May 27, 2006

Caribbean Voices and the Internet

I have been invited to be a part of a discussion (Q&A) of the Caribbean Studies Association conference which will be held next week in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Three panelists, Nicholas Laughlin, Georgia Popplewell, and Attillah Springer, will be discussing the topic: “Global Voices, Caribbean Accents.” The theme of this year’s conference is “The Caribbean in the Age of Modernity.”

One of the ways that intend to approach the topic is to gather as much information on Caribbean Voices which was produced by Henry Swanzy. (I know you were wondering why I had his picture up there.) My proposition is that although blogging by a writer does not have the authority of Caribbean Voices, it does provide exposure (it bypasses the so-called gatekeepers of Caribbean culture), unlimited worldwide access to ideas (they don’t depend on shelf space or a publisher’s PR budget), and community (they are searchable, linkable, contain metadata, and allow for conversation --visit this site for more). Of course, the last claim will now depend on your contribution to the comments—which is part of the power of blogging: it allows the possibility for the conversation to continue ad infinitum. For example, Leonard “Tim” Hector still speaks from beyond his headstone.


Anonymous said...

and now i've clicked what you call the BLOG SPOT -hot spot, warm spot, sacred site - i'm so blessed to have to find these mkissi - and from you, so
consistent all these years. I give tanks Kamau 76 today and w/yr help encouragement & support

FSJL said...

Happy birthday, Kamau, if you read this.

I think that blogging provides the opportunity to put authentic Caribbean voices on the internet. Of course, what that means may vary. I'm still smarting at Sylvia Wynter telling me that I wasn't Jamaican, as if there was only one (or only a few ways) of being one.

Silvio Torres Saillant has an interesting take on what it is to be Caribbean, one I'm very much in sympathy with. The Caribbean is a zone of encounter -- Europe, Asia, Africa, the native peoples of the Americas -- that has been in the process of blending all these elements over the past 500 years and hasn't finished yet. We need to avoid subsuming this in broad, vague concepts like 'the post-colonial'. We are not Africans, not Asians, not Europeans, not Amerindians, but we draw from all of those influences, and all of them come out in the Caribbean pepperpot.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Give thanks, Fragano, for this great insight!

Geoffrey Philp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Geoffrey

You're right, blogging does give exposure. I'm a one-day old blogger and I'm loving it.

I've always loved Caribbean literature and being in England (thankfully not for much longer), I've developed a great appreciation for Amazon since I can easily get books delivered to my doorstep and I can search for Caribbean books.

Currently, I'm big on Elizabeth Nunez (you can check out my blog, Now, that I've discovered you, I guess I have to dig in my pocket and let Amazon vibes meh.

All the best to you!
Karel Mc Intosh

FSJL said...

Unfortunately, I didn't attend the panel on blogging at the CSA. I did attend quite a few others (and chaired one). It was a very enjoyable conference. (Of course, I also had to explain to my wife that all the women hugging me were not old girlfriends.)

Geoffrey Philp said...

So, tell me why I don't believe you.

FSJL said...

I wouldn't have minded if some of them were, frankly. But, alas, they weren't. I should note, however, that there was one woman there that my wife knows I slept with -- mostly because I was married to her!