In this article we examine the role of informal settlements inhabited by Europeans, Africans and, potentially, indigenous people in the eighteenth-century insular Caribbean. Rather than simply being frontier settlements established in anticipation of formal colonization, in many cases settlements on and beyond the margins of colonies represent alternative possibilities and facilitate ways of life, modes of production, and means of trade and exchange that are at odds with expected norms of colonial society. We view such settlements as holdouts, practicing what James Scott refers to as the 'art of not being governed'. To make this argument we compare ethnohistorical data related to settlement patterns in St John and Dominica and archaeological data retrieved from household excavations of plantation settlements dating to the eighteenth century. Examining such settlements allows us to map the range of variation in colonial life during the apogee of plantation-based slavery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)