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Race, nation and beauty contests, 1929–70
Author: Rochelle Rowe

The Caribbean Post's treatment of West Indian femininity reflected the growing significance of the beauty contest in the British Caribbean. Phyllis Woolford, 'Miss British Caribbean' of 1948 was pictured on the cover of the Post, epitomising modern Caribbean womanhood. This book examines the links between beauty and politics in the Anglophone Caribbean, providing a cultural history of Caribbean beauty competitions. It discusses the earliest Caribbean beauty competition, 'Miss Jamaica', launched in 1929 on the cusp of Jamaican cultural blossoming, and explores the emerging radical feminist voices amidst the cultural revolution. The 'Miss Trinidad' beauty competition, started in 1946, doubled as the search for an annual 'Carnival Queen', and represented the power of the moneyed white elite against an emergent black political force. The image that emerges of Barbados's 'Carnival Queen' contest is of a decidedly bourgeois contest, in which the 'creme de la creme' of Marcus Jordan's account were the most esteemed 'young ladies' of middle-class society. It examines the institutionalisation of the 'Ten Types' model and provides examples of copycat competitions elsewhere in the Caribbean. The 'Ten Types - Miss Ebony' contest was championed as a lesson in Jamaican racial democracy for other, less advanced, West Indian audiences. The book highlights the radical vantage point of exiled Trinidadian-born communist-feminist Claudia Jones who launched a Caribbean beauty competition in London. The burgeoning black beauty culture of London was imagined, through the West Indian Gazette as a pragmatic means of acquiring the respectable appearance that was 'race-pride' work.

Barbados, 1937–66

This book examines the processes of nation building in the British West Indies. It argues that nation building was a complex and messy affair, involving women and men in a range of social and cultural activities, in a variety of migratory settings, within a unique geo-political context. Taking as a case study Barbados, which, in the 1930s, was the most economically impoverished, racially divided, socially disadvantaged and politically conservative of the British West Indian colonies, the book tells the messy, multiple stories of how a colony progressed to a nation. It tells all sides of the independence story.

Abstract only
Cecily Jones

This study represents a socio-historical analysis of the intersections of gender, race and class in the slave-based plantation societies of Barbados and North Carolina. Specifically, it brings to the fore the material experiences of white women who inhabited these worlds, and attempts to generate greater understanding of their complex integration within the colonial slave economies. The white women who

in Engendering whiteness
White women and property holding in Barbadian plantation society
Cecily Jones

-class males. The relationship of persons to property was particularly attenuated throughout the colonial world. In Barbados, as was the case throughout anglophone colonial America, race, rather than gender, was the principal rationale for the ordering of property relationships. Here, property ownership was synonymous with personal freedom, and individual freedom was the exclusive birthright of white men and

in Engendering whiteness
Abstract only
Mary Chamberlain

us were displaced from some part of Africa … But when you look at a country like Barbados … one cannot really go on with that nebulous affinity in order to prove we have a common destiny … having one system now of parliamentary democracy (we) are bound together by a common respect of law … and we aspire … to weld ourselves together in a nation in which

in Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean
Constructing the contest in Barbados, 1958–66
Rochelle Rowe

3 Parading the ‘crème de la crème’: constructing the contest in Barbados, 1958–66 T he ‘Carnival Queen’ beauty competition began in Barbados in 1958 and was modelled after its lucrative Trinidadian equivalent. Anglican Barbados did not have an annual carnival celebration before 1958. The organisers of the ‘Carnival Queen’ competition, the newly formed Barbados chapter of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), invented a carnival, consisting primarily of the music, dance and glamour of the ‘Carnival Queen Show’. The beauty competition formed the centrepiece

in Imagining Caribbean womanhood
Gender, race and poor relief in Barbados
Cecily Jones

On 27 February 1799, the gentlemen of the Vestry Committee of the northern Barbadian parish of St John convened for the monthly meeting of the parish’s Poor Relief Board. As St John was one of Barbados’s poorest parishes, its Poor Relief Board received numerous claims from parishioners too old, weak, sick, disabled or poor to support themselves. Deciding just which

in Engendering whiteness
Cultural awakenings and national belongings
Mary Chamberlain

dialogue. 15 In the 1920s and 1930s, however, Price Mars’ intervention (though spurred on by the American invasion of Haiti in 1915) was indicative of a climate of black awakening and revisioning. 16 In Barbados, as elsewhere, societies were established with the direct objective of debate, education and raising cultural consciousness: Dan Blackett’s Social Physical Cultural Club, the

in Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean
Barbadian poverty and British nation-building
Mary Chamberlain

were engaged in estate work – almost double those working in commerce or manufacture. 6 Wages in Barbados were the lowest in the region, reflecting the stinginess of the planters, their pursuit of sugar profits, and the gendered pay of the workforce. In the planters’ mind, maintaining high levels of reserve labour was the only way of keeping costs down and guaranteeing adequate supplies of workers at

in Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean
Abstract only
Mary Chamberlain

nature of local patronage meant that the West Indian colonies were governed in the interests of the wealth producers – considered universally to be the plantation and industrial owners. Without exception, local rule favoured the privileges of the elite who were, almost universally, white. Barbados was one of the poorest of Britain’s territories in the Caribbean, the slums of Bridgetown among the worst

in Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean