Legacies of Aimé Césaire

“The Work of Man Has Only Just Begun”
A two-day event and online resource to explore the “Legacies of Aimé Césaire”


The Researchathon – Thursday, 5 December 10AM-5PM (detailed explanation available here)
Butler Library 208
Columbia University
New York, NY

The Forum – Friday, 6 December 10AM-5PM (full schedule below)
Maison Française
Buell Hall
Columbia University
New York, NY

From the event organizers:

Poet, statesman, and singular voice of the anti-colonial movements of the 20th century, Aimé Césaire continues to influence contemporary discussions of ethics and aesthetics, politics and history in this precariously postcolonial world. In an effort to contribute to Césaire’s living legacy, we have organized an online forum http://cesairelegacies.cdrs.columbia.edu in which four pairs of scholars, from a variety of disciplines, offer reflections along four different critical paths. Our aim is to think Césaire outside and beyond the usual frames, to generate provocative new ways of imagining possible Césairean futures at the close of his centenary year. We hope that you will not only join in our discussion, but also participate in our two-day event—a researchathon followed by a public forum—to be held in NYC on December 5 and 6. We hope, above all, that you will agree with Césaire that the work of man has only just begun.

Forum Schedule for Friday, 6 December Continue reading Legacies of Aimé Césaire

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture

The South Asian Women’s Creative Collective and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop present a celebration of Gaiutra Bahadur‘s book Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture (U of Chicago Press 2013).

Event details:

Saturday, 16 November
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
110-112 West 27th Street, Suite 600
New York, NY 10001

From the event announcement on the aaww site:

Guyanese are the second largest immigrant group in Queens and among the five largest in New York City, and their story of coming to America is tightly braided with their ancestral story of leaving India. In Coolie Woman, Bahadur pursues her great-grandmother’s story of indentured servitude in Guyana and recovers the lost voices and buried histories of other indentured women, whose passages were both transgressive acts of reinvention and unsuspecting exile.

Bahadur tells their story in a book that author Junot Diaz calls “an astonishing document… both a historical rescue mission and a profound meditation on family and womanhood.” Join as as we celebrate the publication of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture in a multimedia evening of text, image, and song.

Read an excerpt from Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture here.

Cesaire Centennial at CUNY Graduate Center

On 22 November there will be two events at the CUNY Graduate Center commemorating Aimé Césaire’s Centennial.

1:00pm in Room C203

Heare Now Aimé Césaire!
Gary Wilder

Join Gary Wilder as he explores Aimé Césaire’s distinctive critical orientation to politics, culture, and knowledge during the period of decolonization as he pursued projects that were at once situated and world-historical, realist and utopian, pragmatic and aesthetic, timely and untimely.

3:00pm in Room 5409

Roundtable talk on Aimé Césaire’s Centennial
Barbara Webb
Christopher Winks

The Postcolonial Studies Group Colloquium Series hosts a roundtable discussion of Césaire’s Centennial, led by remarks from Christopher Winks (Queens College) and Barbara Webb (The Graduate Center and Hunter College).


An AfroCuban Journey

An AfroCuban Journey From the Literary Camp to Social Activism: A Conversation with Roberto Zurbano

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 6:00 p.m
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC) Auditorium
53 Washington Square South
New York University, New York NY 10012

Join the afrolatin@ forum and co-sponsors for a public conversation with Roberto Zurbano about his journey towards social activism.

Roberto Zurbano is the Fall 2013 Scholar/Writer in residence of the Connecticut College Center for Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity. Zurbano’s career began in the field of literary criticism and from there he went on to support the Cuban Hip Hop movement and proceeded to his current focus, antiracists social activism in Cuba. Zurbano informs us that “…new paths are now opened for Cuban society, but that these do not open on their own and a new active force is the phenomena with which Blacks in Cuba defend their right to a place in society, one free of marginalization and racism.” Continue reading An AfroCuban Journey

The Question of Africa

The Question of Africa

8 November 2013, 4pm
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
Sociology Lounge – 6112

Inaugural event in the “Question of Africa” Series from the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas & the Caribbean (IRADAC). The series will feature new writing from within the Diaspora. This event celebrates the publication of three new books in African American and African Diaspora Studies by members of the CUNY Community:

Professors Gray, Josephs, and Schmidt will present selections from their works. A reception will follow.

