ ment lasted from several weeks to three months, often coinciding with the dead season of the Islands sugar harvest (from May through August). The program extended Puerto Ricos labor market to the U.S. mainland, just as the Island was transformed from an agricultural to an industrial economy. 33 The field representatives of Puerto Ricos Farm Labor Program had multiple duties. First, they oversaw the workers transportation from the Island and often welcomed them at U.S. airports. Second, they oriented the migrants about their rights as U.S. citizens. Third, they inspected housing and eating arrangements at labor camps to ensure their compliance with the Commonwealths contract with employers. Fourth, they investigated health, accident, salary, and unemployment claims by disgruntled workers (and they were many). Fifth, they mediated disputes between workers and employ ers, usually organized through growers associations. Finally, they coordi nated the services offered by state, federal, and private agencies, including 31. ELA, Departamento del Trabajo, Divisin de Migracin, Programa de Trabajadores Agrcolas Migrantes, Informe anual, 1964-65, p. 2; microfilm reel 53: Annual Reports; box 2735, folder 2, OGPRUS. 32. Continuations Committee, First Report of Continuations Committee (Third Migration Conference, San Juan, January 19-26, 1958-New York, June 12, 1959), p. 27. 33. Monserrat, The Development, Growth and Decline of the Puerto Rican Migrant Farmworkers Contract Program, p. 27.
237 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION insurance, health care, English language classes, and recreational activities. A fictional character in a promotional film commissioned by Puerto Ricos Department of Labor, Los beneficiarios (The Beneficiaries), quips that the field representative of the Migration Division played the roles of father con fessor, nurse, psychologist, chauffeur, translator, teacher, defense lawyer and everything for the worker. Another character adds, hes a friend of the worker. Someone who fixes everything [ arreglalotodo ]. 34 Puerto Ricos Farm Labor Program waned during the 1970s, until it prac tically faded away during the 1990s (see Figure 1). To begin, the demand for seasonal agricultural workers in the U.S. northeast decreased because of crop mechanization and increasing availability of local labor. In addi tion, the growing number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico and Central America diminished the need for Puerto Rican agricultural labor. Furthermore, as U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans usually earned higher wages and had better working and living conditions than temporary foreign labor ers, such as Jamaicans or Mexicans. Puerto Rican farm workers also orga nized labor unions to defend their collective rights, a role formerly played by the Migration Division (Bonilla-Santiago 1988). In 1968, the election of an NPP government on the Island weakened the thrust for recruiting migrant workers. By this time, Puerto Rico itself had become largely urbanized and fewer Puerto Ricans sought agricultural work. Most migrants drifted toward cities, where wages tended to be higher than in rural areas. Lastly, two legal controversies undermined the Divisions capacity to recruit farm labor. During the 1970s, Puerto Ricos secretary of labor complained that U.S. apple growers preferred to hire West Indians over Puerto Ricans. In 1979, a class action suit, Rios v. Marshall contended that temporary foreign labor ers, especially Jamaicans, were recruited for the New York apple harvest, without first guaranteeing jobs for Puerto Ricans and other domestic work ers. The U.S. secretary of labor at the time had certified that no domestic workers were available because Law 89 eliminated Puerto Ricans from the labor supply. As the under-secretary of labor, Robert Aders, wrote to the chairman of the Subcommittee on Agricultural Labor of the U.S. House of Representatives, it is our hope that the regulations under Puerto Rican Public Law 89 can be adjusted to make these workers more effectively avail able for employment on the mainland. 35 In 1978, Law 89 was amended to allow exceptions to the Commonwealths contract, which many mainland growers disliked, particularly the jurisdiction of Puerto Rican courts over 34. Vigui Films, Los beneficiarios undated film produced for the Migration Division of the Department of Labor, Government of Puerto Rico, Migration Division Short Films, OGPRUS. 35. Letter from Robert O. Aders to William D. Ford, Chairman, Subcommittee on Agricultural Labor, January 26, 1976; microfilm reel 145: Apple Harvest; box 2487, fold ers 1-19, OGPRUS.
238 JORGE DU A NY labor disputes. This amendment hampered the Islands bargaining position vis--vis U.S. agricultural employers. Perhaps more damaging to the Farm Labor Program was the protracted liti gation surrounding Vazquez v. Ferre (1973). This lawsuit accused former NPP Governor Luis Ferr, Secretary of Labor Julia Rivera de Vincenty, National Director of the Migration Division Nick Lugo, and other public authorities of allowing unsafe, unsanitary, and unhealthy conditions in the agricultural labor camps. The main plaintiff, David Vzquez, was a twenty-five-year-old Puerto Rican farm worker from Arecibo, employed by the Glassboro Service Association in New Jersey in 1972. Among other grievances, Vzquez alleged that the camp where he toiled had inadequate living quarters, unhygienic cooking facilities, no heating, insufficient sleeping space, and unclean bathing and toilet facilities. Attorneys employed by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), which filed the suit on behalf of Vzquez and other migrant workers, charged that the farms housing conditions vio lated the Wagner-Peyser Act, Commonwealth laws and regulations, and the contract with the Glassboro Service Association. After years of negotiations, the Commonwealth government settled the case in 1977, agreeing to inspect farms before assigning them workers. 36 By then, U.S. farms had recruited less than 4,200 Island workers (Figure 1). DOCUMENTING TR A NSN A TION A LISM FROM BELOW Most of the extant documents on Puerto Ricos Farm Labor Program, depos ited at the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos at Hunter College in New York, voice the perspectives of Commonwealth officials. Nonetheless, the archives sometimes provide glimpses into the mundane concerns, practices, and social relations of the workers and their families. These primary sources, including unpublished correspondence, annual and monthly reports, memo randa, and newspaper clippings, help reconstruct the everyday experiences of transnationalism from below (Smith & Guarnizo 1998), from the stand point of the migrants themselves. 37 (When translating the Spanish texts, I retain their original punctuation and syntax.) To begin, Puerto Rican farm workers faced difficult working condi tions. By far their most common grievance involved breaches of contracts by employers. Many workers claimed that employers treated them unfairly, including withholding their wages until the end of their contracts and not giv ing them enough work. A letter signed by Federico Gaspal. Alcadio Serafn was addressed to the migration specialist in Hamburg, Pennsylvania: 36. PRLDEF, Vazquez v. Ferre, various dates, PRLDEF Papers. 37. For an earlier study of the farm workers correspondence at the General Archive of Puerto Rico, see Stinson-Fernndez 1996.
239 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION Dear Mr. Mendosa [ sic ]. The present [purpose] of these short line [ sic ] is to let you know that you could come here because at this time this farmer during the week he gives us two or three days of work during the week and we turn to you also five weeks have passed and they havent changed the bed linen and wed like you to come see where we take baths which is a ranch where there are bulls ducks hens etsetera [ sic ] these is [un]hygienic for our health. And weve carried out our work also look we havent been able to send much [money] to P.R. [Puerto Rico]. Because these people are really bad. Look Id still like you to see where we live, in a shack [ chiho ?] where things barely fit. Look Id also like you to see the kitchenware. Look here there were some emigrant people and they fled, I think it was because of the bad service they give here and they dont agree with what the law requires. 38 Ten years later, Puerto Ricans employed by Comstock-Greenwood Foods in New York denounced similar working conditions: My very esteemed Jorge Coln: the Present [purpose] of this [letter] is to [offer] new information wed like not to bother you again But its our duty to let you know that at Curtis Burns they still [treat] us with cruelty us Puerto Ricans and Ill tell you that we expected that when the corn [season] came wed do something and time is growing shorter and we suffer the same scarcity of work this company adds blacks [ moyetos ] and Americans to work and many of us are still looking at each others faces and we complain to you Because youre the man called to solve our Problem We Pay for our meals and those from here dont pay anything and besides you told us that if anything happened we should let you know so were sincere We hope youll visit us if its agreeable to you and you can and we can be corresponded, by duty these people should share with everyone and if they want us to come later to work for them. We hope youll answer and visit us. Yours truly, Workers at Curtis Burns 39 The above letter suggests that many migrants indeed perceived the field rep resentative as a fixit-all. In addition to work-related issues, migrants complained about daily dis turbances at the camps: 38. Letter to Roberto Mendoza, October 9, 1959; microfilm reel 48: Reports; boxes 889890, OGPRUS. 39. Letter to Jorge Coln, September 19, 1969; microfilm reel 3: Growers Association Files; box 509, folder 14-box 511, folder 14, OGPRUS.
240 JORGE DU A NY So we want to inform you that most of these laborers [in Windsor, Connecticut] are young men who go to these camps to smoke marijuana and sniff coke and other drugs, and then when theyre under the drugs effects they start to laugh, tell jokes, and turn on the radio, and [listen to] Radio Picat all night, and if you tell them you want to sleep because you have to work the next day to fulfill your contract duties. They respond that you were in Puerto Rico before if you dont like it move back, and if you took [the job], you have to put up with it now, and there are also many individuals who take loose women [ mujeres de la vida alegre ] to these camps to sell them to the workers and then many of them get sick putting at risk the others health, and also these same women together with those who bring them coax many of the workers, hitting and assaulting them. 40 Health problems were commonplace. In Chester County, Pennsylvania, Puerto Ricans were susceptible to a respiratory disease caused by a substance used in growing mushrooms. 41 In Massachusetts, the Division tried to inform Bernardo Avils Ramoss closest relatives that he had been hospitalized at Northampton State Hospital for ten days because of mental disturbances. 42 In Hartford, a few months later, Jess Aponte Figueroa wrote: Mr. Rafael Muoz Amidst the disturbance in which I find myself I take the pen to notify you of my state of health. And my working conditions, I Jess Aponte Figueroa write this letter to request your help and that of other collaborators of the labor office because here where Im at what you find is an injustice toward agricultural workers mainly Puerto Rican I should manifest now, this is mycase [ sic ]. Which may seem of no importance if its declared by Mr. [Gilberto] Camacho [the field representative], I Jess am a worker at the Imperial Nurseries, where many of us risk our necks that weed makes fun of us because we dont speak English. Its been two weeks since I was working when unfortunately some dirt fell on my right eye which I got when I went to put down a tree in a brook ... I wish you can help me get a ticket back to PR since I dont think Ill work any more because I feel bad from the heart and from an eye Ive 40. Letter to Gilberto Camacho, July 5, 1974; microfilm reel 14: Growers Association Files; box 652, folder 5-box 654, folder 12, OGPRUS. 41. Louis S. Bringhurst and Jacob Gershon-Cohen, Respiratory Disease of Mushroom Workers: Farmers Lung, 1959; microfilm reel 34: Regional and Field Office Farm Labor Files; box 863, folder 8-box 865, folder 4, OGPRUS. 42. Letter from Gilberto Camacho to Jos J. Maysonet, June 11, 1971; microfilm reel 44: Reports; boxes 882-883, OGPRUS.
241 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION almost lost which I know that not even my island has a cure and my sick ness appears to be internal. 43 Upon visiting the camps, field representatives frequently found substandard housing conditions. Their inspection report included an assessment of sleep ing quarters, sanitary conditions, kitchen and laundry facilities, and recre ational grounds. A Commonwealth official in Hartford wrote about a fam ily of 9 living in a cottage without hot water, toilet, showers, and without proper ventilation. Another group of 5 men living in a dirty small barrack not big enough for 1 person. The owner of the apple orchard declared that the Puerto Ricans do not deserve any better. 44 Puerto Rican workers often described the camps as filthy (in one case, calling them un corral de puercos a pigs pen). Some compared them to concentration camps because the worker cannot go out unless he has a special permission from the guards ... and where the guards carry clubs and use them fearlessly. 45 Aside from the camps overcrowded, unkempt, and Spartan conditions, many Puerto Ricans were dissatisfied with the food they ate there. Although the Commonwealth contract stipulated that employers should provide three hot meals per day, this requirement was rarely met. A field representative in Camden was told that we Puerto Ricans do not eat soup that way [in ther mos flasks brought to the labor camps] and much less beans for lunch. 46 At a Windsor camp, the men showed a desire for more variety [in their lunches ] ... [T]hey feel that the fish and chicken cooked for the evening meals are not highly seasoned enough. 47 Similarly, workers criticized the menu at the Green Giant Company in Middletown, Delaware: breakfast a loaf of bread and (two small slices) of bread and coffee and milk that tasted like a rusty nail. For lunch they gave us a sticky rice, marota (?), always beans and chickpeas that looked like stones. For seven days rice and beans and chickpeas. In the afternoons they gave us the same food. 48 43. Letter from Jess Aponte Figueroa to Rafael Muoz, September 23, 1971; microfilm reel 44: Reports; boxes 882-883, OGPRUS. 44. Activity Report from Gilberto Camacho to Francisca Bou, July 15, 1965; microfilm reel 145: Apple Harvest File; box 2487, folders 1-19, OGPRUS. 45. Letter from Anthony Vega to Eulalio Torres, January 27, 1960; microfilm reel 32: Regional and Field Office Farm Labor Files; box 859, folder 1-box 860, folder 11, OGPRUS. 46. Letter to Jorge Coln, September 19, 1969; microfilm reel 3: Growers Association Files; box 509, folder 14-box 511, folder 14, OGPRUS. 47. Minutes of the Consumer Participation Meeting of the Camp Windsor Council, June 22, 1972; microfilm reel 35: Regional and Field Office Farm Labor Files; box 865, folder 5-box 868, folder 4, OGPRUS. 48. Declaracin de los trabajadores bajo contracto [sic] con Green Giant Co., undate d; microfilm reel 11: Growers Association Files; box 647, folder 1-box 648, folder 15, OGPRUS.
242 JORGE DU A NY Another report from Hartford dwelt on the cultural differences between Puerto Ricans and Americans regarding food: The problem lies in that what solid food [emphasis in the original] [means] for the Shade [Tobacco Growers Association] are soups for the worker. Soups for Americans are broth; soups for Puerto Ricans are boiled rice with chicken, much softer than solid. They allege thats not solid food. Because of the enormous quantity prepared at Shade, it cant be tasty. Most of them dont eat chili con carne, which comes in a one-gallon container. They dont like the various types of spaghetti and macaroni, also heate d from gallon containers. All of the food for lunch, except for sandwiches, is semi-solid or semiliquid. The workers expected a solid lunch with rice and beans. 49 The Migration Divisions representatives constantly pleaded with the employers to offer meals that better reflected the workers cultural tastes. In at least one documented case, an enterprising Puerto Rican named Carlos Arroyo established a clandestine food retailing business at the Curtis Burns camp. According to a field representative, Arroyo had smuggled numerous groceries into his barracks, including ten boxes of pigs tripe ( mondongo criollo ); ten boxes of Corona Malt beverage; twenty-two boxes of guava, orange, soursop ( guanbana ), pear, peach, and apricot juice; two boxes of sausages; two boxes of rice and chicken soup ( asopado ); and four teen boxes of Rico cookies. 50 TR AV ELLING TO LAS AMRICAS : THE DILEMM A S OF EMOTION A L TR A NSN A TION A LISM In this section, I focus on the subjective impacts of uprooting farm workers from their home communities. I build on Elizabeth Arandas (2007) work on emotional transnationalism, highlighting how migrants sustain affective attachments to their places of origin. In particular, Aranda calls attention to the personal challenges posed by physical separation, the empty spaces of migration, and cultural alienation. In its own way, the Migration Division recognized the emotional dimensions of migration, using the nationalistic rhetoric typical of the 1970s: 49. Letter from Gilberto Camacho to Aurelio Segundo, March 27, 1973; microfilm reel 14: Growers Association Files; box 652, folder 5-box 654, folder 12, OGPRUS. 50. Letter to Harry Vazquez Gallardo, December 12, 1967; microfilm reel 3: Growers Association Files; box 509, folder 14-box 511, folder 14, OGPRUS.
243 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION the Puerto Rican people are composed of two parts: almost halves, divided between those who reside in the island-motherland and those who live in the continental United States ... both communities maintain affective and material ties, which are constant: they worry about each other; they share joys and tragedies; they feel affected by the political and social currents on both sides of the sea. In sum, they feel like a single people, a single identity, Puerto Ricans all. 51 Several letters written by farm workers and their families in Puerto Rico articulate the emotional strains on separated couples and households. Inquiries about estranged relatives in the United States were common. Lidia Esther Berros, a resident of Villa Palmeras in Santurce, was concerned about Rafael Lpez Berros, a worker for the Glassboro Growers Association in New Jersey: the writer of this letter is his mother, who wants to find out why they treat him so badly over there ... [H]is employer has something against him, he treats him like a slave they treat him like a thief and like a nobody. 52 One letter reflects family tensions concerning the decision to migrate. Daniel Medina Cruz was a sixteen-year-old migrant worker in New Jersey: I came to work on my own with a contract with the Labor Department of Puerto Rico. My dad and mom called to ask me to go back to P.R. I wont go back to P.R. because I want to work and fulfill my contract and make money this is my decision and nobody has forced me to do it. 53 Some migrants lost touch with their loved ones. As part of its many duties, the Migration Division served as a transnational liaison between farm workers and their families in Puerto Rico. During the 1970s, the agency even advertised in New Yorks newspaper El Diario/La Prensa to relay messages to migrants from their relatives. Several letters attempted to reestablish rap port with departed workers, such as one penned by Edna Luz Arriaga, from Catao, which began: Baby: The present [purpose] of this little letter is to know about you and how its going over there I as for me and your son Ill tell you that were both down with a cold. 54 Other correspondents reported serious illnesses and deaths in the family: 51. ELA, Departamento del Trabajo, Divisin de Migracin, Informe anual, 1975-76, pp. 2-3; microfilm reel 54: Annual Reports; box 2737, folder 6, OGPRUS. 52. Letter from Lidia Esther Berros, July 7, 1969; microfilm reel 17: Growers Association Files; box 658, folder 1-box 658, folder 22, OGPRUS. 53. Letter from Daniel Medina Cruz, September 30, 1971; microfilm reel 32: Regional and Field Office Farm Labor Files; box 859, folder 1-box 860, folder 11, OGPRUS. 54. Letter from Edna Luz Arriaga to Horacio Rodrguez, October 11, 1973; microfilm reel 4: Growers Association Files; box 511, folder 15-box 513, folder 5, OGPRUS.
244 JORGE DU A NY Mr. Daniel Torres Brother this letter has the goal of greeting you and at the same time give you some bad news from our mother on the 15th of this month she died which was yesterday. Agustn Paco Chee and Rafi are already in Puerto Rico today Toa Pedro arrives. So if you want to see Picto well I think when you receive this letter and its too late you wont be able to see her. With no other news your sister Yuly who loves you and take it easy dont do anything silly. Your sister Yuly Oh and Pito is also gravely ill hes in the hospital he was throwing up blood through his nose and mouth. 55 The most heartbreaking messages involved abandoned wives and chil dren. Lydia Acosta Estrada, from Gurabo, was searching for her husband, Iluminado Acosta Jimnez: My painted lips My dearest husband: I wrote this [letter] without receiving any [response]. where Ill tell you that your children theyre fine in health. Thank God and I wish the same to you together with your fellow workers. As to myself Ill tell you that Ive been nervous and [in]tranquil because I havent heard from you. Look daddy you know I suffer a lot because of you because I dont know [about your life?] Im your wife I want to know about you since I dont know your whereabouts tell me whats happened to you since I received a single letter from you and I havent received anything else from you ... When you come back youll find me losing weight and thinking about your trip I hope you wont make me suffer anymore my sweetheart you know that Im crazy about you and I please you in every way My beautiful sweet heart I think Im the only woman who has understood you ... Look I went to the State Fund and they had the address of the owners of the farms and I got this one from over there so thats why I wrote to this director of the farm whos trying to look for this gentleman who works in the state of Indiana, named Iluminado Acosta Jimenez ... I look for you everywhere. Thats so you know that I love you, kisses and hugs, from your children my kisses and hugs from your wife Lydia who loves you forever. Who wont ever forget you Answer soon by all means I await your response. 56 55. Letter to Daniel Torres, April 16, 1974; microfilm reel 12: Growers Association Files; box 649, folder 1-box 650, folder 16, OGPRUS. 56. Letter from Lydia Acosta Estrada to Iluminado Acosta Jimnez, September 12, 1975; microfilm reel 4: Growers Association Files; box 511, folder 15-box 513, folder 5, OGPRUS.
245 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION The Commonwealth office located the husband at the Curtis Burns camp in Rochester, New York. The Migration Division even acted as a bilingual social service agency. In one instance, a migration specialist served as translator for four Puerto Rican workers accused of molesting three girls in Moorestown, New Jersey. The judge dismissed the charges after hearing the girls testimony. The Commonwealth official commented: not every person who speaks Spanish and English can act as interpreter in court in the best interest of our workers. It takes a person with a thorough knowledge of both languages plus a full understanding of how our workers thinks [ sic ], act and react. 57 Another case involved a dysfunctional family, referred to the Division by Catholic Charities in Reading, Pennsylvania. According to the migration specialist in Hamburg, Eugenia Galn threatened to sleep in the street with my six children rather than keep on living with this old man [the husband]. Last night he was about to strangle himself with a string of rope tied to the bed, with a tight knot around the neck, and I think that someone who dares to do that, is capable of killing anyone. When the son cut the string, he said he was going to buy a revolver to kill me. I want to leave here right away. The woman insisted on going back to Puerto Rico, because I dont like las Amricas . The Commonwealth official took her to the Salvation Army Womens Lodge. 58 Galn later changed her mind about returning to the Island. One of the most poignant examples of the human toll of transnational migration is the case of Carlos Torres, who worked in a tomato farm in Greshville, Pennsylvania. On August 20, 1959, Luis Rivera Hernndez, another Puerto Rican worker, shot and killed Torres, after arguing over a prostitute in their barracks. The migration specialist in Hamburg served as interpreter for the accused. Rivera Hernndez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to six to twelve years of imprisonment. The deceased mans sister, Georgina Hernndez, claimed the body and his meager personal belongings: A jacket A shirt A black suit A pair of brown shoes A red hat A belt A can of hair ointment 57. Godofredo Janer, Progress Report on Projects, September 15, 1969; microfilm reel 9: Growers Association Files; box 519, folder 9-box 521, folder 8, OGPRUS. 58. Letter from Roberto Mendoza to E. Torres, March 2, 1959; microfilm reel 48: Reports; boxes 889-890, OGPRUS.
246 JORGE DU A NY A box of cigarettes An old wallet A can of shoe polish A tie 59 COM PA RING TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L ST A TES A ND TR A NSN A TION A L NA TION-ST A TES The postwar Puerto Rican experience of government-sponsored migration prefigured what are now known as transnational nation-states. Georges Fouron and Nina Glick Schiller (2001:19-20) define a transnational nationstate as the reconstitution of the concept of the state so that both the nation and the authority of the government it represents extend beyond the states territorial boundaries and incorporate dispersed populations. Transnational nation-states claim that [their] emigrants and their descendants remain an integral and intimate part of their ancestral homeland, even if they are legal citizens of another state (Fouron & Glick Schiller 2001:19). As Luis Guarnizo (1998) has shown, many contemporary migrant-send ing states, including the Dominican Republic and Mexico, have redefined the meaning of citizenship and nationality to integrate diasporas into their countries of origin (see also Itzigsohn & Villacrs 2008). Among other mea sures, transnational nation-states have restructured their ministerial and con sular bureaucracies, recognized dual citizenship, extended the right to vote abroad, permitted candidates to run for public office from overseas, provided state services to nationals living abroad, and reinforced expatriates sense of membership in the sending countries. Peggy Levitt and Rafael de la Dehesa (2003) argue that transnational-nation states follow such policies because of the growing significance of remittances as well as changing norms of gov ernance across state boundaries. In addition, migrants often organize them selves to participate in homeland politics and press for the sending states recognition of their citizenship rights. After World War II, the Puerto Rican government adopted several trans national migration policies, though it did not grant voting rights to Puerto Ricans in the United States. (As noted before, Puerto Ricans on and off the Island share U.S. citizenship, albeit with different rights and obligations.) Since 1947, the Islands bureaucracy followed its migrant citizens to the U.S. mainland and promoted their adjustment to an ethnologically alien setting. In particular, the Farm Labor Program walked a tightrope between defining Puerto Ricans as domestic labor and preserving their foreign culture and language in the United States. 59. Testimony of Georgina Hernndez, August 25, 1959; microfilm reel 48: Reports; boxes 889-890, OGPRUS.
247 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION After 1952, the Commonwealth government expanded its transnational reach, from promoting job opportunities and enforcing labor contracts, to providing legal defense and health insurance, as well as translation and edu cation services. As Ismael Garca-Coln (2008:285) observes, the Migration Division acted contradictorily as a labor organization and, at the same time, as a hindrance to independent labor organizing efforts. Moreover, the agency had a vested interest in maintaining a regular labor flow to the main land because of its economic benefits for the Island. At a time when remit tances were not as carefully monitored as they are today, farm workers sent nearly US$ 292 million to the Island between 1947 and 1959. 60 Finally, the Migration Division operated as a liaison between the Puerto Rican govern ment and city, state, and federal agencies in the United States. Compared to transnational nation-states such as the Dominican Republic, the Puerto Rican government has not fully incorporated its migrs into homeland politics. Perhaps the most controversial issue is how the diaspora can contribute to solving Puerto Ricos colonial status. Until now, all local elections, referenda, and plebiscites have been restricted to U.S. citizens who reside on the Island. Nonetheless, Puerto Ricans in the United States have reiterated their wish to participate in defining the Islands political future (Falcn 1993, 2007). 61 On April 29, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to celebrate a new plebiscite on Puerto Ricos status. The Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009 (H.R. 2499), sponsored by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, would grant the right to vote in the plebiscite to all U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico, regardless of their current residence. If approved by the Senate, this proposal would allow stateside Puerto Ricans to take part for the first time in the status debate. As of October 2010, how ever, the Senates Committee on Energy and Natural Resources had virtually paralyzed the bill. FOREIGN IN A DOMESTIC SENSE: THE RISE OF A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L ST A TE In this article, I have elaborated the concept of a transnational colonial state. This category includes dependent territories with large migrant popu lations in metropolitan countries and which continue to regard them as part 60. Monserrat, Suggestions for a New Approach to Migration. Confidential Memorandum to Luis Muoz Marn, February 9, 1961, p. 35; section V: Governor of Puerto Rico, 194964; series 1: General Correspondence; box 137: Departments; folder 9: Labor Migration Division; FLMM. 61. See also Jos Delgado, Voto puertorriqueo podra ser decisivo, El Nuevo Da October 13, 2008, pp. 46-47.
