Caribbean Arts, Theory, and Literature (SCT4151.01)
Heather Vermeulen and Michael Wimberly
It’s estimated that over 10.5 million Africans were enslaved and forcibly transported across the Atlantic Ocean from the 16th to the 19th C., the majority to South America and the West Indies. How did enslaved peoples and their descendants maintain or re-forge a sense of identity in the wake of this foundational violence and the erasures of names, religious traditions, languages, and kinship ties that the slave trade sought to enact? This seminar examines the Caribbean as a geographic space and place conditioned by diaspora, as well as an ever-changing imaginary, or even, a practice. Focusing on African Diasporic cultural production emerging from the Caribbean, we will also explore Caribbean Latinidad. Attention to the imbrications of race, gender, sexuality, class, and empire will be central to our interpretive endeavors. Other key questions include: What is “the Caribbean”? Where is “the Caribbean”? When is “the Caribbean”? In what ways does the region’s history of colonization and slavery shape or haunt its contemporary visual art, literature, and music? Potential artists, theorists, and authors include: María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Édouard Glissant, Thomas Glave, M. NourbeSe Philip, Félix González-Torres, Patrick Chamoiseau, Jamaica Kincaid, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, Ana-Maurine Lara, José Muñoz, Stuart Hall, Shani Mootoo, Grace Jones, Dionne Brand, Ebony Patterson, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Jafari Allen, Bob Marley, Krudas Cubensi, and Firelei Báez.