CFP: Ecotones 5 – The Caribbean: Vulnerability and Resilience

Ecotones: Encounters, Crossings, and Communities

Ecotones 5 – The Caribbean: Vulnerability and Resilience

at Manhanttanville College
June 21-22, 2019

in partnership with EMMA (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3) and MIGRINTER (CNRS-Université de Poitiers)

Click here for a PDF of this call.


An “ecotone” initially designates a transitional area between two ecosystems, for example between land and sea. The “Ecotones” program (2015-2019) is a cycle of conferences which aims to borrow this term traditionally used in geography and ecology and to broaden the concept by applying it to other disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. An “ecotone” can thus also be understood as a cultural space of encounters, conflicts, and renewal between several communities (Florence Krall).

The Ecotones 5 conference will include an interdisciplinary study of the wider Caribbean as a space of cultural, historical, geographic, and linguistic diversity, a meeting place of peoples from different corners of the world. Central to this study is the idea that the Caribbean is a dynamic and heterogeneous space that has clearly been shaped by the persistence of colonialism. Colonialism created an exploitative and extractive economy based on forced labor which in turn led to multiple forms of resistance beyond rebellions and revolutions that were endemic throughout the region. Recently, the region's response to several natural disasters has also demonstrated multiple forms of resilience.

These forms of resistance and resilience can be seen in the wide array of literary/historical/ social/nationalist movements that came after the end of colonization. Postcolonialism gave rise to movements such as Antillanité and Créolité that stress the multiplicity of the Caribbean experience. More recently, the idea of littérature-monde “echoes antillanité and créolité in that it calls both for an end to French ethnocentrism while advocating for a ‘return to the world’” (Moudileno). This multiplicity is evident in Fernando Ortiz’s use of the term “transculturation” which stressed the merging and converging of cultures. This hybrid nationalism that Ortiz espoused and Albizu Campos epitomized, saw the Caribbean as an area that embodied hybrid postcolonial identities. Ortiz’s “transculturation” is echoed by Gilroy’s “Black Atlantic” which is a singular discrete work that uses the “Atlantic” as a geopolitical unit that carves out a cultural-political space for the discussion/creation of a hybrid Caribbean. Both concepts challenge the centrality of Europe through the use of indigenous languages and cross-cultural imagination.

We invite proposals on a wide range of topics related to Caribbean as listed below, but encourage those that relate to the Caribbean as a space of vulnerability and resilience in light of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, including the repercussions of the massive earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 and the aftermath of more recent hurricanes, Irma and Maria in 2017, that devastated Puerto Rico, Dominica, and Barbuda, among other Caribbean islands. Proposals related to networks and support systems of all kinds among various communities of the Caribbean diaspora in the New York metropolitan area would be of particular interest.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

In History and the Social Sciences

  • Economics and politics of the Caribbean
  • The colonial and postcolonial Caribbean
  • The Regional and Diasporic Caribbean
  • Gender and Sexualities
  • Nationalisms
  • Slavery and Slave revolts
  • Plantation Culture
  • Racial and Ethnic Relations
  • Commemorations
  • Transculturation

In the Arts, Literature, and the Humanities:

  • The Literatures of the Caribbean
  • The Visual Arts
  • Créolité, Antillanité, Littérature-monde
  • Center and Periphery
  • Limbo Gateway
  • Tropological Revisions
  • Afropolitanism
  • Film and Digital Media
  • Musical Traditions in the Caribbean and the Black Atlantic

In the Sciences

  • Natural Disasters and the Caribbean
  • Ecology and the Caribbean
  • Global warming and the Caribbean

We invite contributors to upload their proposals (a 250-word abstract, title, author’s name, a 150- word bio, and contact) to the conference website:

Each presentation will be 20 minutes (followed by discussion time). A selection of papers will be considered for publication at the conclusion of the series of Ecotones events.

Venue: Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY, USA.
Dates: June 21-22, 2019
Language: English
Deadline for submitting proposals: December 15, 2018
Notification of acceptance: February 1, 2019

Ecotones 5 Organizing Committee
Nada Halloway, Associate Professor of English, Manhattanville College
Binita Mehta, Professor of French, Manhattanville College
Gregory Swedberg, Professor of History, Manhattanville College
Wil Tyrrell, Director, Duchesne Center of Religion and Social Justice, Manhattanville College

Ecotones Program Coordinators
Thomas Lacroix (MIGRINTER, CNRS-Poitiers)
Judith Misrahi-Barak (EMMA, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3)
Maggi Morehouse (Coastal Carolina University)