My Research

Supervised by: Dr Danielle Sands and Dr Fabrizio de Donno

Institutional Email: renee.landell.2019@live.rhul.ac.uk

Working Title:

“We Run Tings, Tings Nuh Run We”: Rewriting Caribbean Bodies and the Environment in Anglophone Caribbean Literature, 1983-2009

‘There has been no cross-cultural functional analysis of the [a]etiology of ethnic images in the [Caribbean] region’, writes Anthony Layng (1975)— which remains true today. In this project, I seek to address this absence by investigating the cause and effect of four Western Anti-Black images and the counter-responses to them in Anglophone Caribbean literature. Once dominated and policed, enslaved Africans are now being rewritten by Caribbean authors looking to both historicise their identity and to liberate it from the internalised legacies of colonialism. Moreover, the bio-political control of Black people is reflected in, and perpetuated by, the use of controlling images which have also depicted the Caribbean and Africa as a virginal territory ready to be conquered. Presenting the argument that anti-Black images enmesh human and nonhuman violence in their racist and speciesist construction of Blackness, I contend that the responses to, and demythologisation of, Western stereotypes by Anglophone Caribbean writers is an attempt to reclaim Black humanity andpromote positive ecological practices. Therefore, this study approaches Caribbean writing in its engagement with European hegemonic ideas of race, gender, and the environment to assess the autonomous power of ‘writing-back.’

 

The arguments presented in this research underline new avenues for slavery studies, decolonial theory and environmental studies in their engagement with the selected literature. I will examine works by Anglophone Caribbean writers who, from the twentieth century, have produced a significant body of literature prized for its contemporary engagement with the colonial legacy in the form of the neo-slave narrative. My fictional corpus will include: The Book of Night Women(2009) by Marlon James, I is a Long Memoried Woman (1983) by Grace Nichols, Slave Song (1984) by David Dabydeen and Cane Warriors (2020) by Alex Wheatle.

Affiliations:

  • Member, Caribbean Studies Association (CSA)

  • Member, Society for Caribbean Studies (SCS)

My Activities-

Invited Speaker:

  • Mythologies, Bodies and Ecologies​.TECHNE Student Congress. Brighton University.

  • On The Plantationocene: Racialising Space and Spacialising Race. TECHNE Student-Led Conference. London.

Paper Presentations: 

  • Reflections on Mess and Research Panel. TECHNE Student-Led Conference. London.

  • The Infernal Paradise: Returning Back to Earth by Re-humanizing the Body and Land Through Caribbean Poetry. The SMLLC Postgraduate Colloquium. Royal Holloway, UoL.

  • We Run Tings, Tings Nuh Run We: Rewriting Caribbean Bodies and the Environment in Anglophone Caribbean Literature. The SMLLC Postgraduate Colloquium. Royal Holloway, UoL.

Public Lecture:

  • That Won't Put Food on the Table: Fighting the Stigma of the Arts and Humanities in Black Communities. Leading Routes x Wellcome Collection. London. 

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