248 JORGE DU A NY of the colonial nation. Although residents of the dependent territory and its metropole share the same citizenship, the former are often treated as foreign ers in the mother country. In this scenario, the legal boundaries between sending and receiving countries are blurred, while their cultural borders remain intractable to those who move back and forth. Puerto Ricans in the United States and Antilleans in the Netherlands are cases in point. Although a transnational colonial state lacks sovereignty, it extends its reach to the metropolitan state. At the same time, it must follow metropolitan laws and regulations about immigration, citizenship rights, social benefits, and other public policies. This insider/outsider logic differentiates transna tional colonial states such as Puerto Rico from independent ones such as the Dominican Republic. It also underlines the basic analogies among the overseas territories of the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and the United States. For example, all citizens of the dependent Caribbean share the right of abode, as well as access to welfare and social rights, in their metropol itan countries. Not surprisingly, migration rates from nonsovereign territories are much higher than from independent states (see Cervantes-Rodrguez et al 2009, Clegg & Pantojas-Garca 2009, De Jong & Kruijt 2005). Clearly, the Estado Libre Asociado did not end Puerto Ricos colonial dependence on the United States, although it did provide greater local autonomy. On the one hand, Commonwealth status allowed perhaps even required the Islands public authorities to intervene on behalf of migrants to the mainland. On the other hand, the Islands government must comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations. The Farm Labor Program best exemplifies the Islands transnational migration policies, which facilitated the transfer of surplus hands to the mainland after World War II. The largescale displacement of agricultural workers established the earliest settlement patterns of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Northeast as well as the circulation of labor that persists today. To promote the recruitment of Puerto Rican farm workers, Commonwealth officials argued that they should be given prefer ence over foreigners in the United States. Still, many U.S. employers con sidered Puerto Ricans alien workers, especially because they spoke lit tle English and practiced a foreign culture, including their eating habits. According to a Commonwealth official in Hamburg, the language barrier was the number one problem for Puerto Ricos migrant workers. 62 In sum, Puerto Ricans illustrate one of the main dilemmas of colonial sub jects in their metropolitan countries: although legally domestic, they are often viewed as culturally foreign. Thus, the Puerto Rican diaspora is both trans national, because it involves crossing the cultural borders between the Island and the U.S. mainland, and colonial, because it does not entail traveling across 62. Speech by Roberto Mendoza, October 13, 1959; microfilm reel 48: Reports; boxes 889-890, OGPRUS.
249 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION the legal boundaries between independent states. This ambiguity is the longterm consequence of the oxymoronic legal doctrine that Puerto Rico belongs to but is not a part of the United States. Such a doctrine, established at the beginning of the twentieth century, laid the ground for a massive transnational colonial migration during the second half of the century. REFERENCES ARANDA, ELIZABETH M., 2007. Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico: Migration, Return Migration, and the Struggles of Incorporation Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield. BONILLA, FRANK 1994. Manos que Sobran: Work, Migration, and the Puerto Rican in the 1990s. In Carlos Alberto Torre, Hugo Rodrguez Vecchini & William Burgos (eds.), The Commuter Nation: Perspectives on Puerto Rican Migration Ro Piedras: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, pp. 115-49. BONILLA-SANTIAGO, GLORIA 1988. Organizing Puerto Rican Migrant Farmworkers: The Experience of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey New York: Peter Lang. BURNETT, CRISTIN A DUFFY & BUR K E MA RSH A LL (eds.), 2001. Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico, American Expansion, and the Constitution Durham NC: Duke University Press. CER VANTES-RODRGUEZ, MARGARIT A, RAMN GROSFOGUEL & ERIC MIELANTS ( eds.), 2009. Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States: Essays on Incorporation, Identity, and Citizenship Philadelphia: Temple University Press. CLEGG, PETER & EMILIO PANTOJAS-GARCA ( eds.), 2009. Governance in the NonIndependent Caribbean: Challenges and Opportunities in the Twenty-First Century Kingston: Ian Randle. CRUZ, JOS E., 1998. Identity and Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity Philadelphia: Temple University Press. DU A NY, JORGE 2002. The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island and in the United States Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ERMAN, SAM 2008. Meanings of Citizenship in the U.S. Empire: Puerto Rico, Isabel Gonzalez, and the Supreme Court, 1898 to 1905. Journal of American Ethnic History 27 (4):5-33. FALCN, ANGELO 1993. A Divided Nation: The Puerto Rican Diaspora in the United States and the Proposed Referendum. In Edgardo Melndez & Edwin Melndez (eds.), Colonial Dilemma: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Puerto Rico Boston: South End, pp. 173-80. , 2007. The Diaspora Factor: Stateside Boricuas and the Future of Puerto Rico. NACLA Report on the Americas 40(6):28-32.
250 JORGE DU A NY FLORES, JU A N 2000. From Bomba to Hip Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity New York: Columbia University Press. , 2008. The Diaspora Strikes Back: Caribeo Tales of Learning and Turning New York: Routledge. FOURON, GEORGES EUGENE & NINA GLICK SCHILLER, 2001. Georges Woke Up Laughing: Long-Distance Nationalism and the Search for Home Durham NC: Duke University Press. GARCA-COLN, ISMAEL 2008. Claiming Equality: Puerto Rican Farmworkers in Western New York. Latino Studies 6(3):269-89. GIRAUD, MICHEL 2002. Racisme colonial, raction identitaire et galit citoyenne: Les leons des expriences migratoires antillaises et guyannaises. Hommes et Migrations 237:40-53. (ed.), 2004. Caribbean Migration to Metropolitan Centers: Identity, Citizenship, and Models of Integration. Special issue of Caribbean Studies 32(1). GUARNIZO, LUIS E., 1998. The Rise of Transnational Social Formations: Mexican and Dominican State Responses to Transnational Migration. Political Power and Social Theory 12:45-94. HISTORY TA S K FORCE Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos (ed.), 1979. Labor Migration under Capitalism: The Puerto Rican Experience New York: Monthly Review Press. ITZIGSOHN, JOS & DA NIEL A VILL A CRS 2008. Migrant Political Transnationalism and the Practice of Democracy: Dominican External Voting Rights and Salvadoran Hometown Associations. Ethnic and Racial Studies 31(4):664-86. JONG, LAMMERT DE 2005. The Kingdom of the Netherlands: A Not So Perfect Union with the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. In Lammert de Jong & Dirk Kruijt (eds.), Extended Statehood in the Caribbean: Paradoxes of Quasi Colonialism, Local Autonomy and Extended Statehood in the USA, French, Dutch and British Caribbean Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers, pp. 85-123. & DIRK KRUIJT (eds.), 2005. Extended Statehood in the Caribbean: Paradoxes of Quasi Colonialism, Local Autonomy and Extended Statehood in the USA, French, Dutch and British Caribbean Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers. LAPP, MICHAEL 1990. Managing Migration: The Migration Division of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1948-1968. Ph.D. thesis, Johns Hopkins University. LEVITT, PEGGY & RAF AEL DE LA DEHESA 2003. Transnational Migration and the Redefinition of the State: Variations and Explanations. Ethnic and Racial Studies 26 (4):587-611. MALDONADO, EDWIN 1979. Contract Labor and the Beginnings of Puerto Rican Communities in the United States. International Migration Review 13(1):103-21.
251 A TR A NSN A TION A L COLONI A L MIGR A TION MILI AMA RIELUCE, MONIQUE 2002. De lOutre-mer au continent: tude compare de lmigration puertoricaine et antillo-guyanaise de laprs Guerre aux annes 1960. Ph.D. dissertation, cole des Hautes tudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. , 2007. La grande migration des Antillais en France ou les annes BUMIDOM. In GODE Carabe (ed.), Dynamiques migratoires de la Carabe Paris: Karthala, pp. 93-103. MUSTELIER AY ALA, SANDRA, 2006. Ecos boricuas en el Oriente cubano: La dispora de un ala San Juan: Makarios. OOSTINDIE, GERT & INGE KLIN K ERS, 2003. Decolonising the Caribbean: Dutch Policies in a Comparative Perspective Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. PANTOJAS-GARCA, EMILIO, 1990. Development Strategies as Ideology: Puerto Ricos Export-Led Industrialization Experience Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner. RIVERA-BA TIZ, FRANCISCO & CARLOS E. SANTIAGO, 1996. Island Paradox: Puerto Rico in the 1990s New York: Russell Sage Foundation. RODRGUEZ, CL A R A E 1989. Puerto Ricans: Born in the U.S.A Boston: Unwin Hyman. ROSARIO NA T AL, CARMELO, 1983. xodo puertorriqueo: Las emigraciones al Caribe y Hawaii, 1900-1915 San Juan: n.p. SENIOR, CLARENCE, 1947. Puerto Rican Emigration Ro Piedras: Social Research Center, University of Puerto Rico. SMITH, MICHAEL P. & LUIS E. GUARNIZO (eds.), 1998. Transnationalism from Below New Brunswick NJ: Transaction. STINSON FERNNDEZ, JOHN, 1996. Hacia una antropologa de la emigracin planificada: El Negociado de Empleo y Migracin y el caso de Filadelfia. Revista de Ciencias Sociales (Nueva poca) 1:112-55. WHALEN, CARMEN TERESA, 2001. From Puerto Rico to Philadelphia: Puerto Rican Workers and Postwar Economies Philadelphia: Temple University Press. & VCTOR VZQUEZ-HERNNDEZ (eds.), 2005. The Puerto Rican Diaspora: His torical Perspectives Philadelphia: Temple University Press JORGE DU A NY Department of Sociology and Anthropology University of Puerto Rico San Juan PR 00931-3345
New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010):253-268 RRENE F FIGUERa A CONVENTION, CONTEXT, AND CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS JIM THE BOATMAN (1846) AND THE EARLY FICTION OF TRINIDAD IINTRODUCTION In a survey of emerging nineteenth-century black literature in Trinidad, Selwyn Cudjoe (2003:93) links Jim the Boatman to a colored1 writer in Port of Spain, Trinidad, around 1810. This story was originally published as an anonymous work in the Trinidad Spectator on January 24, 1846. In their attempts to distill a literary canon from early anonymous texts like Jim the Boatman, scholars should consider those cultural influences which informed both black and white literary traditions in the Anglophone Caribbean. In other words, ana lyzing the texts within a critical discourse framework can lead researchers to discover who the unknown authors are. The idea is that the unknown writ ers betray aspects of their class and/or ethnic identity through the discourse conventions to which they adhere. Such conventions might include how they reproduced Creole speech or what terms they used to refer to skin color. Approaching the language in texts through the lens of critical discourse analy sis leads to a focus on the ways in which peoples discursive behavior inad vertently shows the influence of external sociopolitical pressures (Johnstone 2002:234). Faircloughs model of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) consid ers the interaction between social context, the discourse context, and the lin guistic context. Reading Jim the Boatman with these domains in mind can lead to an alternative view of the unknown authors ethnicity and identity. TTHE S SOCIa A L aA ND D DISCOURSE C CONTEXTS: T TRINIDa A D aA ND THE ANGLOp P HONE CCOLONIES Kevin Yelvington (1993:1) suggests that ethnicity permeates all social, cultural, political, and economic institutions and practices of Trinidad soci-1. I use colored interchangeably with nonwhite.
254 RENE FIGUER A ety and is therefore implicated in the power struggles of everyday life. Likewise, ethnicity impacts the social practice of literary discourse formation in the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is, therefore, of paramount importance to interpreting the early literature of Trinidad. Unlike other Anglophone island colonies in the early nineteenth century, Trinidad had very significant free-colored and free black populations, both of which had not experienced slavery (Brereton 1983:69). This characteristic of the society can be explained by the arrival of French Catholics, white and colored, in Trinidad under the Cedula of Population in 1783. 2 As a result, when Trinidad was formally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, intercultural relations were complex, as the population comprised 5,275 free coloreds, 2,261 whites (Brereton 1989:49), and 19,709 slaves (Brereton 1989:45). Comparable figures for 1803 by H.O.B. Wooding (1960:146) detail 20,464 slaves, 1,154 of original native Indian stock, 7,636 whites and coloreds combined, which included 4,018 French, 2,356 Spanish, and 1,262 English inhabitants. Many Irish families were also assimilated by marriage into the French Creole elite. 3 Additionally, Brereton (1989:99) documents the arrival of 899 French and German immigrants between 1839 and 1840. The arrival of Portuguese and East Indian immigrants was only just beginning by 1845. These demographic circumstances were further com plicated by an English administration which was conscious of the numeri cal and cultural dominance of the French, at the time of cessation. Those of French ancestry continued to be owners of the larger sugar plantations until the mid-nineteenth century. However, after 1838 an increased number of British and Scottish immigrants began to arrive who were appointed to the highest official posts in the colony, and in positions as managers, overseers, doctors, and lawyers, thereby becoming the dominant administrative group politically, if not numerically. 4 Related to this ethnically complex society, an editorial in the Trinidad Spectator records that in spite of being directed by some of the most respect able gentlemen of the island, still it [was] a fact not to be denied that [the 2. The Cedula of Population was a decree which offered generous terms to wealthy planters who were Catholics and allies of Spain. These terms included approximately 30 acres of land and approximately 15 acres for each slave introduced by a white emigrant, and 15 acres of land and proportionate grant for each slave introduced by a nonwhite emigrant (Brereton 1989:13-14). 3. Bridget Brereton (1998:33) makes further distinctions between French and English Creoles. The French Creoles were established Catholic families of French, Spanish, Irish, and Corsican descent at the time of British conquest in 1797. English Creoles in contrast, were of English and Scottish descent and born in Trinidad and were Protestant (either Anglican or Presbyterian). 4. See also Brereton (1998:32-34) for a full discussion of the origin of the white elite in Trinidad, after Emancipation.
255 JIM THE BO A TM A N A ND THE EA RLY FICTION OF TRINID A D Spectator s] principal friends and supporters [were] the working classes. 5 In this context, the theme of slavery and the presence of a colored protagonist in Jim the Boatman should not be automatically associated with the work of a colored writer. Indeed, it was the formidable presence of free-colored inhab itants within the social landscape of Trinidad, even before Emancipation, which undergirded their significance in the literature of Trinidad by both whites and nonwhites in the nineteenth century. White novelists and suspected white novelists of the Anglo-Caribbean portrayed characters of mixed European and African heritage as tragicmulattos existing in a chasm between color and race. This convention is evident in nineteenth-century novels from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, and Antigua, such as Marly or A Planters Life (1816, see Anonymous 2005), Hamel the Obeah Man (1827, see Anonymous 2008), Creoleana (1842, see Orderson 2002), Slave Son (1854, in Winer 2003), and With Silent Tread (1890, see Cassin 2002). In Trinidad, whenever white writers represented nonwhites in short narratives, these were usually tall tales, humorous nar ratives, exempla, or slave biographies, sometimes embedded within novels. For instance, the historical novel Warner Arundell (1838, see Joseph 2001) embeds a recontextualized tall tale, originally written as the play PostMortem Will, by Edward Lanza Joseph. Humorous narratives include The Spectator Texts, (1845, in Winer 1984), the ballad of Quaco and Mimba, (1827, in Winer 1993), and Ballad of the Downfall of the Fish-House (1836, in Robbing Hood 1814-39). How a Widow Spent the Season 6 is an exemplum in the tradition of white-authored texts. Examples of slave biographies are found embedded in chapters sixteen to eighteen of Slave Son and in Domestic Manners and Social Condition of the White, Coloured and Negro Population of the West Indies (Carmichael 1833). Similar to Jim the Boatman, narratives of the nineteenth century which portrayed a child protagonist can be found in the British tradition. Specific examples include Amelia Opies poem A Negros Tale (1806:51-69) and Thomas Days History of Sanford and Merton (1874:519-30). In the Trinidad Standard/West India Journal there were examples of Original Poetry under the pseudonyms of Alpha and H.N. (1841) which seemed to emulate Opies style, with the familiar child-character type Ostensibly, the story of Jim the Boatman also forms part of this white-authored legacy of short fic tion, as it recounts the kidnapping of a dark mulatto boy. Jim was kidnapped by a Bermudian pirate at Kings Wharf when he was approximately six years old, and at the end of the story, the narrator flashes forward to Jims retelling of his story as an adult. When Jim was fourteen, the pirate assumed that his victim would no longer be recognized and returned 5. Tit for Tat, Trinidad Spectator, December 26, 1846. 6. Trinidad Home Magazine December 1909, p. 3.
256 RENE FIGUER A to Trinidad. One night, when the Captain was selling or receiving goods, the onshore assistant recognized that Jim looked like a woman named Rosette and her children Louise and Fred. Jims identity was confirmed by interroga tion, and the Captains assistant informed Rosette of his discovery late that night. The following day, his mother boarded the vessel with her children and some friends, since the Captain assumed that the nature of their business was to purchase contraband. She persisted that Jim was her son and attempted to negotiate his release. Failing to get support from relevant authorities, Rosette appealed to the governor and a chase ensued on the high seas. The governor launched an investigation which led to Jim being reunited with his mother. However, the Captains crime could not be proven, based on his bungling and false account of how he got possession of Jim. 7 Fearing further inves tigation, the Captain departed with haste and it was alleged that he never returned to Trinidad. The theme of enslavement found in the story generally contradicts the conventions of narratives produced by the black and mixed-race 8 middle class of Trinidad in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While not limiting his assessment to fiction, Selwyn Ryan states that their narratives are different from the ones that one normally hears from planters and their accomplices. 9 One outstanding convention of nonwhite fiction was the nota ble absence of issues such as the social condition of slaves, enslaved mulat tos, and virtuous liberated servants, as represented in Jim the Boatman. Instead, their works were vehemently counterdiscursive, redefining the black and mixed-race middle class of Trinidad as educated, self-determined, and respectable. This ideological stance was part of a trajectory shaped by Jean Baptiste Phillipes Free Mulatto (see Phillipe 1996), and a feeling of black consciousness engendered by the local Pan-Africanist movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This differentiation is further owed to gradual class formation by the late nineteenth century according to Bridget Brereton (1993:274), beginning with the size of the free mulatto and free black population in Trinidad before Emancipation, and culminating with public education policies 10 which benefitted ex-slaves, their descendants, and mixed-race citizens alike during post-Emancipation. 7. Trinidad Spectato r, January 30, 1846. 8. After Emancipation, the colored group became more complex than it was, consisting, in addition to mulattos, of other ethnically mixed individuals such as Afro-Chinese and Indo-Africans. Indo-African unions were generally not legitimized within the Indian com munity, and from evidence in two works by colored authors from Trinidad, Fahdheen (1896) and Rupert Gray (see Winer 2006), these groups seemed to identify with the African dimension of their ethnicities in these specific cases. 9. Emancipation: Some Creation Myths, Sunday Express, August 15, 2010. 10. The Education Ordinance of 1851 established a system of ward schools under Lord Harris. See Brereton 1989.
257 JIM THE BO A TM A N A ND THE EA RLY FICTION OF TRINID A D The work of recovering the early literature of Trinidad is ongoing, and the earliest novel by a colored writer in Trinidad seems to be Emmanuel Appadocca (1853, see Phillip 1997). Other works by nonwhite writers include Adolphus a Tale (1854, in Wilkins 2003) and Rupert Gray (1907, see Cobham 2006). Lesser-known examples which are part of my own research include an incomplete novel by John Jacob Thomas entitled Spokes in His Wheel, 11 and an unpublished frame novel, Fahdheen (1896) by the pre sumed author Alice Sebastien. Indeed, Trinidad was the only Anglophone colony with a prolific representation of homegrown black literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Regarding the other Anglophone territories, John Gilmore readily admits that the early literature is very much an elite literature, nearly all of which was produced by whites (Jenkins 2003:vi). In contrast, black 12 writing between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries comprised a few autobiographies, of slaves or free citizens, including the narratives of Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, and Mary Seacole. These works were not published in the Caribbean; and later in the twentieth century, there were isolated examples of black and mixed-race individuals who began writing fiction toward the end of World War I. Among these authors were Chenell Wickham in Barbados, A.R.F. Webber, a Tobagonian resident in Guyana, and Claude McKay, a Jamaican living in New York. A salient characteristic placing Jim the Boatman outside of the forego ing tradition of black writing is the storys unique editorial quality, with its subtextual criticism of the British government in Trinidad, except for one British governor. At the end of the story, the author observes that the vigi lant and vigorous Governor that then ruled the destinies of this important Colony, soon found a grave in the Ocean; and his successors have been men neither fitted nor inclined, promptly and fearlessly to unveil villainy. 13 No colored writer would have given such an accolade to Sir Ralph J. Woodford, the governor of Trinidad between 1813 and 1828, who died at sea. According to Jean Baptiste Phillipe (1996:69), Woodford [had] apparently shown a rooted antipathy to every thing having the semblance of, or pertaining to the class of the colored people; and by the effect of his conduct, both public and private, it would appear that no opportunity had been lost by which that class could be insulted or degraded. A more plausible explanation for the authors praise of Woodford in the story is that the colonists saw in him the only civilian placed at the head of government since the conquest [in 1802]. They had seen inclinations of their military governors leaning to the 11. Trinidad Monthly Magazine 1871, p. 30. 12. Black is equivalent to nonwhite when referring to literature, as a relational opposite to white literature. 13. Jim the Boatman, Trinidad Spectator January 24, 1846.
258 RENE FIGUER A arbitrary rules of martial law, accustomed as they were to the passive submis sion of disciplined automats, now from a civilian, calculated on a milder and more rational administration (Philippe 1996:71). Evidently, the author of Jim the Boatman was from among the class of white professionals in the public service who identified with Governor Woodford as a civilian leader. As Carl Campbell (1983:66) suggests, political discontentment would have been vocalized by white liberals coming into the limelight after the failure of a radical brand of politics for representative government in 1845. This failure could have fueled the writing of Jim the Boatman in the Trinidad Spectator in 1846. THE TRINIDAD SPEC T A T OR : A LI B ER A L NEWS PAP ER In the period after Emancipation, the Spectator (1845-48) seemed to be the most liberal of the newspapers, as other contemporary newspapers such as the Port of Spain Gazette (1825-1956) and the Trinidad Standard/The West Indian Journal (1837-1947) were all owned and run by ex-government print ers. An anti-loyalist ideology might not be considered unusual for the owner of the Spectator, Charles Legge, who was the son of an English hatter. 14 Since Legge was an English expatriate of the merchant class, his newspaper did not represent the traditional, land-owning upper class, but the business community, our Cocoa friends, 15 the foreign portion of the community, 16 and those who have felt the iron ore of oppression although now exalted to the rights of man. 17 Some editorials were written in French; however, for the most part, the paper did not represent the entrenched planter interests of old French families, or the loyalist position of entrenched upper-class English expatriates. While alluding to the nationalistic ideology of the Spectator a subscriber described the newspaper as the only mediator between us and the Government; the only paper which has sincerely espoused the cause of Trinidad. 18 A mere nine months after the publication of Jim the Boatman, 14. Roderick Cave (1975:12) confirms Legges ownership of the Spectator Charles Sutherland Legge was christened on May 27, 1821, at St Clement Danes, Westminster, London. He is a fifth-generation descendant of a weaver, Hamlett Ager Legge and son of a hatter, Charles Legge of Hackney, London, England. He arrived in Trinidad sometime between 1840 and 1842. Charles abandoned his family in the latter half of the 1800s and went to the United States where he died. Descendants of Hamlett Ager Legg. Accessed May 19, 2009:
259 JIM THE BO A TM A N A ND THE EA RLY FICTION OF TRINID A D the Spectator became allied to the Trinidad Literary Association, founded by a group of mostly white men with legal training, except for Gustave Savary, a solicitor and a mulatto of French descent. The author of Jim the Boatman might be the editor himself, Charles Sutherland Legge, or one of the executive members of the Trinidad Literary Association, who adopted resolutions to incorporate the association. The executive members were Daniel Hart, the Keeper of the Royal Gaol and a magistrate; Sylvester Devenish, a land surveyor, poet, and artist; Thornton Warner was a justice of the peace, Alexander Anderson was a barrister, and Charles Samuel was an auctioneer. Mr. T. Buntings occupation is unknown, but he operated from Kings Wharf, Port of Spain, adjoining the office of the harbor master. James Hobson, Edmond S. Hobson, Samuel Greenidge were all solicitors. N.W. Pollard was a superintendent of works, while Henry Scott, Jr. was a merchant/proprietor at South Quay, Port of Spain. Indeed, the Trinidad Literary Association was the first successful literary society of its kind in Trinidad, whose executive members were of French, Scottish, Irish, and British descent, some of the most respectable gentlemen of the island. 19 By the 1880s, the Trinidad Literary Association grouped together ambitious, young colored and black lawyers, teachers, and civil servants (Brereton 1983:77). THE LINGUISTIC CONTEXT Apart from the social and discursive contexts surrounding the publication of Jim the Boatman, the linguistic context supports the conclusion that the writer of the story was white. A critical examination of the writers language use in narrating the story reveals how explicit and implicit narrative speech acts constitute social actions of distancing by linguistic means, which can be equated with the external perspective of a white writer. Roger Fowler (1996:170) defines externality in narrative as a point of view which relates the events, and describes characters, from a position outside of any of the protagonists consciousness, with no privileged access to their private feel ings and opinions, and in some cases actually stressing the limitations of authorial knowledge and the inaccessibility of the characters ideologies. These acts of distancing or externality effectively point to a writer with limited knowledge of the subject of his story. The main constituent in analyzing the authors language use is the notion of speech acts. As a concept originating in pragmatics (Leech 1983, Levinson 1983), speech acts explain the force of part of a text or, its actional compo nent, part of its interpersonal meaning, or what it is being used to do socially 19. Trinidad Spectator, December 26, 1846.
