The theme for 2015 is “The Caribbean in an Age of Global Apartheid: Fences, Boundaries, and Borders—Literal and Imagined.” The deadline for abstract submissions is December 1, 2014.
Our theme for this year’s conference reflects the unfortunate fact that today’s 21st century Planet Earth is experiencing a steady growth in global inequality. The term “global apartheid” refers to the fact that throughout the world, fences, boundaries, borders and barriers confront all aspects of human endeavor and are protected by a minority with power over and control of most of the world’s land, labor and capital. Yet at the same time, globalization is producing population movements across all these obstacles on an unprecedented planetary scale. Our week-long meeting provides an opportunity from a variety of perspectives to analyze, understand, and address the contradictions—pushes and pulls—of this new global reality as it impacts the Caribbean and its diasporas.
The designated conference site is New Orleans, often referred to as the “northernmost point of the Caribbean.” Before the “Anglo-American” takeover and Civil War, it was a majority-black city with an implicitly African Creole culture. Like many Caribbean nations, its unique history is comprised of three distinct colonial eras entailing almost three centuries of contact and synthesis among African slaves (the last to be imported legally into the U.S.), French and Spanish colonists, gens de couleur libres (free people of color), native peoples and Cajuns.
The influence of both Haiti and Cuba on New Orleans is palpable, especially in the French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé (the site of Congo Square). In the early 19th century, refugees from revolutionary Saint-Dominque transformed Louisiana, many by way of eastern Cuba, providing inspiration for the largest slave revolt in U.S. history (1811) that ended with a tribunal held at Destrehan plantation near New Orleans (a planned CSA tour). Perhaps less well known is the fact that New Orleans was a port city that enjoyed an almost 200-year long trading relationship with Havana, ending with the U.S. embargo of Cuba.
Today, New Orleans (and Southwest Louisiana/East Texas) is home to a robust and distinctive subculture comprised of black Catholic speakers of Creole (also known as Afro-French, Black Creoles, Black French, Creoles, Créoles, Créoles Noirs, Creoles of Color). Plenaries, round-tables and featured panels will connect these unique Creole cultures of the U.S. with those of Africa and the Caribbean, especially those of Cuba and Haiti. A CSA conference exhibition will show these historical connections visually by featuring strikingly similar beadwork created by the Yoruba, Haitians, and Mardi Gras Indians (Black Indians).
The organisers provide a setting where multi- and inter-disciplinary views are encouraged, where the arts and humanities meet the social sciences, and where different ways of seeing and communicating about the world are presented by a diverse array of participants.
For help with translation or information on suggested topics, CSA travel grants, visas, submissions forms, author celebration, literary salon and executive council email addresses, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.