Ecotones 5 – The Caribbean: Vulnerability and Resilience at Manhanttanville College June 21-22, 2019
in partnership with EMMA (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3) and MIGRINTER (CNRS-Université de Poitiers)
An “ecotone” initially designates a transitional area between two ecosystems, for example between land and sea. The “Ecotones” program (2015-2019) is a cycle of conferences which aims to borrow this term traditionally used in geography and ecology and to broaden the concept by applying it to other disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. An “ecotone” can thus also be understood as a cultural space of encounters, conflicts, and renewal between several communities (Florence Krall).
The Ecotones 5 conference will include an interdisciplinary study of the wider Caribbean as a space of cultural, historical, geographic, and linguistic diversity, a meeting place of peoples from different corners of the world. Central to this study is the idea that the Caribbean is a dynamic and heterogeneous space that has clearly been shaped by the persistence of colonialism. Colonialism created an exploitative and extractive economy based on forced labor which in turn led to multiple forms of resistance beyond rebellions and revolutions that were endemic throughout the region. Recently, the region's response to several natural disasters has also demonstrated multiple forms of resilience.
These forms of resistance and resilience can be seen in the wide array of literary/historical/ social/nationalist movements that came after the end of colonization. Postcolonialism gave rise to movements such as Antillanité and Créolité that stress the multiplicity of the Caribbean experience. More recently, the idea of littérature-monde “echoes antillanité and créolité in that it calls both for an end to French ethnocentrism while advocating for a ‘return to the world’” (Moudileno). This multiplicity is evident in Fernando Ortiz’s use of the term “transculturation” which stressed the merging and converging of cultures. This hybrid nationalism that Ortiz espoused and Albizu Campos epitomized, saw the Caribbean as an area that embodied hybrid postcolonial identities. Ortiz’s “transculturation” is echoed by Gilroy’s “Black Atlantic” which is a singular discrete work that uses the “Atlantic” as a geopolitical unit that carves out a cultural-political space for the discussion/creation of a hybrid Caribbean. Both concepts challenge the centrality of Europe through the use of indigenous languages and cross-cultural imagination.
We invite proposals on a wide range of topics related to Caribbean as listed below, but encourage those that relate to the Caribbean as a space of vulnerability and resilience in light of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, including the repercussions of the massive earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 and the aftermath of more recent hurricanes, Irma and Maria in 2017, that devastated Puerto Rico, Dominica, and Barbuda, among other Caribbean islands. Proposals related to networks and support systems of all kinds among various communities of the Caribbean diaspora in the New York metropolitan area would be of particular interest.
Venue: Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY, USA.
Dates: June 21-22, 2019 Languages: English and French