Rutgers Advanced Center for Critical Caribbean Studies invites you to the
2017 Sylvia Wynter Distinguished Lecture
Drowning Cities: Caribbean Capitals, Rising Sea Levels and the Displacement of the Urban Poor
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Vassar College
Monday March 6, 2017
Teleconference Room, 4th Floor, Alexander Library, CAC, Rutgers
Reception to follow the Event
Puerto Rican environmental artist Dhara Rivera and her team (August 2016)
DAVID ROCKEFELLER CENTER FOR LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES (HARVARD UNIVERSITY)
Thrilled at having been chosen as the 2016-17 Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholar for the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University. As a visiting scholar in the area of Environmental Humanities, I will be working on my project, The Amazon Parrots of the Caribbean: An Environmental Biography.
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert: Caribbean Environmental History–Why Years of Destruction Matter
In Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti-and-the-Dominican Republic, and many other islands, drastic deforestation (among other damage) put in motion by earlier colonial powers has led to a plethora of ecological ills that continue to haunt the Caribbean today. The history of this environmental destruction and how we might think about it going forward is the topic of today’s Thinking Aloud.
Original airdate: 12/10/2015
Listen to Audio here.
YALE FRENCH STUDIES, NUMBER 128
REVISITING MARIE VIEUX CHAUVET: PARADOXES OF THE POSTCOLONIAL FEMININE
Edited by Kaiama L. Glover and Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken
This issue considers the oeuvre of Haitian writer Marie Vieux-Chauvet (1916–1973) as a prism through which to examine individual and collective subject formation in the postcolonial French-writing Caribbean, the wider Afro-Americas, and beyond. While both Vieux-Chauvet and her corpus are situated in the violent space of mid-twentieth century Haiti, her work articulates the obstacles to claiming legitimized human existence on a global scale. The contributors to this interdisciplinary volume examine Vieux-Chauvet’s positioning within the Haitian public sphere, as well as her broader significance to understanding gendered and racialized postcolonial subjectivities in the twenty-first century. The volume includes my article, “’All misfortune comes from the cut trees’: Marie Chauvet’s Environmental Imagination.”
LECTURE UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX (UK)
SYMPOSIUM AT LA TROBE UNIVERSITY, MELBOURNE< AUSTRALIA
LECTURE BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
“Una conversación sobre edición con Ivette Romero y Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert.” An interview by Natalie M. Colón. Caminos Convergentes (5 May 2015). http://www.caminosconvergentes.com/2015/05/aunque-repeating-islands-usa-un-medio.html
LECTURE YALE UNIVERSITY
FROM Scientific American . . .
I was bemused today to find my work quoted in an article on a tiny fern in the Arctic by Scientific American. The tiny and quite amazing carbon-sequestering fern is called Azolla: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-scientists-uncovered-arctic-clues-to-a-past-where-a-tiny-fern-changed-the-planet/
FROM NEW YORK’S El Diario . . .
In an article in the New York City newspaper El Diario, based partly on a telephone interview with me conducted by reporter Zaira Cortés, Santería is discussed as a “method for survival: see Zaira Cortés’ “La Santería como método de sobrevivencia”:
LECTURE AT COLGATE UNIVERSITY
The Cross-Dressed Caribbean: Writing, Politics, Sexualities
Edited by Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Bénédicte Ledent, and Roberto del Valle Alcalá
The Collection includes my essay “Helen in Her Yellow Dress: Dressing, Undressing, and Cross-Dressing in the Literature of the Contemporary Caribbean.”
This book reveals in a powerful way that the Caribbean, often criticized and represented as macho, hyper-masculine, violently homophobic, and sexually restrictive has in fact given gender and sexual transgression a prominent if not defining role in national and regional culture and history. In addition, The Cross-Dressed Caribbean illustrates that cross-dressing and other gender transgressions are often but hardly always about queer sexuality, and they are almost alwayspart of a negotiation with or struggle against patriarchy and colonial/postcolonial oppression.”
Latin American Icons: Fame across Borders, edited by Dianna C. Niebylski and Patrick O’Connor
The faces of fame in Latin America–and the power they hold over the world.
The volume includes “Porfirio Rubirosa: Masculinity, Race and the Jet-Setting Latin Male,” co-written with my Vassar College colleague Eva María Woods-Peyró.
The faces of Che, Frida, Evita, Carmen Miranda, and other icons represent Latin America both to a global public that sees these faces constantly reproduced, and to Latin Americans themselves. They enter the circulation machines of Hollywood, or work as nostalgic definitions of a nation, or define a post-national condition. They become stereotypes as they go global, and the often melodramatic stories that cling to them give them a different sort of power than the one they had in their original contexts. Latin American Icons, from critics both in the United States and in Latin America, ask these faces questions; they describe the technologies and propaganda machines, whether the newspapers of Revolutionary Mexico (or Paris and New York) or the movie studios of Argentina and Mexico, which gave them power in their local context; and they return their original histories to those faces that have become abstract symbols of The Rebel or The Spitfire or The Tortured Artist. In equal parts idolatry and iconoclasm, Latin American Icons recognizes and interrogates those Latin Americans who have become larger than life. In trying to understand the meaning of iconic figures in modern Latin America, this volume ranges across every realm of political and cultural life–populist politicos, jet-setting ambassador-playboys, soccer players and superstars–to examine the complex forces at work in the making and re-making of celebrities within and across national borders.
COLLECTION OF POEMS BY PHYLLIS SHAND ALLFREY OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED.
Despite the gloomy interior and pounding rain on the roof of the Alliance Française building on Elmshall Road, the room took on a cozy atmosphere as writer, politician and courageous woman, Phyllis Shand Allfrey, came to life through her work, Dominica News Online reports. New life was breathed into them as her poems were read one by one, to a captive audience by DFC Events Director, Nathalie Clarke and given broader perspective by Lizabeth Paravisini- Gebert, Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Vassar College in New York and Editor of the publication, Love for an Island, at its official launch on Thursday. You can read the complete article at Collection of poems by Phyllis Shand Allfrey officially launched
ARTS WRITERS GRANT PROGRAM: WARHOL FOUNDATION
I am the (very happy) recipient of a grant from the Warhol Foundation for my book-in-progress: Troubled Waters: Ecology and History in 21st-Century Caribbean Art.
The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant supports writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through project-based grants issued directly to individual authors. The first program of its kind, it was founded in recognition of both the financially precarious situation of arts writers and their indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture. The Arts Writers Grant Program issues awards for articles, blogs, books, new and alternative media, and short-form writing projects and aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship.
Here’s the announcement from their website:
Troubled Waters: Ecology and History in 21st-Century Caribbean Art will explore the ways in which 21st-century Caribbean artists address the environmental consequences of a history of mismanagement of the islands’ coasts and surrounding sea. Through an analysis of a variety of artistic projects, the study examines the growing role of the region’s artists in environmental debate. The analysis of their works (many of which incorporate materials drawn from the sea as artistic material) will serve as an entry into the rich expressive possibilities open to 21st-century Caribbean environmental artists and the theories that underpin their work. These photographs, paintings, and installations metaphorically underscore how Caribbean nations and peoples have been marked by their proximity to and dependence on the sea.
CONFERENCE AT THE JOHN CARTER BROWN LIBRARY
Beyond Sweetness: New Histories of Sugar in the Early Atlantic World at the John Carter Brown Library (Brown University)
My paper, “Bagasse: Caribbean Art and the Debris of the Plantation, ” begins at the 40:20 minutes on the recording.
HOMERO ARIDJIS AT LASA
Last June (2013) I had the pleasure of sharing a panel at LASA with Mexican novelist Homero Aridjis. The panel, organized by Steven White of St Lawrence University, focused on Ecocriticism and Environmental Activism. For more on Homero’s environmental activism, please look at his article on Monarch butterflies in the New York Times, which you can find at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/opinion/the-dying-of-the-monarch-butterflies.html?_r=0
MONT PELÉE in SX SALON
On May 30 (2013) Kelly Baker Josephs announced the latest issue of sx salon (12), a Small Axe literary platform. The issue is now live and the articles can be accessed through the following link:
Description: Our spring issue of sx salon features a discussion of the volcanic eruption of Mont Pelée in Martinique. This discussion, guest-curated by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, considers the literature, images, and rhetoric surrounding the 1902 eruption and makes connections to other Caribbean natural and manmade disasters. Featuring essays by Elaine Savory, Kevin Meehan, Paulette Richards, Ivette Romero, and Paravisini-Gebert, this discussion of Mont Pelée is inspired in part by the three-year Visual Life of Catastrophic History project in progress in the pages of Small Axe (see “The Visual Life of Catastrophic History: A Small Axe Project Statement” in Small Axe 34 [March 2011] for a full description of the project). The discussants consider both the visual and literary life (perhaps even lives?) of Mont Pelée before and after 1902.
