sx salon 17

October 2014

Caribbean Film Archives

In this issue of sx salon, we have the pleasure of publishing a discussion section on Caribbean film archives, guest-edited by Terri Francis. Francis explains the impetus behind bringing together scholars such as Cara Caddoo, Sean Metzger, Rachel Moseley-Wood, and Chi-ming Yang to discuss the topic:

I wanted to read about Caribbean film in ways I had not seen yet or do not hear about enough. Because film sits between the commercial and the artisanal, exploitative and expressive, we need studies of Caribbean film that take account of such vicissitudes. With this collection we begin the work of not only recovering but also reimagining the parameters of the missing archives of the Caribbean’s transnational history with motion pictures.

The discussion ranges across various connections in Caribbean film production that deserve much more study—between the Caribbean and early black cinema, between the Chinese Caribbean and blockbuster film, between environmentalism and nationalism—and those that seem individual to a single filmmaker, in this case, Richard Fung, but reverberate across the field of Caribbean film studies. Together these essays offer exploratory steps into what Francis terms the “missing archives” of Caribbean film history.

Also included in this issue are reviews of three novels and of the fortieth-anniversary edition of the seminal tome The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History. This new and expanded edition, reviewed by Vanessa K. Valdés, includes originally unpublished material that updates the sourcebook for twenty-first-century readers, with commentary on such issues as the growth and changing geography of the Puerto Rican diaspora. Our three articles on newly published novels include Kristina Huang’s review of David Dabydeen historical novel Johnson’s Dictionary; Sophie Harris’s review of Amanda Smyth’s psychologically tangled A Kind of Eden; and Natasha Gordon-Chipembere’s review of the much anticipated, and much discussed, Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat.

In the poetry and prose section of this issue, we present new poems from Arturo Desimone and Reuel Lewi, with our first flash fiction piece; we are pleased to feature work from Neala Bhagwansingh as our first venture into this new genre of fiction. Closing out our October issue is an in-depth interview with Curdella Forbes, the fourth in Sheryl Gifford’s series on female scholars.

This issue marks our move to a thrice-per-year publishing schedule. Our issues will now be available in February, June, and October. We will, however, be back in November to announce the winners of this year’s Small Axe Literary Competition.

We hope you enjoy this issue (table of contents below).

Kelly Baker Josephs


Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs


The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History, edited by Kal Wagenheim and Olga Jiménez de Wagenheim—Vanessa K. Valdés
Johnson’s Dictionary, by David Dabydeen—Kristina Huang
A Kind of Eden, by Amanda Smyth—Sophie Harris
Claire of the Sea Light, by Edwidge Danticat—Natasha Gordon-Chipembere

Discussion: Caribbean Film Archives

Unexpected Archives: Seeking More Locations of Caribbean Film—Terri Francis
Circuits of Exchange: The Caribbean in Early Black Cinema Culture—Cara Caddoo
Chineseness in Caribbean Cinema—Sean Metzger
Unbinding Identities: The Challenges to Nationalism’s Myths in Jamaica for Sale—Rachel Moseley-Wood
Food as Cinematic Archive: A Conversation with Richard Fung—Chi-ming Yang


Arturo Desimone 
Reuel Lewi


Neala Bhagwansingh


“A Community of the Self”: A Conversation with Curdella Forbes—Sheryl Gifford


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