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Volume 57 / Social Sciences


West Indies

LAMBROS COMITAS, Gardner Cowles Professor of Anthropology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University and Director, Research Institute for the Study of Man

THIS SECTION INCLUDES annotations of publications on sociocultural dimensions of anthropology that cover the Caribbean archipelago, The Guianas, Belize, and several other West Indian or West Indian-like enclaves located on other parts of the Circum-Caribbean mainland or world. Slightly more than three-quarters of these annotations deal with the following countries or dependencies: Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Colombia, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad, and Venezuela. The remaining deal with the Caribbean in either regional or subregional terms. The countries, territories, or regional units receiving the most attention during this biennium were Jamaica (supporting, in part, Michael Manley's pungent contention a number of years ago that Jamaica is the most studied and least understood country in the Caribbean), followed by Trinidad, the Caribbean in general, Guyana, and Suriname.

As in the past, the publications cited cover a wide range of subject matter, including a very few examples (of a rapidly growing genre) that deal with migratory experiences of Caribbean folk away from the Caribbean. Therefore, for the reader's convenience, I have organized most of the works cited into several broad, overlapping topical categories, in order of quantitative importance.

a) Ethnicity and Identity. During the past few years, a great deal of the anthropological research on the Caribbean has been focused on questions related to these two linked themes. This biennium is certainly no exception, more than thirty of the citations in this section are devoted to either ethnicity or identity or both including the following four readers or collections of articles: Across the dark waters: ethnicity and Indian identity in the Caribbean (item bi 98014871), Ethnicity in the Caribbean: essays in honor of Harry Hoetink (item bi 98002386), Ethnicity, race and nationality in the Caribbean (item bi 98002384), and Les Indes antillaises, présence et situation des communautés indiennes (item bi 98002382). Among other citations, see also Angrosino on the Indo-Caribbeans (item bi 98014895), Austin-Broos on heritable identity in Jamaica (item bi 95004079), Chalifoux on the Hmong in French Guiana (item bi 94008201), Duany on transnational migration from the D.R. (item bi 98015106), Eguchi on the reconstruction of Carib ethnic identity (item bi 98015107), Henry and Tracey on multi-ethnicity in Trinidad (item bi 98015567), Khan on Muslims in Trinidad (item bi 98015895), Koningsbruggen on Trinidad carnival (item bi 98015862), Kumar Misra on a separate East Indian identity in Trinidad (item bi 97008499), Mintz on ethnic difference and plantation sameness (item bi 98016018) and on the concept of ethnicity (item bi 96005663), Oostindie on the Dutch Caribbean predicament (item bi 98016058), Price and Price on museums and ethnicity (item bi 99000052), and Tracey on adaptive responses to race and ethnic conflict in Trinidad (item bi 99000487).

b) Religion. If one includes publications on Rastafari, it would appear that there has been a significant increase in writings about religion-related phenomena during this biennium. Twenty-one citations are listed in this category including the three-volume conference proceedings (one each on cults, voodoo, and Rastafari) entitled AyBoBo: Afro-Karibische Religionen/African Caribbean religions (item bi 98014905) and Rastafari and other African-Caribbean worldviews(item bi 98015101). See also Austin-Broos on State and religion in Jamaica (item bi 98014896 ), Bernard on popular religion in Haiti (item bi 95010191), Besson and Chevannes on the continuity-creativity debate (item bi 97006188), Brea and Millet on Africanisms in Cuban carnivals (item bi 98014945), Chevannes on revivalism and identity in Jamaica (item bi 98015102), Glazier on funeral practices in Trinidad (item bi 95003129) and new religious movements in the Caribbean (item bi 98015582), Houk on Orisha in Trinidad (item bi 98015780), Kremser on Kélé in St. Lucia (item bi 98015864), Pollak-Eltz on anima worship in Venezuela (item bi 98016068), etc. For writings on Rastafari, see also Chevannes on a new approach to Rastafari (item bi 98015029) and the symbolism of dreadlocks in Jamaica (item bi 98015101), Savishinsky on the global spread of the Rastafarian movement (item bi 95004077), Simpson on recollections of 1953 work with Rastafari (item bi 95015885), Yawney on the appeal of Rastafari religion (item bi 99000555).

