This seminar starts from the premise that the literatures of the Caribbean diaspora can neither be located within a clearly demarcated geographical space within the sea and at the shores that we call the Caribbean nor can they be restricted to writings by Caribbean immigrants living and working in the Western metropoles. While Caribbean cultural production of course emerges from very specific socio-historic moments they regularly derive from, reflect on and promote connections between various real or imagined cultural origins and present locations within and without the Caribbean. Instead of speaking for an original or essential Caribbean culture they do regularly write across cultures.
Students are invited to explore a decisively diasporic outlook of a Caribbean cultural sphere that equally exists in Jamaica, Cuba, or Haiti and Europe, North America or Africa. Using a relational diasporic studies approach we will read works of literature and theory that mediate between disparate social and cultural groups, between distinct historical moments and between multiple departures and arrivals. Closely looking at intertextual, creolizing and conter-discursive/counter-archival strategies at work in these representations we will try to grasp how linguistic, aesthetic and sometimes ethical transgressions have the capacity to revise collective memories from out there just as they re-conceptualize normative notions of home and belonging right here.
Texts to be explored in class try to make sense of the continuing experience of (forced-) migrational frictions (such as the Middle passage) and cohabitations across various cultural sites against the historical backdrop of cross-cultural flows from and to the Caribbean. Beyond the primary sites of these texts’ enunciation our readings shall offer radical queries of our understanding of colonial and postcolonial Anglophone representations, dominant notions authenticity, cross-cultural translation or inter-subjectivity. They thus highlight the fraught and ambivalent predicaments of a truly decolonized conviviality under the condition of global capitalism.
First in-class meeting on 19 October!