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Finding Myself: Essays in Race, Politics and Culture

Clem Seecharan explores two visions of Caribbean history, one public, the other personal. The collection brings together insightful studies of Indo-Caribbean history with autobiographical explorations of family history, self-discovery and the construction of his perspective. His goal is articulating a historiography that is adequate to the Caribbean’s ethnic and cultural diversity.

£19.99

Author(s)
Clem Seecharan
ISBN
9781845232474
Pages
336
Price
£19.99
Classification
Memoir, Politics, Cultural Studies, Essays, History, Interviews, Literary Criticism
Setting
India, Guyana
Date published
2 Mar 2015

Elegantly written, scholarly but accessible, these essays cover new ground in Indo-Caribbean history and also explore aspects of the intellectual legacy of four eminent Caribbean writers and thinkers: Martin Carter, Walter Rodney, V.S. Naipaul, and C.L.R. James.

The essays challenge received assumptions on the subject of the migration of indentured labourers from India to the Caribbean, rejecting the view of migrants as victims with no agency in the process. They demonstrate that Indians in Guyana shaped a new persona of hope, rising from the death of caste limitations (whilst sometimes displacing caste prejudices onto the African Guyanese); made much of the possibilities of a more open environment in creating communities rooted in rice, cattle and retail trade; and maximized the benefits of colonial education while claiming the legacy of ‘many Indias’, part fact, part fiction, in advancing their civil and political rights in Guyana. Within this complex mix are located studies of several Indo-Guyanese personalities, including Cheddi Jagan and Balram Singh Rai, politicians of contrasting visions; and the unsung cricketer, Ivan Madray.

But the collection also addresses the unhappy state of Guyana as it approaches fifty years of political independence, still riven by ethnic divisions and wounded by the flight of many Guyanese overseas. Here Seecharan connects his search for a historiography adequate to Guyana’s diversity to his wish for a politics free of corruption, ethnocentricity and illusions of El Dorado, and his urging of empathy and generosity in Guyanese people’s dealings with each other.

Clem Seecharan was born in Guyana. He is Emeritus Professor of History at London Metropolitan University where he was the Head of Caribbean Studies for nearly 20 years.

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Clem Seecharan

Professor Clem Seecharan, BA, MA, PhD is a writer and historian of the Indo-Caribbean experience, as well as a historian of West Indies cricket. He was born at Palmyra, East Canje, Berbice, Guyana, in 1950. He attended the Sheet Anchor Anglican School, Berbice Educational Institute and Queen’s College. He studied at McMaster University in Canada; and taught Caribbean Studies at the University of Guyana before completing his doctorate in History at the University of Warwick in 1990. He joined the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) in 1993 and was the Head of Caribbean Studies there for nearly 20 years. In 2002 Clem was awarded a Professorship in History at the London Metropolitan University where he is now Emeritus Professor of History. He is the only person to have taught courses, in the UK, on the Intellectual History of the Caribbean, the History of Indians in the Caribbean and the History of West Indies Cricket. In 2003 he was awarded a Certificate of Distinction by the Guyana High Commission (London) ‘in recognition of his achievement in his profession in the United Kingdom’.

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