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Open Access Through the diameter of respectability: the politics of historical representation in postemancipation colonial Trinidad

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Through the diameter of respectability: the politics of historical representation in postemancipation colonial Trinidad

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Examines the concepts of "respectability" and "reputation" and their emergent functions in the colonial politics immediately following emancipation in Trinidad. Author explains how these concepts presupposed and entailed a different representation and valuation of local historical processes, and how the "diameter" of respectability relates to the emergence of an educated colored and black "petite bourgeoisie" as Trinidad's plantation complex developed into a class-based Creole society. He first discusses how after 1838 British education imposed British ideas of respectability in Trinidad, which in the last half of the 19th c. were adapted by an emerging local black middle class to be operative for their social mobility. He then juxtaposes the burgeoning of a large urban black underclass in the same period, and the revival by the underclass of the island's Carnival, where a set of values opposed to the norms of respectability were conjured.

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