Narratives of the Body: Coming-of-Age in Contemporary Caribbean Women's Writing in the Diaspora
The bildungsroman with a focus usually on one single character and her coming into being is particularly well suited to investigate how migration, cultural entanglements and growing up in at least two different locations, namely the Caribbean and North America, impact on the individual and alter subject formation. The project investigates the Caribbean-diasporic coming-of-age novels written by Makeda Silvera (*1955), Ramabai Espinet (*1948), both resident in Canada, Edwidge Danticat (*1969), and Angie Cruz (*1972), resident in the United States. It analyses migration and socialization patterns, body politics and embodiment. Aim of this study is to offer a pan-Caribbean selection of texts and distinct diasporic location in North America; to define generic features of the Caribbean-diasporic coming-of-age novel; to juxtapose and apply lived body and lived experience as analytical tool.
I employ diaspora theories to frame the selected texts and diverse topics discussed within the novels. The concepts of migratory subjectivities, the Black Atlantic and the Kala Pani account for both the Indo- and Afro-Caribbean experience of multiple dislocations, uprooting and rerouting. Here, I would like to speak of a feminist diasporic poetics which focuses on the body and the intersections of gender, class, race, age and sexualities.
Since adolescence is inevitably connected to physiological change and sexual awakening, both the woman’s body and sexuality are made visible and highly significant in the narratives. Agreeing that there is a materiality of the body, I also argue that bodies are socially constructed, gender, sexuality and race thus made meaningful and vary according to specific contexts. I insist on the agency, performative, and discursive power of the body – a textual script testifying lived experience. I draw from various approaches of Black, Latina and Indo-Caribbean feminism and argue that the characters in the novels challenge normative views on the body.
Tel. (0049) 6221 54-7858
Fax: (0049) 6221/54-7862
February 2012 - March 2012
Visiting researcher at the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, York University Toronto
Research grant awarded by the German Foundation of Canadian Studies
Since December 2010
Research associate in the transcultural studies junior research group "From the Caribbean to North America and Back. Transcultural Processes in Literature, Popular Culture and the New Media" at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg.
April 2010 – November 2010
Member of the project group „Integrating Women’s and Gender Studies“ at the Department of English at Gießen University.
Mai 2009 – March 2010
Research assistant at the Department of English, Gießen University.
Postgraduate degree at Gießen University. Title of the final thesis: "Intertextualität und Sexualität: Die Neuperspektivierung des Körpers und der Geschlechterbeziehungen in postkolonialen Rewritings" (Intertextuality and Sexuality: New Perspectives on the Body and Gender Relations in Postcolonial Rewritings).
January 2008 - March 2009
Assistant to the management of the collaborative research program SFB 434 "Erinnerungskulturen" (Cultures of Memory).
September 2006 – April 2009
Student research assistant at the Department of English, Gießen University.
September 2004 – Juni 2005
Studies at Management School, University of Bradford/ West Yorkshire, awarded with the “Certificate of Continuing Education.“
Studies of applied linguistics and business administration at Gießen University, subjects: English, Spanish and business administration.
Culinary Practices and Consumption in the Caribbean and Its Diasporas, Bielefeld: Transcript 2014. [in Kooperation mit Anne Brüske, Ana-Sofia Commichau, Patrick Helber, Sinah Kloß]
“ ‘No where no betta dan yard?’ Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence”, Proseminar Kulturwissenschaften, Institut für Anglistik, Universität Heidelberg, WS 2012/13 [zusammen mit Patrick Helber]
Organisation des öffentlichen Workshops “ ‘No where no betta dan yard?’ Negotiating Jamaican Identities and Sexualities between Jamaica and the Diaspora”
Campbell X (London) und Dr. Rochelle Rowe (Berlin)
Organisation der internationalen Konferenz “Caribbean Food Cultures: Representations and Performances of Eating, Drinking and Consumption in the Caribbean and Its Diasporas”, Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg
"Ecopoetics and Ethnic Environments: Reconstructing the "Interior" in Andrea Gunraj' The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha" Annual Conference of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) "'Mixing without Combining'?: Re/thinking Pluralist “Environments” in the Caribbean and its Diasporas", Mérida, Mexiko. 26.-30.05.2014
"‘Marketing the Margins’: The Indo-Caribbean literary voice in the diaspora” Workshop mit Autor Ruel Johnson "Transnational Entanglements? The Locations of Guyanese Literature", Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg (org. Sinah Kloß). 17.12.2013.
“Embodiment and Coming of Age in Caribbean Diasporic Women’s Writing” Forschungskolloquium Prof. Dr. Frank Schulze-Engler, Dept. of New Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, Frankfurt. 17.01.2013
“‘Yuh uncle is a battyman’: Sexualities and Queer Bodies in Makeda Silvera’s The Heart Does Not Bend and Selected Short Stories” Workshop “Crossing Thresholds: Decoloniality and Gender in Caribbean Knowledge” Society for Caribbean Research (SoCaRe), Hannover. 23.-25.01 2013
“Kala Pani Continuum: Paradigms of Development in Ramabai Espinet’s The Swinging Bridge / Paradigmas del desarrollo en la novela The Swinging Bridge de Ramabai Espinet” Jahreskonferenz der Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) “Caribbean Spaces and Institutions: Contesting Paradigms of ‘Development’ in the 21st Century”, Grenada. 03.-07.06.2013
“Narrating (Un-)Belonging and Citizenship in Caribbean Coming-of-Age Novels: Joan Riley The Unbelonging and Makeda Silvera’s The Heart Does Not Bend” Jahreskonferenz der Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) “Unpacking Caribbean Citizenship(s): Rights Participation and Belonging”, Guadeloupe. 28.05.-03.06.2012
„Narratives of the Body: Coming-of-Age in Contemporary Caribbean Women’s Writing in the Diaspora“ Jahreskonferenz der Gesellschaft für Neuere Englische Literaturen (GNEL/ASNEL), Universität Hannover. 02.-04.06.2011
„Embodying Emotions in Speculative Fiction: Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring“ Nachwuchsworkshop „Performing Emotions in the Caribbean“ der Gesellschaft für Karibikforschung (SoCaRe), Berlin. 24.-25.06.2011
„Narratives of the Body: Coming-of-Age in Contemporary Caribbean Women’s Writing in the Diaspora“PhD Colloquium des Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA). 01.-02.07.2011
„Maryse Condé and Rewriting History“ Seminar „Representations of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, 1692 till Today”, Leitung: Dr. Birte Christ, Universität Gießen. 31.05.2010