21/1/2015: Competing Scenarios for Slavery Remembrance in the Caribbean*

UCL Institute of the Americas

UCL Institute of the Americas

Reparations, Recognition, Reconciliation: Competing Scenarios for Slavery Remembrance in the Caribbean

Jan 21, 2015 05:30 PM

Jan 21, 2015 07:30 PM

UCL-Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PN, UK


Fabienne Viala
(Warwick) – Since 2013, and the creation of a regional Committee for the Reparations for Slavery within the CARICOM, many Caribbean islands have joined the movement by setting up national commissions. This includes the Anglophone archipelagos, the Dutch territories of Surinam and Curaçao, and the French Département of Guadeloupe. Cuba has given full support to the movement while in Puerto Rico, some interest for reparative justice for Black Afro-Descended Puertorriqueños has slowly been developing.

In fact, while claiming that recognition for the trauma of slavery in post-plantation Caribbean societies is a common feature of current memorial debates across the Caribbean, the purpose and meaning of reparation(s) is extremely different from one linguistic and historical archipelago to the other (English, French, Dutch and Hispanic Caribbean). This is also the case within each island where a national template of memory continues to dictate the scenarios with which the trauma of slavery will be re-enacted.

I will analyse the competing memorial strands related to the memory of slavery in Guadeloupe, as case studies in resonance with similar issues in Jamaica and Puerto Rico to help identify the three “r’s” of remembering slavery in a post-Durban memory era.

Fabienne Viala is an Associate Professor in Hispanic and Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick and Director of the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies. She completed her thesis in comparative literature at the University Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle in 2004 and has published works on the Cuban, Spanish and Belgian historical novel, Crime fiction in post-1989 Cuba and post-Franco Spain. More on Dr Viala here.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.

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