UCL Institute of the Americas


Fruitful Fictions, Partial Truths: New Dilemmas in Caribbean Research

14 May 2018, 5:30 pm

Sally and Richard Price (l to r)

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UCL Institute of the Americas


UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PN

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How are anthropologists to react as the peoples they study increasingly commoditize their ethnicity in response to globalization? As veteran ethnographers of two very different societies in the Caribbean – rural Martinique and Maroons from the interior of Suriname, both of which are implicated in partial globalization – we have come to feel an ethical and epistemological discomfort trying to reconcile the ‘partial truths’ of our ethnographic work with the new identitarian stances we see being adopted. This talk presents two cases of ‘fruitful fictions’ honed in response to the current situation – one involving art and the other human rights, one impacting livelihoods, the other potential ethnocide.

Anthropologists Richard and Sally Price have been conducting research in the Caribbean since 1962, and living in Martinique since 1987. Rich’s many books include First TimeAlabi’s WorldTravels with Tooy, and Rainforest Warriors (about Suriname Maroons) and The Convict and the Colonel (about Martinique). Sally has written about the cultural politics of ethnographic art (Primitive Art in Civilized Places and Paris Primitive) and gender among Suriname Maroons (Co-Wives and Calabashes) and co-edited, with Sidney Mintz, Caribbean Contours. The Prices’ most recent co-authored book isSaamaka Dreaming (Duke University Press, 2017). For more, see www.richandsally.net