Special Issue – Gender, Sexuality and Feminism in the Caribbean: Transdisciplinary Engagements
by Halimah A.F. DeShong and Charmaine Crawford
Guest Editors’ Note
by Eudine Barriteau
by Tonya Haynes
This article seeks to challenge the location of Caribbean feminist scholars “outside” a Caribbean intellectual tradition. It does so by way of exploring both the contributions of Caribbean feminisms and engagements with Caribbean feminist theorising. The focus is largely on feminist thought produced in the social sciences (as well as history, law and Cultural Studies to some extent) and in women’s/feminist movements since the 1970s. It explores with the assessments of scholars who are explicitly engaging in a project of understanding and documenting a Caribbean intellection tradition, particularly a radical one, or who have indicated that they are assessing Caribbean social and political theory. I heighten focus on the extent to which work in this area has positioned its engagement with Caribbean feminist thought against a background of popular discourse on black male marginality.
Key Words: Caribbean radical tradition, feminist thought
by Tracy Robinson
This article examines the value ascribed to caring work in the context of Anglophone Caribbean family law and proceedings dealing with child support and family property. While some new laws convert caregivers in serious heterosexual unions into rights holders, low income mothers who use summary courts dealing with child support to demand respect and that account be taken of their caring work often face legal proceedings that demean the care they give. These developments and the value of caring work are nuanced by ‘modern’ notions equality, independence and reasonableness that both draw on feminist ideas and disavow them.
Key Words: caring work, citizenship, Anglophone Caribbean family law
by Halimah A.F. DeShong
Studies of violence against women in intimate heterosexual relationships have consistently pointed to a tendency by men to minimise the frequency and severity of their abuse. While men often engage a number of strategies in the process of accounting for intimate partner violence (IPV), this article explores their tendency to minimise, attenuate and engage in (strategic) silences in these narratives. A combination of narrative and discourse analysis techniques is applied to data emerging from qualitative in-depth interviews with 32 Barbadian and Vincentian men on their use of violence against a female partner. Whether men are responding to a public loathing of violence, managing the public selves produced in interviews or performing masculinity, a focus on how men story violence provides a critical space from which to create IPV interventions.
Key Words: silence, minimisation, attenuation, intimate partner violence, narrative and discourse analysis, gender, masculinity, power
by Nikoli Attai
Caribbean queerness has gained increased attention by activists working in the Anglophone Caribbean. This is evidenced by a concerted effort engage publicly, a wide range of issues affecting queer people across the region. To this end, numerous advocacy groups have been formed in the region and in diaspora metropolitan cities in North America and Europe to address, among other things, the issue of criminalisation of homosexuality in Caribbean countries. This paper provides an overview of some of these recent human rights interventions, and also explores other popular campaigns in the region that focus on human rights for Caribbean queers.
Key Words: Human Rights, Queer Activism, Anglophone Caribbean, Canadian Homoimperialism
Defiling the Feminine?: Women Who Kill – Female Criminality in Jamaica at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
by Shakira Maxwell
The paper examines specific cases of women who came before the court system in Jamaica at the turn of the twentieth century charged with committing infanticide, concealment of birth, murder or manslaughter. In examining the cases and the justifications given for the crime I highlight the response by the justice system and where possible, the larger society to these women. I also consider particular problems evident within the Jamaican society at this time which served as the catalyst for a number of women to respond in the most violent of manners. By so doing, I attempt to provide a glimpse into the lives of specific women accused of killing in the island at a particular time in history.
Key Words: female criminality, Jamaica, infanticide, child murder, poisoning