POST-COLONIAL TRINIDAD

AN ETHNOGRAPHIC JOURNAL

2010
London: Allen and Unwin.
New York and Basingstoke, Hampshire:
ISBN 978-0-230-62200-5

This is a companion volume to Colin Clarke (1986) East Indians in a West Indian Town: San Fernando, 1930-1970. London: Allen and Unwin.
ISBN 0-04—309106-7

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While the above book – East Indians in a West Indian Town – was based on questionnaire surveys,  the mapping of census materials and other official sources, Post-Colonial Trinidad is the book of the fieldwork. It records a multitude of interviews and, detailed accounts of numerous visits to events in the Indian community – weddings, religious ceremonies, and political meetings.

Post-Colonial Trinidad is a valuable addition to the ethnography of pre- and post-colonial periods. For nine months in 1964 the authors lived in Trinidad, testing the earlier theses of the Niehoffs and Klass and conducting more extensive research on the East Indian community. Their book consists of three sections, each of which is important in its own right: their journal from 1964, which is a properly annotated record of interviews conducted during the year; a comprehensive glossary of terms, Indian and non-Indian, which is essential for an understanding of the complex Oriental ontology; and an introductory essay, written some 45 years after the journal itself.

‘The great benefit of Post-Colonial Trinidad is that it clears up vast areas of darkness in the sociology of Caribbean Indianismé. It explains the antecedence of the Indo-Caribbean struggle to carve a space in the New World and gives a canvas against which current analyses can be made. The work is specific to Trinidad, but it closely relates to the situation in neighbouring Guyana and finds resonance in other mixed societies such as Mauritius and Fiji. It will remain relevant for a long time.’
– Brinsley Samaroo, University of the West Indies, St Augustine

‘This work is truly unique, both in terms of its focus and its location at the very beginning of a post-colonial Caribbean society. Although the journal was created almost fifty years ago, and much has changed, the central issues continue to inform theory and practical politics. The journal itself is well written and lively, and full of rich ethnographic detail.’
– Barry Higman,  Australian National University

Worship of goddess Durga performed by Dharam Pundit, Diamond Village, Trinidad
Worship of goddess Durga performed by Dharam Pundit, Diamond Village, Trinidad

 

Drummers at Hindu wedding, San Fernando, Trinidad
Drummers at Hindu wedding, San Fernando, Trinidad