260 RENE FIGUER A or is being asked to perform (Fairclough 2002:82). In this essay, I have reclassified precise speech acts as explicit and implicit acts of externality. In Jim the Boatman, examples of direct speech acts comprise rehearsal and evaluation, hedging, and speech imitation, while indirect or nonliteral speech acts include excluding voice, historicizing racism and negative othering Explicit speech acts perform acts of distancing, directly rather than implicitly. Richard Bauman (1986:3) explains that performance is a way of speaking, the essence of which resides in the assumption of responsibility to an audience for a display of communicative skill, highlighting the way in which communication is carried out, above and beyond its referential con tent. Implicit speech acts expand on limited aspects of Kristina Boruss (2006:408) typology of discursive discrimination or unfavourable treatment of members of an (alleged) group carried out by linguistic means. The find ings of Rebecca Rogers and June Christian (2007), in their critical discourse analysis of the construction of race in selected childrens stories, also explore strategies of discursive exclusion. EX P LICIT SP EECH ACTS OF EXTERN A LITY Rehearsal and Evaluation In the opening and closing frames of Jim the Boatman the writer evokes externality through his use of performative frames of rehearsal and evaluation. Richard Bauman (1986) asserts that rehearsal is signaled where the writer draws attention to the act of perform ing/presenting a story, while William Labov (1999) suggests that evaluation refers to the narrators act of drawing the audiences attention to the point of the narrative. Moreover, H.P. Grices (1975) maxims of relevance and qual ity are observed in negotiating the tellability of the story. For instance, the writer of Jim the Boatman rehearses his story with the opening caveat: [ For the Spectator ]. In doing so, he allows the audience the opportunity to appraise the value of his story as [+ relevant] to a matrix of other Spectator texts. By the end of the story, the writer evaluates that Jim lately told the writer his story while rowing him from one of the Islands in the Gulph of Paria (emphasis mine). At this point, readers can equate the writers story with a [+ truth quality]. This level of audience-consciousness points to mate rial derived from outside the writers own experience. Hedging. It is also plausible that the act of qualifying or toning down ones utterances or statements in order to resist the riskiness of what one says (Wales 2001:185) should be an expected discursive behavior for some one who is experientially detached from the subject of his story. This strat egy, which Katie Wales (2001) defines as hedging, demonstrates the writers use of postmodifying prepositional phrases [such as it then was] and [as he understood] to orient readers. This conscious deployment of postmodifying
261 JIM THE BO A TM A N A ND THE EA RLY FICTION OF TRINID A D strategies to explain events already presented in the text is more than likely the strategy of a conscientious, educated, white writer who feels obliged to negotiate acceptance among diverse members of his audience. Michael Hoey (2001:14) defines the writers audience as the imagined group whom the writer addresses and whose questions he tries to answer. Editorials and notices in the Trinidad Spectator of 1846 indicate a diverse audience. While the writers style of postqualification may be an act of negotiation with his audience, it might well be the pedantic style of a legal mind. The writer also depends on parallel deitic markers to compensate for limited knowledge and/or experience in transcribing this overheard story. According to Katie Wales (2001:99), deitics are features of language, which orientate or anchor utterances in the context of space and time relevant to the speakers viewpoint. These markers provide wide parameters of expla nation and meaning, thereby avoiding ambiguity and misinterpretation, as seen in the underlined nominal phrases: [ between twenty and thirty years ago] [little more than six years of age ], and [about the landing place or wharf]. Equally, the speakers inexactitude in re-telling a story from aural memory, or from a recontextualized conversation is signaled by submodifiers between, about, and little more than preceding nominal groups in the phrases quoted above. Another strategy, internal differentiation or stratification in language, also constitutes hedging, which Mikhail Bakhtin (1981:299-301) explains as het eroglossia. Such a differentiation is demonstrated in the example of [landing place or wharf], where the writer juxtaposes cohyponyms, [landing place] and [wharf]: one a legal lexical referent, and the other, a referent of generic usage. The writer also refers to Jims mother as looking for [boys and strip lings] in the boats, belonging to the strange craft in the harbour, [wishing if not hoping], to discover her long lost Jim. 20 In addition, the writer is equally careful to indicate that the Bermudian captain [asked or ordered] Jim to give him a small [basket or parcel] which he had left behind as a ploy to lure him onto the ship. Such an accommodation of semantic relations between words is common in legal usage, and might reveal the authors legal orientation as he reinterprets the details of Jims story. Speech Imitation The writers imitation of Creole speech in Jim the Boatman, constitutes an almost caricatured speech style which would leave native speakers unconvinced that the story was the work of someone born in Trinidad or living in the colony for a significant period. Thus, imitation describes the authors idiosyncratic representation of some phonological patterns (reflected in spelling) and syntactic patterns of Creole speech (the absence of the copula) in the story. There are marked inconsistencies which occur with the first person pronoun as subject. These are the most telling dis 20. Trinidad Spectator, January 24, 1846.
262 RENE FIGUER A cursive and linguistic features of the writers Eurocentric perspective when compared to conventions of representing spoken Trinidad Creole English at that time. The following dialogue illustrates these inconsistencies. JDe once call me Jim when little child, but de not call me so again my name Prince. TAWhere you born? JI not know for de go take me to Bermudas when I young too much to member TAWhen de go take you your mudder living? JYes TAWhat de call her? JRosette TAYou member any sister or brodder? JYes me member one sister one brodder. TAWhat de call dem? JOne Louise and todder Fred. 21 Apart from flouting the varied syntactic structure of turn-taking sequences in natural conversation, the lexical referents used by the writer are markedly dif ferent from the syntactic and semantic usages of contemporary Creole speakers in the nineteenth century. A comparative view of these features is illustrate d in the following table based on the findings of linguists who have worked on historical texts of the Caribbean (Lalla & DAcosta 1990, Winer 1984). Table 1. Features of the Creole Gloss in JTB (Jim the Boatman) Compared with Contemporary Creole Usage. Lexical Category Gloss in JTB Contemporary Usage Third Person Subject Pronoun [De] 1 Dem/Dey Transitive Verb Form Member Sabbie Past Tense Verb De [[go] 2 take] me Take/Tek 1. This form does not appear in older traditional Creole Speech of Trinidad and may be confused with the locative copula or the definite article. 2. This is another unconventional form. Winer (1984:42) shows a limited use of [go] in serial verbs. 21. Jim the Boatman, Trinidad Spectator, January 24, 1846.
263 JIM THE BO A TM A N A ND THE EA RLY FICTION OF TRINID A D IM P LICIT SP EECH ACTS OF EXTERN A LITY Excluding Voice Apart from Jims speech being inauthentic, he is further denied an opinion on the issue of injustice perpetrated against him through the illegal act of enslavement. Borus (2006:411) cites exclusion of voice as an act of discursive discrimination. This is a clear deviation from the strident counterdiscursive voices of contemporary black and mixed-race protagonists in examples of black writing in the nineteenth and early twentieth centu ries. Historicizing Discrimination In Jim the Boatman the writer also exter nalizes discrimination against the colored community by distancing himself spatiotemporally from the injustices of slavery which took place between twenty and thirty years ago. By relating the act of kidnapping to the distant past, from the perspective of the narration which was in 1845, the writer makes discrimination appear to have ceased. This historicizing style reflects the opinion of Rogers and Christian (2007:35) that setting a story in the dis tant past alienates the reader from the lived reality of racism and its impact upon of people of color, in the contemporary context. In fact, the writers act of shifting the readers focus to the antiquity of discrimination in Jim the Boatman, is unlike the theme of lived discrimination, which pervades the writings of all-black and mixed-race writers of Trinidad in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Negative Othering. The writers reference to a dark mulatto in Jim the Boatman is an act of negative othering, an action which is also implied in the evaluations of white authors, and in the speech of white characters and social actors in the early literature of Trinidad. A narrow definition of Teun van Dijks (2002) and Kristina Boruss (2006) negative other presen tation is the presentation of others as inferior to the members of the group one considers oneself a member of, or in relation to another prestige group. For instance, when comparing a mulatto to slaves in Slave Son the narrator refers to Belafonds darker comrades (Wilkins 2003:258). In Adolphus, the narrator quotes the speech of a cockney-speaking second mate, named Roughtide (Winer 2003:63), who refers to a crowd of darkies who came to see one buckra wid him hand and foot tie. In a similar case, the narrator in Cobhams Rupert Gray (2006:100) quotes the speech of a white English child who refers to Rupert Gray as the darkie whats black all over. Finally, Bridget Breretons (1989:50) account of a rumor about Governor Fullertons wife seating a dark mulatto next to the Baron de Montalambert, [which] dangerously excited the coloureds, shows the potential for insult among people of color at that time, when negatively coded references were made to their skin color. Also in the context of their struggle against dominant white hegemonies, the use of such labels by a member of the colored discourse community would have been unheard of. It is also well understood that a
264 RENE FIGUER A house divided against itself cannot stand. This fact dispels the notion of colored authorship in Jim the Boatman. In contrast, colored writers used different referents to describe characters of mixed European and African descent in the literature of Trinidad, which were stabilized across their discourses in the nineteenth and twentieth centu ries. Afric, African, and of African descent were common to Adolphus, Fahdheen, Spokes in his Wheel, and Rupert Gray Occurrences of col ored or of color appeared more frequently in early nineteenth-century novels such as Emmanuel Appadocca and Adolphus and less in the latenineteenthand early-twentieth-century novels for example, Fahdheen and Rupert Gray indicating a later shift in cultural values to black con sciousness in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. A PL A CE IN THE FORM A TION OF TRINID A DI A N LITER A TURE One may ask Why was the tale of Jim the Boatman significant at the time of its publication in 1846? In response, Donald Wood (1986:185) alludes to the purpose of the story, in the context of Governor McLeods move to anglicize the laws of Trinidad between 1840 and 1846: Only lawyers can realize to the full the technical problems involved in changing from one system of law to another, and they alone can appreciate properly the work of the legal officers of Trinidad during the 1840s. The task of assimilating the criminal code to that of England was attempted first because that was the simpler of the two. The guilt of a person involved in a criminal act had to be established, a verdict reached, a sentence pro nounced, and then the work of the judiciary is usually complete. A court action, on the other hand on a question of probate, the custody of minors, or ownership of property, for instance has often roots in the past and has implications for the future. Indeed, when the laws of post-Emancipation Trinidad were still in flux, a tale such as Jim the Boatman drew attention simultaneously to the discontent ment of white liberals with British colonial governance, and to areas of the law which threatened the rights of nonwhite citizens. Jim the Boatman is also important to the development of fictional writ ing in Trinidad, by its association with the first successful literary and debat ing society of the nineteenth century the Trinidad Literary Association. Even though the founding executive committee were almost exclusively white, it was within this very institution that the colored writer Michel Maxwell Phillipe later distinguished himself as a debater in 1850 preceding the publication of Emmanuel Appadocca (Selwyn Cudjoe 1997:ix). Above
265 JIM THE BO A TM A N A ND THE EA RLY FICTION OF TRINID A D all, Jim the Boatman is symbolic of an organized phase of literary dis course formation in Trinidad, headed by only a few professional men [who] retained a trace of their European Education, in the words of Charles Day (1852:59), who lived in Trinidad in the 1840s. This does not discount the work of Edward Lanza Joseph, a prolific writer, poet, and historian of an earlier period who was not of the professional or educated class. Historical, literary, and linguistic evidence have provided an alternative view of the place of Jim the Boatman in the early literature of Trinidad. Under Faircloughs model of critical discourse analysis, elements of the social context, the conventions of discourse practice, and linguistic context have been brought together to uncover the potential identity of the author, his ideology, and his ethnicity. At the social level, the sociohistorical and ideo logical orientation of the Spectator, as a comparably liberal paper enabled the interpretation of the storys antigovernmental rhetoric in relation to an outcry for political reform in 1845 among liberal whites and only very few coloreds. Further, by comparing the discursive conventions of contempo rary fiction by white and black writers in nineteenth-century Trinidad and in other Anglophone territories, it is evident that the enslavement of coloreds was not a conventional theme among black or colored writers. At the tex tual level, the discourse strategies used by the writer in question point to the social action of distancing or externality by linguistic means through explicit and implicit speech acts. Through explicit speech acts of rehearsal and performance, hedging, and speech imitation, the writer exposes his sense of social distance from the subject of his story. Implicit speech acts of exclu sion of voice, historicizing discrimination, and negative othering illustrate how the writers external ideology of discursive racism is subtly transferred to his readers. Scholars engaged in reconstructing the early literary discourse of the Anglophone Caribbean would do well to critically examine the con text, conventions, and language use of early writers of Trinidad in the postEmancipation era, rather than to rely solely on interpretations of black and white oppositional agendas without interdisciplinary verification. In relation to anonymous works, presumptions about existing plantation power struc tures risk to supersede the peculiar cultural conventions of literary discourse formation in complex Anglophone Caribbean societies like Trinidad. REFERENCES AL P H A and H.N., 1841. Original Poetry. The West India Journal 324:4. ANONYMOUS 2008. Hamel, the Obeah Man Oxford: Macmillan. [Orig. 1827.] , 2005. Marly, or, A Planters Life in Jamaica Oxford: Macmillan. [Orig. 1826.]
266 RENE FIGUER A BAKHTIN M.M., 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays Austin: University of Texas Press. BAUMAN, RICHARD 1986. Story, Performance, and Event: Contextual Studies of Oral Narrative Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. BORUS, KRISTIN A 2006. Discursive Discrimination: A Typology. European Journal of Social Theory 9(3):405-24. BRERETON, BRIDGET 1983. The Birthday of Our Race: A Social History of Emancipation Day in Trinidad 1838-88. In B.W. Higman (ed.), Trade, Government and Society in Caribbean History 1700-1920: Essays Presented to Professor Douglas Hall Kingston: Heinemann, pp. 69-83. , 1989. A History of Modern Trinidad, 1783-1962 Kingston: Heinemann. , 1993. The Black Middle Class of Trinidad in the Later Nineteenth Century. In Hilary Beckles & Verene Shepherd (eds.), Caribbean Freedom: Society and Economy From Emancipation to Present Kingston: Ian Randle, pp. 274-83. , 1998. The White Elite of Trinidad 1838-1950. In Howard Johnson & Karl Watson (eds.), The White Minority in the Caribbean Kingston: Ian Randle, pp. 32-70. CAMPBELL, CARL 1983. The Opposition to Crown Colony Government in Trinidad Before and After Emancipation 1813-46. In B.W. Higman (ed.), Trade, Government and Society in Caribbean History 1700-1920: Essays Presented to Professor Douglas Hall Kingston: Heinemann, pp. 57-68. CARMICHAEL, MRS. 1833. Domestic Manners and Social Condition of the White, Coloured and Negro Population of the West Indies. In Karina Williamson (ed.), Contrary Voices: Representations of West Indian Slavey 1657-1834. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press 2008, pp. 282-91. CASSIN, FREIDA 2002. With Silent Tread: A West Indian Novel Oxford: Macmillan. [Orig. 1890.] CAVE, RODERICK 1975. The History of Printing in Trinidad : Some Preliminary Notes Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies, Department of Library Sciences. COBHAM, STEPHEN N., 2006. Rupert Gray a Tale in Black and White Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. [Orig. 1907.] CUD J OE, SELWYN 2003. Beyond Boundaries: The Intellectual Tradition of Trinidad and Tobago in the Nineteenth Century Wellesley MA: Calaloux. DA Y, CHARLES WILLIAM 1852. Five Years Residence in the West Indies. 2 Vols. London: Colburn and Co. DA Y, THOMAS 1874. A History of Sandford and Merton New York: Leavitt & Allen. [Orig. 1783.] DI JK, TEUN A. VA N 2006. Discourse and Racism. In David Theo Golberg & John Solomos (eds.), A Companion to Racial and Ethnic Studies Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 145-59.
267 JIM THE BO A TM A N A ND THE EA RLY FICTION OF TRINID A D FA IRCLOUGH, NORM A N 2002. Discourse and Social Change Cambridge: Polity Press. [Orig. 1993.] FOWLER, ROGER 1996. Linguistic Criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Orig. 1986.] GRICE H.P., 1975. Logic and Conversation. In P. Cole & J.L. Morgan (eds.), Speech Acts New York: Academic Press, pp. 41-58. HOEY, MICHAEL 2001. Textual Interaction: An Introduction to Written Discourse Analysis London: Routledge. JENKINS, EDW ARD 2003. Lutchmee and Dilloo: A Study of West Indian Life Oxford: Macmillan. [Orig. 1877.] JOHNSTONE, BA R BA R A 2002. Discourse Analysis. Malden MA: Blackwell. JOSE P H E.L., 2001. Warner Arundell: The Adventures of a Creole Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. [Orig. 1838.] LABOV W., 1999. The Transformation of Experience in Narrative. In Adam Jaworski & Nikolas Coupland (eds.), The Discourse Reader London: Routledge, pp. 221-35. LALLA, BARBARA & JEAN DACOST A 1990. Language in Exile: Three Hundred Years of Jamaican Creole Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. LA LL A, GO B ERDH A N 1982. From Wickham to Wicham: The Evolution of the Barbadian Short Story, 1930-1965. PhD thesis, University of the West Indies. LEECH G.N., 1983. Principles of Pragmatics London: Longman. LE V INSON, STE P HEN C., 1983. Pragmatics Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. OPIE, AMELIA 1806. Poems by Mrs Opie London: Printed for Longman, Murss, Rees, and Orme. [Orig. 1802.] ORDERSON J. W., 2002. Creolana and The Fair Barbadian and Faithful Black. Oxford: Macmillan. [Orig. 1835 & 1842.] PHILLIP, MAXWELL 1997. Emmanuel Appadocca; or Blighted Life. A Tale of the Boucaneers Port of Spain, Trinidad: Amherst: University of Massachusetts. [Orig. 1854.] PHILLI P E, JE A N BAP TISTE 1996. Free Mulatto Wellesley MA: Calaloux. [Orig. 1824.] RO BB ING HOOD [pseud.], 1814-39. A Romance Muy Doloroso: Ballad of the Downfall of The Fish-House. In Lionel Mordaunt Fraser (comp.), History of Trinidad Vol. II. Port of Spain: Government Printery, pp. 340-41. ROGERS, RE B ECC A & JUNE CHRISTI A N 2007. What Could I Say A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Construction of Race in Childrens Literature. Race Ethnicity and Education 10(1):21-46. SIM P SON, PA UL 2004. Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students New York: Routledge. WA LES, KA TIE 2001. A Dictionary of Stylistics London: Longman. [Orig. 1989.]
268 RENE FIGUER A WEA THERALL, THOMAS 1871. Spokes in His Wheel. Trinidad Monthly Magazine 1(1):30-36. WILKINS, MRS WILLIAM NOY 2003. Adolphus a Tale and The Slave Son. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. WINER, LISE 1984. Early Trinidadian Creole: The Spectator Texts. English World-Wide 5(2):181-210. , 1993. Trinidad and Tobago Amsterdam: John Benjamins. WOOD, DON A LD 1986. Trinidad in Transition: The Years after Slavery Oxford: Oxford University Press. WOODING H.O.B., 1960. The Constitutional History of Trinidad and Tobago. Caribbean Quarterly 6(2-3):143-59. YEL V INGTON, KE V IN A. (ed.), 1993. Trinidad Ethnicity London: Macmillan Caribbean. RENE FIGUER A Department of Liberal Arts University of the West Indies St. Augustine, Trinidad
DDEb B ORa A H JENSON HEGEL AND DESSALINES: PHILOSOPHY AND THE AFRICAN DIASPORAen-GB Hegel, Haiti, and Universal Historyen-GB. SSUSaAN BUCkK-MMORSS Pittsburgh: Univer sity of Pittsburgh Press, 2009. xii + 164 pp. (Paper US$ 16.95) Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlighten en-GBment. NNICk K N NESb B ITT Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008. x + en-GB261 pp. (Paper US$ 22.50) These two books have relaunched universal history not without contro versy as a dominant trope in the fields of colonial history and postcolo nial theory. They have also highlighted tensions around the application of a Hegelian philosophical genealogy to Haiti, the first self-emancipated black postcolony, the state ghettoized as the poorest country in the Western hemi sphere, and now the embattled zone of recovery from the catastrophic earth quake of January 2010. The book-length reedition of Susan Buck-Morsss extraordinarily influ ential 2000 Critical Inquiry essay, Hegel and Haiti, is a revelation, on both scholarly and performative levels. On a scholarly level, the essay that rocked the divisions between the most elite European philosophical traditions and the philosophical content of the most radical insurrection in New World moder nity is now expanded with two lucid introductions and a compelling essay on universal history. These contributions outline some of the changes that have occurred in the humanities landscape in the decade since Buck-Morsss origi nal observation that there is no place in the university in which the particular research constellation Hegel and Haiti would have a home (p. 23). On a performative level, the book reframes the uncanny blind echo between Buck-Morsss 2000 article and the 1992 essay by a scholar of Cape Verdean ori gins, Pierre-Franklin Tavars, in the Haitian journal Chemins critiques ,Hegel et Hati ou le silence de Hegel sur Saint-Domingue. Buck-Morss had spoken of Tavarss other work and noted the essays existence in footnote 72 of the original article, foregrounding that I have yet to see Tavarss original article,
/ New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) 270Hegel et Hati, ou le silence de Hegel sur Saint Domingue, in the Port-auPrince journal Chemins critiques 2 (May 1992): 113-31 (p. 843). Yet it seems plausible that few readers of her original essay noticed the oddity of entitling it with a direct translation into English of the first part of the title of a barely accessible article published earlier in Haiti. (In the book, which has a slightly different version of the Hegel and Haiti essay, footnote 81 is the corollary to the articles footnote 72, and contains a brief assessment of Tavarss contribu tions in Hegel et Hati.) Problems of translation, of mutual recognition, and of the dialectic of Euro-American and Caribbean contributions on the Haitian Revolution, are all choreographed in this coincidence. Although Buck-Morss had conceptualized her argument and research tra jectory without knowledge of the contents of the Tavars article, such latent dialogic relationality resonates with the question of why integration of the his torical subtext of the Haitian Revolution into the Hegelian master/slave para digm has been so crucial in drawing the attention of literary and theoretical scholars to the Haitian Revolution in the first place. Did we have to have Hegel to have Haiti in a certain philosophical sense? When Jean-Jacques Dessalines, in the January 1804 Haitian Declaration of Independence, proclaimed We dared to be free when we were not free, by ourselves and for ourselves, was it somehow through its prefiguration of a future Hegelian response that it eventu ally became manifest to theorists of a black Atlantic modernity? Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History is helpful not only for Buck-Morsss frank assessment that For raising the question of whether Hegel was inspired by events in SaintDomingue, credit must go to Pierre-Franklin Tavars (p. 14), but also for her question, Is it enough to have rescued the Haitian story from absorption into Eurocentricity? (p. 138). This question rebounds upon itself. In effect, we will be able to assess whether it is enough to have rescued the Haitian story from absorption into Eurocentricity when we have done so but we have not achieved that goal through recognition of the possibility that Hegels masterslave dialectic may have been inspired by black Atlantic rather than purely European events and sources. An area of the curriculum for Hegel and Haiti ideally would involve structurally bilateral educational processes, historici zation of Eurocentric absorptions of Haitian and other anticolonial models, research on Afrocentric counterpoints of influence, universalized access to digital collections of Haitian literary and historical documents, and Creole ( Kreyl ) Hegel. The poignancy of the question of the phenomenology of our critical perception is heightened by ongoing inquiry into the linguistic and her meneutic viability of reading resistance to modern slavery into Hegels text. At Nick Nesbitts farewell conference at the University of Aberdeen on the subject of Haiti and Universal History in March of 2010, philosopher Peter Hallward queried whether the notion of a Hegelian inscription of slaves achievement of subjective and historical autonomy might not be overly gener ous to Hegel. Of course, this problem of an unwonted privileging of Hegel on
271 RREv V IEW ARTICLE racially encoded issues was carefully foregrounded in Buck-Morsss original reading. Buck-Morss noted that Hegel, over the years, became increasingly blinded by at least a cultural racism against Africans, and that his philosophy of history has tended to buttress rather than undermine Eurocentrism. But this tension weighs more heavily if even in the Phenomenology of Mind the institutionalization of freedom in the state takes precedence over active selfmobilization by individuals in the collectivity, emblematized by the agency seized by slaves. Buck-Morsss essay on Hegel and Haiti continues to gener ate new imperatives to understand not only Hegels awareness of and reac tion to the events of his time, but also the limits of his praise of collective agency. The universal history paradigm, as David Scott noted in Aberdeen, focuses on larger-than-life historical individuals who pursue a universal prin ciple and around whose trajectory a world spirit of movement and change can be mapped. The very notion of Hegel and Haiti implicitly seems to harness the canonical author, the universal philosophical individual, Hegel, to the Afro-diasporic nation of Haiti. Does Haiti represent the state in this equation, or a nonstate in relation to the political identities of Euro-American states, or the masses, or the personification of a universal principle through the abstract figure of the slave and his or her pursuit of freedom? Perhaps the above options should be rephrased through the pairing Hegel and Dessalines when one considers the journalistic accounts that brought Haiti to Hegels attention. Probing journalistic sources for Hegels possible referential fertilization of his philosophical paradigms was a brilliant innovation on Buck-Morsss part; as she noted, journalism made the Haitian Revolution into the crucible, the trial by fire for the ideals of the French Enlightenment (p. 42) about which every member of the European bourgeois reading public knew. Hegel was particularly explicit about the influence of newspaper reading on his worldview, noting that over the news paper, One orients ones attitude against the world and toward God [in one case], or toward that which the world is [in the other] (cited on p. 49). Buck-Morss believed that the paper Minerva run by Archenholz, was partic ularly key in Hegels contemplation of slaverys dynamics: For a full year, from fall 1804 to the end of 1805, Minerva published a continuing series, totaling more than a hundred pages, including source documents, news sum maries, and eyewitness accounts, that informed its readers not only of the final struggle for independence of this French colony under the banner of Liberty or Death! but of events over the previous ten years as well (p. 42). Since I personally have been inspired by Buck-Morsss work to pursue the history of the U.S. publication of Haitian Revolutionary documents in detail, I was particularly curious about the nature of these documents, and what they might reveal about Hegels specific knowledge of Haiti and its thinkers. With the help of a research assistant from Dukes doctoral program in German, Chunjie Zhang, I ascertained that Minervas Haiti pieces were a
/ New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) 272mixed bag, combining hostile and sometimes racist accounts with notable documents produced by the leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines and his secretar ies. As Buck-Morss notes, Archenholz published a translation of excerpts from Marcus Rainsfords 1805 Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti, which presents a stirring interpretation of the radical import of the Haitian Revolution and of the historical merit of Toussaint Louverture. Yet a very substantial chunk of the 100-plus pages noted by Buck-Morss came from a single text, Dessaliness 1803 military field journal, which has eluded ideological and philosophical readings to date, as it concentrated primar ily on military strategy and events. Other articles outlined massacres of the French, or the experiences of passengers on ships seized by the Blacks in the course of the hostilities. Minerva also featured a long excerpt from F.J. Dubrocas defamatory rants against Toussaint Louverture and Dessalines. A widely published American article on a ball hosted by Lady Dessalines in Haiti included fascinating details about the new Haitian state, but also pre sented it as a curiosity or an object of mockery. But Minerva unquestionably gave strong emphasis to the texts produced by Dessalines, whose name appears at least sixteen times in these documents. Examination of the texts by Dessalines in Minerva allows one to deepen the case first made by Buck-Morss not just between Hegel and Haiti, but also between Hegel and Dessaliness worldview, and the ramifications of that worldview for universal history. The much-observed fact that Hegel was more open to the fundamental parity between the stakes of freedom for slaves or members of the African diaspora and for any other world citizen in his early texts than in his later writings (see Buck-Morss, pp. 73-74) can perhaps be credited to the brief influence of Dessalines as a striking political thinker and voice. Dessaliness two most important texts the Haitian Declaration of Independence and the April 28, 1804 text in which he triumphally assert ed Yes, I have avenged America appear in the February 1805 edition of Minerva, which is to say more than a half a year later than their publication in the United States. But contrary to their dissemination in the United States, they were published together, from pages 276 to 293, in a mini-Dessalinian anthology. This anthology-style presentation would have permitted the reader to explore Dessaliness texts in a singularly sustained and literary manner. In the April 28 proclamation, Dessalines evoked the Europeans as the plague of the New World, in response to which, the irritated genius of Hayti, arising from the bosom of the ocean, appears. For the Europeans who would dare to try to reconquer Haiti, it would be a better fate for the ocean to simply swal low them up in its deepest depths than for them to be devoured by the anger of the children of Hayti. Consider the echoic relationship between the famous line in the Philosophy of Right Even if I am born a slave, still I am free in the moment I will it (cited in Buck-Morss, p. 61) and Dessaliness assertion that the Haitians had resuscitated freedom by infusing their own blood into
273 RREv V IEW ARTICLE it, that they were proud to have recovered their freedom, jealous to main tain it, and determined to overcome anyone who would try to ravish it from them again. As an example of the documents ironically proto-Hegelian reso nance, which we could more aptly read as the proto-Dessalinean resonance of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic, Dessalines claimed that the French had brought the qualifying epithet of slave on their own heads: Slaves! Let us leave that qualifying epithet to the French themselves: they have conquered to the point of ceasing to be free. To his people in the German translation, the second part of the Haitian Declaration of Independence opens with the word Brger! Dessalines says that in working toward his peoples free dom, he had constructed his own happiness, and also that he was rich only in his peoples freedom. For these reasons, he claims that his name, Dessalines, had become a motif of horror for all people who desire slavery. Hegel scholars would do well to compare the Haitian Declaration of Independence in the British archives, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/ haiti.asp#research, to the translation Hegel was reading in Minerva, Vol. I pp. 276-93. Buck-Morsss work makes palpable the eruption of Dessaliness voice into Hegels contemporaneous worldview, above all in the phenomenon of self-consciousness comprehending itself as free. Ultimately it is hard not to agree with Buck-Morss that there is something of Haiti in Hegel even, arguably, a lot of Dessalines in Hegel. The new material in the second half of Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History begins with a nod toward Sibylle Fischers notion of modernity disavowed and a statement that Present realities demand such historical remappings as an alternative to the fantasies of clashing civilizations and exclusionary redemptions (p. 79). It moves on to a fascinating continuation of Buck-Morsss work on the relationship of freemasonry to Hegel and Haiti inspired by the discussion of freemasonry in Tavarss work set in a larger exploration of whether slavery could in fact have taken root in Europe, rather than being outsourced to far-off colonies. Buck-Morss argues for an understanding of slavery on a long continuum of labor practices, with a specifically capitalist modern form. The focus of this material is primarily cultural rather than theoretical. If there is a big bang in the interpretations in this section of the book, it is an evolving definition of universal history as something that emerges not in the mediation of collective cultural identi ties, but in the historical event at the point of rupture which gives expres sion to a humanity that goes beyond cultural limits (p. 133). Yet the appeal of the Haitian Revolution as universalizing rupture is undermined by the acuity of cultural mapping in Buck-Morsss Haiti work, which ultimately confirms not a Romantic escape from hegemony, but a tissue of related con ditions and strategies, and of the philosophies, institutions, and technologies that allow meaning to travel from one location to another. In an ideal Hegel and Haiti area of the curriculum, the texts of European philosophers would be sounded for the influence of Haiti, and tested for the
/ New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) 274viability of their emancipatory paradigms in relation to Haiti, and that is in effect what Nick Nesbitt adds to the field in his excellent new book, Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment In this book Nesbitt broadly develops, in masterful strokes, the project that germinated in his now famous essay, The Idea of 1804 in the 2005 Haiti Issue of Yale French Studies His stated resolution at the outset is to seek to recover what 1804 might have become (or became only in the sheer exteriority to our world of the Haitian rural peasantry, the moun andey [p. 4]. The book is motivated by a positive notion of human rights, in an era in which Nesbitt feels (following Gauchet) that human rights have achieved hegemony over the concept of the political (p. 10). If the underlying core of Buck-Morsss work on universal history is culturalist, Nesbitts nexus of questions and models comes from political philosophy; this book is a sophisticated sound ing of a vast field of political thinkers, including Spinoza and Habermas and Genovese, against the tensions of Haitis radical enlightenment. Readers look ing for connective tissue between Haiti and Zizek, Laclau, and Butler will find their source here; other readers may realize that even if they had not sought those connections, they should start now with Nesbitts guidance. Yet Universal Emancipation also has historicist depths and innovations. One of the most remarkable sections of the book, Mali, 1222, is a historici zation of human rights discourses to the Mand world and Soundiata Ketas Mand Charter. The flexibility of a research methodology allowing the mar shaling of such analogies and counterpoints to Haiti, in theoretical and histori cal terms, exemplifies some of the most worthy ambitions of universal history in its new millennial guise. As Nesbitt notes, Toussaint Louvertures participa tion in Enlightenment debates as played out in the colonial field of human rights is simply a key element in a variegated knowledge system spread across the entire Atlantic world, one that actively debated the nature of human freedom from Salamanca to St. Marc, Knigsberg to Les Cayes, Timbuktu to Tiburon (p. 60). Ayibobo! Nesbitts work is one of the first truly satisfying extensions of the work begun in Srinivas Aravamudans Tropicopolitans except that rather than tropicalizing the Enlightenment, Nesbitt globalizes it. Nesbitt takes on Michel-Rolph Trouillots challenge of the Haitian Revolution as unthinkable history in a chapter called Penser la Rvolution hatienne (Thinking the Haitian Revolution), a complex navigation of Kantian and Hegelian universalism. This chapter presents a particularly pro vocative interface with Buck-Morsss Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History, notably in the section called Hegel and Haiti Reconsidered. After analyzing the linguistic possibilities for evocations of slave, bondsman, and serf in Hegel, Nesbitt reads slave revolts in ontological and ethical terms, managing to bring Hegel to life as an imaginative and responsive philosopher of slavery in several instances, and in the process reconfirming the vitality of Buck-Morsss project.
