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Social Anthropology of the Caribbean
Jean Besson (Goldsmiths)
The course explores the social anthropology of the Caribbean region, Europe’s oldest colonial/post-colonial sphere, highlighting the anthropological theories informing Caribbean ethnography.
Central themes are the creation of Caribbean societies, communities, cultures and identities in response to colonialism and to contemporary opportunities and constraints, and the significance of the study of Caribbean culture-building for changing ethnographic approaches and anthropology.
Topics include theoretical perspectives framing the Caribbean; the global processes that forged the unity and diversity of the Caribbean oikoumenê or societal area including colonialism, the plantation system, slavery and indenture; controversies on the interrelationship of ‘race’, class, culture, gender and ethnicity in contemporary Caribbean societies; the ‘continuity-creativity debate’ on the African cultural heritage and Caribbean creolization; post-emancipation free villages and maroon societies descended from rebel slaves; varying views on peasantization and community; marriage, kinship, land and descent, including transnational perspectives; rural development and tourism; urbanization and urban neighbourhoods and networks; and religion and morality, music and dance.
- Meeks, B (ed) 2011 M G Smith: Social Theory and Anthropology in the Caribbean and Beyond, Ian Randle Publishers
- Price, R 2011 Rainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial, University of Pennsylvania Press
- Mintz, S W 2010 Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations, Harvard University Press
- Romberg, R 2009 Healing Dramas: Divination and Magic in Modern Puerto Rico, University of Texas Press
- Richman, K E 2008 Migration and Voudou, University Press of Florida
- Price, R 2008 Travels with Tooy: History, Memory, and the African American Imagination, University of Chicago Press
- Olwig, K F 2007 Caribbean Journeys: An Ethnography of Migration and Home in Three Family Networks, Duke University Press
- Bilby, K M 2006 rue-Born Maroons, Ian Randle
- Besson, J & K F Olwig (eds) 2005 Caribbean Narratives of Belonging: Fields of Relations, Sites of Identity, Macmillan
- Besson, J 2002 Martha Brae’s Two Histories: European Expansion and Caribbean Culture-Building in Jamaica, University of North Carolina Press
- Mintz, S W & R Price 1992 The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective, Beacon Press
- Mintz, S W 1989 Caribbean Transformations, Columbia University Press
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