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Title: 'To be despised' : discourses of sexual-economic exchange in nineteenth-century Jamaica, c.1780-1890
Author: Ono-George, Meleisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 0352
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is concerned with the changes and continuities in the discourses surrounding sexual-economic exchange in colonial Jamaica in the ‘long’ nineteenth century. More specifically, it explores the shifting relationship between representations of concubinage and street-based sexual labour amongst women of African ancestry and broader socio-cultural and political developments in Jamaica from the 1780s to the 1890s. The central argument of the thesis is that heightened discussions about sexual-economic exchange amongst local and imperial elites reflected concerns about race, labour, disease and civilization in the colony. Further, as Jamaica transitioned from a slave society to free and modern nation, the operation of sexual-economic exchange became an increasingly regulated and stigmatized form of sexual praxis amongst poor, subordinate women. Drawing on the theoretical framework developed by feminist scholars in the emerging subfield of Caribbean Sexualities, this thesis examines practices of sexual-economic exchange in nineteenth-century Jamaica as a form of women’s labour. While it recognizes the centrality of sexual violence and rape in the lives of poor, subordinate women, particularly during the period of slavery, this thesis seeks to broaden the discussions of black and brown women’s sexual experiences within the historiography of slave and post-slavery Caribbean societies. Thus, one of the central premises of this thesis is that despite the confines of slavery, patriarchy, and colonialism, some women engaged in transactional sex as a means of achieving financial stability and social mobility. In this way, this thesis contributes to emerging research on the centrality of sexual praxis to the developments and transformations in Jamaican society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Social Science Federation of Canada ; Royal Historical Society (Great Britain) ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D History (General)