275 RREv V IEW ARTICLE The notion of radical exteriority, radical potentiality, or rupture, arguably preoccupies Nesbitts book just as it does that of Buck-Morss, although it does not come through the front door of theory, but through the back door of a some what exoticized relationship to postrevolutionary Haitian cultural history. Just as not all readers will be comfortable with the notion of the Haitian Revolution as a Miraculous Intervention (p. 124), the category of the extreme exteriority of the Haitian rural peasantry is arguably more static and symbolic here than it need be, especially in light of such trends as the ever-increasing flux of rural populations in the capital, and the omnipresence of cell phones in even deeply rural spaces. The quest to imagine what 1804 might have become is on some level a minute failure to imagine what 1804 actually was, not philosophically or politically, but anthropologically and sociologically. Nesbitts Universal Emancipation and Buck-Morss Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History are among the most innovative and stimulating critical assessments of the Haitian Revolution in a crowded field; aptly read in dia log, and yet for contrast, they will have the staying power of the works that change the contents of the larger bibliography of required readings to under stand the Haitian Revolution and its European philosophical interlocutors. RREFERENCES A RavaAVAMUDaAN S RINIvaVAS 1999. Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 Durham NC: Duke University Press. A RCHENHOLZ J OHa A NN W ILLEM V ON & F RIEDRICH A. B aA N (eds.), 1805. Minerva. Vol. I Hamburg: Hoffmann. B UCk K -M ORSS S USa A N 2000. Hegel and Haiti. Critical Inquiry 26(4):821-65. H EGEL G.W.F., 1967. The Phenomenology of Mind. Trans. J.B. Baillie. New York: Harper Torchbooks. R aAINSFORD M aARCUS 1805. An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti London: J. Cundee.nl-NL T avaAVARS P IERRE -F RaANkKLIN 1992. Hegel et Hati ou le silence de Hegel sur SaintDomingue. Chemins critiques 2:113-31. DDEb B ORa A H JENSON Department of French Studies Duke University Durham NC 27708, U.S.A.
BOOK REVIEWSen-GB The Atlantic World, 1450-2000en-GB TOYIN FALOLA & KEVIN D. ROBErtRTS en-GB(eds.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008. xvii + 385 pp. (Paper en-GB US$ 24.95) AAAr R ON S SPENCEr R FOGLEMAN Department of History en-GBNorthern Illinois Universityen-GB DeKalb IL 60115, U.S.A.en-GB
278 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) theory are global. The key here is the Atlantic slave trade, which shaped eco nomic, political, and cultural developments on both sides of the Atlantic in unique ways, yet had no parallel elsewhere, even if American sugar was con sumed outside of the Atlantic world or Europeans did trade Asian cloth for African slaves. Alison Games introduces her survey of African and European overseas migrations and Native American internal migrations by noting that these mass movements of people created and defined the Atlantic world. This simply did not happen elsewhere in the world not like this anyway even though migrations have always been an important aspect of world history. Michael Guascos description of the shift from European servant and Indian slave labor to African slave labor in the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is a major defining feature of the Atlantic world, which reached its high tide in this era. While slavery, forced migrations, contract servitude, and the long-distance trade of goods produced from resulting labor arrangements are also an important part of world history, the interplay of these developments did not have such a dramatic impact elsewhere and the causes and interests involved lay almost entirely within the Atlantic region. Lastly, David Cahills overview of the origins and development of indepen dence movements in Iberian America in the early nineteenth century and the importance of these developments to indigenous inhabitants must be told in Atlantic terms (especially regarding developments in Spain and Portugal during the Napoleonic era). The rest of the world was hardly important to these independence movements, even though Indians provided the labor for mining silver and raising agricultural products that could be found in traces throughout the globe. These essays and others in the volume are only part of the growing response by Atlantic historians to global historians critique of their field, and they have convincingly demonstrated its uniqueness and importance. In real ity, there is no need for tension between Atlantic and global history. One can study aspects of conquest, transatlantic enslavement, resistance, and regional trade and interconnectedness in the Atlantic region during the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries under the rubric of Atlantic history, and one can also study trade patterns, empires, and the like in comparative and other ways on a global level. It is not an either/or proposition. The second problem concerning Atlantic and global history that the col lection highlights is how to view relationships among Africans, Europeans, and Americans from the end of the Atlantic slave trade in the 1860s to the present. Here, rather than contributing significantly to a solution as it does in the first case, the volume can only point toward the issues with mixed results. To date Atlantic historians have adopted three approaches to the post-1860 period. First, some historians, mainly early modernists or colonialists, simply do not deal with the latter period at all; many of them call it quits in 1800 or at the end of the era of American independence in 1825 or 1830. The second
279 BOO K REVIEWS approach has been to declare that the history of the Atlantic world was some kind of phase that ushered in globalization of the modern era and then faded away. The third approach has been to assert that the Atlantic world was trans formed by events in the nineteenth century, but continues to exist to this very day, in spite of globalization. The first of these solutions is helpful for study ing neither Atlantic nor global history, and the theoretical or conceptual basis for the second view has never been explained well, at least not by the many Atlantic historians who have asserted it. Although the editors reject both of these approaches, two of the essays support the second view. In spite of its title, Reparation and Repair: Reform Movements in the Atlantic World, Maxim Matusevichs essay is really about globalization and global resis tance against it, as he declares that the Atlantic world of the earlier period had been a laboratory that defined much of modern civilization. Similarly in her essay on gender, Amanda Warnock states point blank that there was no real Atlantic world after the early twentieth century. Joel Tishkens survey of twentieth-century African independence movements could be understood in terms of the history of Africa or that of decolonization, which was global, but the key players against whom Africans struggled were Europeans and U.S. Americans, and the circumstances that created these relationships were born of Atlantic history. Other essays in the collection directly address the difficult problem of distinguishing Atlantic from global history (or something else) in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. E.G. Iweriebor and Warnock describe a Caribbean nationalism that cut across national, imperial, and linguistic boundaries and was linked to international political and cultural movements like Pan Africanism, support of Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, and the U.S. civil rights movement. In spite of the assertion to the contrary in Warnocks essay, these appear to be aspects of an Atlantic world in the twen tieth century, as they continue prior political and cultural trends in ways that did not occur elsewhere in the world in this later period. Although Carol Anderson does not make the point explicitly, her essay on the Cold War describes an African diaspora at work that was similarly rooted in the history of Atlantic slavery. After World War II the U.S. government promoted global self-determination in theory, yet segregation at home still reigned, and many U.S. officials feared that African nationalist leaders struggling for indepen dence against U.S. allies would turn Communist. Black Americans who were against segregation and for African independence were caught in a difficult situation, as they had to avoid the appearance of disloyalty. Although the Cold War was global and influenced decolonization throughout the world, this particular aspect of it was unique to the Atlantic world. Lastly Chambers shows in his historiographic overview of the Black Atlantic that specific ethnic connections mattered in the Atlantic world of the early modern and colonial era and still do. The Atlantic slave trade made ethnic and cultural
280 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) connections what they were (and still are), and they did not happen in the same way elsewhere in the global African diaspora. The collection addresses all three historiographical views of how the Atlantic world ended, a feature that, more than anything else, makes it a successful volume. It reiterates the uselessness of the view that would end the Atlantic world in the early nineteenth century without explanation. More importantly it highlights the issues and debates of the views of the Atlantic world as a phase leading toward globalization, or as the continuation of the Atlantic world in a transformed state up to the present. But we still need much more clarity on the co-existence of Atlantic and global history in the period up to the mid-nineteenth century (not to mention more comparative work with other areas like the Indian Ocean region), and we need more clar ity on what was Atlantic about the period thereafter. The current debate between Atlantic and global historians is taking us in this direction, and this volume contributes to it in useful ways. The Slave Ship: A Human History MARCUS REDIKER New York: Viking, 2007. xvii + 332 pp. (Cloth US$ 27.95) JUS T IN ROBE RT S Department of History Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4P9 < firstname.lastname@example.org > The slave ship, Marcus Rediker tells us, was a diabolical machine, one big pool of torture (p. 348). Rediker, the preeminent historian of the maritime Atlantic world, has devoted his expertise to a study of the slave ship and the Middle Passage in a book that appears intended to bridge the gap between scholarly and popular histories of that subject. The Slave Ship: A Human History doesnt offer any radical new insights into the slave trade or a story that will be at all new to specialists. Instead, it summarizes a rich body of secondary literature, utilizes the remarkable statistical evidence now avail able to specialists in the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, and draws from primary sources that have been well mined to give us a rich and often dis turbing set of stories about the Middle Passage aboard ships in the British slave trade in the eighteenth century.
281 BOO K REVIEWS The Slave Ship has three main thrusts. First it seeks to tell the story of the Middle Passage aboard a British slave ship from multiple vantage points, from the captains to the slaves. Aside from a fascinating chapter on the struc ture of a slave ship and its design and a concluding chapter on abolition that focuses on the well-known image of the Brookes as a tool in the abolitionist movement, the chapters focus on the view of the trade from the perspective of a captain, a crewman, or a slave. In some cases, Rediker focuses on an individual and in others he paints a group portrait. His cast of characters will be well known to specialists. He offers chapters, for example, on Olaudah Equiano, who claimed to have been an African-born survivor of the Middle Passage, and John Newton, the slave ship captain turned abolitionist. In addi tion to these principal characters, who serve as case studies, Rediker offers a wide range of anecdotes to stress the lived experience of the people both above and below deck on the slave ship. Second, Rediker wants to make clear, beyond mortality rates and the vol ume of the trade, the terror and brutality of life aboard a slave ship for both sailors and slaves. He offers a series of gruesome and horrific vignettes about onboard conditions and day-to-day life on a slave ship and, to drive home his point, he repeatedly highlights the ways in which the trade destroyed the bodies of sailors and slaves. He ends, in fact, with a description of the home less and often disabled sailors left wandering the waterfronts after working aboard a guinea ship. In Redikers tale, the captains, who appear largely as agents of merchant capitalists, are for the most part the villains and the archi tects of onboard terror and violence. Finally, as a driving thesis throughout, Rediker underscores the connec tion between the slave ship and global capitalism. The slave ship and the people aboard it, he tells us, were part of a much larger drama, the rise and movement of capitalism around the world (p. 352). By making these connec tions between the slave trade and the rise of capitalism, he positions himself, although never too explicitly, in longstanding historiographical debates about the relationship between slavery, industrialization, and the rise of capitalism. The Slave Ship is as eloquently written and compelling as it is dark and disturbing. It will appeal to the wide audience Rediker targets. He offers some fascinating stories about the lived experience of the trade but his analysis is not particularly sophisticated. His presentation of a class consciousness and solidarity among sailors (a solidarity that he suggests sometimes extended to the slaves) and their unified opposition to the capitalist investors in the trade appears anachronistic and simplistic at times. Although the working environ ment created a common experience for sailors, one has to wonder whether there were more ethnic, sectarian, or regional divisions among sailors than Rediker allows. There were so many subtle gradations of hierarchy and dependency in the eighteenth century that the depiction of a single class of sailors in opposition to capitalist forces seems reductionist. Rediker goes
282 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) to great lengths to stress the horrors of a slave ship for both the crew and their human cargo and the horrors of the trade for both parties is impor tant to emphasize but this thesis will not be new, even to nonspecialists. At times his emphasis on terror and brutality seems to fetishize violence without analyzing it or placing it in broader contexts. In telling this story from mul tiple vantage points, Rediker is sometimes repetitive and some of the central stories he tells, such as Equianos, turn on well-known narratives without modifying standard interpretations. In order to stress the horrors of the ship, Rediker draws heavily on abolitionist literature, quoting at length from his sources, but he fails to interrogate those sources sufficiently, especially when they support his point. He needed to consider more often how these stories were produced and what they were intended to achieve. Although this rise of capitalism is the backdrop for his story, he links the slave trade to capitalism by association and repeated assertion rather than offering any new economic evidence to longstanding arguments about the significance of slavery and the slave trade as factors in the rise of capitalism. The Slave Ship makes its prin cipal points too broadly and bluntly, but it never shies away from the most nightmarish aspects of the Middle Passage. It underscores the horrors of the trade more powerfully than any book in recent decades. Extending the Frontiers: Essays on the New Transatlantic Slave Trade Database DAVID EL TIS & DAVID RICHARDSON (eds.). New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2008. xv + 377 pp. (Cloth US$ 90.00) JOSEPH C MILLE R Department of History University of Virginia Charlottesville VA 22904, U.S.A. < email@example.com > More than twenty years of extremely thorough research, compilation, and web design have recently culminated in the launch of the expanded, fully open-access, internet version of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database ( http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces ). Its already renowned prede cessor was available only in a limited and not-inexpensive CD-ROM for mat (Cambridge University Press, 1999). This new product of international collaboration among dozens of scholars on four continents makes available to the general public all known data on nearly 35,000 slaving voyages in
283 BOO K REVIEWS the Atlantic from 1514 to 1866. As the editors of this volume and the guid ing lights of the entire project infer, these touch on ships carrying 77.2 per cent of the probable total of people leaving Africa destined for slavery in the Americas. The web site is constructed to enable users to calculate, for themselves, an impressive range of more detailed estimates of specific com ponents of an estimated overall flow of 12.5 million captive Africans across the Atlantic, differentiated by timing and by the origins and destinations of the ships carrying them, as well as by less precise indications of some of the personnel involved, mostly named captains, but also numbers of crew and of primary interest to most users of the web site, and to the contribu tors to this volume the ages, sexes, and deaths of the anonymous men, women, boys, and girls in the holds. Extending the Frontiers is meant to frame the parameters of the database, as it was launched in December 2008, to illustrate its potential for specific kinds of research and to display some of the contributions of its new content for understanding the Atlantic trade in enslaved Africans. The book is thus primarily a volume for professionals and potential aca demic researchers, and as such it is easily up to the exquisite standards of the database itself. Editors Eltis and Richardson open the collection with a detailed and convincing comparison of the contents of the present database compared to the probable, not yet entirely documented, realities of the scale and shape of Atlantic slaving, as the Portuguese, Dutch, British, French, and others, belatedly including Spaniards, developed it over 350 years. Novice users of the web site will find similarly responsible accounting of methodol ogy and comprehensiveness there in the large page entitled Understanding the Database under the section Voyages Database. The principal new mate rial reflects systematic research on the Portuguese trade, the longest-lasting and ultimately largest of any of the national networks of slavers. This collec tion of essays accordingly offers Antnio de Almeida Mendess reassessment of the asiento trade to the Spanish Americas by the Portuguese (and their suc cessors), with a number of refinements not only to previous estimates of vol umes and directions but also comments on commercial organization. Daniel Barros Domingues da Silva and Eltis offer the first systematic estimates of the slaving destined for the northeastern Brazilian sugar (and later cotton) plantations of Pernambuco. Alexandre Vieira Ribeiro provides a similarly comprehensive review of the better-known slaving centered at the city of Salvador da Bahia, just to the south. Philip Misevich extends parallel work on enslaved Africans recaptured between 1823 and 1841 by Britains antislavery West Africa Squadron and landed at Freetown, Sierra Leone, to Havana, Cuba, where individu als were registered, name by name, with the international Court of Mixed Commission established there. The ethnolinguistic backgrounds claimed by nearly 1000 of these people provide a basis for assessing the geographical
284 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) sources of the trade of that time in the vicinity of Sierra Leone. The obscure origins of French slaving before the creation of comprehensive government records in France in 1716, used by previous scholars, are assessed by James Pritchard, Eltis, and Richardson; like the Misevich chapter, this assess ment rests on sources extraneous to the database itself, including Antillean census estimates. As such, it is representative of the independent data on the trade, which allow Eltis and Richardson to assess how far the database might include the full realities of slaving. Jelmer Vos, Eltis, and Richardson return to the database to propose less significance for Dutch slavers in the seventeenth century than some previous work has credited them with. In a nearly unique assessment of minor north German slaving Brandenburg, the Hanseatic towns Andrea Weindl focuses on these merchants strategies of optimizing their own marginality. The volume concludes with three related studies, two on the business organization of Portuguese/Brazilian slaving in the southern Atlantic, and one on the demography of death among the Africans enslaved in the Caribbean. Manolo Florentino presents aspects of his work on the merchants of Rio de Janeiro otherwise available only in Portuguese; additionally, pro bate inventories allow demographic analysis of the ages, sex ratios, and fam ily structures of the people owned by slaveholders at the moment of their deaths. Roquinaldo Ferreira emphasizes the local dynamics of adjusting to and largely managing to evade British efforts to suppress this Brazilian slaving at Luanda, Angola, from the 1830s into the 1860s. Finally, Eltis and Paul LaChance a vital contributor to the new database, to whom this vol ume is dedicated suggest the promise of future research on intra-American further transfers of the captives carried on the transatlantic voyages included in the database; such estimates, suggesting the possibilities for future work built on the database, might reconcile apparent variations in the net demo graphic declines inferred for individual islands by combining information on arrivals direct from Africa with colonial estimates of surviving populations. Their premise is that the implied mortality levels tended toward uniformity throughout the region and that estimates of further local transfers of new Africans are within a range that would reduce variation in estimates made without this adjustment toward consistency. The database, comprehensive as it is, is both a work still in progress and a platform for a generation of further studies moving in directions that research on ship movements and their nameless human cargoes alone are not meant to cover. The complexity of all of these chapters, liberally sprinkled with charts and graphs and rigorous logic, make clear both the enormous analytical power of the database and the great subtlety of method required to use its content responsibly to try to write history about people, human experiences, motivations, courage, and strategizing rather than mere num bers. Editors Eltis and Richardson are clear on this vital distinction, and the
285 BOO K REVIEWS studies in this book constitute an exemplary extension of the existing fron tiers of knowledge and a solid base from which to advance them even further. RE F E R ENCE EL TIS, DAVID, DAVID RICHARDSON, STEPHEN D. BEHRENDT & HERBERT S. KLEIN (eds.), 1999. The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM Set and Guidebook New York: Cambridge University Press. New Negroes from Africa: Slave Trade Abolition and Free African Settle ment in the Nineteenth-Century Caribbean. ROSANNE MA R ION ADD E R LEY Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. xiv + 337 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) NICOLE TT E BE T HEL School of Social Sciences College of The Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas
286 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) kinship patterns. In so doing, she attempts to uncover their impact on the formation of the respective cultures. And she achieves much. She begins her discussion with an examination of the field itself: the two territories in question and their particular social land scapes: The Bahamas, a failed agricultural colony, conveniently placed at the entrance to the Caribbean, a useful waystop for the refugees; and Trinidad, for whom the need for adequate labor would trouble sugar-producing land owners throughout the postabolition and postemancipation periods. By com paring the reception and deployment of the Liberated Africans in each terri tory, she sketches out a landscape that demonstrates the varying adaptations made by these refugees, adaptations affected as much by the responses of the Africans themselves as by the individual and collective actions of the bureau crats and policymakers whose job it was to implement Britains newfound commitment to the liberty of all peoples. Adderley is at her strongest when she is extrapolating from the hard facts enshrined in the historical record when she is drawing meaning, for exam ple, from the catalogs of the Liberated African arrivals and the resettlement of the refugees, or decoding the underlying philosophies of the bureaucrats responsible for their settlement. She draws convincing comparisons between the Bahamian and the Trinidadian experience, making a strong case for the unique and influential position of the Africans in the societies and cultures of the two colonies. Perhaps most fascinating in this regard is her ability to demonstrate the varied and often conflicting currents of the age. The nineteenth-century repudiation of the institution of slavery, of which abolition was the first step and full emancipation the second, was essentially a metropolitan movement, emanating from Great Britain out to her colonies, and left to be implemente d by public servants who may or may not have been in agreement with their orders. Adderley is faithful in noting the different applications of this polic y by the bureaucrats on the ground, and she is able to demonstrate the impact that different officials with varied positions had on the settlement and deployment of the Africans. She further presents the changes in the policy that occurred over time, from the pragmatism of the early days to the ideo logical fervor that appeared as the British grew more and more sure of the morality of their position. Once she has accounted for the settlement of the new arrivals in her selected colonies, she goes on to examine their separate adaptations to their new countries. In this, she shows how the different economies and societ ies of The Bahamas and Trinidad affected the adaptations and practices of the Africans. The author uses differences of origins of the African resettle ment (the Havana court for The Bahamas, Sierra Leone for Trinidad), econ omy (commerce and subsistence in The Bahamas, cash crop agriculture in Trinidad), religion (Protestant in The Bahamas, Catholic in Trinidad), and
287 BOO K REVIEWS general settlement patterns (primarily suburban in The Bahamas, rural in Trinidad) to account for the different manifestations of Liberated African culture, and in so doing makes a convincing case for the place of these Africans in the historical literature of the region. Where Adderleys work falls short is in her persistent refusal to make any solid generalization about these African populations. She is acutely aware of the potential unreliability of her sources, and once she has left behind the solidity of the lists of arrivals and the very complete and explicit correspon dence among the various imperial administrators and turns to more narrative primary sources, her observations grow more conditional. Her conclusions are so dependent on documentary evidence and so amply qualified that in the end ones curiosity about this nineteenth-century population is piqued, but left tantalizingly bereft of concrete conclusion. For the student of Caribbean culture, Adderleys work fills a gap in the available scholarship. Her study offers strong evidence that the creolization process in the Caribbean was neither a simple nor a unidirectional affair and leads to the conclusion that the presence of some 40,000 Liberated Africans in the Americas must have had a significant impact on the subsequent devel opment of those ex-slave societies. In this regard, Adderleys book is an important addition to any Caribbean library. Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500-1800 RICHARD L. KAGAN & PHILIP D. MORGAN (eds.). Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009. xviii + 307 pp. (Paper US$ 30.00) JONA T HAN SCHO R SCH Department of Religion Columbia University New York NY 10027, U.S.A.
