March 18, 2009

Call For Papers: Going Caribbean!

ACT 22


International Conference

Going Caribbean!

New Perspectives on Caribbean Literature and Art

Centre for Comparative Studies.

University of Lisbon, November 2 – 3, 2009

In an age of intensifying globalization and interdependencies, «being Caribbean» means more than fashioning a particular identity. Being Caribbean refers to a complex, particular condition, which transcends regional boundaries. Who is Caribbean? And who is «going Caribbean»? Are we all Caribbean now because we live in «urban archipelagoes» (Clifford)? Around the globe, cultural archipelagoes are quickly emerging as a result of the complex process of creolisation, which is taking place in regions and nations far beyond Martinique, Aruba or Jamaica. In the heart of Europe, for instance, —something nobody would have thought of a few decades ago—where nations claim separate cultural identities, from Scotland to Cataluña and the Balkan.

In spite of this exciting and celebratory view of the Caribbean as the paradigm of creolisation, critics still lack a deeper understanding of the intra-Caribbean reality, for a simple reason: in approaching the Caribbean we have almost never crossed linguistic and national boundaries. Although there has been growing academic interest over the past few decades, Caribbean culture is usually studied according to the nationality or language: Cuban writers are part of Cuban or broader Spanish-American literature, Martinican novels belong to Francophone or French literature, Dutch Antillean poetry is part of Dutch literature. Whatever the writers or artists´ background is, they are rarely seen as the protagonists of a common Caribbean cultural identity. As a result, important parts of Caribbean literature and art, especially the multilingual «Dutch» Caribbean where writers express themselves in many languages (not only in Dutch), remain largely unknown. How to resolve the problem of this critical «insularism» so often entrenched in academic departments? Can we go beyond such a limited, artificial view on Caribbean culture?

This conference aims to open up new perspectives through the comparative study of Fiction and Art from the broader Francophone, Hispanic, Dutch, and Anglophone Caribbean as well as their respective Diasporas. A comparative perspective urges us to unveil hidden connections, influences and dialogues between writers, artists and intellectuals. How can a Caribbean nation be imagined beyond geographical and linguistic boundaries? What are the convergences between authors and artists that at first have little in common, like, for instance, Caryl Phillips, the incisive writer from St. Kitts, and Frank Martinus Arion, from Curaçao, who three years ago was the focal point of the Dutch publishing industry's "Holland reads!" campaign? Is there a literary connection between Edwidge Danticat, one of the fascinating voices of the Haitian diaspora, and Patrick Chamoiseau, the Goncourt winning novelist from Martinique? Are the «Puerto Rican» paintings of Arnaldo Roche in dialogue with the Dutch Antillean work of José Maria Capricorne? Finally, how does a transnational, multilingual, perspective on their work shed light on current processes of creolisation inside and outside the Caribbean? Beyond the possibilities, what obstacles and objections persist in undertaking a comparative study of Caribbean culture?

Keynote Speakers (Confirmed):

  • Mayra Santos-Febres (Puerto Rico)

  • Ineke Phaf-Reinberger (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)

  • Kathleen Gyssels (University of Antwerp)

  • Aart G. Broek (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies)

  • Theo D´haen (Catholic University of Leuven)

  • Frank Martinus Arion (Curaçao)

Suggested topics for papers and sessions:

We welcome all comparative approaches to Caribbean Literature and Art in relation to the following areas and topics:

  • Representations of Caribbean Identity

  • Arts from the Caribbean Diaspora(s) and Exile

  • New Directions in Caribbean Studies

  • Influences on Dutch Caribbean Art and Literature

  • Translation of Caribbean literature (specially to Portuguese): problems and perspectives

  • Memory and Trauma

  • Visual Arts

  • Cultural Studies

  • Impact of circular migration on Caribbean culture

  • Caribbean Philosophy

  • Postcolonial theory

  • Cultural and Literary Reviews

  • Creolisation in the Caribbean in comparison to Cape Verde

Paper submission:

  • Papers may be presented in Portuguese, English, French or Spanish

  • Abstracts (max. 300 words) and a short biography (100 Words) should be sent electronically via attachment to:

Deadline for submission of papers: May 31, 2009.

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