The Decolonial Ends of Caribbean Ethnography: Notes On Dialectics, Imagination and The State Of Practice

The Decolonial Ends of Caribbean Ethnography: Notes on Dialectics, Imagination and The State of Practice. With Shelene Gomes, in Rhoda Reddock and Encarnacion Gutierrez-Rodriguez (eds) Entangled Global Inequalities, Anthem Press, forthcoming June 2020

20 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2020

See all articles by Shelene Gomes

Shelene Gomes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Scott Timcke

Independent

Date Written: March 16, 2020

Abstract

In this essay we advocate for the emancipatory potential of ethnography to decolonize thought and action in the postcolonial English-speaking Caribbean. Caribbean anthropology contributes significantly to a decolonization agenda that refuses both the ‘hegemonic frame of self-referencing’ and the ‘re-ordering of discriminatory development’ (Crichlow 2012, 131). As we argue, just as ethnographies of the Caribbean challenged the intellectual and disciplinary insularities of anthropology in the mid-twentieth century, so can the dialectical reasoning and social imaginary offered by Black-Radicalism and Rastafari respectively widen emancipatory struggles occurring in the contemporary Caribbean. Drawing upon the work of C.L.R. James and Barry Chevannes, both of whom were attentive to history but not beholden to it, we focus on Caribbean ethnographies that have foregrounded a Black-Radical analysis of racial capitalism as a credible counter-analysis of modernity. We argue this counter-analysis is at the heart of a Caribbean lineage of imaginative acts of self-invention that seek to find new, and arguably more potential for, just social relations. As such, ethnographies documenting these phenomena and associated struggles provide a rich conceptual archive of cosmopolitanism well suited to promoting decolonial thought. For this reason, it is vital that the position of anthropology be strengthened in Caribbean universities.

Keywords: Cosmopolitanism; decolonization; migration; neoliberalism; social imaginary.

Suggested Citation

Gomes, Shelene and Timcke, Scott, The Decolonial Ends of Caribbean Ethnography: Notes On Dialectics, Imagination and The State Of Practice (March 16, 2020). The Decolonial Ends of Caribbean Ethnography: Notes on Dialectics, Imagination and The State of Practice. With Shelene Gomes, in Rhoda Reddock and Encarnacion Gutierrez-Rodriguez (eds) Entangled Global Inequalities, Anthem Press, forthcoming June 2020 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3555485

Shelene Gomes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
25
Abstract Views
150
PlumX Metrics