CARIBBEAN CULTURE I
1.1 (DECEMBER 2006)
|Richard L. W. Clarke
O. Nigel Bolland
Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology and Caribbean Studies (Emeritus),
"Reconsidering Creolisation and Creole Societies."
In this paper, I compare the
dualistic and dialectical versions of creolization that are derived from
European philosophical traditions and suggest some comparisons with more
‘organic’ African perspectives. Then I critique the implications of the
concept of creolization when it is used in connection with people and
cultures other than those of African and European origin. The analytic
use of creolization and creole society has been indispensable in the
study of cultural change in the African diaspora. However, the
ideological use of the concepts, when they are tied exclusively to Afro-creole
cultures and societies, obscures the interconnections and cultural
symbiosis that exist between 'overlapping diasporas.'
E. P. Brandon
Coordinator, Office of the Board for Non-Campus Countries and Distance
Education (BNCCDE), University of the West Indies.
"Creolisation, Syncreticism and Multiculturalism."
Multiculturalism is promoted as a desirable educational and social
perspective. It demands acknowledgement of a plurality of cultures and
insists on mutual respect and toleration. The idea of culture involved here can
easily be misrepresented. A collective culture is taken as a given; a
"package deal"; as tied up with innate characteristics; or as something people
ought to maintain. In the Caribbean we should rethink these assumptions by
proposing creolisation as a positive. The paper looks at two routes to
such a positive endorsement: creolisation as revealed in linguistics and
Arnold's accounts of Western culture and the English race.
Lewis R. Gordon
Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Judaic Studies;
Director of the Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought; and
Director of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies, Temple University;
Visiting Professor of Government and Philosophy, University of
the West Indies, Mona.
Faculty Page (Temple)
Race and Racism in an Age of Disciplinary Decadence." 20-36.
The author argues that First World cultural studies
uses, in an at times derisive manner, canonical figures from Caribbean
thought. A danger in Caribbean cultural studies is to seek legitimacy
through the mediation of such readings of the Caribbean instead of going
directly to the primary sources of ideas indigenous to the region. The
author then examines how race, as an important consideration, faces
challenges of what he calls 'disciplinary decadence,' which involves
conducting research under the presumption of an absolutely closed
disciplinary perspective. The paper concludes with a set of
recommendations that scholars in Caribbean cultural studies may wish to
|Richard L. W. Clarke
Lecturer in Literary
Theory, Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature, University
of the West Indies, Cave Hill.
"From Dialectic to Différance: Rethinking
Creolisation in the Later Work of Stuart Hall." 37-55.
I argue here that Stuart Hall’s attempt to conceptualise Caribbean cultural identity in terms inspired less by
the neo-Hegelian dialectical problematic which currently predominates in
Caribbean theory than by Saussurean and post-Saussurean notions of
‘difference’ marks an important recent epistemic shift in the study of
Caribbean culture. I explore the importance of this
departure principally by explicating those strands of Hall's thinking which
might be defined as Post-Structuralist and by making my own
various points in his argument in an effort to take up the challenge
posed by Hall to rethink those theoretical orthodoxies which have
seemingly cemented themselves here in the Caribbean.
Professor Emeritus of English, University of the West Indies, Mona.
Profile (UWI, Mona)
"Literary Theory and the Caribbean: Theory, Belief and Desire, or
Designing Theory." 56-63.
All theories are designs. They make patterns of
things, even of chaos. They are also designs in that they have designs
on us. The design is a projection of the theorist’s belief, and belief
is a function of desire. If we consider how some of the leading
Caribbean writers have preferred to imagine the Caribbean in their
theoretical statements, we find a significant degree of congruence, of
overlapping agenda, repetition with variation, in what it has seemed to
them best to believe, enough that we may delineate the emergence of a
native tradition of theory. A primary informing principle of the
theoretical adventure has been the articulating of paradigms to describe
Caribbeanness, and metaphor has been the characteristic mode of the
process. The metaphors and paradigms characteristically seek to define
Caribbeanness by contrast with imputed Eurocentric biases. The binaries
correspond more or less to Benitez-Rojo’s “white rhythms” and “copper,
black, and yellow rhythms.” The figures and movements, the figures of
movement that these writers propose are ultimately an imaginative way of
dealing with the problematics of history. Ultimately, the design and
desire of some influential Caribbean theory works toward positing the
Caribbean as a model for world imagination.
J. Michael Dash
Professor of French; Director of the Program in Africana Studies, New
Faculty Page (NYU)
"Farming Bones and Writing Rocks: Rethinking a Caribbean
Poetics of (Dis)Location." 64-71.
In the face of postcolonial theory's
promotion of placeless hybridity, place in the Caribbean imagination is
treated in terms of the idea of either a grounded identity typical of
Cesairean poetics or Edouard Glissant's concept of interactive littoral
space. Open space in a network of global relations is crucial to
understanding recent Haitian writing which places identity in the
context of contested hemispheric borderlands.