Contesting Identities on an Emancipation Era Barbadian Plantation

Author(s): Sean Devlin

Year: 2014


The emancipation of the enslaved population throughout the British colonial empire in 1834 represented a complicated transition within those constituent societies, whereby the population was quickly transformed from bonded to ‘free’ laborers. This process is exemplified on the island of Barbados. Traditional historical studies have focused on colonial domination as maintained in this changing social context through the reinforcement of educational system, which served to enculturate the newly freed black proletariat. Material culture associated with education and literacy recovered from a nineteenth century Afro-Barbadian domestic context contrasts this passive model of black behavior. It demonstrates that Afro-Barbadians actively manipulated material culture to advance their own claim to humanity in a social discourse with a racist white plantocracy which sought to perpetuate the inequities of slavery in the post-emancipation era.

Cite this Record

Contesting Identities on an Emancipation Era Barbadian Plantation. Sean Devlin. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436609)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-6,17