Third Seminar Meeting: Yarimar Bonilla

Our third Seminar meeting will be held on Friday, October 21, 2:00pm– 4:00pm in Room 9206 at the CUNY Graduate Center. We will be discussing:

“Syndicalism as Marronage: French Caribbean Epistemologies of Labor and Resistance” by Yarimar Bonilla. Please read the pre-circulated paper (available here until the end of October and for the full year to registered seminar participants at The Center for the Humanities’ website.)

Our discussant for this paper will be Herman Bennett, Department of History, CUNY Graduate Center.


Within Caribbean studies much attention has been paid to how the relationships and social practices of slavery have impacted contemporary cultural forms in the region. From carnival, to funerary rites, religious rituals, musical genres, dance, and other forms of artistic and cultural expression – it has often been argued that the cultural products of the contemporary Caribbean are profoundly shaped by the region’s history of slavery. Yet, considerably less attention has been paid to how the political and economic imagination of the area’s residents has been shaped by these processes. Thus begging the question: How are contemporary Caribbean concepts of labor, capital, exploitation, opposition, freedom and autonomy informed by the history of slavery?

This paper examines the ways in which the relationships, concepts and categories of past forms of exploitation and resistance are invoked and re-imagined in the contemporary syndicalist movement in Guadeloupe.


Yarimar Bonilla is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University With a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Prof. Bonilla specializes in French Caribbean politics, identity and labor.