October 10, 2018
Dave Ramsaran recently released Caribbean Masala: Indian Identity in Guyana and Trinidad, a collaborative effort that examines ritual, gender, family and daily life within Indian populations in Guyana and Trinidad.
Ramsaran is a professor of sociology, associate provost and director of institutional effectiveness at Susquehanna University, and grew up in Trinidad. He co-authored the book with Linden F. Lewis, associate dean of social sciences and professor of sociology at Bucknell University.
"Growing up in Trinidad gave me some unique insights into how resources are distributed in a developing nation," Ramsaran said. "What I have found is that, whether the country is developed or not, issues of race, class and gender remain critical elements influencing how globalization brings once-distant nations and cultures within closer proximity to each other."
In 1833, the abolition of slavery in the British Empire led to the import of exploited South Asian indentured workers in the Caribbean under extreme oppression.
Ramsaran and Lewis concentrate on the Indian descendants' processes of mixing, assimilating and adapting while trying desperately to hold on to that which marks a group of people as distinct. Ramsaran and Lewis gauge not only an unrelenting process of assimilative creolization on these descendants of India, but also the resilience of this culture in the face of modernization and globalization.
Ramsaran is also the author of Breaking the Bonds of Indentureship: Indo-Trinidadians in Business (1993), and coauthor of Hip Hop and Inequality: Searching for the Real Slim Shady (2009). He also edited Contradictory Existence: Neoliberalism and Democracy in the Caribbean (2016).
Caribbean Masala is published by University Press of Mississippi and is available for purchase.