Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies by Mimi Sheller

By Mimi Sheller

From sugar to indentured labourers, tobacco to reggae tune, Europe and North the United States were relentlessly eating the Caribbean and its resources for the earlier years. during this attention-grabbing booklet, Mimi Sheller explores this complicated heritage, investigating the complicated mobilities of manufacturers and shoppers, of fabric and cultural commodities, including:

  • foodstuffs and stimulants - sugar, fruit, espresso and rum
  • human our bodies - slaves, indentured labourers and repair workers
  • cultural and data items - texts, track, clinical collections and ethnology
  • entire 'natures' and landscapes ate up by means of travelers as tropical paradise.

Consuming the Caribbean demonstrates how colonial exploitation of the Caribbean led on to modern different types of intake of the area and its items. It calls into query blameless indulgence within the pleasures of inconsiderate intake and demands a world ethics of shopper responsibility.

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Extra info for Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies (International Library of Sociology)

Example text

Following Greenblatt] a representational machine is a set of mechanisms, processes, and apparatuses that produce and circulate representations constitutive of cultural difference. . g. travel narratives, geographic handbooks, photograph albums, and ethnographic exhibits). These representational practices constituted the stuff of empire as much as the activities of North Americans in the economic, military, or diplomatic fields. (Salvatore 1998: 71–3) This culturally rich understanding of imperial encounters informs the approach taken in this book, wherein I will also focus on the production and circulation of textual and visual representations of the Caribbean as crucial parts of the colonising project.

Associated with the period of ascendance of the colonial sugar plantation system, this form of visual consumption often utilised a ‘rhetoric of presence’ (Pratt 1992) which offered an implicit ideological legitimisation of slavery. The visual practices that organised such views, it must be said, were not specific to the Caribbean, but can be found operating in other parts of the colonial world as well. While each visual regime may be associated with a particular era of Caribbean history, I would not insist that it occurred as such only then and there.

Unfortunately for these colonists, neither wheat to make bread, nor grape vines to make wine, nor olive trees to make oil (the three staples of the Mediterranean diet), would flourish in the hot, wet lowlands of the West Indies. They had more success, however, in the release of domesticated animals, which by 1518 were proliferating across the Greater Antilles. Livestock were also dropped on smaller outlying islands as an emergency supply. : 75). The introduction of European diseases contributed even more to the decimation of the indigenous population, which I return to in Chapter 5.

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