In Allegories of the Anthropocene Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey traces how indigenous and postcolonial peoples in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands grapple with the enormity of colonialism and anthropogenic climate change through art, poetry, and literature. In these works, authors and artists use allegory as a means to understand the multiscalar complexities of the Anthropocene and to critique the violence of capitalism, militarism, and the postcolonial state. DeLoughrey examines the work of a wide range of artists and writers—including poets Kamau Brathwaite and Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Dominican installation artist Tony Capellán, and authors Keri Hulme and Erna Brodber—whose work addresses Caribbean plantations, irradiated Pacific atolls, global flows of waste, and allegorical representations of the ocean and the island. In examining how island writers and artists address the experience of finding themselves at the forefront of the existential threat posed by climate change, DeLoughrey demonstrates how the Anthropocene and empire are mutually constitutive and establishes the vital importance of allegorical art and literature in understanding our global environmental crisis.
The story of the “American Mediterranean,” both an idea and a shorthand popularized by geographers, historians, novelists, and travel writers from the early nineteenth century to the 1970s.
The naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, visiting the Gulf-Caribbean in the early nineteenth century, called it America’s Mediterranean. Almost a century later, Southern California was hailed as “Our Mediterranean, Our Italy!” Although “American Mediterranean” is not a household phrase in the United States today, it once circulated widely in French, Spanish, and English as a term of art and folk idiom. In this book, Susan Gillman asks what cultural work is done by this kind of unsystematic, open-ended comparative thinking.
American Mediterraneans tracks two centuries of this geohistorical concept, from Humboldt in the early 1800s, to writers of the 1890s reflecting on the Pacific world of the California coast, to writers of the 1930s and 40s speculating on the political past and future of the Caribbean. Following the term through its travels across disciplines and borders, American Mediterraneans reveals a little-known racialized history, one that paradoxically appealed to a range of race-neutral ideas and ideals.
In An Aqueous Territory Ernesto Bassi traces the configuration of a geographic space he calls the transimperial Greater Caribbean between 1760 and 1860. Focusing on the Caribbean coast of New Granada (present-day Colombia), Bassi shows that the region's residents did not live their lives bounded by geopolitical borders. Rather, the cross-border activities of sailors, traders, revolutionaries, indigenous peoples, and others reflected their perceptions of the Caribbean as a transimperial space where trade, information, and people circulated, both conforming to and in defiance of imperial regulations. Bassi demonstrates that the islands, continental coasts, and open waters of the transimperial Greater Caribbean constituted a space that was simultaneously Spanish, British, French, Dutch, Danish, Anglo-American, African, and indigenous. Exploring the "lived geographies" of the region's dwellers, Bassi challenges preconceived notions of the existence of discrete imperial spheres and the inevitable emergence of independent nation-states while providing insights into how people envision their own futures and make sense of their place in the world.
Addressing the use of geoinformatics in Caribbean archaeology, this volume is based on case studies drawn from specific island territories, namely, Barbados, St. John, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Eustatius, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as inter-island interaction and landscape conceptualization in the Caribbean region. Geoinformatics is especially critical within the Caribbean where site destruction is intense due to storm surges, hurricanes, ocean and riverine erosion, urbanization, industrialization, and agriculture, as well as commercial development along the very waterfronts that were home to many prehistoric peoples. By demonstrating that the region is fertile ground for the application of geoinformatics in archaeology, this volume places a well-needed scholarly spotlight on the Caribbean.
