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The Lifeways of Enslaved People in Curaçao, St Eustatius, and St Maarten/St Martin: A Thematic Analysis of Archaeological, Osteological, and Oral Historical Data

Fricke, Felicia Jantina (2019) The Lifeways of Enslaved People in Curaçao, St Eustatius, and St Maarten/St Martin: A Thematic Analysis of Archaeological, Osteological, and Oral Historical Data. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

In recent years, archaeologists have demonstrated that they can help to deconstruct dominant heritage narratives and develop new ones which are more nuanced and sensitive to both past and present stakeholder and subaltern communities. In this study, material culture from excavated enslaved villages, human remains from excavated enslaved cemeteries, and oral histories from participant interviews, were used to construct alternative narratives of the lifeways of enslaved people on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Curaçao, St Eustatius, and St Maarten/St Martin. The use of qualitative data in a thematic analysis facilitated nuanced understandings of many aspects of enslaved lifeways and allowed comparisons to be made between the islands and between the various datasets as well as between the study area and other regions of the Caribbean and the wider Americas. On each island, the research provided a perspective lacking in the existing literature: in St Maarten/St Martin the evidence indicated that enslaved people here had highly complex spiritual, cultural, and communal lifeways which were intricately linked with the island landscape; in St Eustatius the evidence indicated that enslaved people experienced high levels of stress despite periods of economic and material wealth; and in Curaçao the evidence indicated that the social structures of Atlantic slavery persisted well into the 20th century. Overall, the study demonstrates that narratives describing slavery in the Dutch Caribbean as 'mild' have neglected many of the physical and psychological aspects of enslavement for which there is ample evidence. The new narrative presented here is therefore important for our understanding of Dutch Caribbean heritage and structures of modern slavery, the development of island identities, and positive social and political change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Labadi, Sophia
Thesis advisor: Swift, Ellen
Thesis advisor: Boutsikas, Efrosyni
Uncontrolled keywords: Slavery osteology oral history Dutch Caribbean postcolonial subaltern
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2019 11:11 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2019 13:32 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/75188 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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