288 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) converso kin in the formation of the Atlantic world. As we see more clearly from this volume, while yet victims of exclusion and discrimination, they comprised active players in European overseas expansion and early colonial ism, even if in relatively small numbers. Atlantic Diasporas opens with a swift overview by Jonathan Israel of the converso/Sephardic transoceanic trade networks and their shifting political contexts. Adam Sutcliffe offers a second high-level sweep of the Sephardic Atlantic, focusing more on cultural factors. The book then offers two main sections: one on mercantilism, the other on identity and religion. The first section opens with Wim Kloosters survey of a handful of midseventeenth-century Dutch Sephardic merchants and their efforts at colonial settlement-building in various territories in the Americas. Most of these men had already spent time in the short-lived Jewish haven of Dutch Brazil. They won grants to create new communities in difficult and undeveloped terri tories, rustled up settlers in Europe (in some cases non-Jews), provisioned supplies including slaves, and set sail. Though the majority of these settle ments failed due to hardship or opposition by colonial authorities (who did not always agree with policies set by leaders back in the metropole), they led to the Sephardic communities of Curaao and Suriname. Holly Snyder treats merchants, mostly Sephardic, operating within the English colonial orbit, tracing their efforts to negotiate state regulation, which saw Jews as at best resident aliens, and to gain privileges or rights of residence and trade. Moving from the relatively anarchic seventeenth century to the more ordered eighteenth century, Jewish merchants continued to face legal and attitudinal discrimination and hence felt greater pressure than their non-Jewish competitors to cultivate a strong and loyal customer base. Those who thrived in consumer retail trade, such as Aaron Lopez of Newport, knew how to comport themselves with the necessary social graces and sold to their customers the gentility and respectability that they sought for themselves and which to some degree could now be had for purchase through goods like styl ish textiles, Portuguese wine, tea, snuff, or spermaceti candles. In the next essay, Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert offers a comparative sur vey of Sephardic/converso trading networks of the Portuguese nation, the Naa alongside other Atlantic diasporic trading networks the Huguenots, Basques, and Genoese, among others. This sophisticated synthetic portrait shows that most of the particularities attributed to Jewish (or Jewish) commercial culture actually comprise features of all such trading networks. Endogamy, intense family orientation, clannishness, law-stretching or -breaking often laid at the feet of Judaism or Jewishness really derive from structural determinants. Studnicki-Gizbert shows us once again how the remarkable Sephardic/converso trading diaspora featured a tight overlap between social and economic relations in two senses: people traded with
289 BOO K REVIEWS family and kin foremost, while cultural and religious ways aided and paral leled commercial needs and structures. Asking about similar matters in a similarly comparative context, Francesca Trivellato challenges some of the stereotyping and essentializa tions of Sephardic/converso trading networks. She argues against the notion that trading with family and kin necessarily engendered trust and cooperation (or entailed a progressive trait), calling attention to the internal divisions within Sephardic/converso trading diaspora, such as revolved around class, ethnicity, gender, or religion. Among other problems, family businesses and networks often fell apart, fractured, descended into squabbling. Trivellato brings to bear her expertise regarding the Mediterranean commerce of Livornese Sephardim in probing for detailed but more nuanced ways of depicting and explaining the tricks of the Sephardic/converso trade. In the anthologys second main section, Identity and Religion, Bruno Feitler takes us to northeast Brazil, conquered by the Dutch for nearly three decades, a unique land from the perspective of the Jewish question in the Iberian world. Here, as Feitler, discusses, Portuguese New Christians lived under Calvinists who tolerated open Judaism. With rich examples he outlines the complicated religious life of the colonists, able to explore and experiment with an enemy faith, pressured to choose between faiths, and sometimes uncertain how. Many individuals ultimately made their choice based on the sentimental bonds that tied them to local community groups and material concerns in lieu of racial identity and religious convictions (p. 150). Aviva Ben-Ur recounts the situation of slaves and freed individuals of African origin, women in particular, within the unique Sephardic plantation community of Suriname between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Based on tantalizing bits in archival sources, she traces the complicated ways Eurafricans became a significant part of the community, both demographi cally and in terms of communal organization and the construction of the local meanings of Jewishness. Some slave or free women used their relation ships with Sephardic planters and the children they bore them as a means of upward mobility, while segments of the community saw fit to adapt to local necessities and welcome these initiates who among other things served to bolster their tenuous numbers. Peter Mark and Jos da Silva Horta present an account of a few small communities consisting of Portuguese New Jews from Amsterdam who moved in the early seventeenth century to Muslim West Africa. Enjoying the same protection local Muslim leaders granted to all foreign merchants, these traders and opportunist/entrepreneurs practiced Judaism openly, attracted Portuguese New Christians to their midst, and converted some of the Africans they married and employed and birthed. These short-lived endeavors, showing signs of the pragmatic going native that character ized merchant interlopers and intermediaries throughout colonization, reflect
290 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) a bold assertiveness that swept Portuguese Sephardim and conversos alike with the rise of the independence movement against Spain after 1580 and the founding of Sephardic Amsterdam just before 1600. The final episode pertains to the Portuguese converso Antonio de Montezinos, who claimed in the 1640s to have encountered in Nueva Granada Indians related to the lost ten tribes. As retold and analyzed by Ronnie Perelis, Montezinoss widely circulated narrative describes the solid ification of his identity as a Jew in the face of the parallel suffering of Native Americans under the Spanish. His discovery/invention of Jewish Indians who will overthrow the Spanish and all anti-Jewish oppression becomes a projec tion of converso fears and dreams onto the new world of the Americas, sympathetic but instrumental. A brief summation by Natalie Zemon Davis highlights some of the sig nificant and recurring themes of the collected pieces. The editors have effec tively lived up to their desire to complicate prior historiographical notions of the early modern Jewish experience (p. vii). Though not an easy place for beginners to access Sephardic/converso history, Atlantic Diasporas will inform even experts in a diversity of fields. Brothers Keeper: The United States, Race, and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937-1962. JASON C. PARKER. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. xvi + 248 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) CHA R LIE WHI T HAM Department of Humanities University of Wales Institute, Cardiff Cardiff CF23 6XD, U.K.
291 BOO K REVIEWS Happily, Brothers Keeper is a successful effort effort and constitutes a wel come contribution to the field. The opening chapters, based on Parkers earlier articles on the subject, set the scene during the late 1930s of a troubled West Indies in need of radical political, social, and economic refurbishment. Colonial policy was dominat ed by Allied geopolitics in the run-up to war (p. 18), and national-secu rity concerns naturally dominated Anglo-American attitudes to the region. Parker correctly asserts that American policy toward the Caribbean during the war was made up of the three Rs of realism, race, and reform (p. 40), but for me he does not sufficiently highlight the importance of the eco nomic element of Washingtons approach, which sprang from a core tenet of U.S. war and postwar policy, especially toward Britain: economic liberaliza tion. In the early 1940s Washington, primarily through the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission (AACC), sought to restructure the economy of the BWI so that it would be more conducive not only to American commercial penetration but also broader U.S. postwar economic objectives for world wide and specifically Imperial liberalized trade. In this way the BWI was a rehearsal or showcase of American postwar objectives. While race and reform were certainly ingredients in the overall approach (remember that treatment of political issues was forbidden on the AACC at the insistence of the British) there is much evidence to suggest that it was the overarching principle of economic liberalization, not narrow commercial interest (p. 59), that dominated U.S. policy towards the BWI during the 1940s, with the other elements constituting the background noise. This analysis would be more consistent with Parkers concluding (and indisputable) statement that overall U.S. policy toward the BWI was inextricable from relations with Britain or the fruit of strategic choices about Anglo-American relations (p. 164). Still, American policy came to little as the war ended, and in the inter regnum between war and Cold War the Caribbean, as Parker depicted it, mostly vanished from Washingtons radar (p. 67). During the Cold War U.S. economic and political ambitions in the BWI took a backseat in the struggle to contain communism, also relieving Washington of its anticolo nial pretensions which Parker rightly asserts as being largely driven in any case by national-security priorities (p. 163) and shifting the policy initiative back to the Caribbeans Imperial masters. In this regard the United States was gifted a ready assistant in policing its backyard, and perhaps a more able one: Washington was compelled to intervene only in Caribbean hotspots that were under its own tutelage. It is in the treatment of the cold-war period that this work excels and sup plies its most original offering. Here Parker effectively deals with tracing the complicated interaction of the more evenly balanced elements of realism, race, and reform in Caribbean policy that prevailed in the shadow of the Cold War. Utilizing an impressive array of archival material and recent secondary
292 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) works, he convincingly demonstrates how the profile of race as a wild card was heightened in the fight against communism (p. 79) as the British experi mented with modes of political and social reform and the Americans experi enced a growing civil rights movement and blundered their way through one postcolonial crisis after another. Parkers neatly entitled chapter Building a Bulwark (pp. 93-118) is fascinating in dealing with the uneven efforts of an energized Eisenhower administration to peddle Western-style reforms as a means of incorporating Latin America and the Caribbean into an anticommu nist bloc, only to fall foul of profound social turbulence and political upheav al. In this regard the precipitous revolution in Cuba played a central role, and Parker skillfully incorporates the dense fallout from the Cuban debacle which he argues punctured American hegemony in the Caribbean (p. 158) into his account of Anglo-American-West Indian relations. The rise of Castro dovetailed uncomfortably with the collapse of the London-sponsored West Indian Federation, bringing new urgency to Anglo-American attempts at reform in the region (p. 144). These overarching metropolitan consider ations are carefully married with grass-roots efforts to better the lot of West Indians which, fortunately for London and Washington, never threatened the delicate equilibrium of the Caribbean in the way that Castro had man aged. Indeed, it was thanks to sufficiently pro-western leadership in the federations remnants that the Anglo-Americans could rest assured that the Cuban contagion would not spread as feared (p. 158). In all, this is an engrossing tale with something for everyone, or very nearly. As the abstract on the back cover suggests, the book really does offer an original rethinking of the relationship between the Cold War and Third World decolonization. The British Caribbean is worthy of scholarly attention, not only for the way it illuminates our understanding of AngloAmerican-West Indian relations, but for its value in the telling of decoloni zation. Or, as Parker more eloquently puts it in his introduction, the story is not strictly an east-west problem of war, power, and empire, but also a north-south phenomenon of race, nation, and freedom, with ramifications all around the compass (p. 15).
293 BOO K REVIEWS Labour and the Multiracial Project in the Caribbean: Its History and Promise. SA R A AB R AHAM Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007. xv + 242 pp. (Paper US$ 32.95) DOUGLAS MI D GE TT Department of Anthropology University of Iowa Iowa City IA 52242, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org > In this study Sara Abraham eschews conflict approaches (pluralism, Marxism) in favor of examining how, at different junctures, multiracial for mations, discourses, and strategies emerged as actors in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana dealt with problems of fragmentation in lateand postcolonial periods. She examines in detail four periods. Chapter 2 explores the 1930s period of labor struggles, especially with respect to Trinidad and Tobago. Chapter 3 examines the early attempts to define a biracial political move ment in late-colonial British Guiana. Chapter 4 offers a lengthy discussion of various movements, some labor-based and others seeking alternate forms of racial solidarity that often emerged from the masses in both nations in the first three decades of their postcolonial eras. And Chapter 5 traces the devel opment of the National Alliance for Reconstruction in Trinidad and Tobago in the wake of thirty years of rule by the Peoples National Movement of Eric Williams. These four discussions are presented under the rubric of types of multiracialism popular, nationalist, solidaristic, and strategic. The use of the four types appears to have little theoretical utility, except as labels for the periods of struggle on which Abraham has chosen to focus. The ordering of the discussions is somewhat curious in that the third topic solidaristic spans a period of some three decades and comprises a num ber of linked and separate impulses that had expression in the two states. This is also the longest chapter in the book and it is clearly the examination that most concerns her The heart of the book lies in exploring these move ments of solidarity (p. 14). This discussion is not only the most extensive, it is also the most interesting and contains material and analysis not elabo rated in numerous other treatments of political fragmentation in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Its importance cannot be stressed enough at a time when the search for commonalities that might ground a truly nationalist political expression in both countries continues to be the focus of politi cal and cultural discourse in a globalizing world where we are sometimes advised that nationalism is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The other significant contribution of the book is found in the penultimate chapter, Tales from the Streets and Fields, which consists of three docu
294 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) ments from participants in the ground-level struggles for racial unity in the emergence of the movements described in Chapter 4. Here Abraham allows us a glimpse of the voluminous interview material she collected during more than a decade of study. This is augmented in the books appendix by a tenpage interview with Eusi Kwayana in which he describes the organization, goals, and struggles of the Working Peoples Alliance in Guyana, the party formed in 1974 to challenge the two parties that had directed the countrys path since the 1950s and to provide a socialist, multiracial alternative. Labour and the Mutiracial Project is an ambitious and novel approach to the issues that have plagued the political, social, and cultural development of Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana throughout most of their modern histories. It is not, however, without problems. It is clear from the authors acknowl edgements that the book had a lengthy gestation, and this shows in the writ ing, some of which is prolix and in need of an editorial hand. Moreover, there are inaccurate and missing references in the bibliography and the index is completely inadequate. The structure of the book is curious, with the critical chapter on solidar istic approaches inserted between those that give accounts of party politics at various junctures. One cannot escape the impression that Chapters 2, 3, and 5, all containing material described at length in other sources, were con structed to fit around the centerpiece chapter of the book. We are presented with an assemblage of evidence in service of a premise the continuing struggle to forge multiracial nationalism that has been frustrated, subverted, and suppressed by both a colonial enterprise and postcolonial state sector actors set on maintaining their privilege. Here we might question the atten tion paid to statements of those whose past (and future?) agendas most of which failed depend on the politics of multiracial unity. Ought we to consider these pronouncements with the same skepticism we employ when approaching other ethnographic and quantitative data sources? This brings me to the question of where and when these conflicted politi cal identities originated. At the outset Abraham opts for the formulations of Mahmood Mamdani, who argues for the determinative role of colonial rule and the postcolonial state in the creation and sustaining of ethnic political conflict. Aside from the invocation of Mamdani in the introduction, the book gives little attention to his ideas. The notion that political identities appearing to be rooted in ethnic differences are better examined with reference to the imperatives of state formation is not systematically addressed. A final criticism of the book concerns the theoretical approaches that are accepted and rejected from the outset. Although an emphasis would seem to be on the role of labor in interrogating the history of struggles in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana an orientation that would privilege class over ethnic ity as a central social feature labor and class struggle is only occasionally invoked in framing the arguments. I would suggest that rather than rejecting
295 BOO K REVIEWS the pluralism literature Abraham might have pursued more thoroughly the work of M.G. Smith, whose position she bowdlerizes beyond recognition. A consideration of his work on differential incorporation of groups within the societies in question might have yielded greater insight into the resulting political and social factionalism that has emerged. Envisioning Caribbean Futures: Jamaican Perspectives. BRIAN MEEKS Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2007. viii + 203 pp. (Paper US$ 35.00) GINA AT HENA ULYSSE Anthropology and African-American Studies Wesleyan University Middletown CT 06459, U.S.A.
296 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) of Marxism and theories of capital vis--vis the deconstructive, postmod ern, and historical materialist leanings of his interlocutors. Recognizing the shortcomings of their approaches, he proposes a middle-ground Caribbean subaltern that assumes progress is possible and does not deny the centrality of capital, but recognizes popular resistance (p. 48). In the second chapter, Jamaica in a Time of Neo-liberal Infatuation, Meeks denounces the simple failed state narrative to point to the paradoxical impact of neoliberal consolidation that creates an atmosphere for enhanced profit taking in conjunction with a state of virtual collapse in other areas of the society (p. 65). He revisits and delineates the key dimensions of the concept of hegemonic dissolution, which he had proposed a decade earlier. He ascribes this state of social collapse to the withdrawal of the middle class from the centre of life in Jamaica in part due to the brain drain caused by mass migration abroad (pp. 72-73) and competing ideological movements that have eroded Creole nationalism and the nationalist project that once embraced a romanticized peasant culture (p. 73). In their place are auton omous Jamaican gangs who are no longer beholden to the local party struc tures and leaders in the same way, (pp. 69-70) and popular social forces are on the cultural offensive (p. 78) contesting notions of what Jamaica is, thus leaving the island in a state of uncertainty and of aimless meandering. In the breakdown of firm moral codes, all segments of society look for ways to circumvent the law (p. 78). This, Meeks stresses, is occurring within a broader social political context characterized by implosion of the U.S. impe rial project and a global economic crisis in capital accumulation thus the look south to Barbados for another way. To avoid international marginalization, Meeks proposes a much-neede d alternative. In the last chapter, Imagining the Future, he suspended the political in order to imagine the future (p. 172) and suggests the basis for a new political compromise [in Jamaica] would have to begin with a profound historical act of good faith that would indicate the foundation for a new begin ning, a genuine social contract (p. 117). He insists this would require: (1) a process of national reconciliation to address, discuss, and exorcise the nationa l cataclysm of 1976-1980, (2) an extensive land reform measure, and (3) a Constituent Assembly of Jamaican People at Home and Abroad that would convene not only [to] consider and address matters of constitutional reform but would debate broad questions about the political and economic direction of the country (p. 128), engage in conversations around notions of a deeper democracy, linking the economy to popular culture and the environment and the pursuit of a single Caribbean market. Finally, given the primacy of con cepts of freedom in popular imaginary, Meeks concludes that for this future to be democratic, it cannot be imagined without an articulated ethos. For this he turns to Sylvia Wynter and calls for an epistemic breakthrough to banish the repressive notion of man with its signifiers of racial, gender, and social domi nance and build a new open, egalitarian epistemic order of the human (p. 159).
297 BOO K REVIEWS Meekss prescriptive project is not without limits. It is noticeable that his selected set of interlocutors are Anglophone scholars. Thinkers from the wider circum-Caribbean were either amiss or not deeply engaged. Have any not made applicable contributions to new Caribbean thought? Another lacuna is the gender of his theory. Meeks rightly and forcefully argues that in the new modality of Caribbean thought, intellectuals are no longer privi leged with the superiority of insight (p. 58). Throughout the book, he muses on the lyrics of singers and DJs (all male) as theoretical reflections. This elevation of the writers to the status of organic intellectuals is a necessary feat if Caribbean social studies is to embrace an interdisciplinary model that considers the ontological and epistemological agency as well as what Michel-Rolph Trouillot would call the historicity of its subjects. To that end, and cautious of recreating gender binaries, where are the female subalterns? If people construct forms of resistance out of their own foundations of knowing and understanding (p. 50), then whose Caribbean futures are we envisioning with singular gendered insights? Still, I highly recommend this work to anyone with interest in Caribbean intellectual development and Jamaicas place at the forefront of movements in the region. With rigorous rethinking of macrolevel analysis that seriously engages issues of agency and subjectivity, Meeks makes it abundantly clear that henceforth Caribbean social studies needs to eschew compartmentalization and move towards synthesis. Crossing disciplinary boundaries, Meeks shows is no longer optional. Caribbean intellectuals, ought to take heed. Archibald Monteath: Igbo, Jamaican, Moravian. MAUREEN WARNERLEWIS Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2007. xv + 367 pp. (Paper US$ 40.00) JON SENSBACH Department of History University of Florida Gainesville FL 32611-7320, U.S.A.
298 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) gained greater recognition as scholars have sought to retrieve authentic voices from the African Atlantic. Still, among those narratives anthologized in such collections as Philip D. Curtins Africa Remembered: Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade (1967) and Vincent Carrettas more recent Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the EnglishSpeaking World of the Eighteenth Century (2004), almost none features a Caribbean setting. This absence is surprising, since at least 40 percent of all enslaved Africans sent to the Americas ended up in West Indian destinations. Mary Prince wrote one of the best-known West Indian slave narratives, but as a Creole author her account figures little in studies of the slave trade itself. In Archibald Monteath Maureen Warner-Lewis partly fills this gap by using the unusual autobiography of an Igbo man enslaved in nineteenth-century Jamaica as the basis for a thoroughly researched and convincingly rendered reconstruction of one Africans life in captivity and freedom. Archibald John Monteath, born Aniaso sometime in the 1790s in what is now southeastern Nigeria, was captured as a child, traded out of a port on the Bight of Biafra such as Bonny or Calabar, and sent via the slave trade to Jamaica in 1802. There he was purchased by John Monteath, a Scottishborn planter, whose estate, Kep, was principally a stockyard in St. Elizabeth Parish in the southwest corner of the island. The boy was given the name Toby, which he gave up upon his christening as Archibald John Monteath in the parish church in 1821. The region around Kep Estate had been the base for the Moravian Churchs mission in Jamaica since 1757, and Archibald Monteath, who had become attracted to Christianity against the wishes of his master, joined the New Carmel mission in 1827. In time he became a helper or prominent assistant in the congregation, rose to plantation over seer, bought his freedom a year ahead of Emancipation in 1838, and became a small landowner himself. His life can be seen in many ways as representa tive of profound forces shaping global history, for upon his death in 1864 he had experienced many of the essential features of the Atlantic slave system African captivity and the Middle Passage, Caribbean slavery, religious rev elation, rebellion (witnessing but not participating in the famous Christmas uprising of 1821-32), and transition to freedom. Monteath described many of these details in an autobiography he com posed through the auspices of the Moravian Church in 1853. The Church had emerged in early eighteenth-century Germany as an outgrowth of the Pietist movement and as an energetic missionary organization to indigenous and enslaved people around the world. An important Church practice was to col lect and disseminate in its worldwide mission newsletter the life narratives of mission helpers and other leading converts as evidence of Gods unfold ing plan to bring light to the heathen. Accordingly, an essential element in
299 BOO K REVIEWS these accounts was a sense of spiritual dislocation and a dawning awareness of sin, resolved through Christs grace. Monteath was literate and composed his autobiography in conjunction with a white amanuensis. Various versions in both German and English with relatively minor differences in style and content circulated for more than a century in Moravian publications and sev eral scholarly venues, but no modern scholar had subjected it to the kind of rigorous inquiry that Warner-Lewis has. Monteaths narrative, which runs to some sixteen printed pages, fur nished enough details to allow Warner-Lewis to conduct dogged detective work in legal documents, church records, and oral testimony from African informants, filling in narrative silences about his personal and spiritual life. She presents an unusually well-detailed and plausible portrait of the West African cultural and religious milieu that shaped the boy Aniaso and which, she suggests, bore strong parallels to his later Christian life. She also analyze s the plantation society and enslaved population into which he was violently thrust. She takes us through his rise in the plantation hierarchy and fervent embrace of Christianity, which, he wrote, made him outwardly bound but inwardly free. And she depicts his immersion in the expansive spiritual kin ship networks of Moravian Church fellowship as a buffer against the perils of secular life. Unlike authors such as Mary Prince, Warner-Lewis argues, Monteath did not portray himself as a wounded victim of slaverys physical and psychic ravages. Instead, she concludes, the autobiography represents the reclamation of a moral sense, of dignity and of personal identity (p. 250). Ultimately, the narrative reveals the personhood of the enslaved: vital lives, intelligent thinkers, perceptive social actors and resourceful characters, individuals too often hidden under the anonymity of enslavement and his torical erasure (p. 266). This is a powerful argument because it demonstrates the value of study ing black Atlantic narratives by authors not named Equiano, Monteaths Igbo countryman. Equianos literary skill and evocative rendition of the Middle Passage, his parable of maritime life as a passage to freedom, and his moral condemnation of the slave trade all aided by the recent controversy over his birth origins have made him the archetypal figure of the African Atlantic, from whose shadow lesser-known figures struggle to emerge. As WarnerLewis shows, other narratives can demonstrate how Africans negotiated the challenges of enslavement at different times in different places. Archibald Monteath is a striking example of how thoroughly a determined scholar can resurrect an African life in America from documentary fragments. It is a tour de force of scholarship and historical imagination that should take a promi nent place among books on Caribbean slavery and on Africans in the New World.
300 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) RE F E R ENCES CARRETT A, VINCENT (ed.), 2004. Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. CU RT IN, PHILIP D. (ed.), 1967. Africa Remembered: Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. CAROLE BOYCE DAVIES Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2008. vii + 311 pp. (Cloth US$ 79.95, Paper US$ 22.95) LIN D EN LEWIS Department of Sociology and Anthropology Bucknell University Lewisburg PA 17837, U.S.A.
