Sue Ann Barratt and Aleah N. Ranjitsingh, “Dougla in the Twenty-First Century: Adding to the Mix” (UP of Mississippi, 2021)

Identity is often fraught for multiracial Douglas, people of both South Asian and African descent in the Caribbean. In this groundbreaking volume titled Dougla in the Twenty-First Century: Adding to the Mix (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), Sue Ann Barratt and Aleah N. Ranjitsingh explore the particular meanings of a Dougla identity and examine Dougla maneuverability both at home and in the diaspora.

The authors scrutinize the perception of Douglaness over time, contemporary Dougla negotiations of social demands, their expansion of ethnicity as an intersectional identity, and the experiences of Douglas within the diaspora outside the Caribbean. Through an examination of how Douglas experience their claim to multiracialism and how ethnic identity may be enforced or interrupted, the authors firmly situate this analysis in ongoing debates about multiracial identity.

Based on interviews with over one hundred Douglas, Barratt and Ranjitsingh explore the multiple subjectivities Douglas express, confirm, challenge, negotiate, and add to prevailing understandings. Contemplating this, Dougla in the Twenty-First Century adds to the global discourse of multiethnic identity and how it impacts living both in the Caribbean, where it is easily recognizable, and in the diaspora, where the Dougla remains a largely unacknowledged designation. This book deliberately expands the conversation beyond the limits of biraciality and the Black/white binary and contributes nuance to current interpretations of the lives of multiracial people by introducing Douglas as they carve out their lives in the Caribbean.

Sue Ann Barratt is lecturer and head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, holding a BA in Media and Communication Studies with Political Science, an MA in Communication Studies, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. Her research areas are interpersonal interaction, human communication conflict, social media use and its implications, gender and ethnic identities, mental health and gender-based violence, and Carnival and cultural studies.

Aleah N. Ranjitsingh is an assistant professor in the Caribbean Studies Program, Africana Studies Department of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and; MA and BA degrees in Political Science from Brooklyn College (CUNY). Her research areas are gender and politics; Latin American and Caribbean politics; African diaspora studies with particular reference to North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean; and gender and ethnic identities.

Aleem Mahabir is a PhD candidate in Geography at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. His research interests lie at the intersection of Urban Geography, Social Exclusion and Psychology. His dissertation research focuses on the link among negative psychosocial dispositions, exclusion, and under-development among marginalized communities in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. You can find him on Twitter.

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