Caribbeanist Anthropology


Locating Caribbeanist Anthropology

by Kellie Hogue

(click links to navagate site)

Part 1 - caribbeanist in general          Part 2 - a long term perspective

Introduction:

 

This project aims to identify and characterize the population of self-identified anthropologists within the United States who do their work in some form or fashion in the region commonly known as the Caribbean. This area is comprised of a number of islands: the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin, Barbuda, Antigua, St. Barts, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. Also considered part of the larger Caribbean area are portions of the American South, the eastern portions of Mexico, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula, the Atlantic Coast of Central America, and the northern sections of South America, including but not limited to, the nations of Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil.

 

Methodology:

 

After much and extensive exploration of the web, it became apparent that to locate and identify anthropologists working in the Caribbean would be difficult due to the fragmented and loosely defined nature of the region. Given the complexities of the colonial legacy, manifested through the multiple definitions and cross-cutting disciplinary perspectives that view the region as either Anglophone, Francophone, or Hispanophone, or historically influenced by the Dutch, I decided to utilize the member information located on the website of the American Anthropological Association (the AAA E-guide) and query the member database by subject as well as region. 359 members of the American Anthropological Association self identified their region as Caribbean. After accessing the profile for each member, I copied their information (which consisted of their name, current university affiliation, title, interests, and region) into a word document, removed all formatting, and rolled all of their data into Microsoft Access.  I then added new fields which would help characterize the data – state, region (East, South, Midwest, West), and sub discipline (drawn from their interests as listed). I queried the data via Access to discern regional, university-level, and state concentrations for Caribbeanist anthropologists, and analyzed these distinctions as they related to the following major theoretical and methodological paradigms: cultural/sociocultural, archaeology, bioanthropology, medical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.

 

Analysis and Findings:

 

Overwhelmingly, the field is comprised of anthropologists who self identify as “cultural” or “sociocultural.” Sixty-percent (215 of the 359 anthropologists) locate themselves in this theoretical and methodological paradigm. Eighteen percent (65 out of 359) identify as archeologists, nine percent (33 out of 359) as biological anthropologists, roughly nine percent (32 out of 359) identify as medical anthropologists, and four percent (14 out of 359) self identify as linguistic anthropologists.

 

Figure 1: Caribbean Anthropology by Subdiscipline

 

 

 

Archaeologists in this field explore such issues as ethnohistory, historical archaeology, island and maritime archaeology, museum studies, and zooarchaeology.  Those who identify as biological anthropologists are evenly distributed between physical anthropology, human ecology, and biological anthropology. The small numbers of linguistic anthropologists largely explore language ideology and creolization.  Medical anthropologists in this field investigate psychological anthropology and health issues as they concern women and minorities. The cultural and sociocultural anthropologists represent the largest group; engaging most frequently the following issues: diasporas, applied anthropology, politics, race and ethnicity, nationalism, ethnography, ethnomusicology, folklore, gender, globalization/transnationalism, history, human trafficking, migration, political economy, social anthropology, social theory, urban anthropology, and visual anthropology.

 

Figure 2: Caribbean Anthropology by Region

 

 

With regard to employment location, Caribbeanist anthropologists are concentrated largely in the northeast and southern regions of the United States. Of these, forty percent (116 of 359) are employed in the East, thirty eight percent (111 of 359) are in the South, fifteen percent (45 out of 359) are located in the West, and roughly two percent are located in the Midwest. Non-U.S. based Caribbeanists who are members of the American Anthropological Association comprise five percent of the population under study, with the majority of these located in Canada (16). Smaller numbers are in Norway (3) and in the United Kingdom (3).

This field is dominated by sociocultural anthropologists, and the highest concentration (40%) of them are located in the East (78), followed by twenty-six percent in the South (53), twenty-two percent in the Midwest (44), and thirteen percent in the West (26). Biological anthropologists are most often located in the South (15) and the rest are evenly distributed throughout the East, Midwest, and West.

 

Figure 3: Cultural Anthropologists Who Study the Caribbean by Region

 

 

Of those archaeologists who identify the Caribbean as their region of study most are concentrated in the South (29), followed by the East (19). Linguistic anthropologists are located primarily in the East (6) and Midwest (4).

