Discrepant Women, Imperial Patriarchies and (De)Colonizing Masculinities

  • Denise Noble
Part of the Thinking Gender in Transnational Times book series (THINKGEN)


This chapter continues the genealogy of colonial liberalism as it targeted Caribbean women and Caribbean gender relations. Moving back to the period of the abolition of slavery in the British Caribbean, it highlights the transformation that emancipation required in the rhetoric, if not always the practice, of racial rule. In particular it addresses, first, how the imposition of colonial governmentality—or colonial liberalism—was central in the reform of racial rule and, second, how it relied on the deployment of new biopolitical rationalities of race and gender in the production of Caribbean taxonomies of freedom, in which Indian, African, Chinese and white populations were ascribed differential endowments of civility, measured largely in terms of colonial understandings of ethnicized gender and family arrangements. It is in this reforming moment of emancipation that we can better understand the logics of colonial moral governmentality that the previous chapter identified in the Moyne Report. It is here that we can trace its elaboration within a critical conjuncture in British racial rule and liberalism, and how racialized conceptions of the different gender and family arrangements were deployed in managing the tensions between colonial rule and freedom.


  1. Barrett, Leonard E. 1977. The Rastafarians: The Dreadlocks of Jamaica. Kingston: Sangster’s Book Stores.Google Scholar
  2. Bartky, Susan L. 1988. Foucault, Femininity and the Modernisation of Patriarchal Power. In Feminism and Foucault: Reflections on Resistance, ed. Irene Diamond and Lee Quinby. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beckles, Hilary. 1988. Caribbean Anti-slavery: The Self-Liberation Ethos of Enslaved Blacks. Journal of Caribbean History 22 (1–2): 1–19.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1996. Black Masculinity in Caribbean Slavery. Presented at the University of the West Indies Centre for Gender and Development Studies (St. Augustine) Conference on the Construction of Caribbean Masculinity: Towards a Research Agenda. January 11–13.Google Scholar
  5. Bernasconi, Robert. 2010. The Policing of Race Mixing: The Place of Biopower within the History of Racisms. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 7 (2): 205–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Besson, Jean. 1992. Freedom and Community: The British West Indies. In The Meaning of Freedom: Economics, Politics and Culture after Slavery, ed. Frank McGlynn and Seymour Drescher. London, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, Wendy. 1995. States of Injury: Powers and Freedom in Late Modernity. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. 2001. Politics Out of History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campbell, Mavis C. 1990. The Maroons of Jamaica 1655–1796: A History of Resistance, Collaboration & Betrayal. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cobham-Sander, Rhonda. 1990. Women in Jamaican Literature 1900–1950. In Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature, eds. Carole Boyce Davies and Elaine Savory, 195–222. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
  11. Colonial Office. 1945. British Labour Conditions in the West Indies. London: H.M.S.O.Google Scholar
  12. Craton, Michael. 1979. Changing Patterns of Slave Families in the British West Indies. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 10 (1): 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Barros, Juanita. 2014. Reproducing the British Caribbean: Sex, Gender, and Population Politics after Slavery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dean, Mitchell. 1999. Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Foucault, Michel. 1990. The History of Sexuality Vol. 1: An Introduction. London, New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  16. Hall, Stuart. 2000. Conclusion: The Multicultural Question. In Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, ‘Transruptions’, ed. Barnor Hesse, 209–241. London, New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 2002. Civilizing Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830–1867. Cambridge, Oxford: Polity.Google Scholar
  18. Harris, Cheryl. 1993. Whiteness as Property. Harvard Law Review 106 (8): 1707–1791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holt, Thomas. 1992. The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor, and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832–1938. Baltimore, London: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jones, Cecily. 2007. Engendering Whiteness: White Women and Colonialism in Barbados and North Carolina, 1627–1865. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 2016. White Women in British Caribbean Plantation Societies (Topical Guide). H-Slavery. Accessed 18 November 2016.
  22. Kenny, Gale L. 2011. Contentious Liberties: American Abolitionists in Post-Emancipation Jamaica, 1834–1866. Athens. GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kent, Susan Kingsley. 1999. Gender and Power in Britain, 1640–1990. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Lipsitz, George. 1994. Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place. London, New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  25. Lowe, Lisa. 2006. The Intimacies of Four Continents. In Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History, ed. Ann L. Stoler. Raleigh, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 2014. The Intimacies of Four Continents. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Lugones, María. 2007. Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System. Hypatia 22 (1): 186–219.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 2008. The Coloniality of Gender. Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise Project. Vol. 2, Spring 2008. Accessed August 2015.
  29. ———. 2010. Toward a Decolonial Feminism. Hypatia 25 (4): 742–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Midgley, Clare. 1998. Gender and Imperialism. Manchester, New York: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Miles, Robert. 1989. Racism. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Mills, Charles Wade. 1997. The Racial Contract. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2014. The Racial Contract. Kindle ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Mohammed, Patricia. 1995. Writing Gender into History: The Negotiation of Gender Relations. In Engendering History: Caribbean Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Verene Shepherd, Bridget Brereton, and Barabra Bailey. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle.Google Scholar
  35. Momsen, Janet. 2002. The Double Paradox. In Gendered Realities: Essays in Caribbean Feminist Thought, ed. Patricia Mohammed. Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago: University of the West Indies Press/Centre for Gender and Development Studies.Google Scholar
  36. Morrison, Doreen. 2014. Slavery’s Heroes: George Liele and the Ethiopian Baptists of Jamaica 1783–1865. Liele Books.Google Scholar
  37. Moyne, Lord. 1945. The Report of West India Royal Commission (The Moyne Report). London: H.M.S.O.Google Scholar
  38. Nugent, Maria. 1966. Lady Nugent’s Journal of Her Residence in Jamaica from 1801 to 1805. Ed. Philip Wright. Kingston: Institute of Jamaica.Google Scholar
  39. Okin, Susan Moller. 1979. Women in Western Political Thought. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  40. Oyěwùmí, Oyèrónkẹ́. 1997. The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  41. Pateman, Carole. 1988. The Sexual Contract. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  42. Paton, Diana. 2004. No Bond but the Law: Punishment, Race and Gender in Jamaican State Formation 1790–1870. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Payne, Anthony, and Paul K. Sutton, eds. 1984. Dependency under Challenge: The Political Economy of the Commonwealth Caribbean. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Quijano, Aníbal. 2007. Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality. Cultural Studies 21 (2–3): 168–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Reddock, Rhoda. 1994. Women, Labour and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: A History. London, New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  46. Roberts, Neil. 2015. Freedom as Marronage. Kindle ed. (Locations 995–997). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Scott, David. 2001. The Government of Freedom. In New Caribbean Thought: A Reader, ed. Brian Meeks. Kindle ed. University of the West Indies Press.Google Scholar
  48. Sewell, William G. 1861. The Ordeal of Free Labour in the British West Indies. London: Sampson, Low and Co.Google Scholar
  49. Stoler, Ann L. 1989. Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in 20th-Century Colonial Cultures. American Ethnologist 16 (4): 634–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. ———. 1995. Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. ———. 2002. Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule. Berkeley, London: University of California.Google Scholar
  52. Williams, Eric. 1964. Capitalism and Slavery. London: Andre Deutsch.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 International License (, which permits any noncommercial use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denise Noble
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and CriminologyBirmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations