Juanita De Barros
Reproducing the British Caribbean
Sex, Gender, and Population Politics after Slavery
University of North Carolina Press 2015
New Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 6, 2015 Alejandra Bronfman
As slavery came to an end in the Caribbean’s British colonies, officials and local reformers began to worry about how and whether they would convince their newly freed workforce to continue working. More specifically, they worried about underpopulation, and whether the formerly enslaved population was reproducing quickly enough. This was the source of instruments of surveillance such as the census, as well policies and institutions meant to ensure the continuing reproductive health of the populace. This is the point of departure for Juanita De Barros‘ terrific book Reproducing the British Caribbean: Sex, Gender, and Population Politics after Slavery (UNC Press, 2014) as it explores the dynamics and the multiple actors involved, including poor women, Caribbean reformers, midwives, colonial officials and many others. De Barros offers an innovative way to understand the everyday lives of Caribbean women as she explores the debates and policies centered on sex, health and colonial policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.