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.
Agostino Brunias's paintings have often been understood as straightforward documents of visual ethnography that functioned as field guides for reading race. This book offers the first comprehensive study of Agostino Brunias's intriguing pictures of colonial West Indians of colour made for colonial officials and plantocratic elites during the late-eighteenth century. It talks about the so called 'Red' and 'Black' Caribs, dark-skinned Africans and Afro-Creoles, and mixed-race women and men. The book explores the role of the artist's paintings in reifying notions of race in the British colonial Caribbean and considers how the images both reflected and refracted common ideas about race. Although some historians argue that the conclusion of the First Carib War actually amounted to a stalemate, Brunias clearly documents it as a moment of surrender, with Joseph Chatoyer considering the terms of his people's submission. Young's Account of the Black Charaibs mobilised subtle and not-so-subtle allusions to the rebellion in Haiti to construct a narrative of the Carib Wars. The book analyses the imaging of Africans and Afro-Creoles in British colonial art. The painting named Mulatresses and Negro Woman Bathing, Brunias replaces his more quotidian trade scenes and negro dancing frolics with a bathing tableau set against a sylvan Eden. In Linen Market, Dominica, one arresting figure captivates the viewer more than any other. Brunias may have painted for the plantocractic class, constructing pretty pictures of Caribbean life that reflected the vision of the islands upon which white, colonialist identities depended.
State marginalization and the region as hinterland
The anglophone Caribbean region has
two distinct faces. One face, the one shown to the outside world,
suggests ‘everything cool’, ease and even contentment.
Democratic traditions (for the most part) are upheld, the sun shines,
the rules of cricket are obeyed, tourist services are friendly and order
is maintained. The
At a Conference of the Caribbean
Artists Movement (CAM) held at the University of Kent in 1969, C. L. R.
James spoke with typical energy of his experience of growing up in
I didn’t get literature from the
mango-tree, or bathing on the shore and getting the sun of the
The Communist racial agenda for the American hemisphere, 1931–35
Up until 1931, the race issue had not been a
significant element in the Communist agenda for the Spanish-speaking territories of the
Caribbean Basin. For the most part, the region’s radical intellectual community was
predominantly white, and non-black, indigenous populations were the most preponderant racial
minority in the territory. The establishment of the Caribbean Bureau of the Comintern in New
York in 1931, however, forced a reassessment of the subject, as the Communist Party of the
In his capacity as a roaming police
advisor, Arthur Mavrogordato inspected the St Lucia Police in 1948. An
experienced colonial policeman, Mavrogordato had headed up the Palestine
Police from 1923 until 1931. He was no stranger to the police forces of
the Caribbean. He had paid an earlier visit to St Lucia in 1937 as an
official police advisor in a mould similar to Dowbiggin’s. At that
approach to development with some long-standing laissez-faire principles. Two wider political issues made Colonial Office attempts to persuade the Caribbean colonies to follow its preferred routes to industrialisation difficult, however. The increasing political autonomy of governments in the Caribbean region meant that Britain could not merely instruct its West Indian possessions to follow its edicts. In addition, it became clear that in the post-war world, the US hoped to shape development across the Caribbean along lines that it found conducive to its own interests
The expansion of Scottish
involvement in politics in the Caribbean mirrored the Scots’
increasingly prominent position in the imperial polity in London.
Significantly, as the number of Scots acquiring political influence with
the national government increased, so too did the opportunities for
political advancement in the islands. Moreover, as well as providing
This book is wholly devoted to assessing the array of links between Scotland and the Caribbean in the later eighteenth century. It uses a wide range of archival sources to paint a detailed picture of the lives of thousands of Scots who sought fortunes and opportunities, as Burns wrote, ‘across th' Atlantic roar’. The book outlines the range of their occupations as planters, merchants, slave owners, doctors, overseers and politicians, and shows how Caribbean connections affected Scottish society during the period of ‘improvement’. The book highlights the Scots' reinvention of the system of clanship to structure their social relations in the empire and finds that involvement in the Caribbean also bound Scots and English together in a shared Atlantic imperial enterprise and played a key role in the emergence of the British nation and the Atlantic world.