CICR | Centre for Integrated Caribbean Research

Previous Events

Previous Seminars

Winter 2016


Wednesday, 19th October (5.30pm Room 234 [Senate House])

 Fleshy Textualities: the laughing body in Caribbean fictionnoxolo-patricia

Dr Patricia Noxolo, Birmingham University


This paper examines the corporeal materialities of laughter in the Caribbean and its diaspora.  It draws on theories of fictionality, as well as on literary theory and theories of embodiment to explore novels by Earl Lovelace and Maryse Conde.  The paper aims to unpack not only some of the many cultural meanings and political deployments of laughter in the Caribbean diaspora, but also the ways in which the materialities of laughter – its rhythms, movements, articulations – create corporeal spaces of intelligence, negotiation and communication.



Wednesday, 7th December (5.30pm Room 102 [Senate House])


The Geopolitics of Going South for the Caribbean: moving away from NGOs?



Dr Clara Rachel Eybalin Casseus, Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London




This paper critically engages with the geopolitical spaces of the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean and questions the pertinence of memory in how Caribbean communities constitute new forms of belonging and citizenship across major European cities. I argue for a rethinking of the role of such communities in which people evolve, willingly move to, or are forcefully displaced by natural catastrophes (earthquake, frequent hurricanes).  They bring together mobility, urban migration, intellectual and financial capital flight, and spatio-temporal configurations at the intersection of current debates about the legitimacy of neo-colonial interference through NGOs. Based on secondary sources and field research conducted on Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica, I question how a Caribbean developmental shift through the prism of South-South framework based on an active role of diasporic Caribbean communities is gaining momentum within a broader geopolitical and pan-Caribbean solidarity. Finally, this paper provides new insights relating to memory, long-distance civic engagement and post-2015 development millennium goals.



Spring 2016

Wednesday, April 6 (5:30 pm, Room 243 [Senate House])

Dr. Beverley DUGUID (Royal Holloway)

“Female Denunciations of Late Coloniality in the Spanish Caribbean: a Cuban-Portorrican epistolary friendship”

Nineteenth-century Spanish American women have rarely been visible in the context of travel. Images of subservient indigenous tribes or elite Spanish circles fill the travel narratives of English and American women travellers who went to Central and South America at this time. However there are some texts by Spanish American women, mainly in Spanish, who wrote about their experiences of travel within the area and indeed to and from the colonial metropolis. These women, mainly from the educated elite, played a part in political and intellectual life. Their varied writings provide a unique insight into the position of Spanish-American women in a world in constant transition and filled with racial, class and political divisions.

Lola Rodríguez de Tío (1843-1924), a Puerto Rican lyric poet and a pro-independence fighter, who was exiled for her political activities (first in 1877); and the Cuban Aurelia Castillo de González (1842-1920) a poet, prose writer, typographer and biographer, who was also exiled several times during her lifetime, provide the subjects for this talk.

Wednesday, April 20  (5:30 pm, Room G35 [Senate House])

Dr. Peter SOLLIS (Senior Advisor [Ret.]- Haiti Response Group, Inter-American Development Bank)

“In the Land of Sisyphus: Haiti, international cooperation agencies, and the elusive search for development (1945-2016)”

This presentation looks at how international cooperation agencies have collaborated with Haiti since immediately after World War Two to the present day. It seeks to answer the question of how, in spite of all efforts to achieve development “take-off”, Haiti remains by far the poorest country in the western hemisphere. It identifies a cycle of engagement characterized by optimism about the prospects for progress followed by a period of disillusionment when change does not materialize. Lessons are not learnt when a cycle ends since increased amounts of financial resources are available once the cycle begins again. The talk suggests some issues for further consideration on the way forward.


Wednesday, February 17

Dr. Rosemarijn HOFTE (Royal Netherlands Institute of South East Asian and Caribbean Studies [KITLV])

Terra incognita?: Integrating the Dutch Caribbean into Caribbean Area Studies”

In most textbooks on the Caribbean, the “Dutch Caribbean” (which isn’t altogether Dutch and isn’t altogether Dutch-speaking) is only discussed in passing, if at all. What explains this oversight in Caribbean Studies and Research? Linguistic barriers are too facile an explanation. What are the major factors that hampered and hamper the study of the “Dutch Caribbean”? And how can we address these issues? I would like to discuss how we can make the “Dutch Caribbean” internationally relevant anew.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

Dr. Maria del Pilar KALADEEN (Visting Fellow, SAS/ICWS -University of London)
Independence before 1966: Anti-Colonial Rhetoric Amongst the East Indian Community of British Guiana, 1894-1917″

