ICS Lecture: “East Indians in the Caribbean and the Reconstruction of the Culture”

As part of its Conferencias Caribeñas 10 lecture series for January-May 2012, the Institute of Caribbean Studies of the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras (UPR-RP), invites the academic community and the general public to a second lecture by Dr. Brinsley Samaroo (Professor of History, University of the West Indies-St. Augustine’ Research Fellow, University of Trinidad and Tobago)—“East Indians in the Caribbean and the Reconstruction of the Culture.” Dr. Lomarsh Roopnarine (University of the Virgin Islands-St. Croix) will comment the lecture via SKYPE.

The activity will be held on Thursday, March 8, from 1:00 to 3:00pm in Amphitheatre Manuel Maldonado Denis (CRA 108) of Carmen Rivera de Alvarado (CRA) Building, School of Social Sciences, UPR-RP.

Description: During the period 1838-1917 some 500,000 Indians were indentured to work on plantations in the British, French and Dutch Caribbean, forming part of the larger contingent of 1.5 million dispatched to other locations (Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa, and the Seychelle Islands). Those in the Caribbean were cut off by the long distance from India, a situation exacerbated by time as India receded further and further away. What therefore happened was a re-construction wrought by the traumatic voyage across three oceans, the vagaries of the plantation system, freedom from 1920 and interaction with those who had preceded these girmityas (agreement signers), namely indigenous Amerindians, former African slaves, Chinese and European labourers and rulers. In this milieu there was the retention of fragments from the old civilization, syncretic creations out of the meeting of two worlds and distinctively Indo-Caribbean cultural and political formations. The lecture traces the labour situation in the Caribbean which necessitated the introduction of Indians, the push factors in Greater India, the conditions of indentureship and the evolution of an Indian identity in the Caribbean. Does the term Indian creole have any salience in this new milieu?

This lecture will be broadcast LIVE online through the following website: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cc71***

Comments and suggestions on the presentation will be welcome at

For further information, you may call Dr. Humberto García Muñiz, Director, at (787) 764-0000, extension 4212, or write to iec@uprrp.edu

Also see the Institute of Caribbean Studies on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#%21/pages/Instituto-de-Estudios-del-Caribe-UPR/146169468754542?ref=sgm

Image from the National Library of Jamaica Photograph Collection, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/28320522@N08/2636592263/

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