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Chanting Down the New Jerusalem

Chanting Down the New Jerusalem: Calypso, Christianity, and Capitalism in the Caribbean

Francio Guadeloupe
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Chanting Down the New Jerusalem
    Book Description:

    In this brilliantly evocative ethnography, Francio Guadeloupe probes the ethos and attitude created by radio disc jockeys on the binational Caribbean island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Examining the intersection of Christianity, calypso, and capitalism, Guadeloupe shows how a multiethnic and multireligious island nation, where livelihoods depend on tourism, has managed to encourage all social classes to transcend their ethnic and religious differences. In his pathbreaking analysis, Guadeloupe credits the island DJs, whose formulations of Christian faith, musical creativity, and capitalist survival express ordinary people's hopes and fears and promote tolerance.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94263-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Map of Saint Martin and Sint Maarten
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. Map of the Caribbean Islands
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Introduction: A New Jerusalem in the Caribbean Sea
    (pp. 1-10)

    Identity as a problematic category of practice, in which certain people are viewed as being identical to one another while others are regarded as totally different, is one of the leading themes in the human sciences. In study after study we are furnished with evidence that identity politics and the feeling of belonging, an explosive combination of bio-cultural racism and exclusive claims to territory, are common throughout the world (Geschiere and Nyamnjoh 2000; Meyer and Geschiere 1999). In response to pressures associated with globalization and the weakening of the nation-state, ethnic minorities and recently arrived immigrants, demographic categories that oftentimes...

  8. CHAPTER 1 So Many Men, So Many Histories: The History that Matters to the Islanders
    (pp. 11-31)

    So many men, so many histories. Such an axiom is undoubtedly heresy for any serious student of history. Yet on multicultural and multinational SXM this saying is true. Those who think that newcomers can never love a place without a proper grasp of that place’s history should visit this island. Those who think that SXM natives (or, locals) are always keen to know and preserve their history would be equally astonished. Newcomers and locals alike claim to love SXM, but their accuracy of (archival) historical knowledge of the island leaves much to be desired. Most of them like it that...

  9. CHAPTER 2 Performing Identities on Saint Martin and Sint Maarten
    (pp. 32-74)

    “All of them are important to me; they have a reason. Now stop minding my business.” In her characteristically temperamental style, Miss Maria, an ex-schoolteacher in her late sixties, replied to my observation that although she considered herself a local, she also displayed national allegiance to Anguilla and Curaçao. There was no contradiction, according to her, since she was born in Anguilla and had lived practically all her life in Curaçao. Furthermore, as a local she claimed both Saint Martin and Sint Maarten as her own, the national boundary notwithstanding. Besides her Anguillan, Curaçaon, and SXM sense of national belonging,...

  10. CHAPTER 3 Christianity as a Metalanguage of Inclusiveness
    (pp. 75-108)

    I knew that Violet was angry with Mervin by the way she spoke to him. Her eyes were filled with rage. He had had the audacity to disturb her afternoon quiet by using a portable amplifier and microphone to give an open-air service within a few meters of her yard. Violet, my landlady and a certified nurse, yelled at Mervin, a Saint Lucian missionary who had arrived on the island a few weeks ago, for breaking the law, as he was making noise without a permit on her family’s land. What was even more heinous, according to her, was that...

  11. CHAPTER 4 Clarke’s Two Vitamin Cs for Successful Living
    (pp. 109-140)

    “Isn’t it picture perfect?” Olga remarked, pointing up to the sky as she wiggled her hips, captivating everyone in sight with a kind of Ukrainian–Saint Martinian–Canadian dance to Short Shirt’s calypso tune that was leaping out of the speakers. Olga had been born and raised in Canada by Ukrainian parents but had migrated to SXM and considered herself 100 percent local, as she would jokingly put it. Behind her humor there was a jab at well-to-do local women who felt that she was one of the “foreigners” who were stealing “their” best men.

    Female newcomers, most of whom...

  12. CHAPTER 5 DJ Shadow’s Prescription for Rastafari Individuality
    (pp. 141-175)

    In the popular Western perception, Rastafari is still synonymous with the Caribbean downtrodden. So too is roots reggae, or conscious reggae, as they call this genre on SXM. DJ Shadow, a handsome brown-skinned Rasta with deep dimples who always dresses in the latest fads, shows this to be a far more complicated affair. Here is a man whose family is one of the wealthiest local clans on the island. They own substantial real estate on SXM and neighboring islands, such as Anguilla and Saint Kitts; lease their property to American and European hoteliers and merchants; and own motels, construction companies,...

  13. CHAPTER 6 The Hip-Hop- and Christian-Inspired Metaphysics of DJ Cimarron
    (pp. 176-205)

    It was a hot Tuesday afternoon in September, and I was on my way to SBN radio. I had an appointment with DJ Cimarron, a thin, darkskinned man who looked a bit bookish. He would be broadcasting what was supposed to be his first intergenerational talk show, theTalking Drums, in which poor talented youths and influential adults would discuss issues relevant to both generational groups. As the “prodigal and radical son” of one of the most respected local families on the island, Cimarron expounded that, in dealing with the issue of educating the children of the illegal workers who...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 206-224)

    Let the salvos begin: Where are the antagonisms between the Caribbean downtrodden and the Western exploiters? Where is the neocolonial struggle against the imperialist West? Where are the anti-Dutch and anti-French protests? Where are the reports of corruption and mismanagement by local government officials playing the dependency theory card on their European overlords? Where are the struggles between Afro-Caribbeans and Asian Caribbeans? Where are the struggles between Caribbean men and women? Where are the lighter-skinned Caribbean blacks discriminating against their darker-skinned compatriots? In short, where is the Caribbean that has become paradigmatic for students of Caribbean studies? Or more expansively,...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 225-228)
  16. References
    (pp. 229-244)
  17. Index
    (pp. 245-255)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 256-256)