Call for Chapters: Beyond Arrival: Performing Indianness in the Caribbean

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Christopher L. Ballengee

Call for Chapters: Beyond Arrival: Performing Indianness in the Caribbean

Edited by Christopher L. Ballengee and Darrell Gerohn Baksh


We invite proposals for chapters for the edited volume Beyond Arrival: Performing Indianness in the Caribbean. Proposals should include: 1) an abstract of around 400 words that clearly indicates how the proposed essay relates to one or more themes of the volume, and 2) a current C.V.

Read below for more details about the project and for details regarding submission.

Between 1838 and 1917, the British transported millions of indentured laborers from Asian colonies to work in agriculture and industry around the world. Most of these were recruited from India. Though guaranteed free passage back to India after ten years of industrial residence in the colonies, the majority instead settled permanently in the places they were sent to work. Today, descendants of these Indian migrants make up significant populations in former sites of indenture around the world, especially in the Caribbean.

While research on the historical motivations and socio-political legacy of Indian indenture has steadily increased in recent decades, surprisingly little of this work has focused on deep analyses of the arts as a critical site for the expression of individual, cultural, national, and transnational identities. As such, Beyond Arrival: Performing Indianness in the Caribbean provides much-needed insight in this regard. The volume will feature a collection of essays on Indian Caribbean music, film, dance, theatre, and visual art that work to describe and critique the place of Indian post-indenture creative expression within the still-creolizing contexts of the Caribbean and its diasporas. Beyond Arrival centers very specifically on the performance of Indianness in foregrounding social, cultural, political, and creative issues surrounding Indian Caribbean identity.

The title of the project is drawn from the opening line of Patricia Mohammed’s essay in this volume. She writes, “Indians have progressed far beyond the nostalgic sentiments of arrival, of newness to a landscape, of that tentative political claim to belonging to a nation.” Here Mohammed laments what she sees as a preoccupation with “Indian arrival” in the Caribbean. For example, Indian Arrival Day is rightly celebrated as a public holiday in Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and other Caribbean locales. Yet, as Mohammed suggests, this reification of arrival paradoxically reinforces Indianness as foreign, as only having arrived, and therefore excluded from the Caribbean past, present, and possibly future.

With this volume, we want to reevaluate Caribbean creative expression as we also re-vision the Indian post-indenture diaspora as a transnational, archipelagic network of former sites of indenture bound more to one another than to a distant, largely imagined Indian homeland. With this in mind, the volume aims toward critiques of creolization, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism—concepts often applied to analyses of Caribbean culture—while in the process affirming that notions of “Indianness” need not be tied to an ambiguous yearning for India but instead are often squarely fixed to diasporic cultural practices.


To be considered for inclusion in the volume, authors should submit chapter proposals no later than 1 April 2023. Once notified of acceptance, authors should submit complete chapter drafts by 1 September 2023. 

Chapter proposals should be emailed to and include 1) an abstract of around 400 words that clearly indicates how the proposed essay relates to one or more themes of the volume, and 2) a current C.V.