Lecture: “Towards a Caribbean Literary Orality”

Hyacinth Simpson, from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, will present a lecture, “Technologies of the Word: Towards a Caribbean Literary Orality,” at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. The talk will take place on March 3, 2010, from 5:00-7:30pm, in Room G32 (South Block, Senate House, Ground Floor).

The focus of the presentation is on current developments, as revealed in recent fiction and criticism, in the debate about the relationship between oral and print cultures, the spoken and the written word, and voice and text in Caribbean political and literary history. One major argument is that Caribbean literary orality, in theory and practice, refuses any suggestion of a hierarchical relationship between and mutual exclusivity of oral/scribal, spoken/written and also rejects the evolutionary oral-written-print model that still finds currency in intellectual thought. Furthermore, creative and critical examples demonstrate that oral and visual (writing and print) cultures in the Caribbean have not only continued to co-exist, modify, and reinforce each other but are also now adapting to and being adapted by a culture that has emerged around more recent technologies such as the computer and the Internet. The creative and critical writings of Kamau Brathwaite, particularly those composed in and about his computer generated Sycorax Video Style language, are used as a touchstone in the presentation.  

Dr. Hyacinth Simpson received her BA and MPhil from the University of the West Indies-Mona and her PhD in Caribbean and post-colonial literatures and theory) from York University.  She is an associate professor in the Department of English and the MA program in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto, where she specializes in Caribbean literature, orality, “immigrant” writing, and diaspora and transnational studies.

For full description, see http://americas.sas.ac.uk/events/events.php?id=6896

Photo of Dr. Simpson from http://www.ryerson.ca/english/faculty/simpsonh.html

Photo of Kamau Brathwaite from http://www.griffinpoetryprize.com/galleries.php?t=10

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