Much in the history of British Guiana during the last two decades of indenture prefigures the discontent that motivated the eventual march to liberation from British rule in 1966. Between 1894-1917 the first texts written by and about East Indians appeared in the colony’s press constituting the reversal of a tradition in which, almost exclusively, only white European men wrote about the system of indenture and those that laboured under it. These texts reveal the strength of anti-colonial sentiment that emerged from diverse sections of the Indian community during this period; they include contributions from estate workers, the burgeoning East Indian middle-class and minority groups such as the South Indians and Muslims. In this presentation I provide an analysis of these groundbreaking documents and explore colonial responses to them, examining the extent to which they constituted both uncoordinated ‘collaborations’ with sympathetic colonists and challenges to colonial rule.

Friday, November 27, 2015.

The Divine, Faith, and Performance in Contemporary Religious Practices in the Caribbean.

Petra KUIVALA (University of Helsinki)
“Friend or Foe? Universal Catholicism in the Caribbean”

The presentation reflects on the universal nature of the Catholic Church and Catholicism; cases of the global and international character of the church constituting both a friend and a foe in the local, national context for the church in the Caribbean countries. The primary point of reference will be Cuba with complementary examples from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The examples demonstrate some of the patterns of the universal Catholicism and the ways it may be perceived either as a safety net, often from the point of view of the church itself, or as a threat to national coherence – as has been claimed vividly by certain Caribbean political figures on the second half of the 20th Century.

Carlton TURNER (University of Gloucestershire)
“The Anglican Church in the Caribbean: Still a Potted Plant?”

Ashley Smith’s Real Roots and Potted Plants contends that the Church in the Anglophone Caribbean remains an imported entity struggling to make deep indigenous connections. This presentation argues that, considering the emergence of the Protestant Church in the Anglophone Caribbean, with particular focus on the Church of England or the Anglican Church, Smith’s thesis remains accurate. During the period of slavery, the Anglican Church has functioned as an exclusively white church in full support of the planter class, very much complicit in the slavery machinery. In the post-emancipation period, education of the former slaves and their descendants became priority, and this ‘civilizing’ project was largely taken on by missionary priests from Great Britain, and the erection of churches and congregations increased. In the era of independence and national development, the Church, like the rest of society became indigenous to the extent that it now had native born bishops and priests, but as an institution, it still functioned as an elitist, mono-cultural (English) entity yet to make connections with the diverse indigenous (mainly African) cultural heritages of the region and its peoples.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015.

Dr. Fabienne VIALA (University of Warwick)
Caribbean Crossovers: Examining the “Other” Caribbean in the Work of Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Kamau Brathwaite, Edouard Glissant and Frank Martinus Arion.

The presentation will bring together Benitez R0jo’s reading of Haiti (Performance, Body Memory and Vodou); Brathwaite’s approach, vision, and inscription of Cuba in his theories of Caribbean Memory and specially his poetry; Glissant’s differential approach to Martinique through a double-bind silencing/magnifying reading of other Caribbeans (transculturation and Carnival/Cuba, Barbados, Jamaica Trinidad); and Frank Martinus Arion’s defense of Papiamentu following the “model” of English Creole within/ as a Jamaican Nation Language.

Autumn 2015

Friday, December 4

Book Launch: On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Maria Cristina FUMAGALLI (Department of Literature, Film, & Theatre Studies, University of Essex)
Bridget WOODING (Director, Caribbean Migrants Observatory, Dominican Republic)

On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is a literary and cultural
history which brings to the fore a compelling but so far largely neglected body of work which has
the politics of borderline-crossing as well as the poetics of borderland-dwelling on Hispaniola
at its core. Over 30 fictional and non-fictional literary texts (novels, biographical narratives,
memoirs, plays, poems, and travel writing) are given detailed attention alongside journalism, geopolitical historical accounts of the status quo on the island, and striking visual interventions (films,
sculptures, paintings, photographs, videos, and artistic performances), many of which are sustained
and complemented by different forms of writing (newspaper cuttings, graffiti, captions, song lyrics,
screenplay, tattoos).
Dominican, Dominican-American, Haitian, and Haitian-American writers and artists are put in
dialogue with authors who were born in Europe, the rest of the Americas, Algeria, New Zealand,
and Japan in order to illuminate some of the processes and histories that have woven and
continue to weave the texture of the borderland and the complex web of border relations on the
island. Particular attention is paid to the causes, unfolding, and immediate aftermath of the 1791
slave revolt, the 1937 massacre of Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans in the Dominican Northern
borderland, as well as to recent events and topical issues such as the 2010 earthquake, migration,
and environmental degradation.