Trinidad Carnival

Trinidad Carnival

The Cultural Politics of a Transnational Festival
Edited by Garth L. Green and Philip W. Scher
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/28/2007
Format: Paperback 11 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21883-4
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Like many Caribbean nations, Trinidad has felt the effects of globalization on its economy, politics, and expressive culture. Even Carnival, once a clandestine folk celebration, has been transformed into a major transnational festival. In Trinidad Carnival, Garth L. Green, Philip W. Scher, and an international group of scholars explore Carnival as a reflection of the nation and culture of Trinidad and Trinidadians worldwide. The nine essays cover topics such as women in Carnival, the politics and poetics of Carnival, Carnival and cultural memory, Carnival as a tourist enterprise, the steelband music of Carnival, Calypso music on the world stage, Carnival and rap, and Carnival as a global celebration. For readers interested in the history and current expression of Carnival, this volume offers a multidimensional and transnational view of Carnival as a representation of Trinidad and Caribbean culture everywhere.

Contributors are Robin Balliger, Shannon Dudley, Pamela R. Franco, Patricia A. de Freitas, Ray Funk, Garth L. Green, Donald R. Hill, Lyndon Phillip, Victoria Razak, and Philip W. Scher.

Author Bio

Garth L. Green is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and International Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Philip W. Scher is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oregon. He is author of Carnival and the Formation of a Caribbean Transnation and editor of Perspectives on the Caribbean: A Reader in Culture and Representation.


“In Trinidad Carnival, Garth L. Green, Philip W. Scher, and an international group of scholars explore Carnival as a reflection of the nation and culture of Trinidad and Trinidadians worldwide. ”

“Green and Scher carefully selected essays for this collection that reflect the identity crisis within the parent Trinidadian carnival, while paying special attention to the transnationalism of the offspring carnivals spread throughout the globe. . .[T]his collection initiates a discussion of how the ideology of national cultural forms is affected locally by global forces. Moreover, this essay collection examines the process by which carnival fosters and adapts to the changing nature of Caribbeaness on a global scale.64.4 June 2008”

“[E]ditors Garth L. Green and Philip W. Scher have gathered a thought-provoking collection of essays that extend our understanding of Trinidadian festivals and festival arts at home and abroad.”
 — Journal of American Folklore

“[The] editors . . . have assembled a fine collection of articles that examine the Trinidad Carnival as well as its transnational offshoots. . . . Through a thoughtful review of existing literature they persuasively argue for theoretical and methodological approaches that are sensitive to the multivalent nature of Carnival. 51 (2), 2009”
 — The World of Music

“Anyone wishing to explore tradition, authenticity, community, identity, nation and transnation will be rewarded by reading this volume.Spring/ Summer 2010”
 — Western Folklore

“. . . this book is a must-read for scholars and fans of West Indian culture and particularly Trinidad Carnival and its visual and musical components. It delivers a vast field of information from both a deep historical as well as a contemporary perspective.October 2009”
 — John Nunley, H-AfrArts

“This collection of essays is a fascinating look at contemporary Carnival as . . . a national and transnational institution. Many of the essays would be useful for readers interested in transnational movement of music and festivals, as well as in Carnival and the Caribbean specifically.August 25, 2009”
 — David Lewis, Indiana University

“. . . provides interesting and thought provoking reading. . . . [I]t would be valuable for higher level students at university and researchers who have a keen interest in transnational festivals and cultural tourism.Vol. 1.2 2009”
 — Donna Chambers, University of Surrey

“. . . Tracking the various forces that historically and contemporarily shape Carnival as event, ideology, national culture, and commodity, the essays in Trinidad Carnival never view Carnival through a single analytical lens. Indeed, they never yield a picture of a singular Carnival, a particular mas player. Rather, they show how 'specific Carnivals, specific masqueraders, and specific Carnival controversies are in motion, are well-traveled and circulate through the population not just of Trinidadians, but of Caribbean people everywhere, defining their Caribbean-ness while helping to change those definitions as new contexts arise' (Green and Scher 23).”
 — Anthropological Quarterly

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Trinidad Carnival in Global Context Garth L. Green and Philip W. Scher
1. The Invention of Traditional Mas and the Politics of Gender Pamela R. Franco
2. The Masquerader-Anthropologist: The Poetics and Politics of Studying Carnival Patricia A. De Freitas
3. Authenticity, Commerce, and Nostalgia in the Trinidad Carnival Garth L. Green
4. When "Natives" Become Tourists of Themselves: Returning Transnationals and the Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago Philip W. Scher
5. Reading Caribana 1997: Black Youth, Puff Daddy, Style, and Diaspora Transformations Lyndon Phillip
6. Carnival in Aruba: "A Feast of Yourself" Victoria M. Razak
7. Creativity and Politics in the Steelband Music of Ray Holman Shannon Dudley
8. "Will Calypso Doom Rock'n'Roll?": The U.S. Calypso Craze of 1957 Ray Funk and Donald R. Hill
9. The Politics of Cultural Value and the Value of Cultural Politics: International Intellectual Property Legislation in Trinidad Robin Balliger
Afterword Roger Abrahams

Glossary of Terms
Works Cited
List of Contributors