Reviewed Work: Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies by Mimi Sheller
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Reviewed Work: Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies by Mimi Sheller

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

When Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1757) first visited Jamaica in 1687, he witnessed women feeding sick children a mixture of milk, sugar, and cocoa. Sensing opportunity, he brought the recipe back to England and began marketing "Sir Hans Milk Chocolate" for medicinal uses. Aside from his entrepreneurialnterests, Sloane began a program of collecting, transporting, cataloguing, and studying plants from the Caribbean, many of which ended up in the Chelsea Physic Garden, an institution from which emerged such innovations as double-glazed glass windows for greenhouses, cultivated teas exported to plantations on the Indian Subcontinent, and cultivated rubber trees, sent to Malaysia. Sloane's chocolate became big business; the recipe was bought by Cadbury's. It is easy to read Sloane's story as a familiar tale of the intertwining of science, the market, and colonial extraction. It is more challenging, and more important, to ask how the intellectual project, the system of knowledge/power Sloane represents, is replicated by contemporary Caribbeanist scholarship and its forms of knowledge. The author of this stunning book poses this latter question and, in the process, calls upon contemporary Caribbeanists to consider the ethics and politics of the way Caribbean studies as a field has helped to constitute the objects of its investigations

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