This essay assesses recent scholarship on Caribbean borderlands and Caribbean migrations in the century after emancipation. Despite the wealth of scholarly contributions, collective knowledge has been radically limited. Centralized migratory flows that carried (usually male) workers to labor for large-scale foreign-owned employers tended to generate social boundaries and ideologies of racial difference. Such cases have set the paradigm for scholars' understanding of Caribbean migration. Meanwhile, diffuse migrations toward dispersed opportunity—an equally or more common pattern, as population figures show—generated blurry sociocultural boundaries at the time and little scholarly attention since. As a result, significant swathes of experience are invisible in the cumulative historiography of Caribbean borderlands and border crossers. The essay points to pre-World War II migration to New York, women's migration everywhere, and interactions between the anglophone and hispanophone Caribbeans in immigrant destinations as key areas for further research.
Lara Putnam; Borderlands and Border Crossers: Migrants and Boundaries in the Greater Caribbean, 1840–1940. Small Axe 1 March 2014; 18 (1 (43)): 7–21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-2642728
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