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Open Access Contesting the Past: Narratives of Trinidad & Tobago history

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Contesting the Past: Narratives of Trinidad & Tobago history

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image of New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

Discusses the national narratives developed historically in Trinidad and Tobago. Author describes how the past has been interpreted differently, for different purposes, and by different ethnic groups. She first pays attention to 2 hegemonic historical narratives during the colonial era: the British imperial historical narrative and the French Creole one, associated with political and/or planter elites. Next, she discusses how since the mid-20th c. the anticolonial, nationalist movement responded to this, including academics, resulting in the Eric Williams-led Afro-Creole narrative, dominant in the decades since the 1961 independence, connecting Trinidad as a nation with African-descended Creoles. Further, she highlights challenges to the dominant Afro-Creole narrative, mainly since the 1970s, emerging partly in the domain of "public history", and mostly ethnicity-based. She discusses the politics of (Amerindian) indigeneity in Trinidad, the Tobago narrative, related to its distinct history, the Afrocentric narrative, and the Indocentric narrative, the latter including a more recent extreme Hinducentric narrative. Author points out that the Afro-Creole master narrative, and subsequent (ethnic) counternarratives eclipsed (at least academically) increasing class-based, or gendered historical narratives.

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