chapter  9
The global self: narratives of Caribbean migrant women M A RY CHAMBERLAIN
Narratives of Caribbean migrant women
ByMary Chamberlain
Pages 13

The Caribbean is, perhaps, unique in the world for what Susan Craig-James (1992) terms its ‘overlapping diasporas and intertwining roots’. Caribbean peoples have lived within and through a culture which historically as well as contemporaneously has gained its energy and creativity from the world (Braithwaite 1971; Mintz 1989; Harney 1996), from migrations to, within and from the region, a continuing tension between exile and return. Caribbean culture has absorbed its world influences and transfigured it into a new syncretic culture, as elements from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean became absorbed, worked and reworked into a new and distinctively ‘Creole’ culture, in which, as the anthropologist Sidney Mintz points out, ‘origins matter less than the creative acts … involve(d)’ (1989: 326). It is a process which continues, within the Caribbean and beyond, in the metropolitan centres of London or New York, Toronto or Amsterdam. Caribbean people are no strangers to strangeness, nor indeed to being a stranger. It is not a dislocating or disabling condition but an opportunity for creativity, a continuing process of syncretism shaped by, and contributing to, the history of its diaspora.