"Do you think I am an automaton?": Post-emancipation Caribbean Factories and Social Industrialism

Author(s): Charlotte Goudge

Year: 2018


Studies of industrial production have taken a prominent position within social theory. Social implications of factories and productive landscapes in the Caribbean have often been obscured by the socio-cultural palimpsest of plantation environments. Material culture studies of Caribbean factories, both structures and machinery, can be vital descriptors regarding enslaved and emancipated labour narratives. The connection between industrialisation, machinery, slavery, and manumission underlies major themes of the plantation organism. The industrialisation of the factory complex generated a newly habituated space and altered perceptions of workspaces from one of slavery and semi-artisanal, cottage-manufacture to constant mechanised motion, noise and ‘free’-production. Using the term anthropomorphic-machinism to cover both the relationship of workers to technologies being manipulated, it is possible to characterise the effect of machinery on the organisms themselves (labourers). Despite their continued financial confinement, Abolition marked the ‘freedom’ of the labourer from the yolk of oppressive production. The introduction of industrialised steam machinery replaced the corporeal labour of the enslaved. The relationships developed between the labourer and the workplace is depicted within their interaction with procedure, machinery, technology and, eventually, the product. This paper will discuss the major themes displayed within archaeological processes and the material life of industrialised Caribbean factories.

Cite this Record

"Do you think I am an automaton?": Post-emancipation Caribbean Factories and Social Industrialism. Charlotte Goudge. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444471)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20235