The Language of Dress: Resistance and Accommodation in Jamaica, 1760-1890


This book is a study of how African enslaved and freed women used their fashion and style of dress as a symbol of resistance to slavery and accommodation to white culture in pre- and post-emancipation society. Africans brought aspects of their culture, such as folklore, music, language, religion and dress, with them to the Americas. The African cultural features were retained and nurtured in Jamaica because they guaranteed the survival of Africans and their descendants against European attempts at cultural annihilation. This book illuminates the complexities of accommodation and resistance, showing that these complex responses are not polar opposites but are in fact melded into each other. In addition, "Language of Dress reveals the dynamics of race, class and gender in Jamaican society and the role of women in British West Indian history. This work contributes to the ongoing interest in the history of women and in the history of resistance.


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