c) Aspects of social relations and social organization. See Berleant-Schiller on labor to peasantry (item bi 98014912), Besson on peasant adaptation (item bi 98014914) land, kinship, and community in the Leewards (item bi 98014915) and on a rejoinder to Crichlow (item bi 98014913), Birth on transracial kinship in Trinidad (item bi 97015264), Browne on informal economy in Martinique (item bi 96023124), Drayton on Caribbean textbooks (item bi 98015104), Gmelch on Barbadian return migrants (item bi 98015583), Gmelch and Gmelch on St.Lucy Parish, Barbados (item bi 98002385), Handwerker on domestic violence (item bi 98015163 ), King on Belizean management of marine resources (item bi 98015861), Lazarus-Black on kinship and family policy in Antigua (item bi 98015881), LeFranc on a re-examination of the Jamaican family system (item bi 98015897), Lowes on decline of Antiguan elites (item bi 98015908), Martinez on the Haitian bracero in the D.R. (item bi 98015926), Maurer on common property in the Caribbean (item bi 98010098) and on family land in the British Virgin Islands (item bi 98010101), Mintz on the Caribbean as oikoumen (item bi96005663), Moberg on transnational labor in Belize (item bi 98016021), Phillips on street children in Trinidad (item bi 98016067), Price on a comparison of Martinican and Saramaka Maroon race relations (item bi 96008602), R.T. Smith on racial violence in Guyana (item bi 99000339), and Yelvington on flirting in a Trinidadian factory (item bi 99000559).

d) Women's studies and gender relations. Seventeen citations are listed in this section including the collection entitled Women and change in the Caribbean; a pan-Caribbean perspective (item bi 99000494). See Abraham-van der Mark on mating patterns of Curaçaoan Sephardic elites (item bi 98014874), Allen on Curaçaoan women and Cuban migration (item bi 98014889), Barrow on small-scale women farmers in Barbados (item bi 98014908), Berleant-Schiller and Maurer on women's roles in Barbuda and Dominica (item bi 98014912), Besson on reputation and respectability (item bi 98014916), Bolles on women and work in Jamaica (item bi 98014942), LaFont on family courts in Jamaica (item bi 98015866), Lake on Rastafarian women (item bi 95004078), McKay on tourism in Negril, Jamaica (item bi 98015918), Miller Matthei and Smith on Garifuna women (item bi 97008606), Olwig on Nevisian women at home and abroad (item bi 98016041), Parry on gender in the classroom (item bi 98016064), Pereira on violence and sex (item bi 98016066), and Yelvington on gender, ethnicity, and class in a Trinidadian factory (item bi 99000492 and bi 99000560).

e) Maroon/Amerindian studies. See Besson on Jamaican Maroon land tenure patterns (item bi 98010103), Bilby on Aluku identity development (item bi 94008220) on oral traditions of Jamaican Maroons and the Aluku of the Guianas (item bi 98014932 ) and on the meaning of oaths and treaties for Maroons (item bi 98014936), Forte on Guyanese Amerindians for the non-specialist (item bi 98002388) and on Guyanese Amerindian culture, economics, politics, and language (item bi 98002389), Groot on Maroon pacification in Suriname (item bi 98015611), Mentore on the Waiwai and distribution of the hunt (item bi 98015991), Myers on the Makushi Caribs (item bi 98016027), Price on State violence against Surinamese Maroons (item bi 96000443), Sanders on the protected status of Guyanese Amerindians (item bi 99000119), Thoden van Velzen on collective fantasies of the Surinamese Nydukas (item bi 99000486), Vernon on Ndjuka ethnomedicine and Maroon identity (item bi 98015792), and Zips on Jamaican influences on African diasporic discourses (item bi 99000596) and on the history and contemporary situation of Jamaican Maroons (item bi 99000597).

f) Aspects of culture. See Allen on resistance as a creative factor (item bi 98014890), Birth on Trinidadian models of time (item bi 98014941), Crooks on bicultural factors in Belizean school achievement (item bi 98015103), Hoogbergen on resistance (item bi 98015779), Losonczy on African slave beliefs (item bi 95003563), Maynard on the translocation of the Yoruba esusu (item bi 98015969), Miller on mass consumption in Trinidad (item bi 98015992), Olwig on the cultural complexity (item bi 98016032) and national culture of Nevis (item bi 94011838), Price and Price on museum openings in Guyane, Spain and Belize (item bi 98016070), Stevens on symbolism of manje in Haiti (item bi 99000485), Vargas on Dominican villages (item bi 99000489), and Zips on the "continuity of Black resistance" (item bi 94009052).

I am indebted to Dennis St. George, Lewis Burgess, and Lisa Citron for their generous assistance in compiling this section.

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