West Indian Literature Conference 2015: Call for Papers


Reflections on West Indian Literatures and Cultures:

“We Must Learn to Sit Down Together and Talk About a Little Culture”

Thursday 1st October to Saturday 3rd October 2015

In her book of essays, “We Must Learn to Sit Down Together and Talk About a Little Culture” (2012), Sylvia Wynter reconceptualizes the history of the Caribbean adapting Enrique Dussel’s terms “gaze from below” and “the Caribbean as the ultimate underside of modernity.” As literatures and cultures emerge from communities, researchers in the humanities should not only address communities as agents of culture, but also as partners who contribute expertise, share decision making and ownership of knowledge production. When Wynter says “talk about a little culture,” obviously, “little” does not mean small –Caribbean culture is multi-layered, complex, intriguing, and in that sense, very “large.” With irony, she seems to mean talk “a bit” or “a while” about something that, although expansive and omnipresent, frequently gets ignored in official and academic discourses. So let’s start talking about Carnival, Obeah, Shouters, Vodou, tea meetings, Rastafarian drumming, Kalinda, Big Drum, santeros, curanderos, Nine Night, Jonkonnu, bomba, etc., etc. –“a little culture” –as well as more formal literature, art, theater, dance, and music.
Suggested topics for presentation include:

  • Literature and Identity Politics
  • Cultural Performance: Carnival and Festival Arts
  • Activism Through Literature and Art
  • Cultural and Community Outreach Through the Arts
  • Mapping the Caribbean Experience
  • Writers as Cultural Agents
  • Language, Literature, and Culture of the West Indies
  • Community-based Caribbean Literature
  • Literature of Caribbean Diasporas

Papers may be presented in English, Spanish or any other Caribbean language and should conform to the allotted fifteen minutes of presentation time and five minutes of question time. Please submit your proposal within the text of an e-mail and NOT as an attachment. Proposals should include: a one-page abstract (maximum 250 words), the author’s name, postal and e-mail addresses, home institution (if applicable), and a brief biography (50 words or less).
Please send submissions or inquiries to: islandsconference@gmail.com or to mirerza.gonzalez1@upr.edu.

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