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Concrete JunglesUrban Pollution and the Politics of Difference in the Caribbean$
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Rivke Jaffe

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190273583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190273583.001.0001

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Colonial Landscapes of Paradise and Pollution

Colonial Landscapes of Paradise and Pollution

3 (p.46) Colonial Landscapes of Paradise and Pollution
Concrete Jungles

Rivke Jaffe

Oxford University Press

This chapter builds on the preceding discussion of urban development through an exploration of colonial socio-ecological relations that serve to contextualize contemporary forms of environmental injustice in the urban Caribbean. The chapter connects colonial interventions into Caribbean natural and built environments to discourses of difference and inequality. It focuses first on the imperial discourses and practices that worked on and through Caribbean natural landscapes, sketching the different development of links between imperialism, nature, and landscape. Early colonial narratives and policies, which framed Caribbean island landscapes as instances of threatened tropical paradise, were important in shaping a form of proto-environmentalism. The second focus is on locating antecedents to contemporary socio-ecological relations by exploring colonial urban interventions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries illustrated by two different episodes in the history of sanitary reform: a mid-nineteenth-century cholera epidemic in Jamaica and the early twentieth-century regulation of prostitution in Curaçao.

Keywords:   colonialism, paradise, tropicality, landscapes, public health, sanitary reform, cholera, sex work

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