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Caribbean Spaces

Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Caribbean Spaces
    Book Description:

    Drawing on both personal experience and critical theory, Carole Boyce Davies illuminates the dynamic complexity of Caribbean culture and traces its migratory patterns throughout the Americas. Both a memoir and a scholarly study, Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones explores the multivalent meanings of Caribbean space and community in a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspective.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09586-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction. CARIBBEAN SPACES: Reflective Essays/Creative-Theoretical Circulations
    (pp. 1-18)

    “Caribbean Spaces” is my way of describing plural island geographies, the surrounding continental locations as well as Caribbean sociocultural and geopolitical locations in countries in North, South, and Central America. A Caribbean diaspora, we can now assert, has also been created in countries via various waves of migration to particular areas that became Caribbean Space. These are social and cultural places (spaces) that extend the understanding of the Caribbean beyond “small space,” fragmented identifications. The claiming of Caribbean Space captures ontologically ways of being in the world. It assumes movement as it makes and remakes the critical elements of Caribbean...

    (pp. 19-32)

    Twilight! That space of unreality between night and day, where spirits begin to roam and objects that seem perfectly normal in the daylight assume strange patterns and shapes, that gap between different realities, that zone of instability between darkness and light, that time when transformation happens. Perhaps it was Rod Serling’s fault and all those episodes ofTwilight ZoneI watched in black and white in my youth, I thought, which provided the pretext or at least a possible explanation. Learning that Serling was from and imagined the sense of twilight space in Binghamton justified my feelings. Recreation Park, on...

  6. 2 REIMAGINING THE CARIBBEAN: Seeing, Reading, Thinking
    (pp. 33-45)

    On another of those journeys loaded with personal and epic meaning for me, from Grenada to Carriacou, deliberately recapturing lost personal history, I retrace the journey that Avey makes in Paule Marshall’sPraisesong for the Widow(1983). On the way, I learn from a feisty Jamaican writer that the turbulence one experiences, and to which Marshall gives epic meaning, is actually the result of volcanic action that is producing another island (affectionately called “Kick ’em Jenny”). In the middle of the Caribbean Sea, I peer into the distance, trying to imagine where this island would come up. But it is...

  7. 3 CARIBBEAN/AMERICAN: The Portable Black Self in Community
    (pp. 46-63)

    This story really begins in 1968. Martin Luther King was killed during my freshman year in university. I stood as a quiet participant amid the outpouring of grief by fellow students, glued to television sets in the lobby of the dormitory, unable to come to terms with the meaning of this violence and reliving the perpetual and senseless destruction of black political leaders. It was in a university in Eastern Shore, Maryland, in a close-knit community of African American students from the D.C./Maryland/North East Corridor that I came to a full understanding of myself as a black political subject in...

  8. 4 SPIRIT SCAPES: From Brazil to the Caribbean
    (pp. 64-84)

    On the way from São Paulo to Natal, the navigational symbol for the airplane on the video screen in the cabin points almost as if it were heading for Africa. I imagine that if we kept going, we could see ourselves recrossing the Atlantic as many of the dispersed Africans did, mythologizing a return journey and thereby making theirs the actual technology of flight. Many of our artists and writers continue this process imaginatively, aesthetically, or make these journeys in actuality. Transatlantic journeys seem to have tangible possibility from this launching point of Natal. The shoulder points of the continents...

  9. 5 MIDDLE PASSAGES: Movable Borders and Ocean-Air Space Mobility
    (pp. 85-106)

    The Middle Passage, which has attained iconic significance in African diaspora discourses, is a loaded concept. It references the transportation of numerous Africans across the Atlantic; difficult and pain-filled journeys across ocean space; dismemberment referring to the separation from their families and kin groups; the economic trade and exchange in goods in which Africans were the capital, commodities, or source of exchange and garnering of wealth for others; deterritorialization, the separation from one’s own native geography or familiar landmarks and the parallel disenfranchisement of Africans in new locations; the necessary constitution of new identities in passage and on and after...

