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NEW WORLD MEMORY: IDENTITY, COMMEMORATION, AND FAMILY IN TRANSATLANTIC COMMUNITIES

Cook, Katherine (2015) NEW WORLD MEMORY: IDENTITY, COMMEMORATION, AND FAMILY IN TRANSATLANTIC COMMUNITIES. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the ways in which British and Caribbean commemorative practices were shaped to construct and negotiate identities, relationships and experiences in the colonial era, reacting and contributing to transformations in social structure, global mobility and local communities. Based on a multi-site analysis of cemeteries in Barbados and Britain from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries, it examines the connections between colony and metropole, family, and memory by weaving together microhistorical and transatlantic narratives of expansion, interaction, and conflict. Traditionally, colonial histories have favoured European- and male-dominated narratives of exploration, administration, and military, while neglecting other major components of society, including family – the fundamental social unit at the time. Cemeteries and monuments provide the opportunity to develop alternative narratives because they have historically acted as venues through which to establish and promote identity. As the material manifestations of practice, emotion, exchange, fashion, environment, and economics, commemorative monuments embody family traditions, experiences and relationships. In considering the role of cemeteries in short-term memory construction and long-term cultural processes, the interconnected nature of the development and negotiation of British, African and Creole family identity and community heritage can be studied in unprecedented ways. This is the only systematic study connecting British experiences and memory practices on either side of the Atlantic and the first large-scale examination of post-emancipation funerary practices of African-descendant communities in a British colony. The transformation of family self-representation, engagement in society, connection to place, and concepts of race, status, and position highlights the changing relationships between tradition, memory, and society, and the continuing impact of historical landscapes on contemporary understandings of the past. The results of this research contribute both to emerging Atlantic studies of cultural interaction and global connections, as well as broader discussions of material culture and landscape in the production and negotiation of memory and heritage.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: archaeology, cemetery, Barbados, colonialism, transatlantic history, family, identity
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.689336
Depositing User: Katherine Cook
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 09:26
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13492

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