Sport in the Black Atlantic

Cricket, Canada and the Caribbean diaspora

This book outlines the ways in which sport helps to create transnational social fields that interconnect migrants dispersed across a region known as the Black Atlantic: England, North America and the Caribbean. Many Caribbean men’s stories about their experiences migrating to Canada, settling in Toronto’s urban and suburban neighbourhoods, finding jobs, returning home for visits, and traveling to other diasporic locations involved some contact with a cricket and social club. The cricket ground brings black Canadians together as a unified community, not only to celebrate their homeland cultures or assuage the pain of the “racial terror” that unifies the Black Atlantic, but also to allay the pain of aging in the diaspora. Players and spectators corporeal practices, post-game activities, sport-related travel, as well as music, food, meetings, fundraisers, parties, and shared stories are analysed in this text as resources deployed to maintain the Black Atlantic, that is, to create deterritorialized communities and racial identities; A close look at what goes on before, during, and after cricket matches provides insights into the contradictions and complexities of Afro-diasporic identity performances, the simultaneous representation of sameness and difference among Afro-Caribbean, African-American, Black British, Indo-Caribbean and South-Asian groups in Canada. This book describes twenty-one months of ethnographic empirical evidence of how black identities are gendered, age-dependent and formed relationally, with boundary making (and crossing) as an active process in multicultural Canada.

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