Harvesting Home: Economy, Gender and Identity in the Crop Over Festival

Shauna Rigaud

Advisor: Paul Smith, PhD, Cultural Studies Program

Committee Members: Denise Albanese, Wendi Manuel-Scott

Online Location, https://gmu.zoom.us/j/95729733046
April 19, 2024, 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM


In 1974, the former Harvest Home festival in Barbados was revived and rebranded as the Crop Over Festival under the direction of the country’s Board of Tourism. The 8-week festival was heralded as a celebration of Barbadian history, culture, and tradition. This new, but old, annual festival harkened back to the island’s end of harvest festivals that dated back to plantation mills in the late 1700s. The Tourism Board organized the summer festival as a celebration of culture and nation to increase the island’s visitors during what had historically been referred to as the “hard time.” This dissertation analyses the Crop Over Festival and the ways in which the festival is used to navigate the island’s postcolonial condition. This project examines the spaces for identity making, economic independence, and gendered labor that are produced within the festival in an attempt at constructing a postcolonial identity.