Caribbean Cultural Identities

Caribbean Cultural Identities

Caribbean Cultural Identities

Caribbean Cultural Identities


"This edition of the Bucknell Review is devoted to analyses of Caribbean cultural identities. It is important to draw attention to the idea of Caribbean identity as pluralized, that is, as Caribbean "identities" rather than Caribbean "identity" because quite often, inside and outside the region, there is a tendency in some quarters to oversimplify the cultural heterogeneity of the Caribbean. The eight essays in this edition analyze Caribbean culture less as commodity to be consumed than as ontological device and discursive tool/weapon." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Glyne Griffith

The theme of this issue of the Bucknell Review is “Caribbean Cultural Identities,” and each analysis might be understood to be responding to the questions, What does it mean, culturally and philosophically, to be a Caribbean person, and what are some of the significant historical and ontological premises informing Caribbean identity construction? the first three presentations, those by George Lamming, Richard Allsopp, and Gordon Rohlehr, were originally delivered as public lectures under the auspices of the University of the West Indies Humanities Festival at the Barbados campus of the U.W.I. These lectures have been transcribed for inclusion in this issue on Caribbean cultural identities because they are pertinent, previously unpublished analyses of the topic provided by leading Caribbean intellectuals. in addition, as transcriptions of public lectures on the topic of identity in the Caribbean, these three essays may be said to offer an approximation of Caribbean “voice” on the page and indeed, one of the means by which Caribbean identity is perhaps most readily discerned is in the “voicing” of language, not just as a consequence of cadence and inflection, but also as a result of idiom and metaphor.

The other essays presented in this issue are representative of insightful, contemporary scholarly work on the nature of Caribbean culture and Caribbean identity. Although each analysis might be said to vary somewhat in terms of narrative focus, style, and disciplinary grounding, the common thread uniting this collection into a coherent whole is the intellectual concern with the complex and oftentimes vexed question of identity in a Caribbean cultural and philosophical context.

George Lamming's lecture “Caribbean Labor, Culture, and Identity” begins by lamenting Caribbean social science's extraordinary reliance on statistical analysis as the primary means of comprehending and defining Caribbean cultural reality. Lamming argues, for example, that there is “little evidence that the [Sir Arthur Lewis] Institute of Social and Economic Research [at the University of the West . . .

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