Contemporary Indian, Caribbean and Canadian Literatures:
(De-)Colonization, National Identity and Migration
I. History of Slavery and Diaspora
  • Slavery and the Triangle trade (from Europe to Africa to Americas)

  • a. definition 1. societal institution based on ownership, dominance, and exploitation of one human being by another and reciprocal submission on the part of the person owned. 
     2. Members of family can be separated at the will of the owner.
     3. Slavery at present--the selling of people or self-sale for special purposes--e.g. prostitution; the outpouring of mainland Chinese workers to places such as U.S. and Taiwan 
    b. the Triangle Trade:
     1. route: from England, with merchandise such as weapons, ammunition, metal, liquor, trinkets, and cloth, to the west Coast of Africa.  From Africa, with human cargo, to either West Indies or English colonies.  And then with agricultural products such as sugar back to England.
     2. "Middle Passage"  -- 
    Diagram of a middle passage slave ship, showing the appalling conditions of transportation.  Identity and Difference 323

      Drawings of the Middle Passage by Feelings
     3. this trade is a source of wealth to tribal chiefs, to the shipping business, to plantation owners in the South of U.S., and to merchants and shipbuilders in the North.
     4. An estimated 8 to 15 million Africans reached the Americas from the 16th throught the 19 century, with a peak of about 6 million arriving in the 18th century alone.

  • Replaced by Indentured Labour in the 19th century

  • diagram from Sander Gilman's Difference and Pathology of racial/ethnic classifications by physical charaacteristicss, such as cranial shape and size. 
    Identity and Difference 308
    Other peoples abroad who have also maintained strong identities have, in recent years, defined themselves as diasporas, though they were neither active agenets of colonization nor passive victims of persecution.

    All diasporic communities settled outside their natal (or imagined natal) territories, acknowledge that "the old country"--a notion often buried deep in language, religion, custom or folklore--always has some claim on their loyalty and emotion.  (Robert Cohen ix).

    Five kinds of Diaspora: Victim(e.g. Jews, Africans, Armenians), Labour (Indian, Chinese), Trade (Chinese and Lebanese), Imperial (the British), Cultural diasporas(the Caribbean).

    Cohen, Robin.  Global Diaspora: An Introduction.  Seattle: U of Washington P, 1997.