Reproducing the British Caribbean

Sex, Gender, and Population Politics after Slavery

By Juanita De Barros

296 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 halftones, 2 tables, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1605-6
    Published: August 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1606-3
    Published: August 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4672-3
    Published: August 2014

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This innovative book traces the history of ideas and policymaking concerning population growth and infant and maternal welfare in Caribbean colonies wrestling with the aftermath of slavery. Focusing on Jamaica, Guyana, and Barbados from the nineteenth century through the 1930s, when violent labor protests swept the region, Juanita De Barros takes a comparative approach in analyzing the struggles among former slaves and masters attempting to determine the course of their societies after emancipation.

Invested in the success of the "great experiment" of slave emancipation, colonial officials developed new social welfare and health policies. Concerns about the health and size of ex-slave populations were expressed throughout the colonial world during this period. In the Caribbean, an emergent black middle class, rapidly increasing immigration, and new attitudes toward medicine and society were crucial factors. While hemispheric and diasporic trends influenced the new policies, De Barros shows that local physicians, philanthropists, midwives, and the impoverished mothers who were the targets of this official concern helped shape and implement efforts to ensure the health and reproduction of Caribbean populations in the decades before independence.

About the Author

Juanita De Barros is professor of history at McMaster University.
For more information about Juanita De Barros, visit the Author Page.


โ€œA sophisticated study that highlights both the power and the limits of British imperial policy to shape the lives of colonial subjects in the Caribbean.โ€--American Historical Review

โ€œThis highly original and well-researched text breaks new ground in investigating issues of population growth, maternal health practices, and infant mortality in the post-emancipation British Caribbean.โ€--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"An authoritative, detailed, and closely argued narrative that represents a worthy addition to the emergent scholarship on the gender, race, and class dynamics of colonial public health policy and practice."-- Journal of British Studies

"This stimulating, challenging book makes an important contribution to the social, environmental and medical history of the British Caribbean colonies, and indeed of the wider British Empire, in the century following emancipation."--Cercles

โ€œOf urgent importance to the fields of Caribbean history and sociology, as well as a wide range of subfields.โ€--Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"An all-around excellent, clearly written, engaging, and important book that represents a powerful contribution to the now well-established field of Caribbean and Latin American medical history."--Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences