Stains on My Name, War in My Veins

Guyana and the Politics of Cultural Struggle

Stains on My Name, War in My Veins

Book Pages: 342 Illustrations: Published: April 1991

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies

Burdened with a heritage of both Spanish and British colonization and imperialism, Guyana is today caught between its colonial past, its efforts to achieve the consciousness of nationhood, and the need of its diverse subgroups to maintain their own identity. Stains on My Name, War in My Veins chronicles the complex struggles of the citizens of Guyana to form a unified national culture against the pulls of ethnic, religious, and class identities.
Drawing on oral histories and a close study of daily life in rural Guyana, Brackette E. Williams examines how and why individuals and groups in their quest for recognition as a “nation” reproduce ethnic chauvinism, racial stereotyping, and religious bigotry. By placing her ethnographic study in a broader historical context, the author develops a theoretical understanding of the relations among various dimensions of personal identity in the process of nation building.


“A thorough and descriptive ethnography of cultural, ethnic, and class struggle and accommodation in the eastern coastal community of Cockalorum, Guyana. . . .This refreshing study enhances our understanding of Guyanese struggles of nation building in the late twentieth century.” — Virginia S. Williams, Hispanic American Historical Review

“This is the best work of Caribbean ethnography to appear in a very long time: it addresses the most important issues of current anthropology with a deep understanding of the way in which nationalism, state formation, racial and ‘ethnic’ conflict operate at the level of everyday practice. . . . A welcome addition to anthropological literature generally and to Caribbean Studies in particular.” — Raymond T. Smith, University of Chicago


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