The 31st Annual Meeting of the West Indian Literature Conference

Imagined Nations, 50 Years Later:
Reflections on Independence and Federation in the Caribbean

Hosted by:
Caribbean Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Miami
October 11-13th, 2012
University of Miami • Coral Gables, Miami, FL



Conference Description


In 2012 Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their independence from Britain. However, while 2012 marks these very auspicious occasions, it is also the 50th anniversary of the collapse of the West Indies Federation. Anniversaries encourage and even demand reflection and re-visitations of the expectations, opportunities lost and those well used, the failures and achievements as well as the considerations that attended these occasions. For more than fifty years, novelists, poets, visual artists and other cultural workers have been actively involved in imagining, revising and challenging the project of independence and the future it promised for so many. The 50th Anniversary is an excellent opportunity to revisit the movement towards and attainment of independence; the arts movements that emerged out of these nationalist projects; the cultural institutions that gave expression to the changes taking place; the rise and collapse of the West Indian Federation and the implications of all of these developments for the Caribbean region in the new era of globalization. Moreover, this occasion provides an important critical crossroad for us to consider the extent to which dialogues about independence and Federation have preoccupied not only writers, but also artists working in a number of different mediums in the Caribbean region. To this end, the 31st West Indian Literature Conference invites writers, cultural practitioners and scholars to submit papers that engage a wide range of critical perspectives on the various representations of both independence and the rise and fall of the West Indian Federation.

Panel presentations will consider these and other themes and topics:

  • Cultural Performance and the Politics of Nation
  • Literary Nationalism in Trinidad and Jamaica
  • The Architecture of Independence
  • Narrative Intentions: Mapping the Landscapes of Independence
  • Bodies of (In)difference: Gender, Sexuality and Nationhood
  • Flexible Citizens, Rigid Borders: Migration and Diaspora
  • Pan-Caribbeanism and discourses of regional integration
  • States of Independence Puerto Rico and the US
  • Political Leadership: Past, Present and Future
  • Caribbean Women's Literature: Configuring of a political voice/space.
  • New artistic articulations and revisions of the (post)independence project
  • Rhythm-Nations: Music, Poetry and Performance
  • Pedagogies of Independence
  • Colonization in Reverse: Caribbean and Britain
  • Comparative Contemplations: Decolonization in the French, Hispanic and Dutch Caribbean