For more information, see the IRADAC announcement here.

Documentary Film Series – Jamaican Narratives

The Caribbean Cultural Theatre of New York City will present a series of films for Jamaica National Heritage Week on October 25 and 26.

This Documentary Film Series will bring together four narratives, their creators, and commentators in an exploration of the journey of the Jamaican nation from the military exploits of the Maroons, through Marcus Garvey’s international struggle for social justice, to the emergence of the contemporary spiritual and cultural phenomena of Rastafari.

All films will be shown at Medgar Evers College
1650 Bedford Avenue (corner Crown Street), Brooklyn, NY 11225

Bob Marley – The Making of a Legend
Fri, Oct 25 @ 7PM
Directed by Esther Anderson; Gian Godoy
Based on footage shot in the early 1970s that was missing for more than thirty years, Esther Anderson journeys to her youth to see and hear a young Bob Marley before he was famous.
Post screening discussion with jurnalist and Marley biographer, Chistopher John Farley.

Marcus Garvey – A Giant in Black Politics
Sat., Oct. 26 @ 2PM
Directed by Mike Wallington
One of the most controversial figures in the twentieth century, the film traces the complex and multifaceted life that catapulted Garvey from organizing West Indian contract labor to the phenomenal status of the preeminent Black Nationalist pioneer.
Post screening discussion with Marcus Garvey’s son, Dr. Julius Garvey.

Akwantu: The Journey
Sat., Oct. 26 @ 4:30PM
Directed by Roy T. Anderson
The struggle for freedom of the Maroons inspires both immense admiration and derision. This personal investigation into heritage and military exploits against the most powerful army in the world in the 18th century to flee plantations and slave ships to gain political auto

Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens
Sat., Oct. 26 @ 7PM
Directed by John L. Jackson, Deborah A. Thomas; Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn
As a successor to the history of violence, within a year after gaining independence from Britain, the Jamaican government launched a military-style incursion on the Rasta community of western Jamaica.

Above adapted from email announcement from the Caribbean Cultural Center. Contact info@caribbeantheatre.org for more details.

Caribbean Writers at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Below are the panels featuring Caribbean writers at the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday, 22 September. Events are listed in chronological order, with location noted at the end of each description. Of special note is the “Bookend” event on Thursday, 19 September, 6pm at MoCADA. More information available at the Brooklyn Book Festival’s site.

**Bookend event**

Thursday, 19 September, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

The Best in Caribbean Literature.  Presented by Akashic Books, Bocas Lit Fest, MoCADA, and Caribbean Cultural Theatre. Featuring Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys), Montague Kobbé (The Night of the Rambler), Oonya Kempadoo (All Decent Animals), Elsie Augustave (The Roving Tree), Barbara Jenkins (Sic Transit Wagon), Diana McCaulay (Huracan) and Ifeona Fulani (Ten Days in Jamaica).

MoCADA, 80 Hanson Place (btw. S. Portland & S. Elliott)


Festival events
Sunday, 22 September

10:00 A.M. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: We love to talk about love: new love, old loves and—the worst kind of all—love interrupted. More than that, we love to read about love. Jess Row (The Train to Lo Wu),Colin Channer (Lover’s Rock), and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) bring us stories about the history of the diamond ring across America, the decline of a marriage in London, and the intimate lives of characters in Hong Kong. Moderated by Rachel Fershleiser.

