This paper examines the representation of contemporary figures of “bare life” in the context of postcolonial Jamaican modernity. The representation of Kingston as a dystopia is one such trope of bare life, as evident in Kamau Brathwaite's 1994 prose poem, Trench Town Rock, and the selected lyrics of dancehall artistes such as Damian Marley and Super Cat, which are read in terms of Giorgio Agamben's concepts of homo sacer, the state of exception, and the biopolitical paradigm of the camp.
Nadi Edwards teaches in the Department of Literatures in English at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies.
This article addresses a concept of individualism that has emerged in some contemporary Caribbean fictions. I examine the evidence of this in a general way and then with reference to Jamaica Kincaid's Mr. Potter and Colin Channer's Waiting in Vain. I suggest that their individualism, though seemingly anomalous to diasporan thought, is in fact an “uncanny” product of the diasporan search for connections across borders.
Curdella Forbes is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Howard University. She has published journal articles on Caribbean literature, Caribbean literary theory and Shakespeare, and is the author of the study, From Nation to Diaspora: Samuel Selvon, George Lamming and the Cultural Performance of Gender (2005). She has also published three works of fiction, Songs of Silence (2002); Flying with Icarus (2003); A Permanent Freedom (2008, forthcoming).
The early history of legal education in the English-speaking Caribbean reflects a struggle for local identity and authenticity, while serving multiple states. Because schools are key locales for the making of docile bodies, West Indian lawyers experienced “subjection,” a process that names new categories of persons but also subjects them to an articulation of disciplinary powers not of their own making.
Mindie Lazarus-Black is Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, and Affiliate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, at University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Legitimate Acts and Illegal Encounters: Law and Society in Antigua and Barbuda (1994) and Everyday Harm: Domestic Violence, Court Rites, and Cultures of Reconciliation (2007). She is currently at work on a new project on the internationalization of legal education and the profession.
Sylvia Wynter's 1962 novel, The Hills of Hebron, is both a narrative of the nation and critique of the extant vision of the nation. Writing her novel from the perspective of a theorist, Wynter introduces insights and concepts that she has since developed in her extensive body of theoretical essays. This article looks particularly at the strategies she uses to incorporate gender issues into her novel.
Shirley Toland-Dix is Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Florida, Tampa, where she teaches courses in Caribbean literature and African American literature. She is the author of several articles on Caribbean and African American novelists. The recipient of a McKnight Junior Faculty Development Fellowship, she is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Disenchanting the Discourse: Caribbean Women Novelists and the Representation of History.
Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place reveals the subalternity of Antigua as a tourist locale; an identity which undermines Antigua's position as a nation. Through the use of a metafictional discourse, Kincaid's narrator deconstructs colonial, postcolonial and neocolonial myths, thereby interrogating the tourists' perspective and unraveling the continuing colonizing construction of a place legitimized only by its visitors.
Corinna McLeod is an Assistant Professor of English at Grand Valley State University. Her research focuses on postcolonial literatures and the development of national identity.
Walter Rodney's expulsion from Jamaica in October 1968, and its consequences, had important implications elsewhere in the Caribbean, especially in Rodney's native Guyana. Recently discovered documents shed much light on the Guyanese reaction to those events, and more broadly on Guyana's reception of Black Power. An exposition of the new documents forms the background to a broader discussion of Rodney's subsequent life and work, up to the point of his assassination in 1980.
Michael O. West teaches in the departments of Sociology and Africana Studies at Binghamton University. He has published variously on southern Africa, the construction of African Studies, and the African diaspora.
Ian Gregory Strachan teaches English at The College of The Bahamas. He is the author of the novel, God's Angry Babies (1997) and of the scholarly work,Paradise and Plantation: Tourism and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean (2002). His poetry has been published in The Caribbean Writer and Poui and is included in New Caribbean Poetry (2007). His play No Seeds in Babylon is included in Contemporary Drama from the Caribbean (2001). He founded the Track Road Theatre Company in 1996 and was its Director until 2007. His documentary film Show Me Your Motion was featured in UNESCO's Caribbean Traveling Film Showcase in 2007.
