Sunday, February 08, 2009

Book Notes from the Internet

Book notes at []

The Political Ecology of Bananas: Contract Farming, Peasants, and Agrarian Change in the Eastern Caribbean
Author: Lawrence S. Grossman
Manufacturer: The University of North Carolina Press
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 296

This study of banana contract farming in the Eastern Caribbean explores the forces that shape contract-farming enterprises everywherecapital, the state, and the environment. Employing the increasingly popular framework of political ecology, which highlights the dynamic linkages between political-economic forces and human-environment relationships, Lawrence Grossman provides a new perspective on the history and contemporary trajectory of the Windward Islands banana industry. He reveals in rich detail the myriad impacts of banana production on the peasant laborers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Grossman challenges the conventional wisdom on three interrelated issues central to contract farming and political ecology. First, he analyzes the process of deskilling and the associated significance of control by capital and the state over peasant labor. Second, he investigates the impacts of contract farming for export on domestic food production and food import dependency. And third, he examines the often misunderstood problem of pesticide misuse. Grossman's findings lead to a reconsideration of broader debates concerning the relevance of research on industrial restructuring and globalization for the analysis of agrarian change. Most important, his work emphasizes that we must pay greater attention to the fundamental significance of the "environmental rootedness" of agriculture in studies of political ecology and contract farming.

Between Slavery and Freedom: Special Magistrate John Anderson's Journal of St. Vincent During the Apprenticeship (Early American Studies)
Author: John Anderson
Edition: illustrated edition
Format: Illustrated
Manufacturer: University of Pennsylvania Press
Number Of Pages: 309

On August 1, 1834, more than 20,000 African slaves were emancipated in the British Caribbean. As in other areas of the British Empire, however, only slave children under six years of age were freed immediately. The rest were apprenticed to their former owners for a stipulated term of four to six years. It was during this time that more than one hundred men were appointed as special magistrates to oversee and arbitrate between the ex-slaves and their former owners. Among them was John Anderson, a Scottish lawyer, who arrived on the island of St. Vincent in 1836. An uninhibited racist, he ironically became a central player in Caribbean emancipation.

For the next two and a half years Anderson compiled a journal describing in extraordinary detail the relationship between the remaining enslaved population, free blacks, and their former owners. His journal documents the lives of different castes of slaves, and also those of whites who lived on the island. While he found all residents -- white and black -- of St. Vincent uncultured, his writings shed light on the island's institutions, the activities of the free colored population, and the character of the towns and rural life.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Palm, Union, Psv : A Plural Country
Author: Jill Bobrow, Dana Jinkins
Manufacturer: W. W. Norton & Company
Number Of Pages: 123

Journeys to the Spiritual Lands: The Natural History of a West Indian Religion
Author: Wallace W. Zane
Manufacturer: Oxford University Press, USA
Number Of Pages: 256

Although much has been written on the Afro-Catholic syncretic religions of Vodou, Candomble, and Santeria, the Spiritual Baptists--an Afro-Caribbean religion based on Protestant Christianity--have received little attention. This work offers the first detailed examination of the Spiritual Baptists or "Converted". Based on 18 months of fieldwork on the Island of St. Vincent (where the religion arose) and among Vincentian immigrants in Brooklyn, Zane's analysis makes a contribution to the literature on African-American and African Diaspora religion and the anthropology of religion more generally.