11:00 A.M. Personal Stories, National Memory: Fiction can be as narrow or contained as a single consciousness, or open up and embody something intrinsic to an era or nation. Alexander Maksik (A Marker to Measure Drift), probes the shattered inner world of a Liberian war refugee; Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez (The Sound of Things Falling) captures the dread and violence of his country’s drug war years, and Oonya Kempadoo (All Decent Animals) offers a polyrhythmic, panoramic view across contemporary Trinidadian society. Moderated by Anderson Tepper. Special thanks to the Colombian Film Festival New York.

11:00 A.M. Mommy Dearest: Some women would sacrifice anything to have a child. Others consider having a child a sacrifice in itself. The complications of adoption, of lost chances, and of the relationship between past and present are all held together by a mother’s instinct, or lack thereof. Jennifer Gilmore (The Mothers), Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs), and Jamaica Kincaid (See Now Then) debate the different roles that motherhood plays in their latest novels.  Moderated by Harold Augenbraum, National Book Foundation.

12:00 P.M. Lessons Learned: We all like to think of what could have been. Christopher Beha (What Happened to Sophie Wilder), Paul Harding (Enon), and Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys) discuss how their characters look to the past to find peace in the present, whether that means reconnecting with ex-lovers, facing the death of a loved one, or reflecting on decisions could have, should have, would have changed the world. Moderated by Erika Goldman.

1:00 P.M. Storytelling: How Do We Tell Our Most Essential Stories?This discussion about narrative and the art of storytelling features a trio of voices from around the globe. With Antiguan-American writer Jamaica Kincaid (See Now Then), Guatemalan writer Eduardo Halfon (The Polish Boxer) and Nigerian writer Chinelo Okparanta (Happiness, Like Water). Moderated by Eric Banks.

2:00 P.M. Creating Dangerously in a Dangerous World: How do different forms—fiction, reportage, memoir and essay—capture different realities, especially when the principal subject is the trauma of war and violence? Join three authors whose work explores horrific visions from a variety of angles: Edwidge Danticat (Claire of the Sea Light), Courtney Angela Brkic (The First Rule of Swimming) and Dinaw Mengestu (How to Read the Air). Moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure, editor of Warscapes.

3:00 P.M. Real People, Imagined Stories: These novels are so fascinating that it’s easy to forget they’re based on the lives of very real historical figures. Amy Brill (The Movement of Stars), Colum McCann(TransAtlantic), and Montague Kobbé (The Night of the Rambler) examine the lesser-known stories of the first female astronomer, a fifteen-hour revolution in Anguilla, and three generations of Irish women whose stories of hope and survival are played out against a century and a half of Irish-American history. Moderated by Jeffrey Lependorf (CLMP)

3:00 P.M. Rolling the Dice: These characters are doing some risky business. A woman leaves behind a life in New York City to return to Jamaica as an outsider. A man ditches an unfulfilling but innocent life of cab-driving to steal a Nigerian artifact. A woman terrorizes another woman’s wedding with a wedding dress, a gas mask, a shotgun and a bomb trigger. Okey Ndibe (Foreign Gods), Lisa Zeidner (Love Bomb), and Diana McCaulay (Huracan) discuss what drives us to risk everything—love, honor, or the greater good? Moderated by Jon Fine (Amazon).
ST. FRANCIS MCARDLE (180 Remsen Street)

3:30 P.M. Idols, Gods, and Kings: Literary forces Teddy Wayne (The Love Song of Jonny Valentine), Tom Wolfe (Back to Blood) and Cristina García (King of Cuba) explore the concept of power with three very different casts: an eleven-year-old superstar’s road to fame; the varied, shady folks running an election in Miami; and a fictionalized Fidel Castro and his vengeful exile. Moderated by Greg Cowles (The New York Times).
ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street)

5:00 P.M. Something to Hide: Writers Against the Surveillance State.  Recent leaks have revealed the breathtaking reach of the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs. Should writers and readers be concerned? Brooklyn Book Festival authors Edwidge Danticat,Francine ProseAndre Aciman, and radio host Leonard Lopate join an NSA whistleblower, Tom Drake, and others for a reading to provoke reflection on the dangers surveillance poses to the freedom to think and create, and to celebrate the role writers have played in defying those dangers. Presented by PEN American Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the New York Civil Liberties Union)
ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH (157 Montague Street)

5:00 P.M. Visitors and Intruders: Talented writers A.X. Ahmad (The Caretaker), Jessica Hagedorn (Manila Noir) and Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys) remind us of the thin line between visitor, intruder, and citizen in these tales about immigration, lost homelands, and, always, the power of location. Moderated by Karolina Waclawiak (The Believer).


