Read Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations by Sidney W. Mintz Online

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As a young anthropologist, Sidney Mintz undertook fieldwork in Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. Fifty years later, the eminent scholar of the Caribbean returns to those experiences to meditate on the societies and on the island people who befriended him. These reflections illuminate continuities and differences between these cultures, but even more they exemplify the powerAs a young anthropologist, Sidney Mintz undertook fieldwork in Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. Fifty years later, the eminent scholar of the Caribbean returns to those experiences to meditate on the societies and on the island people who befriended him. These reflections illuminate continuities and differences between these cultures, but even more they exemplify the power of people to reveal their own history.Mintz seeks to conjoin his knowledge of the history of Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico a dynamic past born of a confluence of peoples of a sort that has happened only a few times in human history with the ways that he heard people speak about themselves and their lives. Mintz argues that in Jamaica and Haiti, creolization represented a tremendous creative act by enslaved peoples: that creolization was not a passive mixing of cultures, but an effort to create new hybrid institutions and cultural meanings to replace those that had been demolished by enslavement. Globalization is not the new phenomenon we take it to be.This book is both a summation of Mintz's groundbreaking work in the region and a reminder of how anthropology allows people to explore the deep truths that history may leave unexamined."...

Title : Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations
Author :
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ISBN : 9780674050129
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 257 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations Reviews

  • Gary Bruff
    2018-11-17 00:23

    Although sugar and slavery were important historical factors for each of the three Caribbean colonies examined here, the colonies themselves differed and continue to differ in significant and surprising ways.I had read Sweetness and Power many years ago, yet I still held in my mind a uniform culture complex for the entire Caribbean region. I could have not been more wrong. These three ancient colonies, of which Puerto Rico is still a colony of sorts, were in the early colonial era all Spanish. But in the 17th century, Jamaica became (through force) English and Saint Domingue (Haiti) was taken by the French. Jamaica imported a colossal number of slaves and maintained a strict caste-like system with African slaves (and their descendants) at the bottom, white settlers at the top, and a small band of freed people of mixed race forming a kind of servant class. After slavery, churches gathered many of the freed men and women into village peasantries. France also imported a huge number of slaves, but did not copy Jamaica's model of domination. In Haiti, freed slaves and their descendants were afforded considerable protection from the Code Noir of Louis XIV. This legal protection allowed blacks to own property (including slaves) and allowed whites to claim their creole children as legitimate heirs. As a result, whites were often highly protective of their racial identity, reacting with extreme prejudice against the creoles even if the creoles as a group were afforded something close to French citizenship.For both the British in Jamaica and the French in Haiti, the sugar plantations represented some of the most profitable colonial ventures in the history of the world. This abruptly changed with revolution in Haiti in the late 18th century and with emancipation in Jamaica a bit later. As Mintz shows, the Haitians lagged behind the Americans, even though the USA and Haiti became post-colonies at roughly the same time. The Haitians had freed themselves, but no nation wanted to recognize them, and precious few political, social, or economic institutions had developed in the slavery years which would make the transition out of slavery easier. The US feared the slave revolt model spreading into America, and France wanted its sugar back and even tried under Napoleon to find a way to bring slavery back to Haiti.Although Jamaica and Haiti each developed into distinct societies with their own institutions, Puerto Rico is entirely of a different ilk. In Puerto Rico, there was very little slavery and so a more homogenized, less racially focused culture developed. While Jamaica and Haiti were essential to their colonial masters, Puerto Rico was a bit of an afterthought for the Spanish, and remains so for the Americans who rule it today. The Spanish had both eyes fixed on the mines of Mexico, Peru, and their other mainland holdings. So what developed there was a culture more steeped in Latin machismo than one based on castes with a racist history. There are notions of color in Puerto Rico which can not be considered enlightened, but they do not form an unwritten constitution as in Jamaica or Haiti.The final chapter looks at creolization. Mintz moves beyond creolization as just another form of the mixing metaphor. In brief, creolization happened in slavery contexts, contexts which are unpacked masterfully in Mintz's sympathetic and perspicacious overview of the unbelievably ugly and often lethal process of becoming a slave. Here, creolization is indexed in the loss of one's own language (and the institutions and practices this language makes possible), and so applies to the northern European colonies but not the Hispanic ones. In Puerto Rico, there were no generations where people had lost all social and cognitive contact with their past.The ethnographic chapters are divided into two parts: one part history, one part derived from anecdotes of 50+ years of fieldwork. The fieldwork parts tend to emphasize gender based roles and expectations, while the historical parts look primarily at race relations on these islands. I found this book accessible and enlightening. The only part that was hard to slough through was the first lecture, which looked fairly closely at the heritage of W E B DuBois, in whose honor these lectures were given. The first chapter also gave a high level overview, which again is not as illuminating as the differences which unfolded between these very interesting societies.

  • Kiera
    2018-12-04 23:30

    I read this book for my Caribbean Society and Culture class in my college. It's not something I would typically pick up, but considering it was on a topic I had no interest in, I still found it to be quite good.

  • Jason S
    2018-12-01 17:24

    Some interesting details in this book, but overall it rambled in spots. An interesting thesis, arguing that Hispanic and non-Hispanic Carribbean societies developed differently.

  • Kimberly
    2018-11-28 23:28

    http://caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/crb...