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Author:Marcelo Moura Mello (Federal University of Bahia)
Paper short abstract:
This paper addresses the reconfiguration of racial hierarchies in the context of emancipation in British Guiana, focusing on class struggles between Madeiran indentured labours and African-Guyanese.
Paper long abstract:
This paper addresses the migration of men and women from the Island of Madeira to British Guiana at the aftermath of the emancipation of slaves in British colonies. Recruited as indentured labourers to work mainly in agricultural labour since 1835, Madeirans soon left plantations and became shopkeepers. In a context in which racial hierarchies were profoundly reconfigured and in which plantation system was restructured, Madeirans were never considered as white or as European. I argue that to understand the social place of Madeirans in British Guiana requires a more subtle analysis of the contrasts established, by the British colonial agents, between Madeirans and the African-Guyanese. In parallel, this paper tries to show how these contrasts resulted from changing conjunctions between class, race, and colour in plantation societies
Bringing race-making and class struggles in plantations and export industries back to the research agenda