Jean Besson (Goldsmiths) - Despite outstanding histories and ethnographies on maroons (escaped slaves and their descendants), there has been little attempt to compare the cultures of modern maroons with the cultures of the descendants of emancipated slaves who are the majority of African-Americans today. There is therefore a gap in the comparative exploration of creolization (‘indigenization’ in Europe’s ‘New World’) in maroon and non-maroon derivations of African-American slave cultures.
This book fills that gap through a comparative ethnography of three post-slavery communities – Accompong, Aberdeen and Maroon Town – that stand fast in the Jamaican Cockpit Country, at the heart of African-America’s Caribbean core. Accompong is the oldest corporate maroon society in the Americas enduring on common treaty land. Aberdeen is a free village descended mainly from emancipated slaves, who created and transmitted family lands. Maroon Town, with its range of tenures, is a community claiming descent from colonists, slaves and maroons.
Consolidating over 30 years of research in these villages, the book provides a sweeping yet all-encompassing examination of comparative creolization (especially through rooting identities, kin groups and communities in Caribbean land) and the complexities of ethnicity at the maroon/non-maroon interface.
Discussant: David Lowenthal, Emeritus Professor of Geography, University College London.
Jean Besson is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London. She has carried out research in Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean, publishing on cultural history, land, law, development, kinship, gender, narratives, religion, migration and ethnicity.
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