By S. Torres-Saillant
The 1st highbrow heritage of the Caribbean written by means of a most sensible Caribbean reviews pupil, this publication examines either writings penned by way of natives of the sector in addition to a physique of texts interpretive of the sector produced via Western authors. Stressing the experiential and cultural particularity of the Caribbean, the examine considers 4 significant questions: What paintings, literature or suggestion can come from the minds of people that have passed through a catastrophic heritage? What makes the conceptual paradigms formed through the Western highbrow able to illuminating the certain event of Antilleans, yet no longer vice versa? Do Antilleans lack the highbrow historical past required for the translation of tradition, even if of their zone or in other places on the planet? Why is the specificity of Caribbean humanity such that it can't be used as a paradigm for humanity as an entire?
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France would take hold of Guadeloupe, Guiana, Martinique, and the western third of the island of Hispaniola known by the name of Saint Domingue. Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Eustatius, Saba, and Surinam would go into the imperial hands of Holland, in addition to a half of St. Maarten, the other half claimed by France. Great Britain would take hold of by far the largest number of territories, running the alphabetical gamut from Anguilla and Antigua to Turks/Caicos and the Virgin Islands. Divided into distinct spheres of colonial domination, Caribbean societies, “as traditionless and artificial new creations on depopulated land, were the most radical sociotechnical experiment of the age” (Osterhammel 1997:31).
Bartholomew from 1784 through 1878, and that of the Danes, who controlled St. Thomas, St. John, and St. S. Virgin Islands, seem to have left a less perceptible trace. Countries such as Belize, where a Spanish-speaking minority coexists with a majority that speaks English, the official language; Honduras, a Spanish-speaking country that harbors an Anglophone community on the Bay Islands on the Caribbean coast; and Puerto Rico, where people supplement their native Spanish with officially sanctioned instruction in English as a second language, reflect linguistically a staggered history of colonial domination.
When it comes to mediating the rapport between Caribbean societies, linguistic difference, more than any other obstacle, has the power to encourage and preserve the otherness of neighbors, preventing the harmonious identification that might otherwise naturally ensue. Language has to a large extent kept open the tellurian wound that sets the territory of Haitians apart from that of Dominicans on the island of Hispaniola that they share. Language probably also has conferred vitality and depth to the borderline that separates the tiny island of Saint Martin, splitting its 30,000 inhabitants into two disparate polities, Dutch on one side and French on the other.