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Image: The Castaway by Christopher Cozier 

"Caribbean Cosmopolis: Timeports of Modernity"

October 12 & 13, 2017

Rm 1008 Humanities

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY 11794

The conference will examine the changing modes and meanings of time, temporality (or time’s passing) and futurity in Caribbean cultural production from the 15th century to the present. It will bring together a cross-disciplinary and inter-hemispheric group of scholars to explore the Caribbean as a crucial space of time-making, calibration and reinvention. The conference will also provide a platform to convene around the current emergency in the region, where the response to natural disasters entails a recourse to both colonial imaginaries and narratives and 21st century technocratic discourses of expertise and efficiency.

Click here to download event poster.


Participants include:

David Scott, Columbia University (keynote)

Lena Burgos-Lafuente, Stony Brook University

Kristen Block, University of Tennessee

Yarimar Bonilla, Rutgers University

Trevor Burnard, University of Melbourne

Anne Eller, Yale University

Yvonne Fabella, University of Pennsylvania

Kelly Baker Josephs, City University of New York

José Quiroga, Emory University

Richard Rosa, Duke University

Elena Schneider, University of California-Berkeley

Tracey Walters, Stony Brook University

Esther Whitfield, Brown University

Kathleen Wilson, Stony Brook University

Eric Zolov, Stony Brook University

 Sponsored by the Faculty in the Arts, Humanities and lettered Social Sciences (FAHSS) Fund, Africana Studies, Hispanic Languages and Literature, the Center for Inclusive Education, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center and HISB.


Event Day Schedule

Thursday, Oct 12, 2017




Conference Welcome by Kathleen Wilson, HISB Director

Introduction by Lena Burgos-Lafuente

10:15 - 11:45am 

PANEL I: The Flows of Capital, the Flows of Images: the 21st Century Caribbean

Yarimar Bonilla -- “The Wait of Disaster”

Richard Rosa -- “Persistent Images: Colonialism and Advertising in Eliott Erwitt's Puerto Rican Campaigns, 1955 and 2009”

Kelly Baker Josephs -- “Networked Lives: Digital Self-Fashioning in the Caribbean Blogosphere”

 11:45am - 1:00pm

Keynote: David Scott -- "The Word is Love: Michael Manley's Styles of Radical Will"


Lunch On Your Own (HISB provides lunch for participants)

 2:30 - 3:45pm 

PANEL II: Vernacularizing The Cosmopolis

Elena Schneider-- “José Antonio Aponte’s Radical Project: Writing Subversive Black History in Nineteenth-century Havana”

Trevor Burnard – “Murder on the High Seas: the Zong, Jamaican Commerce and the American Revolution”

 3:45 - 4:00pm 

 Coffee Break

4:00 - 5:15pm 

PANEL III: Performing the City in Colonial Time

Yvonne Fabella -- “Dressing Up in Saint Domingue: Clothing, Status and the Creolization of the French Empire”

Kristen Block -- “Cartagena de Indias: An Early Modern Medical Cosmopolis”


Reception at HISB

 Friday, October 13, 2017




PANEL IV: Border Chronotopes

Anne Eller – “It Is Going to Rain Blood”: Cacos, Non-National Spaces, and Rural Resistance on the Island of Haiti”

Esther Whitfield -- “Guarding Guantánamo: Soldiers, Migrants, Detainees and their Stories”

José Quiroga -- “Caribbean Undertow”

11:15am - 12:15pm

Roundtable Discussion


Concluding Remarks by Kathleen Wilson and Lena Burgos-Lafuente



Participant Bios:

Kelly Baker Josephs is Associate Professor of English at York College/CUNY. She is the author of Disturbers of the Peace: Representations of Insanity in Anglophone Caribbean Literature (2013) and editor of sx salon: a small axe literary platform. Her current book project explores the intersections between new technologies and Caribbean cultural production.

Kristen Block is the author of Ordinary Lives in the Early Caribbean: Religion, Colonial Competition, and the Politics of Profit. Her studies of the Atlantic World and circum-Caribbean history focus on religion and slavery. She is currently working on a new monograph, Health, Disease, and the Spirit: Holistic Healing in the Early Caribbean.

Yarimar Bonilla is Associate Professor in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies and the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. She has received several grants and awards from the National Science Foundation and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others. She is the author of Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment and is currently at work on an ethnographic study of the Puerto Rican pro-statehood movement.

Trevor Burnard is Professor of History and Head of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of five monographs and numerous articles and edited works on Caribbean history. His principal publications are Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World; Planters, Merchants, and Slaves: Plantation Societies in British America, 1650-1820 and (with John Garrigus) The Plantation Machine: Atlantic Capitalism in French Saint Domingue and British Jamaica.

Anne Eller is an assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean history at Yale University.  She is a former Fulbright-Hays scholar and her work has been supported by multiple research and writing fellowships. Her first book, We Dream Together: Dominican Independence, Haiti, and the Fight for Caribbean Freedom, focuses on the reoccupation of the Dominican Republic by Spain in 1861, as well as the popular anti-colonial movement that followed. Eller’s next project is an entangled, popular history of the last years of the nineteenth century, approached through a pan-Caribbean lens.

Yvonne Fabella is a historian of the early modern Atlantic world, specializing in the cultural history of race and gender in the French Caribbean.  Her current book project addresses the long history of racial and cultural mixture in Saint Domingue, putting the everyday experiences of enslaved and free residents in dialogue with elite colonial commentaries and metropolitan law.

José Quiroga is a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Emory University. His research interests are contemporary Latin American and Latino literatures and cultures, gender and queer studies, contemporary Cuba and the Caribbean, and Latin American poetry. His published books include Mapa CallejeroLaw of Desire: A Queer Film ClassicCuban Palimpsests and, in collaboration with Daniel Balderston, Sexualidades en Disputa. In addition, he has also published Tropics of Desire: Interventions from Queer Latino America and Understanding Octavio Paz.

Richard Rosa is Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and Chair of Romance Studies at Duke University. He works at the intersection of literature, political economy and the visual image.  His book, Inconvertible Subjects: Finance and Literature in 19th Century Latin America is forthcoming.

Elena Schneider is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, where she specializes in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic World.  She is completing her first book, entitled The Occupation of Havana: Slavery, War, and Empire in the Eighteenth-century Atlantic World (Omohundro Institute/UNC).    

David Scott is professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of a number of books, most recently, Stuart Hall's Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity (2017). He is also the founder and editor of Small Axe and director of the Small Axe Project.

Esther Whitfield is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies at Brown University.  She has published on literary writing in post-Soviet Cuba; Welsh-language writing in Patagonia; and borders, visibility and surveillance at the Guantánamo naval base.  Her current work focuses on representations of Guantánamo in art, literature and law.