By Heather Cateau & Rita Pemberton
This publication is a suite of essays through the various Caribbean's more youthful iteration of historians. It displays new instructions in th ehistoriography of the area through extending its concentration past the plantation and the dominant sugar tradition to reveal an unlimited variety of dynamic financial, socia and political actions formerly neglected or thought of insignificant.
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Extra resources for Beyond Tradition: Reinterpreting the Caribbean Historical Experience
The essay will show that ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences of the enslaved classes were not as difficult to transcend as was assumed by conventional historiography. Dislocation was addressed in different ways such as assembling together ancestral ethnicities, or engineering intra-ethnic integration and alliances into new ‘nations’ under established rules and power structures. 16 Progress, however, was less than satisfactory. Ironically, Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death (1982) might well have been an epistemological stumbling block.
The deficiency law could not be ignored as easily. The search for greater efficiency led to a spirit of experimentation with mills, curing techniques and agricultural methods. This led to the need for more skilled workmen. After 1807 and the abolition of the slave trade, came the need to increase fertility and longevity; and to reduce mortality. This led to the need for more resident doctors. Thus, a wider catchment of white individuals came to the West Indies than one might have expected. The lack of opportunities for acquiring land and making ‘easy money’; the poor working conditions in the planting line and the high mortality rate; were not sufficient to stop the flow of migration from Britain.
Thus, Smith arrives at the following conclusion: It is plain that no intelligent and informed man or woman would emigrate to the West Indies as a servant after the first years of settlement were over. Circumstances were all against them. 19 The situation is further complicated when consideration is also given to the poor accommodation on the plantations, the high mortality rate in the West Indies, and the generally low social position these occupational groups held in the society. The plantation system however provided various means through which the income earned in any year could be increased.