Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 273 pages) : map.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Robert M Carmack

Committee Members

Louise M Burkhart, Robert W Jarvenpa, James W Wessman


Belize, Black Atlantic, Diaspora, Garifuna or Black Caribs, Nicaragua, Resistance, Garifuna (Caribbean people)

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Caribbean Languages and Societies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


The Garifuna are a diasporic community that positions Yurumein (St. Vincent) at the center of its collective memory, and whose populations primarily reside in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and, more recently, in urban centers in the United States. This multi-sited, historio-ethnographic study traces the group's socio-political struggles over time and space against cultural dislocation, ethnic oppression, and culturally destructive forces. It highlights how this population's core principles and forms, Garifunaduáü ("Garifunaness," or the "Garifuna way"), and particularly its central tenet of reciprocity "Aü bu, amürü nu" (roughly translated as "me for you and you for me"), functions on multiple levels within the contemporary context of transnational circulation and global power. Garifunaduáü is expressed in rituals, performing arts, and grassroots organizing, where external hegemonic beliefs meet counter-hegemonic practices, and become reconfigured by Garifuna social agents at the local level. Garifuna also participate in formal and informal information-sharing networks that span the full extent of their ethnoscape. Methodologically, the study draws from the work of James Scott, Clifford Geertz, Victor Turner, Stephen Duncombe, Hollander and Einwohner to suggest that Garifuna resistance, though present in everyday practice and discourse, is only subtly observable through a positioned ethnographic lens, which in this case offers unique vantagepoints given the author's own self-identification as a active member of this diasporic community.