301 BOO K REVIEWS Davies sees Claudia Jones as a sister outsider in the sense in which Audre Lorde used that term. The fact is that she is not well known in the Caribbean, just as she is also not remembered in the United States (p. 25). Though this may be true, the same can be said about such people as Oliver C. Cox, Richard B. Moore, W.A. Domingo, or Hubert Harrison, none of whom features prominently on any of the undergraduate syllabi of courses at the University of the West Indies. One of the purposes of Daviess book is to challenge the status quo in which Claudia Jones escapes a certain belonging in Caribbean feminist history and the larger Caribbean intellectual and politi cal genealogy as well (p. 25). According to a memorandum to the Director of the FBI in 1947, Jones was a member of the National Committee, of CP USA; Secretary of the Womens Commission, CP USA, and Negro affairs editor of the Daily Worker (p. 197). She was one of the most prominent of the younger lead ing Negro Communists. She was no doubt a very important theoretician for the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), but to argue that if the party made Jones, she also made it, at this time (p. 31) is to stretch her contribution just a bit beyond reason. In addition to her work within the CPUSA, Jones was also a journalist of long standing not only in the United States but also later in the United Kingdom where she settled after being deported from the former. Some have credited Jones with having established a radical, black journalism tradition in the United Kingdom. Given Joness activism, her linking of womens rights and anti-imperi alism, her opposition to Jim Crow segregation, and her explicit communist connections, it was no surprise that she caught the attention of the U.S. gov ernment in the heyday of the McCarthy witch-hunts. She was first arrested in 1948 and threatened with deportation. In 1953 she was convicted under the Smith and McCarran-Walter Act, sentenced to one year and a day in prison (in Alderson, West Virginia), and fined US$ 200. By the time she was released, deportation was already ordered, and she was forced to leave the country she had known as home since she was nine years old. Jones was sent to London, where according to Davies, the British authorities felt that they were in a better position to control her and her political ideas, than if she had returned to her native Trinidad. In contrast to her U.S. experience, Jones received an unenthusiastic reception from the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). Given her difficulties with the party, she turned her attention to addressing the problems of immigration and racism facing the African, Asian, and Caribbean commu nities. She is generally credited with establishing the Notting Hill carnival, in response to the riots and intimidation of Caribbean people in Notting Hill and Nottingham and in particular to the murder of Kelso Cochrane (p.
302 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) 178). 1 Jones believed that a peoples art is the genesis of their own freedom (p. 125). She did not separate the political from the aesthetic. Deportation from the United States therefore did not dampen her political activism; it simply broadened the scope of her work, reconfiguring it according to the specific cultural peculiarities of England. Davies makes an important contribution to the history of Caribbean, com munist, feminist women, such as Hermie Huiswoud and Grace Campbell, who have tended to figure only at the margins of their male counterparts political profiles. Her book is especially compelling in the chapters that dis cuss Joness deportation, her carnival and diaspora activism, and her work in the interest of peace. In 1964 Jones died of heart failure in London, but there are areas of her life still in need of exploration. For example, Paul Robesons telephone call at Joness funeral was no ordinary intervention; for some, it was one of the highlights of the entire service. The confusion surrounding the funeral arrangements and the choices of who were asked to speak about her also make an interesting story. And the CPGBs attempt to bury her quickly is yet another tale of intrigue. However the clash between the CPGBs atheis tic orientation to such matters and the desire to have a religiously oriented service complete with church hymns selected by the Caribbean community of which she had been a significant part, and who related to her in quite dif ferent political terms, all need to be aired fully in a future biography. Left of Karl Marx is, nevertheless, essential reading for students of the broader Caribbean community. RE F E R ENCE JOHNSON, BUZZ, 1985. I Think of My Mother: Notes on the Life and Times of Claudia Jones London: Karia Press. 1. Kelso Cochrane was the victim of gang violence meted out by white British youths in 1959, the year after the race riots in Notting Hill.
303 BOO K REVIEWS Displacements and Transformations in Caribbean Cultures LIZABETH PARAVISINI-GEBERT & IVETTE ROMERO-CESAREO (eds.). Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008. xii + 252 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) BILL MAU R E R Department of Anthropology University of California, Irvine Irvine CA 92697, U.S.A. < email@example.com > The main themes of this marvelous edited collection run through each contri bution. Geography, narrative, and displacement define a global Caribbean (p. 3) characterized by historical and spatial disjunctures, fissures, and dis locations. Treating topics ranging from historical and natural landscapes, memories of trauma, environmental degradation, slavery, and violence, the authors consider the Caribbean as a problematic more than a region, a set of questions about the ever-shifting qualities of place, perspective, and transfor mation that have dogged Caribbean peoples and those who study them ever since Columbuss fateful discovery. Most of the authors adopt a literary or historical approach to their topics, and the chapters follow one another roughly in historical sequence based on the texts and themes under investigation. Lizabeth Paravisini-Geberts chapter on Caribbean ecologies and nationalisms, Endangered Species: Caribbean Ecology and the Discourse of the Nation, is perhaps the exception to this rule, though in tracking discourses of natural history alongside envi ronmental destruction, it offers a metahistorical account of the Caribbeans endangered spaces and species. She provides examples from Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, and Haiti and thus does what Caribbeanists always talk about but few ever achieve: attending to insular linguistic and national distinctiveness without losing sight of archipelagic commonalities. (Indeed, the collection as a whole succeeds admirably on this score.) Particularly noteworthy is her discussion of the Hilton Corporations failed Jalousie Plantation Resort in the Pitons of St. Lucia, and her analysis of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcotts poignant challenges to the blasphemy (p. 17) of this development. The endangered species of Paravisini-Geberts title may turn out to be West Indian peoples themselves, though Walcotts Adamic idea, which holds open the possibility of a rechristening, resacralization, of grass that emerges from the ruins (p. 18), offers a glimmer of hope, about which, more below. Jalil Sued-Badillos chapter literalizes the endangered species metaphor, discussing the enslavement of indigenous populations during the Columbian expeditions. He chronicles Columbuss four shipments of Amerindian slaves
304 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) to Spain, two thousand in all, where they were regarded as prisoners of war. The conquest-subjection-enslavement model (p. 37) is found to have been inaugurated by Columbus himself. Sued-Badillos chapter forms a pair with Peter Hulmes analysis of the surprising presence of a fictional Cuban indig enous community in a popular 1897 American novel. Hulme places this pres ence in the context of the United States nineteenth-century wars with its own indigenous population and Teddy Roosevelts imperial ambitions. The novels indigenous community, avenged by U.S. forces, displaces American culpability for the massacre at Wounded Knee (p. 60). Hulmes chapter also contains a fascinating postscript on the relationship between the anthropolo gist Bronislaw Malinowski and Fernando Ortiz in the latters development of the concept of transculturation, which Hulme sees as the antecedent of various strands of postcolonial criticism and which points to a more complex understanding of cultural survival and its modalities for indigenous com munities and identities today. Moving into the twentieth century, yet carrying forward the preceding chapters concern with methods of historical understanding and cultural assertion, Kevin Meehans essay documents C.L.R. Jamess peregrinations through the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, from Harlem to the West Coast and, importantly for Meehans analysis, to Missouri, where James was involved in labor organizing. Treating this as a period of radical fieldwork, Meehan argues that it provided James a sense of the existential destiny (p. 80) of the African-American struggle for freedom. Meehan also finds here a political and philosophical optimism (p. 94) necessary to the practi cal challenges posed by globalization (p. 95). This reader heard resonance s with the political and philosophical pragmatism of late-nineteenthand earlytwentieth-century American figures like Peirce, James, and Dewey, as well as the rhetoric of the United States first African-American president, leading me to think about the connections between radical fieldwork and pragmatism as a politically hopeful project. The next two chapters focus on the artistic expression of trauma. Ivette Romero-Cesareo explores literary and visual representations of AIDS, lin gering over the repeating image of the occupied and then emptied bed. Paravisini-Gebert and Martha Daisy Kelehan look at representations of Haitian botpippel undocumented migrants making dangerous passage through rough seas to uncertain shores. In these two richly illustrated chap ters, the authors present a Caribbean art criticism that stresses the themes of displacement and transformation that give this collection its title. Readers find here the (often forgotten) history of Guantanamo, which in the 1980s served as a detention center for Haitian refugees, many of whom were HIVpositive and thus barred from entry into the United States. Artists represen tations of stigma, detention, disease, and despair evoke the Middle Passage and the chains of slavery, yet also, that same sense of ambiguous and uncer
305 BOO K REVIEWS tain hope that Meehan found in Jamess radical fieldwork. In the artist Rejin Leyss Wherever theres someone fighting (Fig. 6.11, p. 157), a boat with human feet takes wing and is framed by the iconography of the U.S. dollar bill. Flight, solidarity, and hope come together to rehumanize boat people as taking wing over the backgrounded barbed wire that fences them in, even as they are enframed imprisoned anew? by the U.S. dollar. Michael Aronnas chapter explores the testimonial genre in two books by Miguel Barnet. Like the owners of the feet in Leyss painting, the infor mants of these two testimonials are complex social figures who contradict themselves and frustrate those who seek redemption through a pure subaltern subject (p. 165). Aronna significantly complicates some postcolonial critics assertion that the testimonial genre upends old relations of power and pre sumably creates solidarity. Instead of seeing testimonial as providing a win dow into a reality and thereby raising consciousness, Aronna quotes Barnet on the genres ability to unravel reality (p. 165), throwing into question the documentary impulse of narrative nonfiction. Yolanda Martinez San Miguels essay explores the expression of dis placement and migration in Hispanic Caribbean music. If Caribbean peoples are distinguished by their own journeys and migrations, music as a form travels, and often makes travel geographic, metaphysical, interpersonal a core theme. Yet this chapter also insists on local and rooted interpretations of these traveling themes and the multiple significations of music even by those sharing a social space of displacement. The volume is accompanied by a posthumous afterword by Antonio Benitez Rojo, entitled The New Atlantis: The Ultimate Caribbean Archipelago. A manifesto for a new meta-archipelagic collaboration, it imagines an expansive and nonterritorially bound ocean territory. It also outlines what a history book of this New Atlantis might comprise. Benitez Rojos intellec tual legacy is clear in this volume, an elegant contribution to Caribbean dis course. Like Benitez Rojos corpus, this fine book strives toward a remapping of disciplinary, linguistic, and historical resources that may ultimately make his ultimate archipelago a space of continual transformation. It is a space in which, in order not to exile ourselves despite our displacements, we hold onto the towline that affirms that we are not sailing alone (p. 224).
306 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States: Essays on Incorporation, Identity, and Citizenship MARGARIT A CER VANTESRO DR GUEZ, RAMN GR OS F OGUEL & ER IC MIELAN T S (eds.). Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009. viii + 261 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.50) GE RT OOS T IN D IE KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
307 BOO K REVIEWS reflections on the concept of transnationalism, of which she is a pioneering theorist. The second section provides three contributions on state policies and migrants strategies. Michel Giraud discusses migrations from the dparte ments doutre-mer to France and points to the growing disenchantment of Caribbean citizens with enduring, perhaps increasing racism in the metrop olis. Eric Mielantss overview of Caribbean migration to the Netherlands stands out for the apparently apodictic conviction that Dutch society is racist to the core and that empirical research pointing to improvement over time only serves to conceal these hard facts. If that is the light shone by a colo niality of power paradigm, I could well do without it. The third contribution in this section, by Monique Milia-Marie-Luce, is a rather superficial com parison between Puerto Ricans in the United States and, again, Antilleans in France. Strangely, there is no chapter in this section on Caribbean migrants in the United Kingdom or the United States. The next part deals with identities, countercultures, and ethnic resil ience. The choice of contributions is arbitrary. The good news is that the three chapters are all interesting. Elizabeth Aranda discusses the southward migration of American Puerto Ricans to Florida, where they find a more cul turally and ethnically welcoming environment. Lisa Maya Knauer compares the trajectories of Cuban rumba in New York and Havana, demonstrating how participants in both places not only find joy in rumba (and santera ), but also use it to affirm their identity in both places, seldom to the enthusiasm of the authorities. Livio Sansone reports on the emergence of a transnational Afro-Surinamese popular culture. For those who are familiar with his work, there is not much new here, but otherwise the chapter, mainly based on his research in the early 1990s, is insightful. The final section is presented under the heading Incorporation, Entrepreneur ship, and Household Strategies and includes three contributions, again all of interest but arbitrarily chosen. John R. Logan and Wenquan Zhangs demographic and socioeconomic profiling of the Cuban and Dominican com munities in New York and Miami, set against some general statistics of the increasingly heterogeneous U.S. latino population, contrasts with the editors contribution in its ample use of hard empirical data. Laura Oso Casas pres ents a case study of Dominican female migrants in Spain and their struggle to maintain families back home at high personal cost. The book ends with an elegant chapter by Mary Chamberlain on the central place of kinship in West Indian transnational narratives. It struck me that the functioning of kinship is consistently discussed as an asset, even as the high incidence of femaleheaded households all over the Black Atlantic may suggest otherwise. Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States presents a mixed bag of articles, most of them of interest, but as an ensemble it has an arbitrary character. One would have liked the reviewers to worry a bit
308 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) less about their preferred paradigm and more about bringing coherence to this volume which as it is only provides partial insights into the fascinating complexity of Caribbean migrations. Home Cooking in the Global Village: Caribbean Food from Buccaneers to Ecotourists RICHA RD WIL K. Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2006. 286 pp. (Paper US$ 29.95) WILLIAM H FISHE R Department of Anthropology College of William and Mary Williamsburg VA 23187, U.S.A.
309 BOO K REVIEWS The book can best be described as a number of snapshots that high light issues surrounding food consumption and production in Belize. While each of the sections is compelling on its own, the chronological framework seemed to be used primarily as a device to order the chapters. This reader wished that more attention had been placed on the way that historical pro cesses detailed in earlier chapters shaped subsequent periods. The complexi ties and contradictions attending colonialism, extractivism, class and ethnic group formation, and underdevelopment were often discussed as if all could be encompassed by the concept of globalization, conceived primarily as the entangling of local and global, specific and general (p. 69) rather than as a historical process. The historical narrative begins in Chapter 3 with the early years of European extractive industries, including piracy, on the eastern side of the Yucatan and the Bay of Honduras in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Although the buccaneers gained fame as pirates, hunting was of paramount interest among them. Wilk points out that they actually grew some local veg etable foods and upheld standards of taste learned in Europe as they forged a working fellowship based on male bonding. Stored starch and meats, often imported or prepared for long storage through preserving or pickling, formed the privileged portion of their diet, while local foods were downplayed. Chapter 4, Slaves, Masters and Mahogany, convincingly argues that storable food, including canned goods imported from the metropole, consti tuted the first global diet. While such goods were consumed by many peo ple around the world, they were absolutely essential for logging and mining enterprises. Although superficially backward and rustic, extractivist enter prises that furnished natural resources essential to the industrial machine were themselves powered by mass production in the form of the food items consumed by their workers. Chapters 5 and 6 are largely devoted to detailing the structure of social class in the colony, including strategies of merchants and importers during the colonial period. Here a reading of newspapers, especially advertisements, forms the backbone of the material that Wilk unearthed, but he also intro duces other sources of interest, such as trade statistics and restaurant menus. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, Belizean society had assumed a recognizable profile in which the alignments of slaves, Whites, and free Coloreds overrode other existing identities and became reflected through the prism of consumption. In this case Creole foods could have become a kind of lingua franca, consumed by all in the colony only Wilk wants to contest this in favor of a view that sees the cuisine of all Belizeans of whatever class as being formed through a process of creolization (p. 125). Chapter 7 takes a step back and uses the case of Belize to reflect on the difficulties and pitfalls of developing food autonomy within a colonial con text and also considers the inevitable entanglements of culture and tastes
310 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) in the agitation for political independence. The books historical overview concludes, in Chapter 8, with a look at the way that outmigration and black nationalism, in particular, have helped to provide angles of vision from which the uniqueness of Belize is appealingly portrayed by a Belizean community that increasingly resides outside the country, particularly in the United States. As a discourse of cultural pride takes hold at home and abroad it serves as a basis for both nostalgia among migrants and the marketing of Belize as a tour ist destination, as well as a stimulus for the production of a greater variety of local Belizean brands. Wilk says that increasingly Belizeans refer to their land as The Jewel. The idea of a Belizean restaurant is no longer an anomaly. The material covered in this book is extensive and illustrative rather than exhaustive. In order to provide a framework for the material, different aspects of experience are stressed, so that at times the arguments appear to be a bit ad hoc. For instance, on page 43, in arguing for taste as a powerful conveyor of European values in the New World, the case is made that Taste is visceral, embedded in bodily experiences from childhood. While people have some control over it and can cultivate new tastes, they are more often subject to being ruled by their preferences and pleasures (p. 43). Later, in arguing for the changes wrought within colonial society, Wilk takes the opposite tack: the connection between culture and food, while deep, is very malleable and changeable. It is not fixed by biology, or even early upbringing. Through our lives we can change our tastes, and give up one diet for another (p. 71). From the foregoing, it is not clear just what role could not be ascribed to taste if the author so chose. The book will appeal to readers looking for a range of intriguing insights on the political economy of food and development, the meanings of food and its changing interconnection with national, class, and ethnic identities, as well as the implications that food has for other aspects of existence, which we can broadly call foodways. There are entertaining footnotes about a range of subjects, from the origin of the slow food movement to parrot-tongue pie and snipe hunting, all penned in what might be called vintage Wilk style. Belize is a small place: the official web site of its national government esti mates the countrys population at 300,000. 1 This book, then, serves as brief that small size is no barrier to intricacy and interest as far as food is concerned. 1. http://www.belize.gov.bz/ct.asp?xItem=428&CtNode=376&mp=27, accessed 4 June 2010.
311 BOO K REVIEWS Dead Man in Paradise: Unraveling a Murder from a Time of Revolution J. B MACKINNON. New York: The New Press, 2007. 272 pp. (Cloth US$ 24.95) ED WA RD PAULINO Department of History/Interdisciplinary Studies Program CUNY/John Jay College New York NY 10019, U.S.A.
312 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) way just how difficult it is to find the truth, which in the Dominican Republic travels the way of the serpent (p. 62). Although the truth turns out to be more complex than he originally thought, Mackinnon has (thankfully for us) written a riveting and compelling account a combination Caribbean who dunit, memoir, and travelogue. His quest to discover the real story behind his uncles murder, his travels in the Dominican Republic, and his keen eye for observation combine to give readers a fresh account of an otherwise rela tively obscure event in Dominican history. Some readers might be asking: But why should we care about this dead priest? So many other people lost their lives during the tumultuous years preceding, during, and following the 1965 U.S. invasion why is he so important? What Arturo represents is a voice that speaks beyond the grave, underscoring perhaps the most jarring aspect of this memoir of memory: the lack of soul cleansing in Dominican society in the aftermath of these events. Not just with this murder, but with a string of crimes that have not been solved and for which its perpetrators have not been brought to justice. From the crimes of Trujillo, such as the 1937 Haitian Massacre, to the little Dirty War under the Balaguer regime (the so-called semidictatorship) in the 1970s, perpetrators, like those who ordered the murder of Father Arturo, were never punished for their actions. Even more disturbing, many went on to hold positions of political and economic power, even to this day. As with any good piece of journalistic writing that utilizes ethnography, the Dominican voices in this story illuminate and anchor the narrative. For example, the account of the house-to-house fighting and savagery that took place during the 1965 U.S. invasion by Narciso Isa Conde, perhaps the most famous living Dominican leftist of that era, is as timely as ever. In light of the current American battlefronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, these interviews remind us of a long-neglected history of insurgency and counterinsurgency that lies outside the romanticized and mainstream American perception of the Dominican Republic. The book does have minor flaws. For example, the national meal (known as the flag, la bandera nacional ) is rice, beans, and meat, not stew with rice and salad (p. 15). And the current political party in office is the Partido de la Liberacin Dominicana, not the Democratic Liberation Party (p. 108). Father Joe McGuckin, the Scarboro priest who knew Arturo, told Mackinnon (p. 64), Thats the tendency of the rich, the powerful to kill a person, and to think theyll become irrelevant. Spill some blood. But if the people keep it alive, the blood never dries. It never dries. Thanks to J.B. Mackinnon the searing blood of those forgotten continues to run liquefied like a mighty lava stream from innumerable active volcanoes.
313 BOO K REVIEWS Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosa ALLEN WELLS Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2009. xxxiii + 447 pp. (Paper US$ 27.95) MICHAEL R. HALL Department of History Armstrong Atlantic State University Savannah GA 31419, U.S.A.
314 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) leading up to World War II and during the war is obvious. Less obviou s, however, are the motives that led the American and Dominican governments to back the plan. Wells provides a competent analysis of the motives behind support of the project by Trujillo and Roosevelt. Trujillo, by most accounts a brutal and corrupt authoritarian dictator, was infamous for his intolerance of political opposition in the Dominican Republic. The extent of his ruthless mistreatment of the thousands of Haitian cane cutters living in the Dominican Republic was fully revealed in 1937 when he allowed the butchering of 12,000 Haitians within his borders (p. xx). Trujillos support of the Jewish resettlement plan was partially an attempt to portray himself as a benevolent leader and to reestablish good rela tions with the United States. It was also, Wells contends, a plan to whiten the Dominican race and dilute the African footprint on Dominican society (p. xxii). Thus, although the dictators motives were less than altruistic, they did benefit Jews fleeing the Holocaust. In addition, Trujillo donated 26,000 hectares of land (which he had purchased from the United Fruit Company for $50,000 in 1938) to establish the settlement. Significantly, only a small portion of the land proved suitable for agriculture (p. 157). Perhaps the most revealing aspect of Wellss study is the evaluation of Roosevelts motives for supporting the resettlement program. In 1880, there were 250,000 Jews in the United States; by 1925, the number was over 4 mil lion. During the 1930s, bowing to public pressure, the Roosevelt administra tion refused to increase the immigration quota for European Jews. Therefore, in July 1938, to deflect criticism of restrictive U.S. immigration policies, Roosevelt convened a conference in vian, France, on the plight of refugees from Nazi Germany. Of the thirty-two nations that sent representatives, the Dominican Republic was the only one that agreed to open its doors to those fleeing Nazism (p. xxii). The Dominican Republic, a nation of 1.5 million people at the time, promised to receive up to 100,000 European refugees. Wells argues that Roosevelt understood that a successful Sosa would deflect attention away from Americas restrictive immigration policy (p. xxiv). After the war, more than half of the Jewish settlers, including Wellss father, took advantage of easier American immigration requirements and relocated to the United States. The remaining Jews in Sosa neverthe less were able to establish a viable agricultural community and continued to expand production of dairy products that were marketed throughout the Dominican Republic. The highest quality cheese and butter on the island was sold under the Productos Sosa label. According to Wells, the small agricultural settlement in the Dominican Republic represented a Zion in the tropics for Jews who yearned for places they could call and make their own (p. xxxi).
315 BOO K REVIEWS Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importers, a Haitian Anthro pologist, and Self-Making in Jamaica. GINA A ULYSSE Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. xvi +333 pp. (Paper US$ 22.00) JEAN BESSON Department of Anthropology Goldsmiths, University of London New Cross, London SE14 6NW, U.K. < firstname.lastname@example.org > As the title promises, and as Catharine Stimpsons foreword and Gina Ulysses introduction underline, this book is an auto-ethnography that combines a study of Informal Commercial Importers (ICIs) in Jamaicas capital city with reflec tions on the positionality of the American-trained black Haitian female eth nographer and the self-making strategies of both author and informants. The analysis deconstructs the derogatory stereotype of ICIs and the category of native ethnographer and highlights ICIs as socioeconomic players in a global market, going through cracks in the capitalist world-system. Following Stimpsons foreword and Ulysses acknowledgments, the book comprises an introduction, seven chapters, and a conclusion. The introduction scopes the study, based on fieldwork in the 1990s for an actor-oriented doc toral thesis, from a reflexive feminist perspective (p. 5), at the University of Michigan. Chapter 1 explores the dichotomy of uptown elite white ladies and downtown lower-class black women in Kingston, rooted in the history of racialized colonial plantation slavery. ICIs, though stereotyped as lowerclass black women, cross-cut these categories and are Downtown Ladies and class trouble (p. 15). Chapter 2 looks at the history of the Jamaican internal marketing system, originating in the trading of provision-ground pro duce by slaves and continuing after emancipation through female higglers (intermediaries). Informal commercial importing grew out of this background in the context of a global economic recession and local political constraints in the 1970s and regulation of ICIs in the 1980s. Chapter 3 is an auto-ethnographic quilt telling a nonlinear, polyrhyth mic story that will de-essentialize the black female subject, pluralize the native, and deconstruct the savage slot by positioning the author in relation to ICIs (pp. 98-99) in terms of color, class, and gender. In Chapter 4, this perspective nuances the differences among ICIs. Chapter 5 focuses on the market arcade in relation to ethnicities, gang violence, male public space, and class-specific territories in the city. Chapter 6 takes the reader, along with the author and ICIs, on a shopping trip to Miami and examines the impact on ICIs of the drugs trafficking that is an outcome of neoliberal
316 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) globalization. This chapter also shows ICIs as black females maneuvering in a fragmented globality that historically favored the North (p. 210) and as actors in a moral economy with a personal sense of history. Chapter 7 explores self-making through style, dress, shoes, and hair in relation to ICIs, dancehall, and the ethnographer in contexts of color, class, and gender. The concluding Brawta, a concept borrowed from higglers indicating a little extra something (p. 251), wraps up the story of ICIs as lower-class females confronting and outmaneuvering the state, big business, and civil society to make a life for themselves (p. 251) and reflects on their futures in Jamaica. However, having myself worked with higglers and ICIs as part of a wider ethnography of Jamaican culture (Besson 1974, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007) and having written a reflexive preface to my monograph (2002: xxi-xxxi), I found several disconnections with the ethnography of Jamaica. Despite ICIs and their bend down plazas (p. 80) evolving from higglering, there is little in the book about the links among ICIs and higglers (who contrary to Ulysses contention are not disappearing), or between the urban arcade and the enduring network of rural marketplaces throughout Jamaica. As I have studied (1969-2009) the Falmouth marketplace, Jamaicas largest rural market established by slaves that has burgeoned as a bend down market attracting ICIs since the 1980s, I was puzzled to find only brief reference to this market which is nevertheless significant to ICIs (pp. 137-38). I was also surprised to read the oversimplified description of Falmouth market (which Ulysse apparently did not visit) as a wholesale market (p. 138). The state ment that Falmouth market closed in 1997 (p. 137) is puzzling, since it was thriving when I revisited it up to 2009. Likewise the map of Jamaica show ing a single road from Kingston to Falmouth (p. 161) evokes no comment by Ulysse. My own long-term study of Jamaican marketing is not mentioned despite her long, uncontextualized quotation from my book (2002) on part ners in a footnote (pp. 277-78, note 15). The prominence of females among higglers and ICIs needs more rigor ous exploration (see Besson 1998, 2002, 2003), given Ulysses contradictory assertions that this role results from African retention and socioeconomic change in Jamaica (pp. 66-67), and there is no mention of the links between slave marketing and gendered cognatic descent. In addition, despite Sidney Mintzs extensive pioneering research on the Jamaican (and Haitian) market ing system since 1955, there is little reference to his research; instead, works by Margaret Fisher Katzin (1959) and Victoria Durant-Gonzalez (1976) are portrayed as the pioneering studies. There is no reference to Huon Wardles ethnography of street life, dislocation, globalization, and gender in the same area of Kingston (Wardle 2000, 2005, 2006) and the significance of the cell phone (p. 176) for social networking (Horst & Miller 2005) is overlooked. As Ulysse highlights her own positionality and asserts that Generally, reflexivity is not a common practice among Caribbean ethnographers (p.
