The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 37, Issue 2

Article 4
Skin Colour as a Tool of Regulation and Power in the Danish West Indies in the Eighteenth Century

Gunvor Simonsen


This article focuses on the process of “encolouring” social reality in the Caribbean. This is done by investigating how connections between status and colour were created in the Danish West Indies by using certain strategies and techniques of power. Essential to the regulatory efforts of planters and officials were three variables: time, space and body. By the manipulation of these phenomena colonial masters managed to make skin colour represent something other than itself. It came to be associated with a web of ideas concerning the constitution of society and its subjects – their status, condition and opportunities in life