Represent, Rename, Recall: Collective Memory in Caribbean Literature (15969)

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Isis Semaj-Hall/Independent Scholar
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The Caribbean is as much the site of shared history as it is the site of unique, cultural experiences. But what is privileged as knowledge, and what is relegated to collective memory? Caribbean writers have been turning to the past for no less than a hundred years, but contemporary Caribbean artists are doing so anew and in ways that deeply interrogate the relationship between history, culture, and collective memory. Building on the work of poet Grace Nichols, collective memory is personal history. By providing a new perspective on collective memory as the blurry intersection of culture and knowledge, this NeMLa panel will examine how contemporary Anglo-, Franco-, and Hispanophone writers and artists respond to history and/or dominant narratives of the Caribbean. What is privileged as knowledge and what is relegated to collective memory? How is history remembered and reimagined by contemporary generations of Caribbean writers and artists? What silences or invisibilities does art reveal that a straight or 'official' history cannot? Collecting memories as narratives and creating fictional histories for those previously unspoken for or about, the panel seeks papers that consider the different ways literature, music, and/or visual art is utilized to unsilence the past, rewrite posterity, and re-imagine the Caribbean as a site of shared history as well as unique, cultural experiences.

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