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This chapter argues that the notion of the frontier in small multi-island states is a complex affair. As physical boundary the notion of frontier also encompasses administrative, territorial and cultural island to island distinctions, all complicated by a notion of ‘islandness’. Beyond the conventional notion of physical boundary, the frontier is also a site of balance between imagined ‘civilization’ and ‘wilderness’. It is marked by outpost status, inconsistent or sporadic commitment to local infrastructure, including government institutions, prevalent violence and a rough and ready society that centres men and those who excel at improvisation. However, the attractiveness of the frontier concept in an island situation like SVG is its double edged potential - it is ‘liminal’ open and closed simultaneously and also its key elements of ‘civilization’ and ‘wilderness’ are always incomplete.

in Frontiers of the Caribbean
Open Access (free)
Frontier patterns old and new

This chapter examines the context for studying the frontier in the Caribbean. It challenges the notion that the Caribbean frontier featured for only a brief period in the region’s history. It argues that historically the Caribbean has had and continues to have identifiable frontier features. Shifting state boundaries, strong privatization, weak state regulation and patterns of religious and social withdrawal are explored as underlying features of the continuing Caribbean frontier.

in Frontiers of the Caribbean

This chapter again moves between macro narrative and micro detail to flesh out the various dimensions of wilderness/civilization relationship. It offers two case studies, one examining the history of the Shaker Baptists of St. Vincent and the second focusing on marijuana production and distribution. They illustrate how once ‘wild’ rural practices have gradually been ‘civilized’ into mainstream and urban society. Portrait sketches of three individuals from different walks of life illustrate urban frontier styles of living.

in Frontiers of the Caribbean

The concept of the frontier is examined through the study of rhetoric, reading the frontier into a variety of written texts by both ‘outsiders’ and ‘insiders’ to St. Vincent society. The journal of John Anderson, a nineteenth century stipendiary magistrate and ‘Bodily Harm’ a twentieth century thriller by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood are discussed as ‘outsider’ texts that dramatise difficulties of personal dislocation in a context where what constitutes civilization in the society encountered is opaque. By contrast three insider texts are offered in the form of memoirs of local ‘pioneering heroes’ in which frontier retentions are implicit in the stories of their political lives.

in Frontiers of the Caribbean
Open Access (free)
Entanglements and ambiguities

This chapter discusses aspects of the interplay between the disciplines and modernity, as mediated by temporal-spatial imperatives. It focuses on the relationship between anthropology and history in order to discuss formations of modern knowledge as themselves forming critical subjects and crucial procedures of modernity. Time and temporality are usually projected as the stuff of history, quite as culture and tradition are implicitly understood as subjects of anthropology. Staying with and thinking through the formative ambivalences of ethnography make it possible to approach anew anthropology in non-Western worlds through temporal-spatial considerations. The temporality of anthropological others could only emerge as being external to and lagging behind the space and time of the writing of ethnography. The chapter considers the presence of ambivalence and ambiguity at the core of recent renovations of anthropology and history, often overlooked by presumptions of progress in explanations of disciplines and their makeovers.

in Subjects of modernity
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Time and space

This chapter is cast as a personal narrative. It unravels how the author arrived at inklings and understandings of space and time - alongside those of disciplines and subjects, modernity and identity. The chapter explores processes that braided time, space, and their enmeshments. The contentious enmeshments shaped the mission project and a vernacular Christianity. The chapter is concerned with the acute entanglements between missionary and convert, colonial cultures and vernacular Christianity, empire and modernity, and power and difference, shored up by overlapping yet heterogeneous articulations of time and space. Away from the mutual constitution of these critical copulas by their constitutive elements as well as each other, the work of subaltern studies principally rested on keeping the segments apart, bringing into play temporal-spatial demarcations.

in Subjects of modernity
Open Access (free)
Antinomies and enticements

This chapter considers aspects of the interplay of modernity and history, as entailing pervasive procedures of the temporalization of space and the spatialization of time. It shows that these protocols have twin dimensions. On the one hand, they entail routine projections of historical time as necessarily homogeneous and yet founded on inaugural spatial ruptures. On the other, they involve antinomian blueprints of social space as innately split but ever along a singular temporal hierarchy. The chapter focuses on some of the distinctions of subjects of modernity and modern subjects, all the while keeping in view modernity's enchantments. Intensely spectral but concretely palpable, forming tangible representations and informing forceful practices, the one bound to the other, the enticements stalk the worlds of modernity's doing and undoing. As worldly knowledge, abiding oppositions, and their constitutive presumptions entered the lives of historical subjects, albeit at different times and in distinct ways.

in Subjects of modernity
Open Access (free)
Identities and incitements

This chapter focuses on questions and contentions of identity and modernity, entailing stipulations of time and space. The processes of modernity have frequently imbued with a specific salience the categories-entities of tradition and culture, community and identity, turning them into the very stuff of heritage and history. An apparent irony involving the past in the present turns on and draws together the terrains of history, modernity, and identity. Influential tendencies within postcolonial perspectives and subaltern studies have tended to treat colony and empire as totalized formations, spatially and temporally. Key departures in historical anthropology, subaltern studies, and postcolonial understandings have played an important part in reformulations of approaches to nation, nationalism, and the identities they spawn. The historical identities spawned by colonial cultures have made a striking appearance on the stage of the humanities and the social sciences, inviting reconsiderations of space and time of empires and their subjects.

in Subjects of modernity
Open Access (free)
An epilogue

This epilogue turns attention to salient subjects of a modernist provenance on the Indian subcontinent. In South Asia, a certain haziness regarding modernism and modernity derives the fact that they are both frequently filtered through the optics of modernization. Until the end of the 1910s, Indian nationalism had remained a principally middle-class phenomenon, despite some attempts during the Swadeshi period to draw in popular participation in nationalist agitation. From the 1920s onwards, anticolonial nationalism, drawing in popular participation, appeared accompanied by connected yet contending tendencies, socialism and communism, which could now form compelling friendships and now forge intimate enmities. Unsurprisingly, in "progressive" endeavors in the plastic arts, questions of a practice that was adequate to an emergent era, an inviting internationalism, and a modern art came to be of critical import.

in Subjects of modernity
Open Access (free)
Time-space, disciplines, margins

This book explores modernity, the disciplines, and their interplay by drawing in critical considerations of time, space, and their enmeshments. Based in anthropology and history, and drawing on social-political theory (as well as other, complementary, critical perspectives), it focuses on socio-spatial/disciplinary subjects and hierarchical-coeval tousled temporalities. The spatial/temporal templates reveal how modern enticements and antinomies, far from being analytical abstractions, intimate instead ontological attributes and experiential dimensions of the worlds in which we live, and the spaces and times that we inhabit and articulate. Then, the book considers the oppositions and enchantments, the contradictions and contentions, and the identities and ambivalences spawned under modernity. At the same time, rather than approach such antinomies, enticements, and ambiguities as analytical errors or historical lacks, which await their correction or overcoming, it attempts to critically yet cautiously unfold these elements as constitutive of modern worlds. The book draws on social theory, political philosophy, and other scholarship in the critical humanities in order to make its claims concerning the mutual binds between everyday oppositions, routine enchantments, temporal ruptures, and spatial hierarchies of a modern provenance. Then, it turns to issues of identity and modernity. Finally, the book explores the terms of modernism on the Indian subcontinent.