Barbadian Culture through the Memory of Food in Austin Clarke

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Austin Clarke grew up in Barbados during the 1930s to 1940s, when the British colonizers suppressed the Barbadians by permanently labeling and restricting them to an inferior status. While growing up, he witnessed and suffered much racial discrimination. Consequently, Clarke felt torn between wanting to imitate his white oppressors and raising himself to their lofty social status, and needing to stay true and loyal to his Barbadian origins. Indeed, his experience under the British colonial rule has left him scarred, uprooted and confused about his identity and culture. In an attempt to better understand himself and his ethnic background, Clarke writes about his experience in his memoir Pigtails ‘n Breadfruit, in which he examines and criticizes the detrimental impact of colonization on his and the Barbadian people’s well-being despite the British colonizers’ attempts to indoctrinate self-hatred and cultural inferiority. Clarke draws himself closer to his roots and celebrates his blackness through his memory of food. I will be focusing on a piece of his memoir “Bakes” and also make references to “Smoked Ham Hocks with Lima Beans.”


Keywords: Austin Clarke, Barbados, Bakes, Smoked Ham Hocks
Stream: Race and Racism
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Barbadian Culture through the Memory of Food in Austin Clarke


Christina Cheng

University of California
Santa Barbara, CA, USA

My name is Christina Cheng. I was born in Taiwan and grew up in Vancouver. In April 2004, I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of British Columbia. Then, I continued with my path in academia by pursuing a Master of Arts in English Literature with an emphasis on Children’s Literature at San Diego State University. After graduating from SDSU, I continued with my path in academia at the Department of Comparative Literature at the University Santa Barbara, California. I am currently a first year PhD student whose interested in Augustine poetry and Taiwanese literature. My ultimate goal is to become a versatile professor who could teach in two or more departments.

Ref: D08P0069