History and cultural identity : Barbadian space and the legacy of empire
This thesis explores issues surrounding Barbadian cultural identity in the post-colonial period. Emphasis is placed on the role of history in constructing cultural identity. Beginning with the debate involving the Lord Nelson statue which stands in the capital of Barbados, the question of negotiating post-colonial space is closely examined in the three case studies that form the body of the research. These are based on evidence gathered from both archival and secondary sources, as well as personal interviews. The case studies review the following: the history of the usage of the 'Little England' motto and its renewed use in the post-colonial period; the historical development of the community group known as the Landship, whose trademark is to wear naval livery and dance their naval manoeuvres during their parades; the history of the Harvest Home/Crop Over festival of the slavery and post-slavery periods, as well as the history of the modern street festival that it has become. The thesis argues that elements of the colonial discourse gain new life in the post-colonial period because of the struggle between the colonial narrative of History and the emerging new histories. It proposes that in this Barbados example, the performance culture has provided new grounds for advancing the process of decolonisation.