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Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations

by Sidney W Mintz Harvard University Press
Pub Date:
10/2012
ISBN:
9780674066212
Format:
Pbk 272 pages
Price:
AU$41.99 NZ$43.47
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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As a young anthropologist, Sidney Mintz undertook fieldwork in Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. Fifty years later, the eminent scholar of the Caribbean returns to those experiences to meditate on the societies and on the island people who befriended him. These reflections illuminate continuities and differences between these cultures, but even more they exemplify the power of people to reveal their own history. Mintz seeks to conjoin his knowledge of the history of Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Ricoaa dynamic past born of a confluence of peoples of a sort that has happened only a few times in human historyawith the ways that he heard people speak about themselves and their lives. Mintz argues that in Jamaica and Haiti, creolization represented a tremendous creative act by enslaved peoples: that creolization was not a passive mixing of cultures, but an effort to create new hybrid institutions and cultural meanings to replace those that had been demolished by enslavement. Globalization is not the new phenomenon we take it to be. This book is both a summation of Mintz's groundbreaking work in the region and a reminder of how anthropology allows people to explore the deep truths that history may leave unexamined.
In this engaging, delightfully readable and provocative work, Sidney Mintz distills a lifetime of pioneering research to illuminate the making of three Caribbean plantation societies and of the creolized cultures that challenged the slave system from within. The work seamlessly brings together history and anthropology, showcasing Mintz's impassioned and encyclopedic knowledge of the Caribbean. A must-read for all those interested in the history of slavery and the Atlantic world. Laurent Dubois, Duke University Drawing upon a lifetime of ethnographic fieldwork in the Caribbean region, Mintz arrives at bold conclusions about the societies and realities of our provocative, complex, and generally undervalued region. Nicolette Bethel Caribbean Review of Books An engaging, accessible, and masterly work. R. Berleant-Schiller Choice
Sidney W. Mintz was Research Professor and William L. Straus, Jr., Professor, Emeritus, in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. He was the author of Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History and Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom: Excursions into Eating, Power, and the Past, among others.