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Volume 59 / Social Sciences

ANTHROPOLOGY: ETHNOLOGY


West Indies

LAMBROS COMITAS, Gardner Cowles Professor of Anthropology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University


THIS SECTION INCLUDES annotations of publications dealing with ethnographic and ethnological studies of territories located in the Caribbean archipelago, the Guianas, and Belize. About four-fifths of the annotations included this volume deal with the following countries or dependencies: Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Carriacou, Cuba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. John, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The remaining fifth of this section deals with publications on the Anglophone Caribbean or general Caribbean. The countries or clusters receiving the most attention were Jamaica, followed by general Caribbean, Trinidad, and Barbados. As in the past, the publications cited cover a wide range of subject matter. For the convenience of the reader, I have grouped descriptions of all publications into six broad and somewhat overlapping categories which I describe below in order of their numerical importance: a) religion, b) national and cultural identity, c) women's studies, gender relations, and family d) changing socioeconomic orders, e) cultural minorities, f) health and disease, and g) biographical essays.

a) Religion. It appears that there has been a relatively dramatic increase in writings about religion and religion-related phenomena during this biennium, perhaps because I include publications on Rastafari in this category. In any case, slightly more than one quarter of all publications focus on religion, including three substantial anthologies: Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader (item #bi2002000149#), Religion, Diaspora, and Cultural Identity: A Reader in the Anglophone Caribbean (item #bi2002000195#), and Sacred Possessions: Voduou, Santeria, Obeah, and the Caribbean (item #bi2002000196#). Most studies on religion-centered phenomena during this biennium are focused on Jamaica. See, for example, Austin-Broos on religion and politics of moral orders (item #bi2002000132#), women and Pentecostalism (item #bi2002000133#), and Pentecostal community and Jamaican hierarchy (item #bi2002000134#); Bilby on notions of "community" in Jamaican religious traditions (item #bi2002000140#) and on new evidence on Jonkonnu (item #bi2002000206#); Chevannes on Rastafari and the "exorcism" of racist and classist ideology (item #bi2002000150#) and on the apotheosis of Rastafari heroes (item #bi2002000151#); Garcia Franco on the function of Obeah man (item #bi 98005896#); Pubis on a way of reading practiced by Rastafari (item #bi2002000193#); and Simpson on personal reflection on early Rastafari (item #bi2002000199#). For more items dealing with religion in other parts of the Caribbean, see Barrow on the Anglican Church and common-law union in Barbados (item #bi2002000135#), Brown on Haitian women in voduou (item #bi2002000142#) and on healing and voduou (item #bi2002000143#), Glazier on Spiritual Baptist music (item #bi2002000165#), Green on the Hallelujah controversy in Trinidad Carnival (item #bi2002000167#), Handler and Bilby on the origin of the term "Obeah" in Barbados (item #bi2002000170#), Houk on changes in the Orisha religion (item #bi2002000173#), Khan on Indo-Trinidadian interpolations of religion (item #bi2002000174#), McDaniel on the Carriacou big drum ritual (item #bi 98013592#), Pradel on religion and pan-Caribbean cultural unity (item #bi 98012814#), Valentine on Garifuna understanding of death (item #bi 99006576#), and van Dijk on Caribbean Rastafarianism outside of the Caribbean (item #bi2002000202#).

b) National and cultural identity. As noted in HLAS 57, Caribbeanists are devoting considerable attention to questions of identity as well as to the controversy over processes of creolization. This biennium is certainly no exception, with almost a quarter of all publications in this section devoted to these linked items including two collections: Blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean: Social Dynamics and Cultural Transformations (item #bi 99006582#) and History, Power, and Identity: Ethnogenesis in the Americas, 1492–1992 (item #bi2002000171#). For related publications see Baj Strobel on Creole landscapes (item #bi 99004103#), Besson on common tenures, capitalism, and Accompong Maroons (item #bi2002000139#), Burton on the designation Afro-Creole (item #bi2002000147#) and on Afro-Caribbean names and naming (item #bi 00003050#), Cohen on nation building in the British Virgin Islands (item #bi2002000154#), Dávila on contending Puerto Rican nationalisms (item #bi2002000156#) and on "national" television in Puerto Rico (item #bi 98010507#), De Freitas on Carnival "feminization" and Trinidadian national identity (item #bi 00003049#), Duany on cultural identities in Puerto Rico (item #bi2002000157#), Fouron and Schiller on Haitian identities (item #bi2002000160#), Hoetink on mobility and stratification in the Dominican Republic (item #bi2002000172#), Olwig on cultural politics of heritage in St. John (item #bi2002000186#), Premdas on ethnic identity in the Caribbean (item #bi 99010180#), Price on competing interpretations of Afro-American continuity (item #bi2002000190#), Schnepel on the history of language conflict in Guadeloupe (item #bi2002000197#), Trouillot on a general approach to the issue of creolization (item #bi2002000201#), and Wilk on food and Belizean identity (item #bi2002000203#). Four articles deal with cricket and its linkages to issues of national identity: see Manning on the relationship of Bermudian cricket and associated activities to the symbolic construction of politics (item #bi2002000178#), Patterson on cricket as ritual (item #bi2002000188#), and Yelvington on cricket, colonialism, and the cultural context of Caribbean politics (item #bi2002000204#) and on the Indian cricket tour and the 1976 Trinidad and Tobago elections (item #bi2002000205#).

