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Ethnicity in the Caribbean

Ethnicity in the Caribbean: Essays in Honor of Harry Hoetink

Gert Oostindie
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 258
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    Ethnicity in the Caribbean
    Book Description:

    Race and biologized conceptions of ethnicity have been potent factors in the making of the Americas. They remain crucial, even if more ambiguously than before. This collection of essays addresses the workings of ethnicity in the Caribbean, a part of the Americas where, from the early days of empire through today's post-colonial limbo, this phenomenon has arguably remained in the center of public society as well as private life. These analyses of race and nation-building, increasingly significant in today's world, are widely pertinent to the study of current and international relations. The ten prominent scholars contributing to this book focus on the significance of ethnicity for social structure and national identity in the Caribbean. Their essays span a period from the initial European colonization right through today's paradoxical balance sheet of decolonization. They deal with the entire region as well as the significance of the diaspora and the continuing impact of metropolitan linkages. The topics addressed vary from the international repercussions of Haiti's black revolution through the position of French Caribbean békés and the Barbadian 'redlegs' to race in revolutionary Cuba; from Puerto Rican dance etiquette through the Latin American and Caribbean identity essay to the discourse of Dominican nationhood; and from a musée imaginaire in Guyane through Jamaica's post independence culture to the predicament of Dutch Caribbean decolonization. Taken together, these essays provide a rare and extraordinarily rich comparative perspective to the study of ethnicity as a crucial factor shaping both intimate relations and the public and even international dimension of Caribbean societies. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0407-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Series preface IN MEMORY OF HARMANNUS HOETINK, 1931-2005
    (pp. v-viii)
    Gert Oostindie
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. The contributors
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiv-xv)
  6. [Illustration]
    (pp. xvi-xvi)
  7. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: ethnicity, as ever?
    (pp. 1-21)
    Gert Oostindie

    Race and often biologized conceptions of ethnicity have been potent faclors in the making of the Americas. They were so, more often than not in the most blatant forms of racism and racial antagonism, throughout the centuries of post-Columbian exploration and colonization. They remain crucial factors in the contemporary Americas, even if far more ambiguously than before. This collection of essays addresses the workings of ethnicity in a pan of the Americas where, from the early days of empire through today’s post-colonial limbo, this phenomenon has arguably remained in the center of public society as well as private life. The...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Race, culture and identity in the New World: five national versions
    (pp. 22-38)
    Richard M. Morse

    Harry Hoetink's seminalTwo Variants in Caribbean Race Relationsenhanced my understanding of Caribbean societies - and of social science in general - by questioning the easy dichotomies that were applied to research on race at the time. This paper offers an opportunity to continue our dialogue. I have chosen to examine some Latin American identity essays - three published in 1928, one in 1940, and a fifth one in 1980, appended here as a grace note. All but one deal with the Caribbean and Brazil and all are pertinent to the 'ethnic' concerns of this book. The geographic exception...

  9. CHAPTER 3 Ethnic difference, plantation sameness
    (pp. 39-52)
    Sidney W. Mintz

    Anyone who has readThe Two VariantsillCaribbean Race Relarions(1967) recognizes that Hany Hoetink's work is marked, perhaps above all else, by an interest in the subtleties of socially relevant distinctions. His concept of the 'somatic nonn image', for example, is based largely on inferences about the subjective dispositions of individuals: how they perceive each other's appearance and how they idealize appearance, even if there is no clear recognition on their par! that such perceptions are 'pre-classified' by culture. Though the concept turns uilimately on individual perceptions (for only individuals have eyes), the concept of somatic nonn image...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Haiti and the terrified consciousness of the Caribbean
    (pp. 53-80)
    Anthony P. Maingot

    Harry Hoetink has always taken the phenomenon of racial fear into account. InEl pueblo dominicano, he analyzes the deep fear of Saint Domingue whites in terms of the sheer difference in numbers between them and the black slaves (1971:296-7). Driven by this fear, the whites unleash a 'regimen of terror' which, as might be sociologically predicted, generates not only a self-fulfilling prophecy but a grotesque inversion of logic: you justify the terror against the black on the grounds that what you perceive to be his intrinsic and natural barbarity terrorizes you. In other words, whites construct their own terrified...

