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12.00  The Imagined Caribbean Community: National Solidarity vs Cultural Identity

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This paper will look at the construction of modern cultural identities among African and East Indian groups in Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname. The primary focus will be on how they have constructed their cultural and communal identities. The Caribbean offers a perfect illustration of how colonialism jumbled established geographical, cultural, and ethnic identities by forcibly blending different ethnic groups from different parts of the world, whose descendants are then faced with the task of establishing new collective identities within the new geographical and cultural contexts they were placed into by the dominant imperial power. The paper will contrast the utility of Benedict Anderson's concept of the nation as an “imagined community” with Stuart Hall's analysis of diasporic identity in terms of ethnic affiliations.

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