c) Womens' studies, gender relations, and family. Eighteen publications dealing with these themes are listed below, including three collections: Barrow's Family in the Caribbean: Themes and Perspectives (item #bi 97015970#), Daughters of Caliban: Caribbean Women in the Twentieth Century (item #bi2002000155#), and Gender: A Caribbean Multi-Disciplinary Perspective (item #bi2002000163#). For related publications, see Barrow on masculinity and family (item #bi2002000136#), Behar on a working woman's life in Cuba (item #bi2002000137#), Besson on changing perceptions of gender (item #bi2002000139#), Bolles on women trade union leaders (item #bi2002000141#), Browne on a multisite study of female entrepreneurship (item #bi2002000146#), LaFont and Pruitt on gendered laws in Jamaica (item #bi2002000175#), Lazarus-Black on class and gender inequities in Antiguan lower courts (item #bi2002000176#) and on domestic violence in Trinidad (item #bi2002000177#), McClaurin on Belizean women (item #bi2002000180#), Murray on narratives by gay Martinican men (item #bi2002000184#), Olwig on functions of family land in St. John (item #bi 98010100#), Pool and Singh on indentured Indian women in the British Empire (item #bi2002000189#), and Sidnell on Indo-Guyanese male peer groups (item #bi2002000198#).

d) Changing socioeconomic orders. Ten publications deal with the human and/or ecological impacts of recent transnational and national economic initiatives in the Caribbean. See Andreatta on transformations of the agro-food sector (item #bi 99004107#) and on banana growers and the agro-food sector in the Dominican Republic (item #bi2002000131#), Moberg on the ethnically differentiated labor market of the Belizean banana industry (item #bi2002000183#), Olsen on sustainable development and tourism in Jamaica (item #bi2002000185#), Raynolds on contract farming in the non-tomato-processing industry of the Dominican Republic (item #bi2002000194#), Rubenstein on problems of cannabis research in St. Vincent (item #bi 99003624#) and on cannabis and globalization (item #bi2002000207#), and Turner on Bahamanian straw work (item #bi 99000389#).

e) Cultural minorities. Included are nine publications that focus on the cultured and/or behavior of populations considered cultural minorities in their respective territories. See, for example, Abraham van der Mark on the Ashkenazi Jews of Curaçao (item #bi2002000130#), Coupeau on Arab traders in Haiti (item #bi2002000153#), Drewal and Mason on Yoruba beadwork in Cuba, US, and Brazil (item #bi 99006584#), Forte on Karinya gold mining in Guyana (item #bi 00003051#), Marceaux on Hmong migrants in French Guiana (item #bi 99006579#), Palacio on Garifuna cultural retrieval in Belize (item #bi2002000187#), Richard Price on the different treatment meted out to Maroons in Suriname and in Brazil (item #bi 99003625#), Sally Price on art worlds in the African diaspora (item #bi2002000191#), and Price and Price on Maroon art (item #bi2002000192#).

f) Health and disease. This topic continues to be of substantial interest to Caribbeanists, particularly as it relates to folk traditions. See Benoit on sex, AIDS, and prostitution in St. Martin (item #bi2002000138#), Brown on Haitian women healers (item #bi2002000142#) and on a case study of voduou-centered healing in Haiti (item #bi2002000143#), DuToit on folk healing in the Caribbean (item #bi2002000158#), Halberstein on gender differences in herbal practices linked to hypertension (item #bi2002000168#), Handler on slave medicine and Obeah in Barbados (item #bi2002000169#), and Sobo on women's health traditions in Jamaica (item #bi2002000200#).

g) Biographical essays. Biographies of senior Caribbeanists are beginning to appear in print on a somewhat regular basis. One example published in recent years is Douglas Hall's biography of M.G. Smith, see HLAS 57:840. These publications, while of great general interest, are also a kind of in-print confirmation of Caribbean anthropology as a mainstream field of regional specialization. For biographical sketches in HLAS 59, see Barrow on the intellectual preparation and professional life of the late Edith Clarke (item #bi 99004689#), Ghani's interview of Sidney Mintz (item #bi2002000164#), and Fluehr-Lobban's appreciation of the scholarly work of the 19th-century Haitian anthropologist Anténor Firmin (item #bi2002000159#).


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