The Modern Caribbean

The Modern Caribbean

The Modern Caribbean

The Modern Caribbean

Synopsis

This collection of thirteen original essays by experts in the field of Caribbean studies clarifies the diverse elements that have shaped the modern Caribbean. Through an interdisciplinary examination of the complexities of race, politics, language, and environment that mark the region, the authors offer readers a thorough understanding of the Caribbean's history and culture. The essays also comment thoughtfully on the problems that confront the Caribbean in today's world.

The essays focus on the Caribbean island and the mainland enclaves of Belize and the Guianas. Topics examined include the Haitian Revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; labor and society in the nineteenth-century Caribbean; society and culture in the British and French West Indies since 1870; identity, race, and black power in Jamaica; the "February Revolution" of 1970 in Trinidad; contemporary Puerto Rico; politics, economy, and society in twentieth-century Cuba; Spanish Caribbean politics and nationalism in the nineteenth century; Caribbean migrations; economic history of the British Caribbean; international relations; and nationalism, nation, and ideology in the evolution of Caribbean literature.

The authors trace the historical roots of current Caribbean difficulties and analyze these problems in the light of economic, political, and social developments. Additionally, they explore these conditions in relation to United States interests and project what may lie ahead for the region. The challenges currently facing the Caribbean, note the editors, impose a heavy burden upon political leaders who must struggle "to eliminate the tensions when the people are so poor and their expectations so great."

The contributors are Herman L. Bennett, Bridget Brereton, David Geggus, Franklin W. Knight, Anthony P. Maingot, Jay R. Mandle, Roberto M rquez, Teresita Mart'nez Vergne, Colin A. Palmer, Bonham C. Richardson, Franciso A. Scarano, and Blanca G. Silvestrini.

Excerpt

The Modern Caribbean is a collection of original, analytical, interdisciplinary essays suitable for both the general public and college- level courses. Written by twelve of the foremost Caribbean scholars representing five academic disciplines, this book covers a number of issues relevant to an understanding of the Caribbean islands and the mainland enclaves of Belize, Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname during the past two hundred years.

Together the authors provide a broad, comprehensive analysis as they consider the comparisons and contrasts, the uniformities and contradictions, the convergences and divergencies that have plagued the difficult attempts at social construction, adaptation, and reconstruction in this exciting and important region of the tropical Atlantic World.

The essays cover the history, politics, economics, and culture of the region, and provide intellectually stimulating reading not only for regional specialists but also for the general public. The references and citations have been deliberately kept to a minimum, but the bibliography appended provides a guide for further reading as well as the source material for the individual chapters.

In the overview essay, Franklin Knight and Colin Palmer outline some of the salient features of the region, indicating characteristics that are common or peculiar to all or some territories. David Geggus describes the trajectory of the Haitian Revolution--the beginning of the period of state formation in the Caribbean--and its impact on Atlantic, American, and imperial history as well as its relationship to the demise of the system of slavery in the New World. Francisco Scarano explores the disintegration of the Caribbean slave systems and the rise of free peasantries during the nineteenth century, noting the problems of labor adjustment endured by the plantation structures as they tried to find a satisfactory substitute in contracted or indentured Africans, Asians, and East Indians. In her essay Bridget Brereton discusses the relationship between material culture, including forms of dance and popular entertainment, and the various segments of society in the British and French West Indies. She shows how race, color, and economic status continually affected community relations.

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