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Seminar: Asia in the Caribbean

In this seminar, we will discuss the arrival of new migrants from China and India in the Caribbean (focusing on Trinidad especially), including the local consequences of this emigration.

Seminar questions

  • How were the lives of Asian immigrants to the Caribbean controlled and how was this resisted?
  • What were relations like between Asian immigrants and different groups already present in the Caribbean? What factors shaped them?
  • Did migrants from Asia preserve their cultural forms in the Caribbean? How did they shape local societies?

Required reading

Everyone should read the following primary source:

Sewell, William Grant, The Ordeal of Free Labor in the British West Indies (New York, 1861), pp 117-134. [Available from Google Books]

In addition, everyone should read two of the following:

Brereton, Bridget, Race Relations in Colonial Trinidad, 1870-1900 (Cambridge, 1979), chapter 9.

Cross, Malcolm, 'East Indian-Creole relations in Trinidad and Guiana in the Late Nineteenth Century', in David Dabydeen and Brinsley Samaroo (eds), Across the Dark Waters: Ethnicity and Indian Identity in the Caribbean (Basingstoke, 1996), pp. 14-38.

Look Lai, Walton, 'The Chinese Indentureship in the British West Indies and its Aftermath', in Andrew R. Wilson (ed), The Chinese in the Caribbean (Princeton, NJ, 2004), pp. 3-24.

Further reading

See Reading List for the lecture on 'New West Indians'.