Fantasy island: Race, colonial politics, and the desegregation of tourism in the British colony of Bermuda, 1880-1961 /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Francis, Theodore Stanhope, II, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (484 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Thomas C. Holt Committee members: Dain Borges; Stephan Palmie.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation investigates the ways in which tourism influenced the lives of black islanders in Bermuda, from the nineteenth century origins of tourism, through the industry's rise to economic and political prominence in the twentieth century and culminating with the desegregation of tourism in the civil rights era. It argues that blacks in Bermuda were exploited by the segregated tourist industry, however they also utilized tourism in ways which were advantageous for themselves, developing a unique form of African Diaspora tourism (Black Tourism) as well as contesting the barriers of segregation in tourism and the public sphere. It also shows that the struggle to desegregate Bermuda's tourist and public spaces was linked to Black Tourism. However, the form of desegregation that occurred in Bermuda by 1961 was problematic because it did not fully eradicate the color bar and still enabled the white ruling class to maintain other forms of social control such as the restricted franchise together with its political dominance in the colonial government.
This dissertation therefore reveals many facets of tourism viewing it through the eyes of various historical actors who saw it as: a commercial enterprise, a space of certain types of leisure, a political entity, a vehicle for displaying class status, a means of 'progress', an instrument of racial discrimination, and even a battleground for citizenship. In arguing for the significance of blacks in the development and transformation of tourism in Bermuda, this dissertation engages historical topics and concepts such as, race, post-emancipation societies, colonialism, African Diaspora, and civil rights. This dissertation is organized into seven chapters which investigate the origins and influence of tourism over a Caribbean community, together with the subsequent responses of this community towards tourism during its transition from the post-emancipation era to the civil rights period of the 1950s and early 1960s. The central research question is: "how did black Bermudians negotiate the limitations and opportunities created by the tourist industry, and what tangible changes did their efforts produce within tourism and their colonial society?"
This dissertation engages the idea of race, a category which inevitably brings about notions of inclusion and exclusion, privilege and disadvantage (despite its contested definitions). Race is important in this project because Bermuda was a segregated society as it emerged from the shadow of emancipation in 1834, and this social practice was maintained by the architects of the tourist industry. Tourism affected constructions of race in Bermuda, not by making race an irrelevant category, but rather by shifting the associative markers of racial understanding, i.e. in the decades following emancipation when the island's economy was buoyed by agriculture and the Royal Naval Dockyard, blackness was stereotypically associated with agricultural labor or shipyard artisans, however after tourism became the primary economic industry -- a transition which involved the racial division of labor as well as advertising which marked certain bodies as tourists and others as servants -- blackness became synonymous with bell hops, doormen, carriage drivers and other tourism service positions. Thus popular understandings of blackness were altered by the rise of a new economic industry, and the same argument could be posited for notions of whiteness, especially as it relates to whiteness and recreational pursuits as well as spaces of leisure. Furthermore, race came strongly into play when defining the category of 'tourist', and many black Bermudians challenged the diminished privileges of black tourists when compared to white tourists. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).