CfP: Caribbean Traffic: Bodies, Cultures, Knowledges

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Caribbean Traffic: Bodies, Cultures, Knowledges

Institute of Modern Languages Research (London)

31st March, 2017

Call for Papers

Concepts of traffic and trafficking are pivotal to understanding the creation of the modern Caribbean and key to articulating its geopolitical significance in the 21st century. Much of the rich and vibrant scholarship on the region already acknowledges its simultaneously fortuitous and hapless position as accidental destination, (desired) strategic location and misadventurous route. Traffic through maritime, aeronautical and (latterly) cyber technologies have for centuries placed the Caribbean at the centre of the most crucial global exchanges. This has involved the illegal trafficking of capital, drugs and other forms of merchandise. More egregiously, technologies of traffic have been deployed in the Caribbean (historically and contemporaneously) for the purposes of bartering humans. Clearly, engaging with the Caribbean through the lenses of traffic and trafficking call up the perennial questions of the region as a disturbing site of hazard. But it also demands sharp scrutiny of the global north and its often deliberate positioning of the Caribbean as a locus of trafficked peril for its own economic and political expedience. Violation of human rights, risks to life, histories of oppression and contemporary bartering in bodies are some of the indices of the facts of traffic and trafficking in and through the Caribbean.

But strong creative potential also inheres in the ideas of traffic and trafficking. Writing, art, music and other forms of cultural enterprise in the Caribbean have understandably, therefore, been attuned to these phenomena and have found them to be useful opportunities to explore the Caribbean and its place in the world. Thinking through Caribbean traffic necessarily involves engaging Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas in urgent transnational conversations. Caribbean Traffic: Bodies, Cultures and Knowledges‘ is a one-day symposium aimed at exploring contemporary narrative engagement (literary, visual, legal, sociological) with some of these conversations. Drawing on cases which bring into focus a series of economic, political, sexual and textual negotiations between the Caribbean and various locations within the global north and south, the symposium seeks to interrogate the structural and ideological mechanisms which have enabled different forms of trafficking in and through the region. Through invigorating debates on transnational sexuality, migration and diaspora, human rights and cultural geography, it will also consider ‘trafficking’ in terms of the global circulation of new intimate, social, cultural and political knowledges.

The organisers welcome papers that deal with the subject of traffic and trafficking in the Caribbean from the perspective of literature, visual culture, curatorial practice, history, international law, gender and sexuality studies among others. Papers may be presented in English, French or Spanish.

Please send titles and a brief abstract (200 words) to Conrad James by 16th December 2016.

Organisers: Conrad James (University of Birmingham) Carlos Garrido Castellano (Universidade de Lisboa).

This is event is part of the project, “Comparing We´s. Cosmopolitanism, Emancipation, Postcoloniality” project”:

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