At the Margins of the Plantation: Alternative Modernities and an Archaeology of the "Poor Whites" of Barbados
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Douglas V. Armstrong
Archaeology, Barbados, Caribbean, Class, Modernity, Race
Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences
This dissertation is an historical archaeological examination of the "poor whites" or "Redlegs" of Barbados. Excavations were undertaken from October 2012 to July 2013 in an abandoned tenantry, Below Cliff, on the east coast of the island, once inhabited by dozens of families locally referred to as the "poor whites" or "Redlegs", said to be the descendants of seventeenth century European indentured servants. Combining archaeological, ethnographic, and historical methodologies, this dissertation explores class relations of Below Cliff residents to processes of capitalism as well as other island laborers, including Afro-Barbadians. Additionally, racial categories are interrogated through an analysis of complex and interracial genealogies of Below Cliff residents that call into question the legitimacy of determinate racial categories of black and white. I argue that Below Cliff is best understood as an alternative modernity, a place in which residents were directly affected by processes of modernization, but through their own ways of relating to economic forces and their own experiences of race relations they were able to engender alternatives to modernity that were all their own.
Reilly, Matthew Connor, "At the Margins of the Plantation: Alternative Modernities and an Archaeology of the "Poor Whites" of Barbados" (2014). Dissertations - ALL. 132.