24 Jul Three new advanced articles in the New West Indian Guide
Three advanced articles in the New West Indian Guide (NWIG) on ‘White cannibalism in the illegal slave trade’, ‘Gender, family, race, and the colonial state in early nineteenth-century Jamaica’ and ‘Rethinking the historical development of Caribbean performance culture from an Afro-Iberian perspective: The case of Jankunu’. NWIG is published by Brill Academic Publishers in collaboration with KITLV.
White cannibalism in the illegal slave trade, by Manuel Barcia.
The Portuguese schooner Arrogante was captured in November 1837 by HMS Snake, off the coast of Cuba. At the time, the Arrogante had more than 330 Africans on board. Shortly after landing in Jamaica, the Arrogante’s sailors were accused of slaughtering an African man, cooking his flesh, and forcing the rest of those enslaved on board to eat it. Furthermore, they were also accused of cooking and eating themselves the heart and liver of the same man. This article focuses not so much on the actual event, as on the transatlantic process that followed, during which knowledge was produced and contested, and relative meanings and predetermined cultural notions associated with Europeans and Africans were probed and queried. Read more.
Gender, family, race, and the colonial state in early nineteenth-century Jamaica, by Aaron Graham
Recent work has emphasized the role of colonial state structures in the construction and enforcement of race and gender in the British Empire from the seventeenth century onward, particularly among people of color. But work on the parallel phenomenon of “Whiteness” has focused on White men rather than White women and children, on elites rather than those below them, and on North America rather than the Caribbean. This article, using the records of a “Clergy Fund” established in Jamaica in 1797 as an insurance scheme for the (White) widows and orphans of clergymen, therefore addresses a gap in this literature by providing a case study of how a colonial state in the Caribbean tried—and failed—to construct and enforce race and gender among White women and children from outside the elite, during a period when White society in the region seemed under threat. Read more.
Rethinking the historical development of Caribbean performance culture from an Afro-Iberian perspective, by Jeroen Dewulf
This article advocates for a new perspective on Caribbean performance traditions by adopting an Afro-Iberian perspective. It argues that we are able to acquire a better understanding of the historical development of some of the most enigmatic Caribbean performances, including Jankunu, by taking into consideration that many of those who built the foundations of Afro-Caribbean culture had already adopted cultural and religious elements rooted in Iberian traditions before their arrival in the Americas. A comparative analysis demonstrates a series of parallels between early witness accounts of Jankunu and Iberian calenda traditions. In order to explain this, the article points to Iberian dominance in the early-modern Atlantic and, in particular, Portuguese influences in Africa. It highlights the importance of confraternities and argues that it was in the context of African variants of these mutual-aid and burial societies that elements rooted in Iberian traditions entered Afro-Caribbean culture. Read more.