Douglas V. Armstrong, Ivor Conolley, Kevin Farmer, R. Grant Gilmore III, Mark W. Hauser, Eric Klingelhofer, David W. Knight, Roger H. Leech, Stephan Lenik, Parris Lyew-Ayee, Bheshem Ramlal, Basil A. Reid, Reniel Rodríguez, Joshua M. Torres
Archipelagic American Studies
Brian Russell Roberts and Michelle Ann Stephens, editors Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress F970.A734 2017
Departing from conventional narratives of the United States and the Americas as fundamentally continental spaces, the contributors to Archipelagic American Studies theorize America as constituted by and accountable to an assemblage of interconnected islands, archipelagoes, shorelines, continents, seas, and oceans. They trace these planet-spanning archipelagic connections in essays on topics ranging from Indigenous sovereignty to the work of Édouard Glissant, from Philippine call centers to US militarization in the Caribbean, and from the great Pacific garbage patch to enduring overlaps between US imperialism and a colonial Mexican archipelago. Shaking loose the straitjacket of continental exceptionalism that hinders and permeates Americanist scholarship, Archipelagic American Studies asserts a more relevant and dynamic approach for thinking about the geographic, cultural, and political claims of the United States within broader notions of America.
Contributors Birte Blascheck, J. Michael Dash, Paul Giles, Susan Gillman, Matthew Pratt Guterl, Hsinya Huang, Allan Punzalan Isaac, Joseph Keith, Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Brandy Nālani McDougall, Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo, Craig Santos Perez, Brian Russell Roberts, John Carlos Rowe, Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, Ramón E. Soto-Crespo, Michelle Ann Stephens, Elaine Stratford, Etsuko Taketani, Alice Te Punga Somerville, Teresia Teaiwa, Lanny Thompson, Nicole A. Waligora-Davis
What happens if we abandon the assumption that a person is a discrete, world-making agent who acts on and creates place? This, Monique Allewaert contends, is precisely what occurred on eighteenth-century American plantations, where labor practices and ecological particularities threatened the literal and conceptual boundaries that separated persons from the natural world.
Integrating political philosophy and ecocriticism with literary analysis, Ariel’s Ecology explores the forms of personhood that developed out of New World plantations, from Georgia and Florida through Jamaica to Haiti and extending into colonial metropoles such as Philadelphia. Allewaert’s examination of the writings of naturalists, novelists, and poets; the oral stories of Africans in the diaspora; and Afro-American fetish artifacts shows that persons in American plantation spaces were pulled into a web of environmental stresses, ranging from humidity to the demand for sugar. This in turn gave rise to modes of personhood explicitly attuned to human beings’ interrelation with nonhuman forces in a process we might call ecological.
Certainly the possibility that colonial life revokes human agency haunts works from Shakespeare’s Tempest and Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws to Spivak’s theories of subalternity. In Allewaert’s interpretation, the transformation of colonial subjectivity into ecological personhood is not a nightmare; it is, rather, a mode of existence until now only glimmering in Che Guevara’s dictum that postcolonial resistance is synonymous with “perfect knowledge of the ground.”
Sailing the tide of a tumultuous era of Atlantic revolutions, a remarkable group of African-born and African-descended individuals transformed themselves from slaves into active agents of their lives and times. Big Prince Whitten, the black Seminole Abraham, and General Georges Biassou were “Atlantic creoles,” Africans who found their way to freedom by actively engaging in the most important political events of their day. These men and women of diverse ethnic backgrounds, who were fluent in multiple languages and familiar with African, American, and European cultures, migrated across the new world’s imperial boundaries in search of freedom and a safe haven. Yet, until now, their extraordinary lives and exploits have been hidden from posterity.
Through prodigious archival research, Jane Landers radically alters our vision of the breadth and extent of the Age of Revolution, and our understanding of its actors. Whereas Africans in the Atlantic world are traditionally seen as destined for the slave market and plantation labor, Landers reconstructs the lives of unique individuals who managed to move purposefully through French, Spanish, and English colonies, and through Indian territory, in the unstable century between 1750 and 1850. Mobile and adaptive, they shifted allegiances and identities depending on which political leader or program offered the greatest possibility for freedom. Whether fighting for the King of Kongo, England, France, or Spain, or for the Muskogee and Seminole chiefs, their thirst for freedom helped to shape the course of the Atlantic revolutions and to enrich the history of revolutionary lives in all times.