Personal Adornment and White Creole Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century Montserrat, West Indies
This chapter examines the formation of white Creole masculine identity in the context of a middling sugar plantation in 18th-century Montserrat, West Indies, and considers the role of climate and the emergence of racialized categories of personhood in the creation of this distinctly colonial form of social identity. Employing a close study of a fob seal, an external artifact of personal adornment excavated from a planter’s dwelling house, the chapter highlights the relational aspects of colonial identity found in the disjuncture between the white “Creole” planter’s self-fashioning as an English gentleman and his Creole social practice within the plantation landscape and as viewed by the English Metropole. The chapter emphasizes the importance of historically and geographically situating archaeological studies of embodied identity to mitigate the potential for misinterpretation of the cultural context in which white Creole personal material goods were deployed and identity negotiated.
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