Tourism, Diaspora, and Sexuality in Caribbean Culture
How Caribbean artists and activists counteract the apparently irresistible lure of the tourist dollar
Winner of the Caribbean Studies Association's 2016 Barbara T. Christian Award for Best Book in the Humanities
Tourists flock to the Caribbean for its beaches and spread more than just blankets and dollars. Indeed, tourism has overly affected the culture there. Resisting Paradise explores the import of both tourism and diaspora in shaping Caribbean identity. It examines Caribbean writers and others who confront the region's overdependence on the tourist industry and the many ways that tourism continues the legacy of colonialism.
Angelique V. Nixon interrogates the relationship between culture and sex within the production of “paradise” and investigates the ways in which Caribbean writers, artists, and activists respond to and powerfully resist this production. Forms of resistance include critiquing exploitation, challenging dominant historical narratives, exposing tourism's influence on cultural and sexual identity in the Caribbean and its diaspora, and offering alternative models of tourism and travel.
Resisting Paradise places emphasis on the Caribbean people and its diasporic subjects as travelers and as cultural workers contributing to alternate and defiant understandings of tourism in the region. Through a unique multidisciplinary approach to comparative literary analysis, interviews, and participant observation, Nixon analyzes the ways Caribbean cultural producers are taking control of representation. While focused mainly on the Anglophone Caribbean, the study covers a range of territories including Antigua, the Bahamas, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, as well as Trinidad and Tobago, to deliver a potent critique.
Resisting Paradise provides thought-provoking literary analyses of several well-known and lesser-known Caribbean cultural producers, underscoring their resistance to neocolonialism.- L. Kaifa Roland, New West Indian Guide
Whether rooted resident, mobile diaspora, or open-eyed tourist, we all have something to learn from Resisting Paradise, Angelique Nixon's empirically elegant and fiercely honest inquiry into the discursive, sexual, and material effects of tropical paradise. She teaches us how Caribbean cultural producers have created alternative ways of resisting and rerouting the damaging cultural, ecological and spiritual effects of tourism.- Mimi Sheller, author of Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies; Tourism Mobilities: Places to Play, Places in Play; Citizenship from Below: Erotic Agency and Caribbean Freedom; and Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity
A deeply insightful reading of the ways Caribbean cultural workers from inside and outside the region negotiate the complexities of tourism and critique controlling cultural myths about the Caribbean as paradise. But as importantly, Nixon takes us beyond tourism's double-bind and shows how writers and artists offer counter-narratives to exploitative tourism and neocolonialism that are grounded in resistance culture, shared histories, and diasporic connections. Resisting Paradise is an inspiring study, full of hope and love for the Caribbean, offering us new ways of thinking about ethical tourism and Caribbean freedom.- Kamala Kempadoo, professor, Department of Social Science, York University and author of Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race, and Sexual Labor