Member, Caribbean Studies Association (CSA)
Member, Society for Caribbean Studies (SCS)
Mythologies, Bodies and Ecologies.TECHNE Student Congress. Brighton University.
On The Plantationocene: Racialising Space and Spacialising Race. TECHNE Student-Led Conference. London.
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.
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.
Supervised by: Dr Danielle Sands and Dr Fabrizio de Donno
“There has been no cross-cultural functional analysis of the [a]etiology of ethnic images in the [Caribbean] region,” writes Anthony Layng (1975). In this project, I seek to address this lack by investigating the cause and effect of popular stereotypical images (‘Mammy’, ‘Jezebel’, ‘Mandingo’, and 'Sambo') and the counter-responses to them in Anglophone Caribbean literature. I examine the origins of these stereotypes, the rationale and conditions which have allowed them to exist and the relationship between cultural stereotypes and cultural identity.
The perpetuation of stereotypes can shape identity and justify abuse, however, there has been little regard for the impact that these stereotypes have on the environment. Therefore, the relationship between Caribbean bodies and Caribbean land is central to this project. I argue that the bio-political control of Caribbean bodies is reflected in, and perpetuated by, the use of proprietorial language and controlling images which depict the Caribbean as virginal territory ready to be conquered. Can the Jezebel stereotype, for example, reveal similarities between the sexual abuse of black women and the forced penetration, consumption and eroticisation of sugar canes?
Framed as exotic and erotic, the bodies of the indentured natives and diasporic slaves, once dominated and policed, are now being rewritten by Caribbean authors looking to both historicise their identity and to liberate it from the internalised legacies of colonialism. I argue that the responses to, and demythologisation of, Western stereotypes by Anglophone Caribbean writers is an attempt to reclaim the Caribbean body and also promote positive ecological practices. This study 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. Employing resources from across the humanities, including post-colonial scholarship, literary criticism and eco-criticism, I will argue that the reconstruction of Caribbean identity requires both looking backwards, to recuperate a suppressed history, and forwards, to attentive responses to the human and the environmental body. Therefore, this study approaches post-colonial Caribbean writing in its engagement with European hegemonic literature to examine the use and perpetuation of stereotypes and to assess the autonomous power of ‘writing-back.’ My fictional corpus will include: The Long Song (2010) by Andrea Levy, Slave Song (1984) by David Dabydeen, I is A Long Memoried Woman (1983) by Grace Nichols and The Book of Night Women (2009) by Marlon James.