Abstracts - Issue CQ 59, no. 1 (March 2013)

ORAL/SCRIBAL
ABSTRACTS

 

Islands Beyond Envy: Finding Our Tongue in the Creole-Anglophone Caribbean – Carolyn Cooper

 

This sixth Edward Baugh Distinguished lecture was delivered on 29 November 2012 at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

 

Oral History and the Other Perspective – Erna Brodber

 

This paper was presented at a seminar on oral history held in the Department of History, University of the West Indies, Mona, in March 2010.

 

Destabilising Caribbean Critical Orthodoxies: Interrogating Orality in Marie-Elena John’s Unburnable – Carol Bailey

 

Marie-Elena John’s debut novel Unburnable explores one of the enduring subjects of Caribbean cultural discourses: the ubiquitous oral tradition. However, while Unburnable, like several other Caribbean novels, combines oral and written modes for its narrative strategy, this novel also treats stories and storytelling as its primary subject. In this essay I argue that by making orality its central concern, Unburnable exposes the hierarchies, complexities, and ambiguities inherent in oral stories, even as it demonstrates its abundant and empowering possibilities. This novel engages a meta-narrative discourse in which Caribbean orality is, like colonial or colonially-oriented writings, scrutinised and interrogated. This treatment of the oral tradition marks a movement away from the grain of standard representations, in which orality is often presented in relation to writing, and as a counter hegemonic mode of representation. John builds on earlier insightful contributions to conversations about Caribbean culture offering fresh, problematised accounts of the nature of Caribbean orality.   

 

A Sound Legacy: The Making of Jamaican Music at the Alpha Boys’ School and Home – Sandra Richards-Mayo

 

As one of the oldest musical entities in Jamaica, the Alpha Boys’ School and Home is recognised as a primary force behind the nation’s musical and cultural legacy. Yet, social researchers have dedicated little attention to examining how and why music became a central feature at Alpha, given its early focus as an industrial school. In the tradition of Africana critical theory, this paper traces the story in two parallel veins, observing both the ways in which students and staff used music as a liberatory space and the ways in which music served to buttress prevailing colonial arrangements in society. 

 

C.L.R. James: Beyond Boundaries – Neville McMorris

 

The criticism of C.L.R. James as Eurocentric is seen as a serious mark against him. The term, for West Indians, has justifiable pejorative connotations because of their colonial history. This essay attempts to rescue James, not from Eurocentrism, but from the criticism. All the evidence and arguments for James’s Eurocentrism is presented noting, however, that James fully acknowledged what was really his Englishness. What such a clear and candid recognition of his cultural roots must mean is that it was not a disabling factor in his life. Indeed, it can be seen as liberating and creative. Beyond the influence of QRC was that of England where James’s sensitivity to things English, together with his open mind, allowed him to see culture whole. It meant also that he could be influenced by English patterns. The case is made that the foremost cricket writer during those years, the very English Cardus, can be seen as a precursor. Both QRC and Cardus were influences on his great book.

 

An Apologia for Caribbean Publishing – Kwame Dawes

 

This is an adaptation of the keynote address delivered for the Twentieth Anniversary and Author Awards Ceremony of the University of the West Indies Press, held on 24 January 2013 at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies.

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