  11. CHAPTER 5 Museums, ethnicity and nation-building: reflections from the French Caribbean
    (pp. 81-105)
    Richard Price and Sally Price

    Just off the north-south road that skirts the Atlantic coast of Martinique, 'a mini-village made up of rural huts from the 19505 … pennits the new generation to discover the scenes their ancestors knew, the way of life of their parents and grandparents…. Four years in the making, this open-air museum is a gem of tradition. On Sunday afternoons … members of the folkloric troupe Madinina install themselves there to recreate a living portrait of that bygone era' (Staszewski, 1993:48-50). A few kilometers to the south, in the cove of Anse Figuier, another privately-run museum, the island's first 'éco musée',...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Ethnicity and social structure in contemporary Cuba
    (pp. 106-120)
    Franklin W. Knight

    Few subjects have been as difficult 10 explore dispassionately in contemporary Cuba as the subject of racial or ethnic differences. On the one hand the revolutionary governmem of Fidel Caslro insists officially that ethnic differences no longer play an important role in public or private decisionmaking. The official position is that race is irrelevant - or at least of minor significance - in the construction of the socialist state, After 1959 the revolution sought to establish a state that deliberately privileged the lower orders of society, most of whom were black. In the rhetoric of the revolutionary government all forms...

  13. CHAPTER 7 'Constitutionally white': the forging of a national identity in the Dominican Republic
    (pp. 121-151)
    Michiel Baud

    Today, national and ethnic identities (and, for that matter, all other collective identities) are routinely interpreted as constructions fashioned in order to create or confirm 'imagined communities', to use Benedict Anderson's now famous term (1991). Authors such as Hobsbawm (1990) and Urban and Sherzer (1992) have developed the argument by showing how political elites have used and manipulated popular beliefs and customs to further their nationalist projects. Still, it may be asked whether this emphasis on the constructed nature of social ideologies is, in the cnd, satisfying. It leaves two problems unsolved.

    First, the symbols and historical interpretations which are...

  14. CHAPTER 8 The somatology of manners: class, race and gender in the history of dance etiquette in the Hispanic Caribbean
    (pp. 152-181)
    Angel G. Quintero Rivera

    It is illustrative of changes in Hispanic Caribbean societies that one hundred years after the Dominican popUlar singer, Juan Antonio Alix, wrote thisdécimaadvising white Caribbean women against dancing with light-skinned mulattos ('though yellowish, with the black behind his ear'), it was, precisely, a yellowish mulatto who became most famous for his advice on manners. In 1987, the new comedy programSunshine's Café, with ils many sketches on manners, achieved the highest ratings in advertising surveys for Puerto Rican television.) Comedian Emmanuel Logroño, significatively nicknamedSunshine, was already quite notorious for his participation in popular street theater -Anamú,...

  15. CHAPTER 9 Jamaican decolonization and the development of national culture
    (pp. 182-205)
    Colin Clarke

    When Jamaica achieved independence in 1962, in the aftennath of a referendum over its membership of the West Indies Federation, this was more an expression of distrust of the other British Caribbean colonies than an upwelling of latent nationalism. That some sections of the middle stratum of its society were developing a sense of Jamaican (as well as West Indian) identity, through politics and the arts, is not in doubt; but Jamaica's 'no' to Federation was largely an expression of its insularity and its unwillingness to be burdened with responsibility for the smaller and economically weaker territories, as distinct from...

  16. CHAPTER 10 Ethnicity, nationalism and the exodus: the Dutch Caribbean predicament
    (pp. 206-232)
    Gert Oostindie

    In his seminal writings on 'race' in the Americas, Harry Hoetink opened new horizons for the understanding of how ideas about race, color and ethnicity are constituted and then become self-evident elements of the frame of reference of particular groups and cultures.1 Even if there are evidently political dimensions to these processes of establishing ethnic boundaries around and between peoples, his explicit perspective was more of a social-psychological nature. In this contribution, while subscribing to most of Hoetink's ideas on the subject, I attempt to give the discussion a twist by directing it towards the ways in which young and...

  17. Index
    (pp. 233-240)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 241-241)