This book argues that the Caribbean frontier, usually assumed to have been eclipsed after colonial conquest, remains a powerful but unrecognized element of Caribbean island culture. Combining analytical and creative genres of writing, it explores historical and contemporary patterns of frontier change through a case study of the little-known Eastern Caribbean multi-island state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Modern frontier traits are located in the wandering woodcutter, the squatter on government land and the mountainside ganja grower. But the frontier is also identified as part of global production that has shaped island tourism, the financial sector and patterns of migration.
In this original and compelling book, Caribbean poet and scholar Philip Nanton explores the concept of the frontier in relation to the Caribbean region, focusing his attention on the little-studied multi-island state of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Though typically associated with the era of colonial conquest, the frontier has continuing relevance as a moral, ideational and physical boundary between what is imagined as civilisation and wilderness. Nanton illuminates the enduring importance of this idea through an analysis of the ways in which St Vincent is perceived and experienced both by outsiders and insiders. Using literary sources and elements of biography and autobiography, he shows how St Vincent is imagined and made sense of as a modern frontier - a society in the balance between an imposed civilised order and an untameable wild that is forever encroaching, whether in the form of social dislocation, the urban presence of the 'Wilderness people' or illegal marijuana farming in the northern hills. But the frontier has historically been and remains a global production. Expanding his focus, Nanton investigates how contemporary processes of globalisation shape the development of tourism and finance sectors, as well as patterns of migration, and connect to shifting conceptions of the civilised and the wild, with implications for the role of the state and politics in all frontier societies.
Philip Nanton is a freelance writer, poet and writer/producer of radio documentaries, including several on Caribbean culture for the BBC. He also lectures at the University of the West Indies in Barbados
Biblio NotesForeword: The Roaring by R.M. Kirkwood
1 Pirates of the Caribbean: frontier patterns old and new
2 Locating the frontier in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
3 Civilization and wilderness: the St. Vincent and the Grenadines context
4 Frontier retentions
5 Writing the St. Vincent frontier
6 Shifting rural and urban frontiers in St. Vincent
7 Conclusion by way of afterword
SeriesTheory for a Global Age
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