Women and colonial era creolization

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In this very preliminary commentary on the importance of women in the emergence of colonial era creole languages and cultures, the discussion will first focus on two emblematic cases of the momentous influence of women over the two major types of creolization that typify the colonial Caribbean: (1) the establishment of subsistence societies (Bennholdt-Thomsen & Mies 1999) by Indigenous and African women, mainly in the Spanish Antilles during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries which was accompanied by a pre-capitlaist and pre-racialized wave of broad but relatively covert creolization that yielded feminized, Indigenized, and Africanized versions of European languages and cultures; and (2) the establishment of subsistence gardening and marketing networks, primarily by enslaved African women of the English and French colonized islands during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries which was accompanied by a racialized capitalist wave of narrow but overt creolization that yielded Europeanized versions of feminized African (and Indigenous) languages and cultures. Once this is done, both functional and formal linguistic evidence for the possible influence of women on the colonial era creole languages of the Caribbean will be considered.


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