Beyond Massa: Sugar Management in the British Caribbean by John F. Campbell

Beyond Massa: Sugar Management in the British Caribbean by John F. Campbell

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In the book Beyond Massa: Sugar Management in the British Caribbean, 1770-1834, by John F. Campbell, it’s main focus encompasses and revolves around issues surrounding slavery practices by using Golden Grove estate in Jamaica as a primary source during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The author highlighted the slavery period of the sugar monoculture era, followed by the development of amelioration policies, to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, and finally the failed industry in 1834. The book uses archival data which logically analyses, revises and modifies the historical ideologies, thus manifesting revisionist philosophies about sugar estates in the Caribbean region. It really sets the reader to have different insights and perspectives with respect to the managerial systems, hierarchical structure, political dimensions, social relationships and a relatively new field of analysis- the Human Resource Management strategies. This report seeks to discuss the ideas of color-class hierarchy, the role of gender and sex, the introduction of the Amelioration Act while analysing the role of slavery and Human Resource Management (HRM) and lastly the effectiveness of the writer’s work and it’s relation to the current course.

Historically one would presume that a “color-class hierarchy” existed with racial differentiations and divisions based on one’s phenotype such that the white local and expatriate held the most power while the African labor held a much lower status. This adamant hierarchy understanding was even displayed by the famous Calypsonian Lord Kitchener saying “If you’re white, you’re alright, if you’re brown, stick around, if you’re black step back” from his song ‘if you’re not white you’re considered black.’ ...


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...rspective hence the title of the book ‘Beyond Massa’.

Lastly, it is my belief that the book was a learning experience and a tremendous deal of information was grasped but it impeded application greatly in other courses even though it was associated with the objectives. The book additionally lacked enthusiasm and ability to keep interest of the reader which can possibly be improved by the use of convivial analogies. The price range of the book is relatively accessible and fair however obtaining the book posed and issue to many due to limited numbers available to the many students who required it. Beyond Massa was worth the money in the long run however, in short term cases, having to buy books for other courses posed minor problems but overall the course was an enjoyable one and did present new revisionist concepts and insights to the functioning of sugar society.

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