The University of Havana and Casa de las Américas Host “Caribbean Textures: Caliban Multiplied”

The Center for Caribbean Studies at Casa de las Américas, together with the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Havana, convenes for the second time the program Texturas Caribeñas [Caribbean Textures], beginning in September 2010 until December 2011. This time the program is organized around one of the most representative symbols of Caribbean culture: Caliban.

From 17th century Europe to the present-day Caribbean; from contemporary theatre to poetry, narrative, essay, visual arts, and cinema; from the chronicle to testimony; from the Caribs to current social minorities; from cannibalism to cultural anthropophagia; from character to metaphor; from storm to hurricane; Shakespeare’s Caliban has always been linked with the history, culture, and thought of our peoples. In the Caribbean, Caliban has not only generated an extensive bibliography, but it also served as a constant stimulus for all the arts. Therefore, both institutions invite reflection on this symbol and the issues that relate it to the Caribbean: cultural resistance, exile, the role of the intellectual, marginalization, anti-colonialism, language as a weapon, and regional integration. Intellectuals to be explored in this study program will include Aimé Césaire, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Maryse Condé, George Lamming, Roberto Fernández Retamar, Joel James Figarola, Flora Lauten, Raquel Carrió, Roger Toumson, and Carlos Jáuregui. Using works by these artists or writers as departure points, sessions will focus on the topic of Caliban in various manifestations: essay, visual arts, music, cinema, and performing arts. 

This second edition of Caribbean Textures is proposed as an itinerant studies program to promote interdisciplinary and integrative perspectives, significant confluences, and cultural crossings (textual, visual, musical, or other). Therefore, there will be related lectures on themes such as European cartography and imaginaries about the Caribbean, literary representations of the monster, literature in exile, and indigenous figures, among others. Other associated events will include exhibitions, audiovisual presentations, concerts, theatrical performances, and visual arts workshops.  As in the previous edition, participation in the activities is open, but participants will have the option of enrolling in the program as a graduate course.

In broad strokes, the first five months will center on Roberto Fernández Retamar (September); Caliban and Barbados, focusing on the work of E. Kamau Brathwaite and George Lamming (October); Maryse Condé with special attention to her Histoire de la femme cannibal (November); a panel on “Caliban in Latin American and Caribbean Thought in the 21st Century” by leading social scientists at the University of Havana (December); and a colloquium on “Caliban in the Work of Joel James Figarola” in collaboration with the Casa del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba (January).

For detailed information on the program and how to register, see http://laventana.casa.cult.cu/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=5670  

“Caliban” illustration by Charles A. Buchel, from http://www.leeds.ac.uk/english/activities/projects/treestempest/Treeframeset.htm

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