Turtle Soup, Maritime Boundaries, andTurtlemen in the Cayman Islands: An Environmental Odyssey with Dr. Sharika Crawford

Strictly Facts: A Guide to Caribbean History and Culture

18-10-2023 • 1 hr 5 mins

Our guest, award-winning author and U.S. Naval Academy professor, Dr. Sharika Crawford,  takes us on a historical journey to the heart of the Cayman Islands, unearthing the complex relationship between the environmental landscape and the Islands; inhabitants through turtle soup. Together, we traverse the Cayman's fascinating evolution, from the aftermath of slave emancipation to the rise and subsequent fall of the turtle hunting industry.

Venture with us as we uncover the dynamics between the Caymanian sea turtle hunters and the British government, the Islands' two-tier racial hierarchy and its lasting implications on labor even today, and the repercussions of the environmental movement in the 20th century, focusing on conservation policies and their significant impact on Caymanian communities. Join us as we illuminate the often-overlooked role of the Cayman Islands' turtle hunters in the broader Caribbean narrative and global food consumption.

Sharika Crawford is Professor of History at the United States naval Academy in Annapolis. In spring 2023, she was named the inaugural Speedwell Professor of International Studies, an honor she will hold until 2028. Crawford's primary research focuses on modern Latin America, specifically, Colombia and the interstitial places in the circum-Caribbean like the Archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia and the Cayman Islands. Her first monograph The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean: Waterscapes of Labor, Conservation, and Boundary Making published by the University of North Carolina Press received an Honorable Mention from the Elsa Goveia Prize in Caribbean History Committee of the Association of Caribbean Historians in 2021. It has been widely reviewed in national and international venues. Additionally, Crawford has published articles and essays in the Global South, Historia Critica, International Journal of Maritime History, Latin American Research Review, and the New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indische Gids. Dr. Crawford has also received several prestigious grants and fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the Fulbright U.S. Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and most recently, the Digital Library of the Caribbe

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