Academics, journalists, and ordinary citizens have weighed in on the ideological meanings to be found in the minutiae of cultural life, from the use of skin-bleaching agents in the beauty rituals of working-class Jamaican women to the rise of sexually suggestive costumes in Trinidad’s Carnival. Author Natasha Barnes looks at the cultural performances of the Anglophone Caribbean – cricket, carnival, dance halls, calypso, and beauty pageants – and their major literary portrayals to investigate what’s at stake in the social, political, and intellectual investments in these popular arts.
Her provocative readings of foundational thinkers C.L.R. James and Sylvia Winters will engender discussion and debate among the Caribbean intellectual community. This impressively interdisciplinary study will make important contributions to the fields of literary studies, performance studies, postcolonial studies, and sociology.