Call for Papers

Reshaping (g)local dynamics of the Caribbean

Relaciones y Desconexiones – Relations et Déconnections – Relations and Disconnections

Hannover, 14-17 October 2015 

In the course of the 20th and 21th century, the field of Caribbean Studies has undergone an important change of perspective from the emphasis on the reconstruction of continuities and analogies to an accentuation of discontinuities and ruptures.

Historical dispersion of people, forced encounters and re-linking through colonization, the Middle Passage and slavery, indentured labor, and also (post)colonial forms of migration have been decisive influences in the cultural and social practices of Caribbean knowledge production inside and outside the academy. The agents, objects and media involved in this circulation are very diverse. Dialogue and silence, exchange and rupture, remembering and forgetting occur, we suggest, among individuals and collective groups and along distinct linguistic, ethnic, economic, political and disciplinary configurations.

Our focus on “Relations and Disconnections” addresses the way in which the dialogue between theory and practice, as well as the interweaving of very diverse social and cultural practices, construct ‘the Caribbean’ as a common cultural space of conviviality (Gilroy 2004, Ette 2010, Leggewie/Adloff 2014). Various experiences of colonization and resistance have played their part in this process, and we aim to discuss the circulation of global and local knowledge production in and on the Caribbean with regard to four fundamental perspectives:

1) in and between linguistic spaces and areas,

2) in and between social and cultural practices and theoretical reasoning,

3) in and between agents and political regulations,

4) in and between academic disciplines.

Given the specific Caribbean context, it is crucial to consider these four perspectives locally and translocally as well as regionally and transregionally while paying special attention to political frameworks and gender aspects.

Our conference is taking into account the specific points of view of literary studies, linguistics, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, history and political science that constitute the highly diverse institutional and disciplinary locations of Caribbean Studies. The international and transatlantic perspective will focus on the relations and disconnections, ruptures and omissions in different constructions of ‘the Caribbean’ as an object of inquiry. We would like to offer a forum for a dialogue between Caribbean Studies in Germany, in the Caribbean, the USA, Canada and in other parts of Europe.

The organizers encourage a critical stance towards new trends and established research perspectives. Conference panels will cover the following topics:

Beyond slave narratives: from a franco- and hispanophone perspective;

- USA as a relay station of knowledge of the Caribbean;

- Intra-Caribbean and transoceanic dynamics (créolité, coolitude, kala pani);

Theorizing rhythm, visual arts, music, dance and writing;

- Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean: Social fields and decolonial options;

- Diaspora, migration and transnational networks;

- Ethnopoliticization as a strategy of in- and exclusion;

- Digital Caribbean cultures and social media;

- Crossing disciplinary borders and translation;

- Non-knowledge/Agnotology – non histoire – non-narrativity.

Issues as environment and sustainability, e-governance and state of the arts of European Caribbean Studies as well as arts and visual culture, will be addressed in plenary sections and key notes but are also welcome as contributions to the panels.

The organizers aim to create possibilities for inter- and transdisciplinary research and exchange. Apart from the paper presentations, there will therefore be a poster session giving doctoral students and postdoc researchers the opportunity to present and discuss their projects. Posters are welcome on all topics related to the conference theme.

This call for papers is specifically addressed to junior and early career scholars. We are looking forward to receiving relevant paper proposals from a wide range of theoretical positions and welcome both individual case studies or textual analyses and wider theoretical reflections or surveys. Presentations may be in English, French or Spanish.