Something is going on with marriage around the world today. For women, in particular, this long idealized institution is being met with increasing skepticism, critique, and disavowal. As Trinidadian writer, Merle Hodge, put it, “marriage is regarded with a certain amount of reverence… yet many prefer to admire it from afar. To Caribbean women, in particular, its benefits seem dubious” (2002). This presentation examines growing desires for intimacy and affective expression and new twists on the relationship between marriage and matrifocality in a Caribbean context where marriage has historically been associated with middle-class respectability and matrifocality with the survival strategies of Afro-Caribbean women.
Carla Freeman is the Goodrich C. White Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Executive Associate Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University. An anthropologist of gender, race, class and globalization, she is the author of High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work, and Pink Collar Identities in the Caribbean, and Entrepreneurial Selves: Neoliberal Respectability and the Making of a Caribbean Middle Class and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Barbados for thirty years.
Rosemarijn Hoefte, senior researcher at KITLV and Professor in the history of Suriname after 1873 in comparative perspective at the University of Amsterdam.
Image: @Jude Beck.