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The Caribbean Digital

The Caribbean Digital
a small axe event

5 December 2014
Barnard College / Columbia University
New York, NY

Deadline for proposals: 1 June 2014

The transformation of the academy by the digital revolution presents challenges to customary ways of learning, teaching, conducting research, and presenting findings. It also offers great opportunities in each of these areas. New media enable oration, graphics, objects, and even embodied performance to supplement existing forms of scholarly production as well as to constitute entirely original platforms. Textual artifacts have been rendered literally and figuratively three-dimensional; opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration have expanded exponentially; information has been made more accessible and research made more efficient on multiple levels. Scholars are called upon, with some urgency, to adapt their research and pedagogical methods to an academic climate deluged by a superabundance of information and analysis. This has created opportunities for open-ended and multiform engagements, interactive and continually updating archives and other databases, cartographic applications that enrich places with historical information, and online dialogues with peers and the public.

The need for such engagements is especially immediate among the people of the Caribbean and its diasporas. Information technology has become an increasingly significant part of the way that people frame pressing social problems and political aspirations. Aesthetic media like photography and painting—because they are relatively inexpensive and do not rely on literacy or formal training—have become popular among economically dispossessed and politically marginalized constituencies. Moreover, the Internet is analogous in important ways to the Caribbean itself as dynamic and fluid cultural space: it is generated from disparate places and by disparate peoples; it challenges fundamentally the geographical and physical barriers that disrupt or disallow connection; and it places others and elsewheres in relentless relation. Yet while we celebrate these opportunities for connectedness, we also must make certain that the digital realm undermine and confront rather than re-inscribe forms of silencing and exclusion in the Caribbean.

In this unique one-day public forum we intend to engage critically with the digital as practice and as historicized societal phenomenon, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities presented by the media technologies that evermore intensely reconfigure the social and geographic contours of the Caribbean. We invite presentations that explicitly evoke:  

  • the transatlantic, collaborative, and/or interdisciplinary possibilities and limitations of digital technologies in the Caribbean 
  • metaphorical linkages between the digital and such Caribbean philosophical, ethical, and aesthetic concepts as “submarine unity,” the rhizome, Relation, the spiral, repeating islands, creolization, etc.
  • gendered dimensions of the digital in the Caribbean 
  • the connection between digital technologies and practices of the so-called Caribbean folk
  • specific engagements with digital spaces and/or theories by individual Caribbean artists and intellectuals
  • the ways in which digital technologies have impacted or shaped understandings of specific Caribbean political phenomena (e.g. sovereignty, reparations, transnationalism, migration, etc.)
  • structural means of facilitating broad engagement, communication, and accessibility in the Caribbean digital context (cultivation of multilingual spaces, attentiveness to the material/hardware limitations of various populations)

Both traditional papers and integrally multimedia papers/presentations are welcome. We also welcome virtual synchronous presentations by invited participants who cannot travel to New York City to attend the event. Selected proceedings from this forum will be published in the inaugural issue (September 2015) of sx:archipelagos – an interactive, born-digital, print-possible, peer-reviewed Small Axe Project publication.

Abstracts of 300 words and a short bio should be sent to Kaiama L. Glover and Kelly Baker Josephs (archipelagos@smallaxe.net) by 1 June 2014. Successful applicants will be notified by 1 August 2014.

Posted in CFPs.



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