Bilby, Kenneth M. 1990

Bilby, Kenneth M. 1990. The Remaking of the Aluku: Culture, Politics, and Maroon Ethnicity in French South America. Johns Hopkins University dissertation. (740pp.)

  author          = {Bilby, Kenneth M.},
  pages           = {740},
  school          = {Johns Hopkins University},
  title           = {The Remaking of the Aluku: Culture, Politics, and Maroon Ethnicity in French South America},
  year            = {1990},
  abstract        = {The Aluku (Boni) are an Afro-American people (population roughly 2,000) whose ancestors escaped from plantation slavery in the Dutch colony of Suriname during the 18th century. Of the six 'tribes' of Guiana Maroons, the Aluku are the only group whose traditional territory is located in the French overseas department of French Guiana, rather than Suriname. In 1969, they were politically incorporated into the French state, and since then they have been exposed to a policy of assimilation and 'francisation.' This study situates the Aluku within a larger regional and historical context, examining the construction of Aluku identity over the last two centuries. Based on an 18-month study of an Aluku village in the interior forest, as well as one year of fieldwork among Aluku emigrants living in a number of polyethnic coastal towns, it investigates the role and relative importance of situational versus cognitive factors in the formation of concepts of ethnic identity at different points in time. In addition to standard ethnographic methods, it makes use of the historical literature on the Aluku, as well as portrayals of Maroons in contemporary literary works, popular culture, and the media. Work in five different field sites (two in the interior and three on the coast) revealed that the significance of situational versus cognitive factors for definitions of ethnic identity varies to some extent according to local context. In all locales, however, both kinds of factors play a role. Their interaction can be seen most clearly in the coastal context, where conscious political identification with the French state (and the Creole majority), which gives the Aluku a competitive advantage, prevents them from merging with emigrants from other tribes to form a pan-Maroon identity, in spite of shared marginalization and stigmatization. At the same time, cultural (and historical) identification, both conscious and unconscious, with these closely-related Surinamese Maroons helps to forestall assimilation, despite the pressures exerted by the French state. As a result, the Aluku, whose identity is defined in perpetual contradistinction to these two poles, French (Creole) and Maroon, are left with a heightened sense of themselves as a unique and separate people.},
  adviser         = {Mintz, Sidney W.},
  bestfn          = {south_america\bilby_aluku1990_o.pdf},
  besttxt         = {ptxt\south_america\bilby_remaking1990.txt},
  cfn             = {south_america\bilby_aluku1990_o.pdf},
  degree          = {PhD},
  delivered       = {south_america\bilby_aluku1990_o.pdf},
  digital_formats = {PDF 22.98Mb image-only PDF},
  fn              = {south_america\bilby_remaking1990.pdf, south_america\bilby_remaking1990_o.pdf, south_america\bilby_aluku1990_o.pdf},
  hhtype          = {ethnographic},
  inlg            = {English [eng]},
  lgcode          = {Aluku = Aukan [djk]},
  macro_area      = {South America},
  oclc            = {823262563},
  source          = {DAI-A 51/05, p. 1670, Nov 1990},
  src             = {hh},
  umi_id          = {9030171}

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