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Early Caribbean Slave Narrative

HaitiMap FlorenceHall Joanna

The Early Caribbean Slave Narrative Exhibit aims to present the testimonies and life narratives produced in the Caribbean by and about “dictated and written testimonies of enslaved black human beings,” (Davis and Gates “The Language of Slavery” xii). Caribbeanist scholar Nicole N. Aljoe argues that "just as the institution [of slavery] itself was global, so too, was the genre" ("Caribbean Slave Narratives"). Like the US slave narratives, testimony by enslaved people of the Caribbean operated as part of a complex transatlantic/hemispheric print network. And while, like the US narratives, the Caribbean narratives are intended to communicate specific details about the nature and experiences of enslavement, they also push the boundaries of the genre itself in ways that are "quite distinct in form, theme, and content."

This exhibit intends to highlight these distinctions and connections by considering the genre's emergence and development in the multilingual and multicultural contexts of the Caribbean.

Enter the Early Caribbean Slave Narrative Exhibit  


We invite you to contribute items, transcriptions, and analyses to this exhibit. To participate in the shared building of this and other exhibits of the ECDA, become a member of the ECDA Digital Scholars Lab — all are welcome!

Please create a user account here to begin collaborating.



Foodways of the Caribbean: Introduction


drawingofsugarcane engravingofsugarcaneplantation manuscriptofatrueandexacthistoryofbarbadoes boilinghouse thomastryonmanuscript antislaverytract proslaverycaricature

This exhibit has been curated to tell multiple stories of how food production and consumption is represented across the colonial West Indies. The choices made as to what is edible, what to eat, what to serve, who cooks and prepares meals, and with whom to share them has enabled cultural transactions between different groups of people, establishing systems of kinships and community while also drawing borders between groups of people. By collecting writings about food and food cultures, we might begin to see how the politics and culture of production and consumption structure and enable power relations. Food choices have a broader social and culture effect beyond the individual doing the eating; food as a language communicates ideas, values, and cultural practices, especially across the space of the Atlantic.

The exhibit examines texts and prints of the early Caribbean and places them within three broadly defined categories. Cannibalism and the Commodity Aesthetic addresses the pervasive idea of bodies both edible and capable of eating others, while also addressing the cannibalistic nature of Caribbean commodity chain and production. Cookery and Eating collects early cookbooks, tracts, recipes and manuals having to do with consumption and the eating cultures of colonial subjects. Raw Materials is a curated collection of texts and artwork related to salt, sugar, and other commodities that both drove Atlantic empire, created vast amounts of wealth, shaped the bodies and subjectivies of an enslaved labor force, and effectively put the Caribbean as a center of cultural production.

This exhibit invites scholars to contribute, analyze, transcribe, and discuss the many facets of foodways within the early Caribbean landscape, from sugarcane to breadfruit, from production to consumption. To participate, become a member of the ECDA Digital Scholars Lab — all are welcome!

Please create a user account here to begin collaborating.

Obeah and the Caribbean






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