Save A Museum Exhibit/Sale for the Musee d’Art Haitien

Tuesday, Sept. 17 – Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013

Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba
219 East 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 674-3939

Haitian Fine Art donated by artists and collectors from around the world to raise funds for the repair of the Musée d’Art Haïtien du Collège St.
Pierre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The museum was severely damaged by the 2010 earthquake and has been closed to the public since then. In an unprecedented effort, 88 original artworks donated by Haitian masters, emerging artists and collectors will be on display for sale.

Tuesday, Sept. 17 – Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013
Hours: 11 am – 6 pm

Opening event: Thursday, Sept. 19, 4 – 6 pm
Closing event: Saturday, Sept. 21, 3 – 7 pm

You don’t need to be present to purchase artwork or contribute. Contact
the organizers at ToussaintLouvertureFoundation@gmail.com or (718) 253-0215 for any

Adapted from email announcement.

New (Caribbean) Voices in Black Cinema

Following are two Caribbean-related films showing as part of the BAMcinématek New Voices in Black Cinema films series in Brooklyn this February. All descriptions are from the BAM website.

Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 4pm


This intimate documentary captures the lives of four Afro-descendent barbers in Ghana, Jamaica, the US, and the UK over the course of seven days. Interweaving their colorful stories, the film examines the cultural disparities among their locations.

Directed by Andy Mundy-Castle | 2012.  RUN TIME: 76min


Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 1pm


Amid political violence in Haiti, a young couple, two sisters, and a father and son are transported to New York, where they must confront the truths of their interlocked pasts. Widely acclaimed author Edwidge Danticat (Krik? Krak!) gives a moving performance as a teacher drawn into the social upheaval that surrounds her.

With Edwidge Danticat, Michele Marcelin, Diana Masi, Thierry Saintine, Carlo Mitton, Patricia Rhinvil

Directed by Patricia Benoit | 2012.  RUN TIME: 95min



Eric Walrond, the Harlem Renaissance and the Caribbean Diaspora

Caribbean Epistemologies Seminar participant James Davis will discuss his forthcoming book, Eric Walrond, The Harlem Renaissance, and the Caribbean Diaspora at the Graduate Center next week as part of an event sponsored by the  Leon Levy Center for Biography.

Event Details:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 6:30pm
Skylight Room on the 9th Floor at the CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th St, New York, NY

Please RSVP to Michael Gately, Program Director: mgately@gc.cuny.edu Continue reading Eric Walrond, the Harlem Renaissance and the Caribbean Diaspora

New Directions in the Study of Emancipation

Beyond Freedom:
New Directions in the Study of Emancipation

Gilder Lehrman Center’s 13th Annual International Conference
November 11-12, 2011

Luce Hall Auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Avenue
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut

Is the burgeoning field of emancipation still defined by the problem of freedom? If so, then how has the concept of freedom been altered by new work in the field, and are these redefinitions cumulative or even compatible? If not, then what new frameworks are emerging to augment or replace the central framework of freedom? This conference seeks to bring together exciting new work in emancipation to inspire debate, discussion, and productive disagreement over the central role that the concept of freedom has played in shaping the field over the last quarter century. By placing United States emancipation in conversation with work in other emancipations, this conference aims to provoke scholars to test the problems of freedom, the potential for the field to move beyond freedom, and the enduring utility of freedom.

Conference participants include: Elizabeth Alexander, Vincent Brown, Sandra Gunning and Eric Foner. For more information and a full list of conference participants, please visit the conference website.


Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message