At the institutional level, 193 schools, colleges, museums, and universities are represented in this field, located predominantly in the United States, but this figure also includes institutions in Canada and the UK as well.  Thirty-four percent (113) received their degrees from Eastern institutions, thirty-three percent (108) from institutions located in the South, twenty-percent (65) from the Midwest, and thirteen percent (44) from the West. Universities in Florida have granted the most degrees to Caribbeanist anthropologists (24), followed by Columbia (15), followed by the University of Pittsburgh (7), Yale (6), and the University of California, Berkeley (6). Caribbeanist anthropologists are located in 36 states; New York universities employ the highest number of them (49), Florida employs almost the same number (48), 25 are in California, and 17 are in Illinois. Although New York and Florida employ almost the same number of anthropologists in this area of focus, Florida generates more degrees than New York. CUNY, Columbia, and SUNY attract the most Caribbeanists in New York, while the Florida Museum of Natural History, the University of Florida, the University of South Florida, and Florida International University attract the most of them in Florida. The Universidad De Puerto Rico currently employs 14 anthropologists who study the Caribbean, representing the largest concentration in the South.

 

Figure 4: Degrees Produced by Region for Those Anthropologists Who Study the Caribbean

 

 

Incidentally, this cluster of anthropologists at the Universidad De Puerto Rico received their degrees from entirely different institutions located in each region of the country.  Regarding trends in recruitment and placement, there were no easily discernable patterns, other than in Florida: people with degrees from the West go all directions, people with degrees from the East go to the Midwest, South, and West, and people with degrees go to other regions and stay in Florida too. Caribbeanist Anthropology, and the scholars who engage in such research, represent a large and vitally active academic community which cuts across boundaries of subdiscipline, paradigm, region, and nation.

Anthropologists who study the Caribbean publish most frequently in American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Other journals they publish in include: Cultural Anthropology, Human Nature, Agriculture and Human Values, Current Anthropology, Annual Review of Anthropology, Ethos, Ethnology, Ethnohistory, Feminist Studies, Anthropos, Anthropological Quarterly, Human Organization, and Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Transforming Anthropology, Homme, the New West Indian Guide, and Caribbean Studies. Caribbeanists work and publish in anthropologically-grounded spaces/places but are not limited to those spaces only. Rather, they engage actively with sociology, history, labor studies, Latino Studies, Ethnomusicology, African American and African Diaspora Studies, African Studies, American Studies, and other disciplines and programs which encompass, engage, and accent their work. Anthropologists working in this field form a legitimate subdiscipline, one that is actively multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary. Prominent scholars in this field include Richard and Sally Price, Sidney Mintz, Nancy Foner, Neil Whitehead, Kevin Yelvington, Faye Harrison, and Roger Abrahams.  Members of this group participate in various subsections of the American Anthropological Association, such as the Association of Black Anthropologists, the Latin American Studies Association, as well as the Caribbean Studies Association.

A seminal essay on Caribbeanist Anthropology confirms these findings and was published in American Anthropologist in 2003 [105(3): 553-565]. Entitled “Rethinking Global and Area Studies: Insights from Caribbeanist Anthropology,” authors Karla Slocum and Deborah A. Thomas argue that the unique history of the region encourages anthropologists to “trace the global in the local.” Slocum and Thomas identify transnational migration, globalization, nationalism, colonialism, creolization, and social stratification as important points of inquiry and access which reveal this tendency toward local-global interrelatedness in an academy which is pushing the boundaries of the post-World War II/Cold War area studies paradigms. By charting the trajectory of anthropology of the Caribbean from the work of 1920s and 1930s folklorists through the 1970s preoccupation with decolonization (as well as the reconfiguration of societies following the transformation of former plantation societies), Slocum and Thomas suggest that:

 

“because of the historical particularities of the region, it requires constant boundary crossings—disciplinarily, analytically, conceptually, and categorically. Even when looking at the Caribbean as an ‘area,’ Caribbeanists analyses rarely have been strictly bounded” (Slocum and Thomas 2003: 560).

 

Caribbeanists, they argue, have consistently contributed to the advancement of Anthropology through their interrogation of themes such as migration, their reliance on inductive theory rather than deductive theory, as well as providing evidence that “the production of a theoretical canon within anthropology as a discipline has always been and continues to be dialectical” (Slocum and Thomas 2003: 561).

 

Conclusion:

 

Caribbeanist Anthropology is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary largely as a result of the multivariate experiences and histories of this heterogeneous, loosely defined, geographic region. The U.S.-based cultural and socio-cultural anthropologists who study this area engage a multitude of topics and issues related to the Caribbean. These anthropologists are trained predominantly in the South (Florida) and East (New York) and find work in anthropology departments in these same regions. Given that the South and East historically have received the largest numbers of immigrants and guestworkers from the Caribbean to the United States via social and labor migrations, it is not surprising that Caribbeanist anthropologists are located in the same spaces. The members of this group have consistently made contributions to anthropological discourse, both in terms of theory and method.

Please note that this essay does not include the growing number of excellent scholars at Caribbean institutions and institutions in Holland, England, Denmark, and France who publish and research on topics related to anthropology and the Caribbean.

