Afro Central Americans in New York City
Garifuna Tales of Transnational Movements in Racialized Space
An examination of daily life and transnational migration in the Garifuna communities of Honduras and New York
“An ethnographically rich exploration of the ways in which Garifuna communities and grassroots organizations negotiate the transnational complexities of race, class, gender, ethnicity and nationhood as a multivalent diasporic people.”—Journal of Latin American Studies
“Does an impressive job of analyzing Garifuna transnationalism while highlighting the distinctions between dwelling in different places within it. . . . Has much to offer students of race and ethnicity, ethnic movements and transnationalism.”—Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
“[A] finely crafted book. . . . In exquisite theoretical and ethnographic detail, England focuses on the history of transnational migration of a community of Garifuna between Limón, Honduras, and New York City.”—Latin American Perspectives
“An excellent account of how transnational culture informs social movements, the negotiation of development processes, and reformulation of ethnic identity. England makes her case using rich, thick description based on firsthand narrative accounts to provide a window of insight into the complexities of transnational Garifuna culture.”—American Anthropologist
“A strength of England’s analysis is her consideration of critical discourses that compete with the dominant perspective to argue that dependence on remittances and the consumption they enable is debilitating and enslaving.”—Latin American Research Review
“An important book. . . . England’s multisited ethnography represents a substantial contribution.”—New West Indian Guide
"A fascinating and richly detailed ethnographic study of a unique and little-known transmigrant population. . . . Well written, highly informed, and theoretically sophisticated, this book will be very useful to scholars, teachers, and students of migration, cultural studies, and race and ethnicity."—Nora Hamilton, University of Southern California
Descended from African maroons and the Island Carib on colonial St. Vincent, and later exiled to Honduras, the Garifuna way of life combines elements of African, Island Carib, and colonial European culture. Beginning in the 1940s, this cultural matrix became even more complex as Garifuna began migrating to the United States, forming communities in the cities of New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Moving between a village on the Caribbean coast of Honduras and the New York City neighborhoods of the South Bronx and Harlem, England traces the daily lives, experiences, and grassroots organizing of the Garifuna.
Concentrating on how family life, community life, and grassroots activism are carried out in two countries simultaneously as Garifuna move back and forth, England also examines the relationship between the Garifuna and Honduran national society and discusses much of the recent social activism organized to protect Garifuna coastal villages from being expropriated by the tourism and agro-export industries.
Based on two years of fieldwork in Honduras and New York, her study examines not only how this transnational system works but also the impact that the complex racial and ethnic identity of the Garifuna have on the surrounding societies. As a people who can claim to be Black, Indigenous, and Latino, the Garifuna have a complex relationship not only with U.S. and Honduran societies but also with the international community of nongovernmental organizations that advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples and blacks.
Sarah England is associate professor of anthropology at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California.
Publication of the paperback edition made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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…succeeds in illuminating a "prime example of how racial, ethnic, and national identities are constructed and negotiated."
--Latin American Research Review
"Sarah England provides an ethnographically rich exploration of the ways in which Farifuna communities and grassroots organisations negotiate the transnational complexities of race, class, gender, ethnicity and nationhood as a multivalent diasporic people."
--Latin American Studies