GLOBAL ECOLOGIES AT UCLA
Last April, Elizabeth De Loughrey at UCLA organized a fantastic conference on “Global Ecologies,” at which I had the opportunity to present a paper on “Bagasse: Caribbean Art and the Debris of the Plantation.” It had Vandana Shiva as a keynote speaker.
The presentations are now available on video through i-tunes and can be accessed at https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/global-ecologies-nature-narrative/id624885967?mt=10
LECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
I recently gave the annual Henry Thomas Guest Lecture at the University of Birmingham (UK) on “Food, Diversity, Extinctions: Caribbean Fauna and the Struggle for Food Security during the Conquest of the World.” It was an honor to be invited and a pleasure to meet the faculty and students, who were most welcoming. I just found this post on their blog, Open Boat, with very kind comments on the lecture. Many thanks.
It can be found at http://caribiolit.wordpress.com/tag/lisa-paravisini/
The lecture itself can be watched at
LECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
Deforestation and the Yearning for Lost Landscapes in Caribbean Literatures
Image by Zoriah Miller at http://ziagallery.net/blog/?paged=2
Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook, edited by Claudio Iván Remeseira, includes a piece I co-wrote with my dear colleague Margarite Fernandez Olmos. The book has just been published by Columbia University Press, which describes it thus:
Over the past few decades, a wave of immigration has turned New York into a microcosm of the Americas and enhanced its role as the crossroads of the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds. Yet far from being an alien group within a “mainstream” and supposedly pure “Anglo” America, people referred to as Hispanics or Latinos have been part and parcel of New York since the beginning of the city’s history. They represent what Walt Whitman once celebrated as “the Spanish element of our nationality.”
Hispanic New York is the first anthology to offer a comprehensive view of this multifaceted heritage. Combining familiar materials with other selections that are either out of print or not easily accessible, Claudio Iván Remeseira makes a compelling case for New York as a paradigm of the country’s Latinoization. His anthology mixes primary sources with scholarly and journalistic essays on history, demography, racial and ethnic studies, music, art history, literature, linguistics, and religion, and the authors range from historical figures, such as José Martí, Bernardo Vega, or Whitman himself, to contemporary writers, such as Paul Berman, Ed Morales, Virginia Sánchez Korrol, Roberto Suro, and Ana Celia Zentella. This unique volume treats the reader to both the New York and the American experience, as reflected and transformed by its Hispanic and Latino components.
For more information and table of contents go to http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14818-4/hispanic-new-york
Cuban writer Mirta Yáñez is about to publish the first collection of her work in English, which includes several of my translations from the Spanish original. The book, forthcoming this October, is described in the publisher’s site thus:
Poet, novelist, critic, and extraordinary writer of short fiction, MirtaYañez also has worked extensively compiling anthologies of contemporary Cuban women writers. Her narrative stands out by virtue of a complex yet unmistakable Cuban flavor and a characteristic preoccupation with the social, political, and economic particularities of the island and how these affect los cubanos. Catherine Davies has called Yañez one of the “most outstanding short story writers” among Cuban women. This groundbreaking collection of her work, most of which is available for the first time in English translation, includes La habana es una ciudad bien grande in its entirety as well as selected stories from Todos los negros tomamos café, El diablo son las cosas, Narraciones desordenadas e incompletas and Falsos documentos.
For more information go to
INTERVIEW ABOUT REPEATING ISLANDS
“Global Voices Online” posted an interview about our blog, “Repeating Islands,” with me and my co-blogger, Ivette Romero. (See link to the interview in English with Nicholas Laughlin below.) We thank him for his interest and continued support of our blog. He has been wonderfully generous with his encouragement and help.
Nicholas’s interview has been translated into Italian and posted in the blog of Turin’s newspaper La Stampa. That interview can be found at
INTERVIEW ABOUT REPEATING ISLANDS
Global Voices Online has posted an interview with me and Ivette Romero-Cesareo about our blog, Repeating Islands. You can find the interview at
To see our blog, go to http://repeatingislands.com/
VASSAR’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Vassar College’s YouTube Channel has filmed a series of two-minute lectures with a number of faculty members at the college. Here are my two . . .
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Randolph Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Studies, examines the idea of “endangered nations.” Part of the Two-Minute Lecture Series at Vassar College.
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Randolph Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Studies, explains the nature and significance of zombification as it is practiced in Haiti. An Off-the-Cuff lecture at Vassar College