PART 2

Introduction:

 

My task for this assignment was to develop a long term perspective about the field of Caribbeanist Anthropology.  My group jointly decided to investigate and identify the major authors of the field as a gateway toward understanding the deeper dynamics of our chosen topics. To remain consistent with the first assignment, I decided to do three things: (1) to continue characterizing the twenty-five year time domain using a five field schema, (2) to capture the more transitory contours of the field through articles and book reviews, and (3) to try to identify any networks and clusters that might become visible through this analysis.

 

Methodology:

 

After some preliminary searches in various databases, I decided to utilize JSTOR as the primary resource for this project. JSTOR seemed to be able to give me the widest coverage of journals associated with the discipline of anthropology and the field of Latin American Studies. Because our group agreed to begin our survey with the year 1975 and identify the major authors associated with our fields in three-year intervals from 1975-2000, I broke the time frames for my JSTOR searches into three year increments (1975-1977, 1978-1980, 1981-1983, 1986-1988, 1989-1991, 1992-1994, 1995-1997, 1998-2000). Using these date ranges, I limited my searches to only articles and reviews in the anthropological journals accessible through JSTOR, using the keyword, “Caribbean.” I purposely avoided smaller published items like “front matter,” and “back matter.” Additional searches were performed in the journals associated with Latin American Studies, using the keywords “Caribbean” and “anthropology.” After performing each search, I emailed all the captured citations to my email account. 

1,952 citations were then copied into Microsoft Access. Each citation was coded by author, year, and whether it was related to archaeology, socio-cultural anthropology, bioanthropology, linguistic anthropology, and medical anthropology. Duplicate citations were deleted, along with non-article/non-review citations (like sound citations and film citations). Because I’m still learning Microsoft Access and because I am more familiar with Microsoft Excel, I then moved the entire database into Excel, broke it down by decade (by this time, our group had decided to break the data into decades as three-year increments were proving to be too micro-level of an analysis), and sorted it first by journal, then by author, then by anthropological subfield—noting the results for each grouping (see results in analysis section). I elected not to utilize the data I had gathered for the period beginning in 2000 as several key journals did not show up in the extracted data.

 

Data:

 

Table No. 1: Total number of articles which referenced the terms “Caribbean” and “anthropology” by journal* and by decade, with percentage of total articles for each journal title

 

 

Journal Title

1975-9

%

1980-9

%

1990-9

%

total

%

American Anthropologist

46

23%

42

10%

114

14%

202

14%

American Antiquity

16

8%

35

8%

43

5%

94

7%

American Ethnologist

23

12%

48

12%

79

10%

150

11%

Anthropology and Education Quarterly

7

4%

6

1%

30

4%

43

3%

American Journal of Archaeology

0

0%

1

0%

1

0%

2

0%

Annual Review of Anthropology

10

5%

18

4%

49

6%

77

5%

Anthropology Today

0

0%

11

3%

14

2%

25

2%

Current Anthropology

11

6%

22

5%

47

6%

80

6%

Cultural Anthropology

0

0%

3

1%

26

3%

29

2%

Ethnohistory

11

6%

21

5%

47

6%

79

6%

Ethnomusicology

4

2%

17

4%

17

2%

38

3%

Ethos

2

1%

5

1%

6

1%

13

1%

Hispanic American Historical Review

4

2%

10

2%

15

2%

29

2%

Hispania

1

1%

3

1%

5

1%

9

1%

Journal of American Folklore

5

3%

26

6%

31

4%

62

4%

Journal of Field Archaeology

 

4

2%

22

5%

20

3%

46

3%

Journal of Inter-American Studies

 

0

0%

4

1%

5

1%

9

1%

Journal of Latin American Studies

 

2

1%

11

3%

12

2%

25

2%

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

13

7%

31

7%

71

9%

115

8%

Journal of Roman Studies

0

0%

0

0%

4

1%

4

0%

Latin American Anthropology Quarterly

0

0%

0

0%

1

0%

1

0%

Latin American Perspectives

5

3%

8

2%

31

4%

44

3%

Latin American Antiquity

0

0%

0

0%

23

3%

23

2%

Latin American Research Review

10

5%

36

9%

34

4%

80

6%

Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos

0

0%

0

0%

12

2%

12

1%

Medical Anthropology Newsletter

5

3%

3

1%

0

0%

8

1%

Medical Anthropology Quarterly

0

0%

7

2%

22

3%

29

2%

The Americas

 

14

7%

20

5%

29

4%

63

4%

World Archaeology

 

3

2%

6

1%

11

1%

20

1%

Total Number of Articles and Reviews

196

100 %

416

100 %

799

100 %

1,413

100%

Archaeology

21

11%

73

18%

113

14%

207

15%

Bioanthropology

8

4%

15

4%

21

3%

44

3%

Socio-Cultural Anthropology

149

76%

300

72%

604

76%

1054

75%

Linguistic Anthropology

10

5%

12

3%

27

3%

49

3%

Medical Anthropology

8

4%

16

4%

34

4%

58

4%

Totals by Subdiscipline

196

100 %

416

100 %

799

100 %

1,413

100 %

*Note that the New West Indian Guide and journals from the University of the West Indies were not included in the database.

