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Colonial matriarchs in the British slavery economy: exploring the socioeconomic landscape of mixed-heritage women in Jamaica from 1750 - 1850.

Tomlin-Kräftner, M., 2021. Colonial matriarchs in the British slavery economy: exploring the socioeconomic landscape of mixed-heritage women in Jamaica from 1750 - 1850. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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TOMLIN-KRÄFTNER, Melsia_Ph.D._2020.pdf



This thesis explores the lives of mixed-heritage women in Jamaica from the mid-eighteenth century to the emancipation period; the abolition of slavery in 1834 and the apprenticeship period to 1838. The study challenges the silence that pervades the lives of mixed-heritage people who lived within the window of the British colonial emancipation period and the existing perceptions of mixed-heritage women during the slavery period. Majority of historical texts are written and referenced from a colonial British, European or an American perspective, while Caribbean academics, writers and contributors to their history are devoid of similar exposure. Data derived from the slavery compensation claims focused specifically on the parishes of Saint Elizabeth and Manchester in Jamaica, where the human geography of my DNA coalesced. From the findings, it is argued that free mixed-heritage women were rational economic actors who controlled their free position within the Jamaican slave society. Their principal concern was to establish and solidify relationships, family links in clan groups and friendships that enabled upward mobility, while retaining their freedom and that of their posterity. ‘The Silences Framework’ (Serrant-Green 2011) was applied as an overarching theorical framework alongside supporting theories of intersectionality, entitativity and rational choice. A reflexive approach with narrative inquiry, prosopography and archival research were applied in the examination of historical primary, secondary, and genealogical sources. The analysis blended interpretive analytical methods of narrative discourse in case studies, dramatic vignettes and dramaturgical storytelling that overall developed a better understanding of the period in which free people of mixed heritage lived. Although disadvantaged through the intersections of ethnicity, colour, social class, and gender, with all associated legal and societal restrictions, this research highlights and demonstrates the vital social and economic role mixed-heritage women played in the development of Jamaican creole society. This study makes three major contributions to historical sociology knowledge: 1) provides new and evidenced knowledge of the extent to which Jamaican mixed-heritage women were property owners and enslavers prior to emancipation, 2) enhances academic historiography of enlightening arguments of the slavery period about mixed-heritage women from a Caribbean perspective rather than a colonial perspective and 3) provides a different sociological and cultural anthropological perspective of family development and kinship in a colonial Caribbean society.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:mixed-heritage; mixed-race; Slavery Compensation; Jamaica; clan-groups; diaspora; human geography; emancipation; women; gender; intersectionality; entitativity; silences framework; women’s property; West Indies; colonialism; kinship
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:35472
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:11 May 2021 10:38
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:27


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