317 BOO K REVIEWS 121), I found it puzzling that she makes no reference to my own reflex ive preface (Besson 2002) which addresses this as a U.K.-trained Jamaican anthropologist. Likewise, given her repeated positioning of other anthropolo gists as black or white, I was mystified to be referred to simply as anthro pologist Jean Besson (p. 278, note 20) as I emphasized my own positional ity as a Colored Jamaican in my preface. In addition, Ulysses discussion of Whites and White Jamaicans in contrast to Jamaica Whites is unclear (p. 35). RE F E R ENCES BESSON, JEAN 1974. Land Tenure and Kinship in a Jamaican Village Ph.D. dissertation, University of Edinburgh. , 1998. Changing Perceptions of Gender in the Caribbean Region: The Case of the Jamaican Peasantry. In Christine Barrow (ed.), Caribbean Portraits: Essays on Gender Ideologies and Identities. Kingston: Ian Randle, pp. 133-55. , 2002. Martha Braes Two Histories: European Expansion and Caribbean CultureBuilding in Jamaica. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. , 2003. Gender and Development in the Jamaican Small-Scale Marketing System: From the 1660s to the Millennium and Beyond. In David Barker & Duncan McGregor (eds.), Resources, Planning and Environmental Management in a Changing Caribbean Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, pp. 11-35. , 2007. Squatting as a Strategy for Land Settlement and Sustainable Development. In Jean Besson and Janet Momsen (eds.), Caribbean Land and Development Revisited New York: Palgrave, pp. 135-46. DURANT-GONZALEZ, VICT ORIA 1976. Role and Status of Rural Jamaican Women: Higglering and Mothering. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley HO R S T, HEA T HE R & DANIEL MILLE R 2005. From Kinship to Link-up: Cell Phones and Social Networking in Jamaica. Current Anthropology 46(5):755-78. KA T ZIN, MA R GA R E T FISHE R 1959. The Jamaican Country Higgler. Social and Economic Studies 8(4):424-35. MINTZ, SIDNEY W ., 1955. The Jamaican Internal Marketing Pattern: Some Notes and Hypotheses. Social and Economic Studies 4(1):95-103. WARDLE, HUON 2000. An Ethnography of Cosmopolitanism in Kingston, Jamaica Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen Press. 2005. A City of Meanings: Place and Displacement in Urban Jamaican Self-Framings. In Jean Besson & Karen Fog Olwig (eds.), Caribbean Narratives of Belonging: Fields of Relations, Sites of Identity Oxford: Macmillan, pp. 79-93.
318 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) 2006. The Dynamics of Three-Directional Culture in Kingston, Jamaica. In Jonathan Skinner & Mils Hills (eds.), Managing Island Life: Social, Economic and Political Dimensions of Formality and Informality in Island Communities Dundee, U.K.: University of Abertay Press, pp. 139-57. Une ethnologue Port-au-Prince: Question de couleur et luttes pour le classe ment socio-racial dans la capitale hatienne. NA T ACHA GIAFFERIDOMB R E. Paris: LHarmattan, 2007. 292 pp. (Paper 26.50) CA T HE R INE BENO T Anthropology Department Connecticut College New London CT 06320, U.S.A.
319 BOO K REVIEWS Giafferis central thesis is that despite a political history that encour aged the promotion and access to political power of either Mulattos or black groups, there has been no change over time in the racial perceptions of each other that Port-au-Princians have today. In that sense Giafferi argues against the idea that the political question of color had disappeared in 1986 with the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier and continued to survive only at the level of private relationships. On a theoretical level she defends a cultural position in opposition to the racial or social approaches that prevailed in the analysis of, first, the prejudice of color ( colorisme in French) and second, the ideology of color (the political use of the prejudice of color) in Haiti. The persistence of the prejudice of color conceals a powerful symbolic system that the usual historical classist approaches have not evaluated. The book analzyes the history of the prejudice of color starting with the edifying classification and nomenclature of Moreau de Saint-Mry who designed a racial classification based on the percentage of black and white blood an individual has, all Haitians having 128 units of black and/or white blood depending on their origins. In this classification, a pure white person has 128 units of white blood while a pure black person has 128 units of black blood, and any mixed-race individual is defined by a term which refers to the percentage of black blood. Giafferi argues that if changes in political organization from slavery to republicanism, dictatorship, and democracy have not affected racial perceptions, the current classification and terminology refer less to a biological reality than to a social and cultural one. The category of color no longer indicates a supposed biological percent age of white and black blood but refers rather to ones physical charac teristics, moral qualities, and social and cultural position. Drawing on analy ses of Jean Baudrillard and Pierre Bourdieu regarding the social perception and construction of the body (p. 139), Giafferi argues that the postcolonial Haitian body belongs to what Baudrillard has called a functional aesthetics according to which the skin [becomes] the transparent film which vitrifies the body (Baudrillard 1976:155, 162). The body is, as Bourdieu framed it so well, a language by which one is spoken to rather than one which we speak about (Bourdieu 1977:51). The current nomenclature is thus a forest of signs that puts on stage the history of Haiti. It includes the categories of Mulatto light, red, white, or yellow grimauds chabins Blacks, albinos, Whites, and Orientals. Giafferi analyzes the history of each category, the physical characteristics it defines, the positive or negative moral values associated with it, and its gender conno tation. She stresses the subtleties and differences in the terminology accord ing to the social and cultural position of the interlocutor. Each category of color refers to the biological, cultural, and social history of the individual which binds within it the social, religious, and political history of Haiti. For all these reasons the prejudice of color can only endure.
320 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) RE F E R ENCES BAU DR ILLA RD, JEAN, 1976. Lchange symbolique et la mort Paris: Gallimard. BOURDIEU, PIERRE 1977. Remarques provisoires sur la perception sociale du corps. Actes de la Recherche en Science Sociales 14:51-54. KOVA T SBE R NA T, J. CH R IS T OPHE R 2006. Sleeping Rough in Port-au-Prince: An Ethnography of Street Children & Violence in Haiti Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, and Reality PA TR IC K BELLEGA RD ESMI T H & CLAUDINE MICHEL (eds.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. xxvii + 161 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95) SUSAN KWOSE K Department of History Northern Illinois University DeKalb IL 60115, U.S.A.
321 BOO K REVIEWS insights and/or fresh perspectives Michels discussion of the educational ethos of Vodou, Beauvoirs explication of medicinal herbalism in Vodou, the exposition of womens voices in Vodou by Bellegarde-Smith, Michel, and Racine-Toussaint others appear fundamentally flawed or underdeveloped. Montiluss credibility is undermined in his examination of personhood in Vodou by his written approach which effectively denies the personhood of his research participants. He addresses the question of personhood based on his personal experience (p. 6) in a number of West African and Haitian societies, yet never acknowledges any individual or group by name, location, or date, leaving readers only a bland composite (they) that is apparently the product of his own experiences unsubstantiated and unaffirmed by any of the individu als on which he based his understanding of Vodou personhood. Additionally, he derives much of his analysis from linguistic comparisons between Haitian Creole, inherited French phrases still in use in Haiti, and a number of West African languages, yet he fails to cite the sources of his linguistic conclusions or, if the linguistic deductions are his own, to explicate his methods. Other essays demonstrate a similar lack of citation and evidentiary sup port. Bellegarde-Smith makes a number of unsubstantiated assertions such as Haiti remains the most Africanized country in the Caribbean (p. 21) appar ently based on the number of slaves in Saint-Domingue born in Africa at the time of the Haitian Revolution, but with no basis for the claim that the country is highly Africanized today. He also states that the evidence sur rounding the role of Vodou in the Haitian Revolution and in the history of the nations early years is incontrovertible (p. 25) and that historians are slowly recognizing the ideological significance of Vodou in the war of liberation at the end of the eighteenth century, in the guerilla warfare against the United States Marine Corps during the years of the American occupation of Haiti in the 1920s, and in the overthrow of the Duvalier dynastic dictatorship in the mid-1980s (p. 29), yet fails to explain what evidence exists and which histo rians have been swayed by it. His statements that Vodou is a creole religion while Santera and Candombl are clearly more syncretic (p. 26) are not only unexplicated but also inconsistent with the lament that he and his coeditor Michel made earlier that a devastating blow came with the imposition of the concept of syncretism, as if not all human systems demonstrated bor rowing and adaptations and as if Africans were unable to produce an original thought (p. xxiv). That he should apply this same devastating analytical concept to two other Afro-Caribbean religions is extremely capricious. In addition to a paucity of evidence for certain claims, a major issue throughout the volume is the conflation of a number of West and Central African ethnic groups into a mythical African identity. Michel asserts that Vodou, with its focus on conflict resolution within the family, uses African spirituality (p. 35) to help assure the familys survival. She also maintains that religious and moral principles in Haiti are still transmitted in the African
322 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) style (p. 36) and that the Vodou family is immersed in the values ema nating from the African ethos (pp. 41-42). Michel, Bellegarde-Smith, and Racine-Toussaint likewise state that Vodou is deeply rooted in traditional African systems (p. 73). Given the number of indigenous ethnic groups in Africa and the diversity between them, these scholars would have been bet ter served by naming the particular groups and the specific aspects of their sociospiritual systems that were disseminated to Haitian Vodou and which remain observable today. Significantly missing from this invented African identity is any acknowledgement of the Central African societies which were already Catholic by the time of the Atlantic slave trade and from which a seg ment of the slave population arrived in Haiti having converted to Catholicism by choice in their homelands. By the omission of data such as this, several authors are able to create fictitious adversarial dichotomies between the cat egories of African/European, good/evil, and authentic/imposed. Although Haitian Vodou contains valuable information and fresh insight into many aspects of a much-maligned religion, this is nearly obfuscated beneath the blatant sociopolitical agenda of several of the volumes authors. Although the contributions of various African ethnic groups to Vodou have, in the past, been subordinated to its Catholic/European components, in many ways the scholars included in this collection of essays go too far in the oppo site direction in their attempts to rectify the incorrect assertions of earlier academics. By ignoring these European-derived contributions to Vodou and overprivileging a romantic African ethos, their analyses of Vodou remain unbalanced and provide a view of Haitians and Haitian Vodou that is not necessarily any more accurate than the Eurocentric analyses of the past. Cuba: Religion, Social Capital, and Development. ADRIAN H. HEARN. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2008. viii+ 222 pp. (Paper US$ 22.95) NA D INE FE R NAN D EZ Central New York Center SUNY Empire State College East Syracuse NY 13057-1058, U.S.A. < Nadine.Fernandez@esc.edu > In this clear and concisely written ethnography, Adrian Hearn examines grass-roots community-based initiatives in Cuba and their relationship to the Cuban state and international development agencies. His work speaks
323 BOO K REVIEWS to both anthropology and development studies, as he explores how the eco nomic crisis of the 1990s forced the Cuban state to become more open to community-based groups and projects. Furthermore, the state has attempte d to incorporate community efforts into official state-sponsored programs through urban planning institutions. Hearn argues that over the last decade community groups have strengthened their ability to represent themselves, and he argues that understanding their broadening capacities is key to grasp ing the character and potentials of civil society in Cuba. Theoretically he positions his work within the debate about whether or not social capital, as a resource, can help disadvantaged communities generate new opportuni ties. His work extends this discussion by exploring how local initiatives are dependent on the integration of different dimensions of social capital. In some of the community projects he analyzes, the partnerships with the state brought the groups recognition and empowerment, while in others the statecommunity engagements transformed locally respected participatory asso ciations into socially disconnected platforms for accomplishing instrumental, short-term objectives with little administrative autonomy (p. 11). Hearns balanced account of the possibilities and limitations of these state-grass-roots collaborations and foreign NGO partnerships is among the books strengths. Many of the local grass-roots initiatives he explores are by communitybased Afro-Cuban religious associations. Interestingly, while Afro-Cuban religions figure prominently within the structure of his argument, he provides little background information on these religious practices. Readers should be clear that the book is not about Afro-Cuban religions as belief systems, but rather about religious groups as an expression of civil society and a vehicle for grass-roots community development. That said, Hearn does provide an excellent examination of the often problematic relationship between AfroCuban religions and the growing tourism market. Foreign tourists are drawn to the exotic religious traditions and many people both on and off the island have criticized the tendency to commercialize these religious prac tices. Some of the community groups Hearn discusses struggle with the ten sions between, on the one hand, protecting and serving local interests and community needs, and on the other catering to foreign tourists as a means of earning much-needed hard currency. As tourism continues to fuel the Cuban economy, the marketing of Afro-Cuban culture is an essential issue. Hearns book provides a nuanced perspective on difficulties of maintaining the integ rity of these religious practices while meeting the interests of tourists. While Hearn reflects on the commercialization of these religious prac tices, he might have done more to problematize the exotic appeal that these traditions have for foreign tourists in the context of global imaginings of blackness. The relationship of some of these projects to the growing tourism market on the island could have been more fully explored. It is fascinat ing that these still marginal barrios can now draw on their blackness as
324 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) a source of authenticity which can attract foreign attention and potentially money. The symbolic connotations of blackness as constructed both locally and globally and the strong appeal the Afro-Cuban cultural practices have for international audiences present a rich confluence of issues only hinted at in this book. With his prominent focus on community-based projects involving AfroCuban religions, it is interesting that Hearn only very briefly touches on issues of race relations and racism on the island (pp. 54-56). In one sense tourism has brought a positive re-engagement with Afro-Cuban traditions that have at times in Cuban history been banned and perceived as atavis tic, yet in another sense this growing marketability is very much based on the otherness of these practices. Hearns work leaves us wondering about the implications these new dynamics may have for race relations as a lived reality on the island, as well as for constructions of national identity and Cubanness ( cubanidad ). Many of the community projects he discusses are based in poor and socially marginal, predominantly black barrios By not directly addressing the racial component, we lose some of the richness and complexity of these projects and the larger implications they may have for community development and potentially for civic mobilizations by racial groups on the island. The book also provides an insiders perspective on the challenges for eign NGOs face in dealing with complex, bureaucratic state agencies. Again, in this regard Hearn explores successful partnerships and others that were more problematic. His even-handed presentation provides insights into how clashing interpretations of civil society and the role of the state can create obstacles for foreign NGOs working in Cuba, while he also highlights suc cessful strategies used by some development agencies. Overall, the strength of the book lies in Hearns thorough and balanced account of numerous grass-roots initiatives on the island, and their relation ship to the state and to foreign NGOs. Readers interested in development issues will be well served by the clarity of his argument about civil society and community-based projects. Even readers with little background knowl edge of the island will find Hearns work accessible and engaging.
325 BOO K REVIEWS Mek Some Noise: Gospel Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad. TIMOTHY ROMMEN. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. xii + 217 pp. (Paper US$ 22.95) DANIEL A SEGAL Center for Social Inquiry Pitzer College Claremont CA 91711, U.S.A.
326 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) distribution of the two broad groupings of gospel musics, between the two social contexts of worship services and concerts. Rommen argues persuasively, in my judgment that the gospel musics that bear a nonlocal and metropolitan identity are sound-symbols of both the unity of all believers and other-worldly purity. These musics represent all believers because their sociogeographic identities index the large supplement of believers beyond the local. By standing for the absent, they stand for the whole; and by standing for the whole, they stand, as well, for its unity that is, for the unity of the church understood as the totality of all believers. These musics thus represent the unity and harmony that believers expect from the church, even as they experience discord both within and between Full Gospel congregations locally as they inevitably do. In addition, as musics identi fied with sites both distant from and antithetical to the local, these musics are heard as antitheses to local musics, which are associated with sinful bac chanal (specifically, licentiousness and the use of both alcohol and drugs). These nonlocal gospel musics thus represent the ideal of other-worldly puri ty, as well as the ideal of unity and harmony. For this cluster of reasons, these nonlocal gospel musics are embraced as the appropriate ones for worship services, that is, as the appropriate musics to be performed and heard inside Full Gospel churches. The meanings of the second broad grouping of gospel musics gospelyps o, dancehall gospel, and jamoo are in many ways the mirror image of the meanings of musics of worship services. The former are local in identity and are registered, more specifically, as variants of established local and secular musical genres. As a result, the leaders and stalwarts of Full Gospel churches hear these local-identified gospel musics as too sinful and worldly to be performed inside their churches, even though their lyrics pro claim the Gospel and preach against sinful conduct. Yet, despite being barred from Full Gospel churches, these local gospel musics are heard to the con sternation of the strictest Full Gospel ears as doing the important work of reaching outward to promote the Gospel among those who have not yet been brought into the church. So too, these musics are at once heard and valued as repudiations of the derogation of the local by dominant, colonialis t dis courses. Rommen shows, in short, that the division and distribution of gospel musics is structured by an interplay of two semiotic distinctions: local/nonlo cal and worldly/other-worldly. Fused together, these distinctions produce two broad groupings of gospel musics, each of which is valued by believers, albeit in different and irreconcilable ways (p. 151). In the absence of any syn thesis of the different values they represent, the two groupings are performed in complementary contexts: worship services and concerts. Generally speaking, ethnomusicology as a field of inquiry attracts people who are themselves accomplished musicians, and on this basis, many ethno
327 BOO K REVIEWS musicologists end up as participants in the musical activities they study. This is the case for Rommen, who reports that he performed on guitar at many of the events he discusses in his text. Importantly, however, these events were religious as well as musical and while such insider-participation by an eth nographer is a commonplace in studies of music, it is anything but common in studies of religion. This is in part because the secular character of modern scholarship limits scholars from assuming the subject position of a believer, even if they are religious; and it is in part because entering another religion is a highly constrained act in our world, while entering another music is, by contrast, a widely encouraged mode of cultural appreciation. The relevant point here is that as an ethnographic study of religion, Rommens book is unusual for how much it speaks from an insiders vantage. The pay-off is that Rommens accounts are unusually fine-grained, even inti mate. At the same time, a prominent weakness of the book is that Rommen sticks too exclusively to an insiders vantage and does not do enough to com municate across difference. In discussing the musical staples of Full Gospel worship services, for instance, Rommen speaks of hymns and choruses as the two main musical elements of Protestant worship services. Yet at no point does he unpack this transnational distinction of Protestant musics. Here, and in many other places, Rommens text speaks to readers as if they were already immersed in Protestant Christianities. Rommen similarly bypasses perspectives that are fully within Trinidad but outside of the Full Gospel community. It is characteristic of this book, for example, that it tells us how Full Gospel Christians perceive Spiritual Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and Catholics in Trinidad but says not a word about the vice versa. An additional problem is that its most theoretical passages are not com pletely clear. This is particularly true in regard to the phrase the ethics of style, which Rommen features in his subtitle. At times, the phrase seems to be used to identify something to be studied (e.g., the ethical dimensions of musical styles); yet at other times, Rommen speaks of the ethics of style as an analytic paradigm, which is to say as a mode of analysis rather than a topic (p. 27). Even after reading all of the relevant passages several times, I was unable to pin down just how the phrase is used in this book. Two elements of the books production its haphazard index and the absence of a CD with musical examples are also disappointing. In the end, then, this is a worthwhile book that one wishes were even better.
328 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) Routes and Roots: Navigating Caribbean and Pacific Island Literatures. ELIZABE T H M DELOUGH R EY Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007. xv + 334 pp. (Cloth US$ 49.00) AN T HONY CA RR IGAN School of Humanities Keele University Staffordshire ST5 5BG, U.K.
329 BOO K REVIEWS share a complex history of migration patterns before and after colonization (p. 6). One of the challenges DeLoughrey grapples with in reading island literatures via a tidalectic of land and sea, ex-isle and settlement, centers on negotiating a number of overlapping discourses. In order to find points of connection or translation between hugely varied regions, she attends to the role language plays in constructing island identity. This leads her to navigate between an array of discursive ensembles as she refers variously to the grammar of empire (p. 8), the grammar of diaspora (pp. 8, 125), the grammar of indigenous ontology (p. 125), the grammar of sexual fluids and exchange (p. 143), and the maritime grammar of peoples of the sea (p. 30). While these linguistic codes are not always commensurate, DeLoughrey explores how they collectively contribute to an overarching grammar of the transoceanic imaginary (p. 270), highlighting the ways in which tropical island cultures have helped constitute the very metropoles that have deemed them peripheral to modernity (p. 4). The book begins with an extensive Introduction in which DeLoughrey considers key cultural and ecological changes experienced in both Caribbean and Pacific regions as a result of globalization and oceanic territorialization. Chapters 1 and 2 are then grouped under the heading The Sea Is History: Transoceanic Diasporas. They focus independently on the Atlantic Middle Passage, which introduces the sea as a dynamic space of cultural, ontologi cal, and historical origins (p. 42) through a reading of John Hearnes The Sure Salvation (1981), and on how Pacific voyaging traditions have been engaged in different ways by the military, anthropology, and indigenous lit eratures (p. 97), making reference to works by Thor Heyerdahl, Vincent Eri, and Tom Davis. Part II, Indigenous Landscapes and National Settlements, begins by focusing on writing produced in Aotearoa/New Zealand, with Chapters 3 and 4 addressing representations of genealogy or whakapapa in texts by June Mitchell and Keri Hulme, and urban indigeneity and global ization in Albert Wendts Black Rainbow (1992). Chapter 5 returns to the Caribbean, discussing how Michelle Cliff and Merle Collins interweave the indigenous presence of Carib and Arawak peoples in the region with black nationalist discourse. While poetry appears throughout Routes and Roots novels constitute the main focus of DeLoughreys meticulous close readings. One of the most rewarding aspects of the books Introduction is the way in which DeLoughrey enacts her rationale for cross-regional comparison by assimilating a wealth of evidence from Caribbean and Pacific prose, poetry, and theory. Her pri mary focus on creative manipulations of prose form in the subsequent five chapters might therefore have been enhanced by exploring comparable inno vations in poetry or within dramatic productions. The fact that DeLoughreys study makes no mention of drama seems a significant omission given the rich performance cultures of both island regions. Readers may also find it
330 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) strange that despite the Introductions impressive navigation of cross-region al epistemologies, the books structure tends to separate the Caribbean and the Pacific, alluding to points of commensurability rather than achieving sus tained dialogue. As postcolonial islands experience similar pressures in the form of globalized development, militarization, tourism, and climate change, there seems to be ample scope for drawing bolder connections across regions in terms of literary analysis as well as epistemology. Such criticisms highlight the difficulty of achieving the ambitious project DeLoughrey pursues in Routes and Roots However, they do not detract from the consistent sense of illumination provided by her original methodologi cal approach. Neither do they mar the studys expansive contribution to a burgeoning notion of postcolonial literary geography. DeLoughreys work speaks clearly to a number of exciting developments in postcolonial studies and island research, extending interdisciplinary considerations of entwined social and natural histories. In so doing, it sets a benchmark for comparative scholarship of this type. RE F E R ENCES H EA R NE, J OHN 1981. The Sure Salvation London: Faber. W EN DT, A LBE RT, 1992. Black Rainbow Auckland & New York: Penguin Books. Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha: Queer Black Marxism and the Harlem Renaissance GAR Y EDWARD HOLCOMB Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007. xiv + 273 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) BR EN T HAYES ED WA RD S Department of English and Comparative Literature Center for Jazz Studies Columbia University New York NY 10027, U.S.A.