 

 

Table No. 2: Author/Scholar and the Number of Reviews and Articles for each one from 1975-1999.

 

 

Author/Scholar

Number of Reviews and Articles

from 1975-1999

Richard and Sally Price

35

Roger D. Abrahams

22

Erika Bourguignon

22

Stephen Glazier

20

Sidney Mintz

17

William F. Keegan

14

Lee Drummond

13

Marc Edelman

13

Nancy Foner

13

Kent Lightfoot

12

John D. Kelly

11

Karen Tranberg Hansen

10

Mark Moberg

10

James D. Sexton

10

Raymond T. Smith

10

Kevin Yelvington

8

Thomas Hyland Eriksen

7

Kennith Bilby

5

Neil L. Whitehead

5

James R. Gregory

4

Faye Harrison

4

Mindie Lazarus-Black

4

Peter E. Siegel

4

Mary J. Berman

3

Jean Besson

3

Samuel Martinez

3

Hymie Rubenstein

3

Total number of articles and reviews published for this group

335

 

 

Analysis and Findings:

 

During the period from 1975-1979, out of the 196 articles and reviews that referenced the Caribbean, most of these were from American Anthropologist (46), American Ethnologist (23), and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain (13). The authors with the most articles and reviews for this period were as follows: Roger D. Abrahams, Lee Drummond, Hymie Rubenstein, James D. Sexton, and James R. Gregory. These articles and reviews were predominantly grounded in sociocultural topics.

 

Figure 1: Distribution of Articles and Reviews by Journal, 1975-1999

 

 

 

 

 

During the period from 1980-1989, 416 articles that referenced the Caribbean were published, and the majority of these were in American Anthropologist (42), American Antiquity (35), American Ethnologist (48), the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain/MAN(31), and Latin American Research Review (36). The authors with the most articles and reviews during this period were as follows: Roger D. Abrahams, Erika Bourguignon, and William F. Keegan, Again, the topics engaged in these journals were overwhelmingly sociocultural (314).

During the period from 1990-1999, of the 799 articles that referenced the Caribbean, most were published in the following journals: American Anthropologist (114), American Antiquity (43), American Ethnologist (79), Anthropology & Education Quarterly (30), Current Anthropology (47), Ethnohistory (47), and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain/MAN (71). The authors with the most articles and reviews during this period were as follows: Mary J. Berman, Jean Besson, Kenneth Bilby, Luis Antonio Curet, Marc Edelman, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Nancy Foner, Stephen Glazier, Karen Tranberg Hansen, Faye Harrison, William F. Keegan, John D. Kelly, Mindie Lazarus-Black, Kent Lightfoot, Samuel Martinez, Marilyn Masson, Sidney Mintz, Mark Moberg, Richard and Sally Price, Peter E. Siegel,  Raymond T. Smith, Neil L. Whitehead, and Kevin Yelvington, The field remained dominated by publications that were sociocultural (634).

 

Figure 2: Number of Articles and Reviews Referencing Caribbeanist Anthropology by Subdiscipline, for the period from 1975 through 1999

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Over this thirty year period, the field has grown substantially. The number of published articles and reviews in this sample doubled between from the 1970s to the 1980s, and then doubled again in the 1990s. The number of consistent scholars working this area remained somewhat constant during the 1970s and 1980s, and then expanded to five times what it was in the 1990s. On a cumulative level, for period from 1975 through 1999, published articles and reviews drawn from JSTOR citations that were related to Caribbeanist Anthropology totaled 1, 413. Through the five field schema: 207 were on archaeological topics, 44 were related to bioanthropology, 1, 054 were related to socio-cultural anthropology, 49 concerned linguistic anthropology, and 58 concerned medical anthropology. 32 scholars had three or more published articles and/or reviews in for the twenty-five year period.  American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute were the best avenues for publishing in this area, as they published the most articles regarding Caribbeanist Anthropology over the course of the 25-year period. The scholars who have published articles and book reviews frequently on the Caribbean for this time period are Richard and Sally Price, Roger D. Abrahams, Erika Bourguignon, Sidney Mintz, and Stephen Glazier.

 

 

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