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Books in brief: Island People by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

The Caribbean is, Jelly-Schapiro contends, at the centre of modernity—not the periphery

By Yohann Koshy   April 2017

Island People: The Caribbean and the World, by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (Canongate, £22)

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As Joshua Jelly-Schapiro writes in the introduction to Island People, the Caribbean underwent a unique historical formation. Populated with six million African slaves (compared to 400,000 in the United States) and developed “for the express purpose of providing sugar for distant tables,” it is a place where globalisation and mass migration—those modern neuroses of the west—have been facts of life since the 16th century.

But in a region “figured as a place to be consumed”…

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