Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Studies


Grey Gundaker


This study begins with two premises. The first is that American Studies needs to move beyond the borders of the United States to examine the ideological, cultural and economic effects our country has had on others. The United States has historically been deeply involved in Anguilla's economy, revolution and ideology. The second is that history is a commodity that is selectively deployed in the creation of personal and national cultural values in Anguilla. I use Sherry Ortner's concept of serious games and James Scott's theory of the arts of resistance to analyze how Anguilla's contemporary culture is a product of its history, environment, and a particular industry. Colonial institutional failure created a vacuum in which Anguillians were permitted, even encouraged, to conceptualize themselves as independent. The harsh environment prevented the formation of a plantocracy based on sugar production. The means and modes of the production of salt, Anguilla's only staple, resulted in a social structure that contrasts with those of the sugar islands in the Antilles. Today, independence remains Anguilla's serious game and sole art of resistance on a personal, cultural and national level.;The definition of self and nation as independent is based upon a radical excision of history that is articulated in an invention of tradition. Plato's idea of mythos and logos serve as methodological tools for unpacking how history has been strategically utilized and suppressed to support cultural concepts. The hypothesis of this dissertation is that, if history repeats, Anguilla is trapped in the box of dominant discourse. Anguillians' history does repeat; their version of history fails to benefit them because it elides their basic dependency.;The conclusion is that, in positioning independence as the contrariety of colonialism, Anguilla has created a false dichotomy that is symptomatic of an underlying social malaise. On a personal level, independence is the antithesis of community and nationalism. On a political level, independence works against regionalism. Dependence, the hidden narrative of the Anguillian public discourse of independence, undermines the mythos. Only by deconstructing the contrarieties of independence and colonialism into subcontrarieties, can Anguilla address its cultural dissonances and position itself in a global world.



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