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Journey to Banana Land: Race and Gender in Afro-Caribbean Labor Migration to Honduras and the United States


While much has been written about banana production and, in particular, the influential United Fruit Company in the circum-Caribbean, relatively little has been written about Afro-Caribbean migrant laborers in general and female Afro-Caribbean migrant laborers specifically. So little has been written in part because so little can be found about or from Afro-Caribbean women workers in traditional historical archives. In my dissertation, I draw on my interdisciplinary interests in Ethnic Studies, Caribbean Studies, Latin American Studies, Black Diaspora Studies, and Gender and Women studies to examine the histories of Afro-Caribbean labor migration during the inception of banana industrialization in the circum-Caribbean at the turn of the twentieth-century, with an eye toward capturing the experiences of Afro-Caribbean female migrant laborers. Using the industrialization of the banana as a backdrop, my project works to complicate depictions of racialized and gendered labor migration in the circum-Caribbean through a tracing of the development of racialization, gender, class, citizenship, and labor in various material depictions of Afro-Caribbean workers. I do so by conducting a visual and discursive analysis of a range of cultural artifacts – cinematic and documentary film, photography, UFCO advertisements, oral histories, and archival material from the United States, Honduras, and Great Britain.

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