Governing Races, Feminising Freedom: A Genealogy of the Black Caribbean Woman from Postcolonial Britain to the Post-Emancipation Caribbean

Noble, Denise Elizabeth Pottinger. 2006. Governing Races, Feminising Freedom: A Genealogy of the Black Caribbean Woman from Postcolonial Britain to the Post-Emancipation Caribbean. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The politics of race and Black representation now centre on contestations over the meaning of Black identity, and of freedom, in a postcolonial world. Whilst the end of formal colonialism has not eradicated racism, postcoloniality has unsettled Black identity, producing new struggles around gender, sexuality, and class. These internal struggles increasingly contest the both the terms and conditions of contemporary Black freedom and the meaning of Blackness.

This study explores these themes using interviews with Black Caribbean women in London and analyses of Black women's cultural practices. It addresses these as practices of freedom through which women have sought to re-define themselves and govern their lives through the idea of freedom. Secondly it uses genealogy to historicise and critique these practices and to undertake a critical ontology of the figure of the Black Caribbean women within liberalism. This reveals the mutual constituitiveness of metropolitan and colonial liberal formations through three moments in the post-emancipation histories of Black Caribbean women and British liberal state reform. These are: - the post-war mass migration to the U. K. of Caribbean women between 1948 and 1962; the reformation of the British Caribbean from slave economies to free societies following the Abolition of slavery in 1834, and finally political decolonisation by Britain of its Caribbean territories between 1934 and 1962. These moments permit a critical history of our present, in which we encounter the traces of Britain's colonial past in contemporary social formations.

This study concludes that the traces of colonial liberalism remain in contemporary advanced liberalism. Secondly that the category Black Caribbean woman is a category of liberal government, but also available as an ethical identity from which Black Caribbean women have and continue to both resist the governmentalities of race and gender, and use their liberties to expand the limits of freedom.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Black identity, Black freedom, Blackness, gender, sexuality, class, Black Caribbean women, Britian, postcolonialism

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Date Deposited:

22 May 2020 10:17

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:27


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