Simone Leigh is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited nationally at venues including Rush Arts gallery, Momenta Art, The Painted Bride, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, and The Chicago Cultural Center. She has been awarded residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, School of Visual Arts, Henry Street Settlement, Greenwich House Pottery and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. Her work has been reviewed widely including pieces in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Trace Magazine, Artnet, NY 1 News, New York Blade, and Flavorpill.
Oneika Russell received her diploma in painting from Edna Manley College, Jamaica, in 2003, and MA in Interactive Media from Goldsmiths College, London, in 2004. She has worked in the Education Department at the National Gallery of Jamaica and as a media art lecturer at Edna Manley College, and currently edits and contributes to ART: Jamaica, a blog for contemporary Jamaican art [http://www.artjamaica.blogspot.com]. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in exhibitions such as The National Gallery's Curator's Eye II and the National Biennial. Her work has been screened internationally at video art events such as Manifest Art & Design on Film Series. She is the recipient of a 2007 Commonwealth Arts & Crafts Award.
This article discusses various perspectives on image-making in the Anglophone Caribbean with reference to the economy of relations between its visitors and inhabitants during the modern colonial period and its aftermath. It evaluates the framework of the “tropical picturesque” as a locus of embodied visual practices—with a significant, if often mysterious past—and debates Krista A. Thompson's notion of an “eye for the tropics” by reference to recent art historical insights drawn from fieldwork in Trinidad.
Leon Wainwright is Lecturer in History of Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University, and a member of the editorial board of the journal Third Text. During 2004–2005 he conducted fieldwork on visual and material culture in Trinidad and Guyana, with support from The Leverhulme Trust and the University of Sussex. His forthcoming monograph focuses on an assembled community of artists in contemporary Britain.
This essay takes up a question that Krista Thompson poses in An Eye for the Tropics about whether the highly tropicalized and touristic imagery found in colonial photographs can be used to narrate black histories. She asks: “Can postcards, the very representations that denied historicity to the black population, ever unproblematically yield `black history'? Can black histories ever be built on fragile postcard infrastructures?”
Beth Fowkes Tobin is Professor of English at Arizona State University where she teaches eighteenth-century British literature, critical theory, and cultural studies. Before moving to Arizona in 2001, she taught at the University of Hawaii. Her interests include the visual and material culture of empire and the cultural history of natural history. She is the author of Colonizing Nature: the Tropics in British Arts and Letters, 1760–1820 (2005) and Picturing Imperial Power: Colonial Subjects in Eighteenth-Century British Painting (1999) as well as articles on the tropics, slaves' gardens, and botanical illustration.
In response to Krista A. Thompson's An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque (2006), this essay considers the notion of a tourism generated tropical image, but informed and colored as well by local self-conceptions. From probing the colonialist underpinnings of the picturesque subject, to surveying artistic and cultural forays into the particular landscapes, likenesses, and states of consciousness in the modern Caribbean, this essay spawns a view which claims for the region an aesthetic and conceptual insurgency in representational matters, manifested in human melodramas, public rituals, and social exegeses.
Richard J. Powell is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University and, since 2007, the editor-in-chief of The Art Bulletin. He is the author of Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson (1991), Jacob Lawrence (1992), Black Art: A Cultural History (2002), and the forthcoming Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture (2008). He has also helped organize several major art exhibitions, including most recently: Circle Dance: The Art of John T. Scott; Back to Black: Art, Cinema, and the Racial Imaginary; and Conjuring Bearden.
Are there intrinsic and unique ways of representing the “visual atmospherics” of the Caribbean? Might phenomenological studies of embodied perception offer insight into distinct forms of Caribbean visuality? How would contrapuntal interpretations of colonial archives result in a decolonizing art history? What are the larger stakes of these ways of reading Caribbean visual cultures, and what might they leave unseen? This article points to the need to radically interrogate and historically situate the object of art historical study in the region.
Krista A. Thompson is Assistant Professor of Art History at Northwestern University and an independent curator. She is the author of An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque (2006). She has published in American Art, Small Axe, and The Drama Review. She is currently working on a book manuscript and documentary on visual culture and black youth in the northern Caribbean and southern United States that investigates the intersections between vernacular forms of photography, performance, and contemporary art.