Home » Culture and Society in the Caribbean: Week 2

Culture and Society in the Caribbean: Week 2

During the class today Professor Comitas spoke at length about the role of Anthropologists, their work, his own beginnings and how he started working in Barbados.  Will post more here soon, as well a response to a second listening.


I asked a few questions after class, thinking about where my interests intersect with this work, trying to think of what I might research and write about.  I was interested in the idea that ‘Plantation America’ (Julian Steward’s term for the region) was a dependent society, that this was a quality of slave societies – that they be dependent on the societies that they are serving (i.e. Europe, the purchasers of their mono-crops).  This, for me, had interesting potential political implications for the region into the future.

When considering the ideas of Social Ecology and Bookchin’s other ideas of a Confederalist Libertarian Municipalism, is it possible to imagine the Caribbean being united under such a banner? Comitas was suggesting that the vast differences between cultures within the archipelagoes had so far prevented anything like a union from forming.  This is precisely what interests me.  Does the Caribbean,with all of the cultural and political legacy from slavery and colonialism, provide us with examples of the sort of challenges that any contemporary political alternative is likely to face? Could the alternative model of education of ALCs and their political equivalents succeed there?

Not sure if I am making my point clear enough, even for myself.  Is the Caribbean the perfect place to test the theories of Bookchin, precisely because of the legacy of slavery and its challenges?

These are only preliminary thoughts of course.


One comment

  1. I need to post my notes here.

    My response to the above questions about applying Bookchin to the Caribbean seems less interesting to me now. Primarily because my interests have shifted from trying to apply theories (not completely!) to wanting to be better informed of what historical and contextual knowledge I can gather. Whatever theories I may have, I’m more curious in the political sense about where there is commonality already in the thinking of those whose history I’m exploring.

    Having done quite a bit of reading now, the one thing that is most clear is the bright, fierce intelligence and clarity of arguments in the historical documents. Overlooking the racist and ignorant sentiments coming out of the mostly foreign voices, the creole intellectuals are a brilliant example of the universality of intelligence – which none can counter. Better to ask someone what they think than to tell them what they are thinking.

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