Bulldozia Projects


Caribbean Enlightenment

Caribbean Enlightenment An Interdisciplinary Caribbean Studies Conference, University of Glasgow, 8-10 April 2010.

Keynote speakers: J Michael Dash (Professor of French, New York University); Paget Henry (Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Brown University); Nick Nesbitt (Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen).

Call for Papers

In a speech widely regarded as instigating the series of events that would lead to the overthrow of the Lescot government in 1946, André Breton's proclamation of Haiti's 'inalienable enthusiasm for liberty and its affirmation of dignity above all obstacles' articulated the enduring revolutionary conviction in the Enlightenment-inspired principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. This artistic, cultural and political expression of a universal right to freedom and self-determination reflects the diverse and complex ways in which Enlightenment ideals have found expression in the Caribbean. From the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 to The Black Jacobins, surrealism, négritude, and the contemporary writings of such theorists as Antonion Benítez-Rojo, Édouard Glissant, and Wilson Harris, the interrogation of universality has both contributed to the ongoing dissemination and of creolization of Enlightenment discourse and has subjected it to a thorough critique. This conference aims to explore the various ways in which the site of the Caribbean, with its writers, artists, revolutionaries, and diverse peoples, has adapted and questioned the legacies of the Enlightenment. Acknowledging the Caribbean's crucial role in the Atlantic world, the Enlightenment's history of empire building and slave rebellions, colonial domination and postcolonial nation-building, the valorization of reason and its role in the division of knowledge, will be interrogated against the dissemination of a discourse promoting universal human rights, democracy and equality.

The conference seeks to bring together interdisciplinary perspectives on Enlightenment themes, both historical and contemporary, in order to trace the spread of a universalist discourse across the Caribbean. This conference invites papers that explore figurations of the universal within the Caribbean context, noting the region's national and linguistic divides in order to expose the ways in which such ideals have been adapted to express the particular experience of the Caribbean peoples. Finally, we pose the question: 'does the commitment to universalism amount to a totalizing discourse, or can universality be revisioned?'

We invite papers and panel suggestions that deal with any aspect of Caribbean Enlightenment, but which may include:
  • Reason and rule of law
  • Revolutionas and uprisings
  • Shortcomings of the Enlightenment: slavery and racism
  • Development of 'improvement' in technologies, medicine and language
  • Universal human rights, democracy, Marxism, self-determination
  • Economics of Caribbean Enlightenment
  • The impact of Surrealism
  • Négritude and the universal
  • Appraisals of The Black Jacobins
  • Contemporary Caribbean literature/philosophy and universality 'revisioned'
  • Gendered, gay, racial, and class perspectives on universality
  • Religion and the Caribbean
  • Caribbean thought and 'post-continental' philosophy
Please send panel proposals and/or paper abstracts (300 words) with a brief biographical statement (150 words) to Lorna Burns and Michael Morris at caribbeanenlightenment@googlemail.com by 16 December 2009.
created by Alasdair Pettinger Thu 19 Nov 2009 7:54 GMT+0000
Notices > Caribbean Enlightenment