CFP: Caribbean Identities: Exploring Historical and Cultural Diversity

From the Ethnomuseums listserv:

Caribbean Identities
Exploring Historical and Cultural Diversity
Call for Papers: Papers are called for on subjects relating to the history and memory, ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, music and politics of the Caribbean islands and the Guianas (i.e. Guyana, Venezuela, Surinam and French Guiana). Each paper should not be longer than 5,000 words and include at least not more than 4 images.The selected papers will be published in the Horniman Museum’s Critical Museology and Material Culture series (see past publications on Horniman museum website ).All papers should reach, Dr. Hassan Arero, Keeper of Anthropology, by the 31st March 2007; either by email: or by post: 100 London Road, Forest Hill London SE23 3PQ

The Caribbean region is home to various groups – Asians, Amerindians, Africans and Europeans – but unfortunately very little research and academic publications exist on the complexity of the notion of identity in the region.Just as the case had been with the {mis} representation of Africa, the dominant image of the Caribbean person is that of ‘African’ perhaps from an Island such a Jamaica and listens to reggae music. Whilst we know that since pre-Columbian time the Caribbean region had been home to the indigenous groups such as the Carib and Arawak, little has been done to integrate this history and identity into that of the wider Caribbean islands and the adjacent South American mainland.Although the Caribbean could be termed as one of the regions with predominant ‘Diaspora’ community base, the term “Caribbean” in itself remains hard to define. What criteria could one use to define a region as “Caribbean” in character – is it the geographical aspects or the cultural considerations and historical connections that one should inquire further to arrive at such distinction? If we use geographical considerations then where do we place Guyana, for instance, a country that is physically in the South American region but culturally exhibits closer affiliation and similarities with the other Caribbean islands? How do we construct, conceive or perceive the notion of Caribbean identity? Therefore what constitutes Caribbean-ness or a Caribbean persona – is it where one was born and raised or is it possible to be Caribbean without having set-foot on the Caribbean homeland? All these are questions that are complex in their own terms and would require to be investigated as questions that could lead us closer to unravelling and comprehending the complex and multilayered histories and cultures of the region.


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