Journal of Arts and Humanities (JAH) Volume-2, Number-4,

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Maryland Institute of Research

Journal of Arts and Humanities (JAH)

Volume-2, Number-4, May 2013

An Historical and Contemporary Overview of Gendered Caribbean Relations

Dr. Sharla Blank
Washburn University
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Topeka, Kansas


This paper presents a broad overview of historical and contemporary gender and social class relations in the British, French, and Spanish Caribbean islands focusing primarily on Afro-Caribbean people. It begins with a discussion of gendered relations during slavery and then investigates gender roles post emancipation. Next, multiple aspects of contemporary West Indian family life are addressed including the prevalence of matrifocal households and child shifting. The important roles played by Caribbean female household heads are discussed in the context of patriarchy. Highlights include the significance of the maternal role over the marital, socializing youth, particular negative expectations each sex holds of the other, customary sexual behavior, as well as common relationship types. Varying aspects of women’s…

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