"Caribbean Queer: Desire, Dissidence and Constructions of Caribbean Subjectivity" | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

"Caribbean Queer: Desire, Dissidence and Constructions of Caribbean Subjectivity"

February 22, 2012 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Alison Donnell (English Literature, University of Reading, UK)

Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), Department of English, Humanities Center, Charles Crow Program, Cultural Studies Program, University Honors College, Women's Studies Program, Global Studies Center, and the Literature Program

With response by Angelique V. Nixon

In recent years, some of the most urgent and highly charged public and political debates in the Anglophone Caribbean have centered on sexual citizenship. The acute homophobia of the dancehall has dominated national and international attention and crafted a region of intolerance and hate crimes. This talk opens up the terms on which Caribbean subjects can participate in global debates about sexuality by shifting discussions away from contesting homophobia towards contesting heteronormativity.

In a region that is hallmarked by such cultural and ethnic heterogeneity as the Caribbean and by the undoing of binary conceptions of identity, the understanding of sexuality as heteronormative or homo(deviant) stands out as a conceptual anomaly. To shape a different understanding of love, sex, and desire of Caribbean subjects, Donnell argues that while the Caribbean may be, as Time Magazine famously put it, the most homophobic place on earth, it is also always already a queer place. Conceptualizing the Caribbean Queer and reading its multiple forms allows a more transformative discourse of sexuality to emerge-alongside, but also beyond, that which contests homophobia.

Alison Donnell is a Reader in the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading, UK. She has published widely on Caribbean and black British writings, including Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History (Routledge, 2006) and a major new Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (Routledge, 20011) co-edited with Michael Bucknor. She is currently completing a monograph called “Caribbean Queer.” She is a Founding Editor of Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of West Indian Literature and MaComere.

Angelique V. Nixon is a Bahamian writer, cultural critic, teacher, community worker, and poet.  She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of English & Creative Writing at Susquehanna University. She teaches and writes about Caribbean and postcolonial studies, African diaspora literatures, feminist and postcolonial theories, and gender and sexuality studies. She serves on the board of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at City University of New York and co-chairs the board of the International Resource Network, Caribbean Region, which connects activists, researchers, and artists who work on diverse genders and sexualities.

For more information email: spuri@pitt.edu

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