331 BOO K REVIEWS internationalism that animated global politics after World War I, has become central in recent discussions both of the transnational contours of interwar black culture and of the history of black radicalism. A number of works have taken up the complex relationship between McKays itinerant career and his committed radicalism from various angles. William J. Maxwell touches on McKays links to the literary communist scene in New York in New Negro, Old Left: African-American Writing and Communism between the Wars (1999), while Winston Jamess A Fierce Hatred of Injustice: Claude McKays Jamaican Poetry of Rebellion (2000) argues that McKays early dialect poet ry can be read for clues to his emerging radical consciousness. McKays place in the vibrant Caribbean intelligentsia in the 1920s is considered in Michelle Stephenss Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914-1962 (2005); Kate Baldwin takes up McKays visit to Moscow in 1922 for the Fourth Congress of the Comintern in her Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain: Reading Encounters between Black and Red, 1922-1963 (2002); and I consider his interactions with Francophone writers and labor organizers in Marseilles in the late 1920s in The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (2003). Just as the publication in 1994 of the collected poetry of Langston Hughes has slowly expanded the range of criticism on Hughess work, the appearance a few years ago of Maxwells authoritative and densely annotated Complete Poems should provoke more scholars to follow the model of Josh Gosciaks The Shadowed Country: Claude McKay and the Romance of the Victorians (2006) in offering considerations of the contours of McKays poetics. Gary Edward Holcombs eye-opening Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha is a provocative contribution to this scholarly dialog. Like Barbara Foleys work on Jean Toomer and Ralph Ellison, Holcombs book reasserts the pri macy and depth of McKays early Marxism, which cannot be dismissed or overlooked simply because McKay repudiated communism at the end of his life (p. 8). Although Holcomb does not investigate the available Russianlanguage sources (as Baldwin, for example, does), his book is the first liter ary study of McKay to consider in detail McKays FBI files, which until now had been known primarily through the work of historians of American antiradicalism such as Theodore Kornweibel. His title is culled from an ellip tical reference in one 1923 letter in the files concerning a delegate to the Fourth Congress of the International, Sasha or Sayesh, who spoke about the necessity for propaganda among the American negroes (quoted on p. 20). Holcombs monograph is significant first of all in the way it uses the FBI files to question the accuracy and reliability of McKays autobiogra phy, A Long Way from Home (1937). Although McKay there claims that Sasha was the code name of an American who was also in Moscow for the Comintern Congress, Holcomb suggests that it may have been McKays own
332 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) secret moniker, and indeed that he may have had good reasons in the late 1930s to conceal his earlier affiliation, if not with the American Communist Party itself then with left-leaning organizations like the African Blood Brotherhood and the Industrial Workers of the World. This is a rather delicate enterprise because it risks taking the sometimes fanciful conjectures in the FBI files as documented fact against the puta tive dissimulation in A Long Way from Home Moreover, Holcomb accred its the autobiography with insight and honesty when it suits his purposes, as in his smart and intriguing discussion of McKays intimate relationship with a small-time criminal in New York named Michael (pp. 78-90). At the same time, Holcombs caution does draw our attention to some of the formal peculiarities of McKays impressionistic narrative, which indeed displays a fascination with spy-craft on a number of levels. A Long Way from Home Holcomb convincingly argues (p. 43), is composed of looping narratives of spying and secrecy, subterfuge and surveillance, denouncing and divulging, being renounced and being revealed. The narrative presents such scenes as illuminating, as moments in the text where the narrator demonstrates candor and implies impos ing order over chaos. Ultimately, however, these passages, as isolated moments accumulate over the terrain of 350-plus pages, accrue to create a form of extensive obscurity. Holcomb suggests that McKay was writing his autobiography in full aware ness of government surveillance and suspicion that would culminate in his being brought before Martin Diess House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1939 to discuss his subversive leanings. This is a reminder that McKays autobiography like the black autobiographies written two decades later under the pressures of McCarthy era, such as Hughess 1956 I Wonder as I Wander must be approached with circumspection rather than assumed to be transparent. The other key contribution of Holcombs study is his final chapter on McKays unpublished novel Romance in Marseilles written between 1929 and 1932, which goes beyond Banjo McKays better-known 1929 book, in its depictions of same-sex relationships and labor organizing among the ephemeral communities of black and brown dockers, sailors, musicians, and sex workers who gravitated to the Southern French port city. Holcomb may overstate matters in his claim that McKays novels Home to Harlem (1928), Banjo and Romance in Marseilles must be read as a queer black Marxist prolegomena, a three-volume manifesto (p. 19). (Enthralled with this notion, he calls the books a queer black Marxist novel mnage a trois [p. 19] on one page and three brotherly novels [p. 20] on the next.) Holcomb contends that McKay was drawn to the idea of generating cycles of works in
333 BOO K REVIEWS related sets of three (p. 17), but he offers no evidence either of this proposi tion or of the suggestion that McKay himself ever described these books as a trilogy. Nevertheless, Holcombs reading of Romance in Marseilles a short man uscript based in part on the tragic story of an African seaman McKay knew, is significant in that it demonstrates the centrality of nonnormative sexuality in his radical sensibility. This is an issue that no other scholar has consid ered with such ardor and commitment. (Indeed, as Holcomb points out, there are a number of influential works on McKay where sexuality is not even discussed.) The point is not so much the precise range of McKays sexual preference although there is evidence that he had affairs with both men and women as it is the degree to which for McKay a queer sensibility, like black nationalism and Marxism, is a force against reactionary imperialist hegemony (p. 12). McKay is a queer writer, Holcomb explains, in the sense that the transgressive idiom of queer resists succumbing to an interroga tion that would make the primary focus on a literary artist unambiguous understandable, redactable, attainable according to clinical or sociological taxonomies. Queer does not merely articulate a sexual orientation or prefer ence or even a social identity or classification, but instead the resistance to normative classification and the status quo on every level (p. 12). Another word that McKay employed habitually in something like this sense is vagabond, and certainly his errancy his flight from any security of location or belonging is one of his more striking characteristics. But Holcomb, reading a succession of what seem at first to be minor moments in Home to Harlem Banjo and Romance in Marseilles proves that McKays unsettled wandering is as much a matter of desire as of national borders and literary genres. Holcomb reminds us that part of McKays attraction to Morocco when he lived there in the early 1930s had to do with Tangiers status as a sort of queer refuge that drew any number of gay artists (includ ing the novelists Charles Henri Ford and Paul Bowles). At the same time, if we are indeed meant to read Romance in Marseilles as a sort of postscript to or revisiting of the themes of Banjo it is interesting that McKay doesnt ever seem to have tried to write a novel set in North Africa; for whatever reason, Marseilles remained the paradigmatic setting for his imaginings of black international romance. Holcomb frames his project by noting the difficulty of classifying McKay in the received terms of literary or cultural history (p. 3): He is the politically trailblazing black nationalist poet, yet a little mystify ing and unacceptable because of his dedication to Communism. Although he is an unquestionably essential New Negro figure, he is perplexing and difficult to classify within the Harlem Renaissance historical chronotope. Unlike Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown, he did not generate folk ver
334 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) nacular verse pieces during the 1920s. His celebration of black primitiv ism, moreover, understandably discomfits contemporary views of black essentialism. Furthermore, his lengthy residence abroad still complicates his credentials as a Harlem Renaissance author. Generally speaking, the McKay currently familiar to the world is an anomalous pastiche of fre quently incompatible identities. This bewildering mix of elements is one of the main difficulties in confront ing McKays life and work. Although Holcombs book is useful in offering new strategies for navigating this treacherous issue, particularly with regard to queerness, Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha is sometimes overly accu mulative, tending simply to add classifications, one after another, instead of working through the complex ways they are interwoven. Holcomb repeatedl y resorts to lists Communism, anarchism, anticolonialism, queer struggle, and related forms of dangerous dissidence (p. 56) without always taking the time to discuss how forms of dissidence might be very different, and even contradictory, especially in the ways they are practiced and institutionalized. For instance, Holcomb rather perplexingly calls McKay both a Trotskyist and an anarchist, sometimes in the same sentence. He writes bluntly that from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, McKay pursued a Trotskyist dedication to the proposition of permanent revolution and anar chism, though dialectically translated in such a way that ethnic nationalism and Marxist internationalism do not when paired up become mutually abso lutist (p. 169). The men did meet when McKay was in Moscow in 1922, and Trotsky even published an article titled Answers to Comrade Claude MacKay in Izvestia in February 1923. But aside from the warm descrip tion of the encounter in A Long Way from Home where is the evidence that McKay called himself a follower of Trotsky, especially after the latters exile? Even if McKay were an adherent of the Fourth International, how would it be possible to be an anarchist at the same time? Holcomb only cites one passage from Banjo that uses the word: the Haitian writer Ray, con templating the rude anarchy of the lives of the black boys loafing, singing, bumming, dancing, loving, working, realizes how close-linked he was to them in spirit ( Banjo p. 324). But how can this be described as a program matic call for what Holcomb terms anarchist revolution (p. 158)? Sometimes this accumulative fervor results in a welter of intrigue, as when Holcomb opines that McKay almost certainly used Morocco to duck American surveillance, if not worse (p. 40) and then, a few pages later, makes the Jamaican sound like a priority of the Stalinist purges as well: it is likely that McKay, the black Trotskyist, was holing up in remote Fez, Marrakesh, and Tangier, lying low in an effort to stay below the Stalinist radar anxious that if exposed he would experience the same deadly fate that his idol Trotsky was destined to suffer in exile (p. 58). Sometimes it
335 BOO K REVIEWS results in incomprehensible interpretative slips, as when Holcomb, describ ing McKays best-known poem, If We Must Die (1919) says that the poems first-person subjectivity swings pendulously between black and radi cal voices even though the poem never refers explicitly to blackness or to race. (Thus Winston Churchill would famously use it two decades later in a speech urging the United States to enter the war against the Nazi threat.) When he is discussing Banjo in the context of Francophone black intel lectual circles in the early 1930s, Holcomb is ill-served by his appropriation of the term ngritude First, whether applied to the 1929 Banjo or employed in confusing phrases about McKays black-red-black (that is, ngritude anarchist) nomadic wanderings (p. 14), the use of the term is anachronis tic, since it would not be coined by Aim Csaire until 1935 (according to scholar Christian Filostrat, Csaire first employed the word in an essay in the rare third issue of the journal LEtudiant noir ), and it was not popularized as the name of a movement until the full version of Csaires poem Cahier dun retour au pays natal was published after World War II. Moreover, although there were black communists in France between the wars and although some of the Antillean students, especially those linked to the 1932 jour nal Lgitime Dfense considered themselves Communist the Ngritude movement as it developed later that decade through the work of Csaire and Lopold Senghor had a complicated relationship to organized Marxism. Csaire was a member of the Communist Party, but Senghor was not. Certainly it is not true that in any general sense the ngritude writers were committed members of the Communist Party (p. 144). Jane and Paulette Nardal, the demure, reformist, devout Catholic sisters from Martinique who were pivotal in the milieu that led to Ngritude would be startled to come across Holcombs description of them as passionate Communists! Nevertheless, Holcombs characterization of McKays queer black Marxism is salutary, first and foremost as an interpretative provocation rather than a stable or consistent political stance discernable in McKays work. Above all, it is necessary to confront the contention of Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha that literature can serve as a vehicle of political action or as Holcomb puts it, as manifesto or as primer for insurrection (p. 19). What does it mean to say that McKays novels were designed to incite acts of radical black proletarian agency (p. 40)? What does this imply for our understanding of novelistic form, of audience, of the relation between read erly practice and political organization? To answer these difficult questions is to begin to theorize African diasporic literature as a realm of radical politics.
336 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) The Sense of Community in French Caribbean Fiction. CELIA BRITT ON J. MICHAEL DASH French Department New York University New York NY 10003, U.S.A. < email@example.com > The title of the new critical work on French Caribbean literature by Celia Britton may seem surprising. A sense of community is the least likely attri bute that one would ascribe to the imperiled communities that comprise the French Caribbean. Indeed, only two of the novels analyzed in this study, Gouverneurs de la rose and Texaco emphasize qualities one would asso ciate with a sense of community unity of purpose, collective work and strong immanent leadership willing social change (p. 159). The other five novels by douard Glissant, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Vincent Placoly, Daniel Maximin, and Maryse Cond demonstrate a lack of these qualities as they reveal various degrees of fatalism, accommodation, or ambivalence regard ing collective political action. Nevertheless, this literature is haunted by the question of group identity. Over a decade ago, in an assessment of French West Indian Writing since 1970, Beverley Ormerod noticed the importance of community as a literary subject when she wrote, A further shift in empha sis, away from the novel of the individual towards that of the group or col lectivity, has been apparent in recent years (Ormerod 1995:167). The problematic quest for a sense of community is related to a sense of historic loss and an uncertain future felt strongly in the Overseas Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, which essentially constitute the French Caribbean in Brittons work. French Guiana and Haiti are anomalies because of their isolation and location. The more developed and populous islands suffer more obviously than French Guiana from the impact of departmental ization and the lack of a collective identity. The other anomaly in this treat ment of threatened communities is Haiti which has been independent for two centuries and whose culture has a surprising resilience to the extent that it reproduces itself in diasporic communities in Montreal, New York, Miami, and Paris. Britton treats only one Haitian novel, Gouverneurs de la rose and Roumain is reacting to the impact of the American occupation on peas ant society in particular and the Haitian nation as a whole. The novel offers us a re-imagined Haitian community, capable of incorporating tradition with the new reality of dispersion and domination brought on by U.S. imperial ism. Arguably, the external threat of U.S. imperialism in the early twentieth
337 BOO K REVIEWS century is equivalent to the neocolonial relationship between the France and the island departments today. The absence of a sociopolitical context in Brittons study means that the choice of novels that form her corpus of texts seems at times arbitrary. Why for instance are contemporary novels from Haiti not included while Roumains 1944 novel, published decades before the majority of works from Martinique and Guadeloupe, is the first to be analyzed? These are also not the titles that leap to mind when we think of the treatment of community in the French Caribbean. For instance, why not discuss Glissants La case du com mandeur Conds La traverse de la mangrove and Chamoiseaus Solibo Magnifique instead of Le quatrime sicle, Desirada and Texaco ? Britton should, however, be given credit for including the unjustly forgotten novel LEau-de-mort guildive by Vincent Placoly. The strength of her approach lies in its application of Jean-Luc Nancys rethinking of community and myth to the French Caribbean (1991, 2000). Instead of seeing community as a sec ondary attribute of individual being, Nancy proposes being-in-common as the very matrix of our existence (p. 8). This does not mean reverting to a fusional unity or the ideal of a closed, homogeneous, organic community which Nancy labels common being. Being-in-common implies, rather, a relationality and plurality that is different from common identity. Individual identity is not self-generated but the consequence of being exposed to the outside. Nancy hereby transcends the usual oppositions between self and other and outside and inside. Furthermore, community is seen as always unfinished, always a work in progress, an endless circulation and sharing of singular beings (p. 12). Britton draws a parallel between a general condition that afflicts all soci eties in the twenty-first century and the French Caribbean in that the tran scendental systems of belief that once made sense of the word have crumbled and we have lost the ability to believe naively in myths (p. 15) in which common being was rooted. Myths of foundation and origin are then replaced by a concept of origin as the indefinitely unfolding and variously multi plied intimacy of the world (p. 130). The temptation of a myth of common being is, to use Nancys term, interrupted by literature that has to do with the fragmentary, the incomplete, the suspension rather than the institution of meanings (p. 14). We can see how this applies to a novel like Gouverneurs de la rose and its treatment of the myth of origin and heroic sacrifice. In this regard, it is tempting to see Chamoiseaus Solibo Magnifique as a rewriting of this salvation myth in terms a new rhizomatic group identity, not a revital ized ritual of the coumbite Nancys ideas are explained with predictable clarity and elegance by Britton but the question immediately arises as to why these ideas are not in any way related to those of douard Glissant with which, Britton admits, there are striking similarities. This is particularly surprising given that
338 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) Britton has written a superb book on Glissant. The problematization of com munity, the rethinking of myths of origin, and a general poetics of loss are central to Glissants theories of digenesis and relationality. Some of this is compensated for in the chapter on Le quatrime sicle but Nancys formula tions deserve to be placed more squarely in a Caribbean context. Ultimately, Brittons thoughtful reading of seven variations on what Glissant calls the roman du nous does tease out interesting new aspects of these largely canoni cal works, but it may risk telling us more about Nancys theories than about the literature to which they are applied. RE F E R ENCES NANCY, JEAN-LUC 1991. The Inoperative Community Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2000. Being Singular Plural Stanford: Stanford University Press. ORMEROD, BEVERLEY 1995. French West Indian Writing since 1970. In Richard D.E. Burton & Fred Reno (eds.), French and West Indian: Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana Today London: Macmillan, pp. 167-87. Imaging the Chinese in Cuban Literature and Culture. IGNACIO LPEZCALVO. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008. xvi + 227 pp. (Cloth US$ 59.95) ST EPHEN WIL K INSON Centre for Caribbean and Latin American Research and Consultancy London Metropolitan University London EC3N 2EY, U.K.
339 BOO K REVIEWS Li Po, whose popularity during the 1930s was so great that cinemas would interrupt their programs to broadcast the latest episodes live to their audi ences. The absence of any reference to this phenomenon, let alone discussion of it, is all the more irritating because Chan Li Po was the protagonist in the first feature-length talking movie produced in Cuba, La serpiente roja This is the film that inspired the title of Leonardo Padura Fuentess novel, La cola de la serpiente which is analyzed by Lpez-Calvo. It is a pity that lacunae such as these should mar an otherwise intriguing and well-written treatise, albeit one by an author who openly admits his limi tations. Citing Edward Saids Orientalism Lpez-Calvo recognizes that as a European living in the United States he has had to be conscious of the dangers inherent in discussing the Orient in order to cover the subject in a manner that is not ultimately hegemonic. He says he has tried to avoid romanticiz ing, fetishizing, commodifying, or exoticizing the Chinese Cubans (p. 153), but one feels that his project comes at times dangerously close to doing all of these. Nonetheless, as he well documents, the Chinese community in Cuba has suffered such marginalization, genocide, racism, and misrepresentation that by emphasizing the cultural contribution that this community has made to Cuban life the book goes some way to redressing a longstanding imbalance. Lpez-Calvos introduction is particularly rewarding, concisely con veying the history of the Cuban Chinese community in an accessible man ner. It can be recommended as a starting point for any student interested in the topic. What follows is an expansive sweep that focuses on different approaches and cultural or literary productions. Chapter 2, for example, cov ers the biographies and testimonies of Cubans and the topic of Chinese slav ery on the island. Chapters 3 and 4 deal with Sinophobia and Orientalism and examine discourses produced both on the island and in the diaspora. The fifth chapter focuses on the depiction of Chinese women and particularly Chinese Mulattas as exoticized and fetishized objects. Chapter 7 deals with syncreticism, hybridity, and witchcraft, and Chapter 8 with transculturation. Finally, not even Mart escapes, as Lpez-Calvo discusses his erasure and misrepresentation of the Chinese subject. This book paints a very broad canvas (as Lpez-Calvo puts it a cultural mapping) of the development of the Chinese community in Cuba. It dwells heavily on the multiple wrongs the community has suffered but ends on an optimistic note, commenting favorably on the recent Sinicization as a conse quence of, and testimony to, the resistance its members have shown (along with the somewhat ironic observation that the community has become so small that it no longer represents a threat to the revolutionary project and can therefore now be safely celebrated rather than oppressed). This is not to say that Lpez-Calvo is wholly uncritical of the community. He points out that hybridization and misrepresentation have also been selfinflicted and that being Cuban Chinese has implied a negotiated identity,
340 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) taking in various self-Orientalizing and de-Orientalizing strategies. As an example of this, his epilogue relates the stories and views of the families of two Cuban-Chinese, one a revolutionary veteran journalist still on the island and the other an emigr professor emeritus at a university in Minnesota. The reason for complementing these two stories is not made absolutely clear, but one gets the impression that it is to illustrate that, after all, the great U.S.Cuba divide transcends even the issue of Chineseness. RE F E R ENCE SAI D, ED WA RD 1978. Orientalism. New York: Random House. Pre-Columbian Jamaica P ALLSWORTH-JONES Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008. x + 320 pp. (Paper US$ 39.95) WILLIAM F. KEEGAN Florida Museum of Natural History University of Florida Gainesville FL 32611-2710, U.S.A. < firstname.lastname@example.org > Caribbean archaeology has tended to focus on two main issues. First is the arrival of Ceramic Age peoples in the Antilles (Saladoid, circa 500 B.C.), which encompasses the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico. The second is the development of the ethnohistoric Tano peoples, which emphasizes develop ments in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Islands to the north and west Jamaica, the Bahama archipelago, and to some extent Cuba were relegated to subTano status. Jamaica was viewed as peripheral and therefore not worthy of particular attention except to fill out the time-space framework. Pre-Columbian Jamaica solves that problem, benefitting from the fact that a substantial number of professional and avocational archaeologists have, for tunately, ignored the mainstream trend. Of special usefulness is the inclusion of Aboriginal Remains in Jamaica, written by J.E. Duerden for the Journal of the Institute of Jamaica in 1897 (Appendix D). Duerdens almost 200-page account, until now the most comprehensive synthesis for the island, has (like most other publications on Jamaican archaeology) often been difficult to find, further contributing to a lack of mainstream interest in the island.
341 BOO K REVIEWS Philip Allsworth-Jones has written an excellent, descriptive overview that covers all aspects of archaeological investigations. This monumental volume demonstrates the importance of Jamaican archaeology to the interpretation of general trends in the region, and it provides ready access to scholars and the general public. It is clearly written and contains an impressive number of maps, photographs, and illustrations of artifacts, tables, and figures, as well as an extensive bibliography. But most impressive is the CD-ROM that is included with the book. Following a brief introduction (Chapter 1), the rich history of Jamaican archaeology is recounted from antiquarians up to research conducted over the past five years (Chapter 2). Chapter 3 reviews the culture-historical framework for the Caribbean and serves to define Jamaicas place in the region, highlighting some of the issues that Jamaican archaeology raises for that framework. Recognizing that any culture history is a work in progress, Allsworth-Jones discusses many of the alternative perspectives that have come forth in the past decade, even those that he does not agree with. Chapter 4 provides the environmental background for the island. The geog raphy, geology (including its historical development), fauna, and flora are pre sented in general terms that set the stage for interpreting the distribution and composition of the sites. Allsworth-Jones then turns to the cultural contexts. One of the most important figures in Jamaican archaeology was James Lee, a professional geologist. Lee founded the Archaeology Club of Jamaica in 1965 (now the Jamaican Archaeological Society). Developing a project to map all known Arawak sites in Jamaica, Lee succeeded in precisely recording 265 midden and cave sites, and noted 77 others that he was unable to locate (p. 20). During the course of his investigations he amassed a large and extremely valuable collection of artifacts, most of which have specific site locations. Just prior to his death he donated his collection to the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Kingston. This donation served as the basis for this book. Allsworth-Jones assembled an outstanding team to study the Lee col lection. In the course of their work documenting, photographing, catalog ing, and curating these artifacts the team also consulted Lees notes and mapped the sites that he recorded. The nature of the collection is discussed in Chapter 5. The categories used to record the artifacts and organize them in the CD-ROM are also discussed, as are instructions for using it. All of the chapters that follow are tied directly to the CD-ROM. Chapter 6 describes the criteria used to map the sites. A complete list of sites by parish is included in Appendix B. Chapter 9 is a very brief overview of the sites that have been excavated and the faunal remains identified from these excavations. A more comprehensive summary for each of the exca vated sites is provided in Appendix A. Petroglyphs and pictographs are the subject of Chapter 8, and burials and human remains receive similar treat ment in Chapter 10. These chapters provide a wider context to the informa tion contained on the CD-ROM.
342 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) Pottery styles are discussed in Chapter 7, Cultural Variants. AllsworthJones recognizes that two of the styles have affinities with those described for the rest of the Greater Antilles (Redware and White Marl). Perhaps more important is the third style, Montego Bay, a variant of the White Marl style that is found primarily in western Jamaica. The timing, distribution, and rela tionships among these styles have important implications for future research concerning the characteristics of the possibly distinct cultural groups that lived on the island. Pre-Columbian Jamaica is the most comprehensive overview of archaeo logical research on the island to date. The CD-ROM is spectacular. Although the core of the book is the Lee collection, the discussion goes well beyond to summarize the substantial contributions made by others, including recent investigators. This extremely important book, which should make Jamaican archaeology more accessible to scholars and the general public, is especial ly significant as Caribbean archaeologists move away from broad regional frameworks and pay increasing attention to the specifics of more local areas. More comprehensive descriptions of local developments, interactions, and mobility should provide a better understanding of cultural dynamics in the pre-Columbian Caribbean. RE F E R ENCE D UE RD EN, J.E., 1897. Aboriginal Remains in Jamaica. Journal of the Institute of Jamaica 2(4):1-51. Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean MA R GA R E T E LESHI K A R-DEN T ON & PILA R LUNA ERR EGUE R ENA (eds.). Walnut Creek CA: Left Coast Press, 2008. 316 pp. (Cloth US$ 79.00) ER I K A LAANELA Department of Anthropology College of William & Mary Williamsburg VA 23187, U.S.A.
343 BOO K REVIEWS ing struggle to combat the aggressive exploitation of treasure ships by commercial salvors. The nineteen chapters in this publication, which were originally papers presented at the 2003 World Archaeological Congress in Washington D.C., show that maritime archaeology has gained a foothold as a significant field of historical and anthropological inquiry in the region and that substantial progress toward protecting fragile underwater cultural heri tage resources has been made in a number of countries. Although the editors assert that the volume provides a review of maritime archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean (p. 27), the book cannot be considered to constitute a comprehensive overview as it omits import ant work in countries not represented at the conference. Instead, it is best regarded as a series of case studies that illustrate the problems and potential of the field in diverse circumstances. The introduction by editors Margaret Leshikar-Denton and Pilar Luna Erreguerena highlights several themes that permeate the chapters. These include the development of legal measures to protect marine archaeological resources from treasure hunters, the establish ment of resource management and research programs, efforts to engage des cendant communities and other audiences, and the future of the field. The individual contributions cover a range of methodological, theor etical, and historical ground. Specific articles will appeal to specialists with such diverse interests as colonial and maritime history, navigation, Mayan archaeology, archaeological site formation processes, artifact conservation, cultural resource management, historic preservation, public archaeology, cultural tourism, speleology, and marine biology. Geographically, the papers stretch from the North Atlantic to Patagonia, and include areas colonized primarily by the British (Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Turks and Caicos), Dutch (Bonaire and Curaao), and Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay). The archaeological sites discussed are located in environ ments ranging from the cenotes of the Yucatan jungle to the offshore reefs of Jamaica, and encompass dates from the Late Pleistocene to the late nine teenth century. This diversity is both a strength and a weakness, reflecting the lack of cohesion common in published conference proceedings. The largest group of contributions focuses on research in Mexico. Two discuss aspects of the archaeological search for the seventeenth-century ship wreck Nuestra Seora del Juncal Patricia Meehan and Flor Trejo Rivera outline historical research into the vessel, while Carmen Rojas Sandoval explains the challenges of examining contemporary nautical charts. Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico led to the discovery of an undisturbed sixteenth-censixteenth-cen tury Spanish shipwreck and an eighteenth-century British vessel described, respectively, by Vera Moya Sordo and Roberto Galindo Domnguez. Arturo Gonzlez Gonzlez et al. discuss a project to scientifically record pos sible evidence for early human habitation preserved in submerged caves
344 New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids vol. 84 no. 3 & 4 (2010) near Tulum, while Carmen Rojas Sandoval et al. describe Mayan mortuary deposits observed in cenotes across the Yucatan Peninsula. The contributors exhibit a variety of academic approaches to marine archaeological research. Antonio Lezama analyzes the potential for research into the history of navigation on the Ro de la Plata in Uruguay, asserting that underwater archaeology is a branch of naval history (p. 187). Nigel Sadler exhibits a more anthropological style in his examination of the significance of a mid-nineteenth-century slave ship to a local community in the Turks and Caicos. Donny Hamilton combines archaeological investigations with historic accounts in his examination of the sinking of the town of Port Royal, Jamaica, in 1692. Several chapters use a scientific approach. Ricardo Bastida et al. use the wreck of the eighteenth-century British warship HMS Swift in Argentina as a case study to investigate the role of biological agents in the formation of underwater sites. An innovative approach to the conservation of waterlogged archaeological glass is outlined by Wayne Smith. Other authors consider the challenges of managing underwater cul tural heritage. Wil Nagelkerken et al. discuss a project combining in situ preservation of a shipwreck in Curaao with maritime archaeological tour ism. Dolores Elkin (Argentina), Dorrick Gray (Jamaica), Edward Harris (Bermuda), Margaret Leshikar-Denton and Della Scott-Ireton (Cayman Islands), and Pilar Luna Erreguerena (Mexico) provide overviews of the development of policy and legislation to protect underwater cultural heritage and current maritime archaeological research in their respective countries. The proceedings will be of interest to both terrestrial and marine archae ologists around the world because of the universality of the themes pre sented. Although non-archaeologists will find much of interest, the volume is not principally directed at the general reader. A certain level of famili arity with ongoing archaeological conversations is presumed at times; for example, discussions of efforts to curb the commercial salvage of underwater cultural heritage assume that the reader is familiar with the specific ethical and practical reasons for which archaeologists are opposed to the practice. The editors are to be applauded for organizing the session and producing this volume. The principal value of publishing conference proceedings is to preserve a permanent account of the research presented and to provide access to an audience that was not in attendance. As a record of the maturation of an emerging subfield of archaeology, this volume represents an important step forward in the practice of underwater archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean. Consistent with the World Archaeological Congresss policy of pro moting considerations of political power in archaeological research, LeshikarDenton and Luna Erreguerena make a convincing call for local control over underwater cultural heritage and for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to join forces in order to realize the potential contributions of mari time archaeology to understanding the histories and cultures of the region.