    (pp. 107-128)

    I begin with this poem deliberately as it offers an extended cataloging of a selection of assumed daily work obligations for women but in fact offers a succinct commentary on larger ideas about the exploitation of women’s labor. It also demonstrates both a creative and an extensive manipulation of space and time. There is a second poem introduced later about agency or the ability to act affirmatively in leaving exploitative situations. These two combined produce some of the bases of women’s migration.

    The well-known trade routes, triangular trade, middle-passage economies that we discussed earlier, still have residual effects, that is,...

  11. 7 CONNECTING STORIES: My Grandmother’s Violin
    (pp. 129-146)

    As a little girl, I always remembered my grandmother Edith Gordon Boyce playing a violin. She also taught everyone in the family to play the piano. A love of music always permeated a home in which it was not unusual for aunts and uncles to sit at a piano and play jazzy tunes. In his teen years, my brother was a member of a Barataria group that would entertain at events. In my mother’s words, he was a bit of a piano virtuoso at a young age, playing at five for Edric Connor, a musician who would subsequently migrate to...

  12. 8 “CHANGING LOCATIONS”: Literary Pathways of Caribbean Migration
    (pp. 147-157)

    Capturing the dynamics of migration via song, poem, play, film, or novel has been consistently a theme in the Caribbean experience and is perhaps one of its central aesthetic features. Just as movement is a central component of the blues aesthetic in the African American cultural field, I propose that we similarly read the assumption of space in the Caribbean as similarly potent. One can see this movement perhaps most visibly in the written literature with the same directional points identified earlier. Although there are several literary movements, I propose to focus on two visible largely Anglophone locations, two pathways...

  13. 9 “HAITI, I CAN SEE YOUR HALO!”: Living on Fault Lines
    (pp. 158-172)

    Modifying the words of her song “Halo” for the “Hope for Haiti” telethon, popular singer Beyoncé, in a formation that seemed to exceed her own self-awareness, mouthed the words, “You’re everything I need and more / it’s written all over your face! / Haiti I can see your Halo.” Indeed, the catastrophic experiences and the entireHope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief(MTV Networks, January 22, 2010) fund-raising telethon, as did other efforts, served an amazing function of putting back on the table for consideration the important iconic history of Haiti as the first place where...

  14. 10 CARIBBEAN GPS: Compasses of Racialization
    (pp. 173-201)

    There is always a moment of quiet pause when I encounter Caribbeans who casually declare that there was or is no racism in the Caribbean. Some indicate that the United States is where they first encountered racism. Others, in even more extreme articulations, say that Caribbean people do not experience racism in the United States in the same way as do African Americans. From the African American side at times comes an argument that Caribbeans are treated differently than are African Americans. Yet all research reveals that racism is an international phenomenon that appears differently nuanced according to historical and...

  15. 11 CIRCULATIONS: Caribbean Political Activism
    (pp. 202-215)

    The work of a generation of Caribbean critical thinkers and activists provides us with an amazing body of material for understanding how they navigated international locations while always thinking about the Caribbean and related experiences in global context. In many discussions of issues related to the “black radical tradition,” the question of what generated or produced the range of radical intellectual activists from the Caribbean—the number far exceeding, proportionately, the relative small size of the Caribbean—persists. Glissant, in responding to this question, suggests that one experiences a range of challenges and their resonances in small countries before they...

    (pp. 216-219)

    Word that my father had died a second time came to me one sunny morning in Miami about a week after I had returned from a semester-long stay in Trinidad. This time, it was from a sister who gave me particulars about the funeral. Since I had just returned from Trinidad, I contemplated whether I could make a second trip to the Caribbean. After all, I had spent my whole life knowing from my mother that my father had already died. But this death was the real thing, it seemed.

    When I first saw my father alive, after his first...

  17. 13 POSTSCRIPT: Escape Routes
    (pp. 220-226)

    I cross back and forth between Ithaca, Binghamton, or Elmira in different seasons. Along the way from Ithaca to Binghamton, there is a city called Caroline. I smile each time I pass there and wondered how it would have been to have such an address as Caroline, New York. Sometimes it is a riotous fall-colored landscape that dazzles the senses. Sometimes it is a somber gray in any given month, or a beautifully vibrant and green spring, or the whiteness of open fields of winter landscapes.

    I drove from New York City once after not having been here a long...

    (pp. 227-240)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 241-250)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 251-252)