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Creolization in the Americas

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Overview

Creolization, the process of cultural interchange—in this case, between peoples of the continents bordering the Atlantic Ocean—is an important aspect of the American experience. Language, literature, food, dress, and social relations are all affected by the interplay of cultures. Only recently, though, have scholars fully begun to understand creolization as a mutual exchange rather than the acculturation of colonized peoples to a dominant culture.

Focusing on diverse settings and different aspects of culture, five scholars here examine the process of creolization: its origins, historical and modern meanings of the term, and the various manifestations of the complex, continuing process of cultural exchange and adaptation that began when Africans, American Indians, and Europeans came into contact with each other. While the authors vary in their approaches and, in some respects, their conclusions, they essentially agree that the notion of cultural syncretism—whether described as acculturation or creolization—is a conceptual tool of crucial importance for analyzing the interchange that occurred between peoples of Europe and the Americas.

Contributors to this ground-breaking volume and their respective chapters are David Buisseret, "The Process of Creolization in Seventeenth-Century Jamaica"; Daniel H. Usner,

Jr., "The Facility Offered by the Country': The Creolization of Agriculture in the Lower Mississippi Valley"; Mary L. Galvin, "Decoctions for Carolinians: The Creation of a Creole Medicine Chest in Colonial South Carolina"; Richard Cullen Rath, "Drums and Power: Ways of Creolizing Music in Coastal South Carolina and Georgia, 1730–1790"; and J. L. Dillard, "The Evidence for Pidgin Creolization in Early American English." Buisseret also contributes an introduction that places the other articles within the context of recent scholarship on creolization

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Meet the Author

David Buisseret, who received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University, is professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he holds the Jenkins and Virginia Garrett Endowed Chair in Southwestern Studies and the History of Cartography. He has published widely on West Indian and transatlantic history. Steven G. Reinhardt, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington, was formerly curator of French manuscripts at the Louisiana State Museum. He edited the exhibition catalogue The Sun King: Louis XIV and the New World and is the author of Justice in the Sarladais, 1770–1790.

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