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An ethnography of african diasporic affiliation and disaffiliation in Carriacou: How Anglo-Caribbean preadolescent girls express attachments to Africa

An ethnography of african diasporic affiliation and disaffiliation in Carriacou: How Anglo-Caribbean preadolescent girls express attachments to Africa
Valerie Joseph

2015

Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

ABSTRACT

This dissertation explores how the contending forces of powerful African memory and enduring ideologies of British colonialism meet in the young Afro-Caribbean girls of Carriacou, Grenada through their contemplations and performances of game songs and danceplay, resulting in multi-layered and seemingly contradictory affiliations and disaffiliations with their African heritage. For the most part, Carriacouans’ expressions of African affiliations and disaffiliations are below the level of consciousness. In the case of African disaffiliation, a striking finding is that many in the population – adults and children –respond with a deep fear when confronted with direct questions about Africa. Some children also respond with psychosocial dissonance – a profound conflicted state in which they are unable to make any commitments at all. In the case of African affiliation, boys and girls respond differently to the display of non-verbal African culture practices and depending on their understanding of their ancestry, African affiliation seems strongest among girls and what mitigates for that may be girls’ apparently greater familiarity with and connection to Africanist play and Big Drum Nations Dance.