Decentred / Dissenting Connections: Envisioning Caribbean Film and Visual Cultures
Newcastle University, 29-30 May 2018
We would like to invite you to attend Decentred / Dissenting Connections<https://www.ncl.ac.uk/sml/news-events/events/item/decentreddissentingconnections.html>, a two-day conference co-convened by Dunja Fehimović and Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián with the support of the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), AHRC OWRI, and Newcastle University School of Modern Languages.
Structured as a series of workshops, the event will bring together scholars interested in re-imagining the Caribbean through a visual lens. Our discussions will centre around three questions:
* How can the visual help us to approach the Caribbean anew?
* What does it mean to re-envision the Caribbean in times of global fragmentation and expanding inequalities?
* How can we approach the Caribbean's multiple peripheries rigorously and creatively from the relative remoteness of the North-East of England?
Our aims are to foster an ongoing regional network that connects disciplines, academics, and practitioners around a new vision of Caribbean film studies and visual culture production, and to facilitate public exposure to and engagement with this dynamic, transnational, and multilingual body of work. By increasing the visibility of Modern Languages research in the North-East, we aim to turn a relatively remote part of the UK into a centre for the study of the similarly oft-peripheralised Caribbean.
Signalling the growing presence of Caribbean visual culture and film studies across Modern Languages departments, we seek to contribute to and expand a Global South-driven 'view from the North' in four workshops on the following topics:
* Ecologies, landscapes & environments
* Envisioning alternative knowledges
* Tropes of the Caribbean in film
* Connections across, within, and beyond the Caribbean
We are honoured to have Professor Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool) as our distinguished keynote speaker. We are also delighted to be able to show A Winter Tale, by one of the most influential protagonists in Caribbean diasporic cinema: director, writer and producer Frances-Anne Solomon, who will join us on skype for a conversation after the screening of her film.
Attendance is free but registration<https://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=1752954> is required. The deadline for registration is Monday 21 May.
For more information, please contact Dunja Fehimović<mailto:[log in to unmask]> or Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.
Tropes of the Caribbean in Film
1. 'The country girl in the early cinema of Puerto Rico and Haiti' - Yarí Pérez Marín (Durham University)
2. 'Livity, trickery, madness: The other side of the tourist imaginary in three postcolonial Jamaican films' - Janelle Rodriques (Universität Bremen)
3. 'The Wall of Words: Non-verbal communication as a means to ending loneliness, solitude and isolation in Cuban film' - Olivia Cooke (Queens University Belfast)
Connections Across, Within, and Beyond the Caribbean
1. 'A Global-Moral Nexus: Contemporary Art and Caribbean Community' - Leon Wainwright (Open University)
2. '(In)Visibility in the Black Caribbean: The Cases of Cuba, Nicaragua and Colombia' - Charlotte Gleghorn and Raquel Ribeiro (University of Edinburgh)
3. 'Representations of the Mainland Caribbean: Dissidents from a Central American Ideal' - Luis Fallas (Newcastle University)
Frances-Anne Solomon, A Winter Tale<https://caribbeantales-tv.com/product/a-winter-tale/> (2007), and Skype conversation with the director.
Ecologies, Landscapes & Environments
1. 'Counterflows: Liquid Ecologies and the Landscape in the Dominican Republic' - Lisa Blackmore (University of Essex)
2. 'Disentangling the Mangrove: Violences Fast and Slow, and the Environmentalism of the Poor' - Rory O'Bryen (University of Cambridge)
3. 'Twin Peripheries: Colombia's Dos Mares and the Political Imaginary' - Nick Morgan (Newcastle University)
4. 'Conflicted Islandscapes of Recent Caribbean Cinema: Jeffrey (2016) by Yanillys Pérez, and Keyla (2017) by Viviana Gómez Echeverry' - Francisco-J. Hernández-Adrián (Durham University)
Envisioning Alternative Knowledges
1. 'See We Here: Caribbean Archives, Memory and Critical Aesthetics' - Roshini Kempadoo (University of Westminster, London)
2. 'Video Ethnography in Practice: An Introduction to Tambú' - Nanette de Jong (Newcastle University)
3. 'Repeating Islands' - Amanda Alfaro Córdoba (UCL)
4. 'Tropical Exposures: Early Film Histories of the Caribbean' - Dunja Fehimović (Newcastle University)
'Unthinkability, Unfilmability? The Haitian Revolution on Screen' - Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool)
In Silencing the Past (1995), Michel-Rolph Trouillot described the 'unthinkability' of the Haitian Revolution. This paper explores the persistence of such an observation in the event's perceived 'unfilmability'. It does this initially by exploring cinematic re-figurings of Toussaint Louverture Whereas Napoleon Bonaparte has been the subject of over 200 biopics, attempts to film the life of the Haitian revolutionary leader have tended to end in creative failure. The most striking example of this is arguably Sergei Eisenstein's attempt to make a film of The Black Consul in the early 1930s, initiated while he was in the USA and eventually abandoned on his return to the Soviet Union. A later example, often-cited but again as yet to be realised, is Danny Glover's life of the Haitian revolutionary to be made by his production company, Louverture Films. A French TV film appeared, however, in 2012, directed by Philippe Niang and starring Jimmy Jean-Louis, but it lacks historical accuracy and tends to domesticate its subject and conscript him to a French republican project.
In response to this lack of representations, the paper extends its purview and explores films that engage more generally with the revolution. Lydia Bailey (1952) is a rare Hollywood treatment of the event, directed by Jean Negulesco and based on Kenneth Robert's novel, and Gillo Pontecorvo's Burn (Queimada, 1969) is openly inspired by the Haitian events, although it transfers them to an unnamed British colony. A more recent film, Chris Rock's comedy Top Five (2014), uses the device of a film (of the Haitian Revolution) within a film to explore contemporary historiographic ignorance and the limited expectations (and tolerance) of white North American audiences regarding films about black history. Mise-en-abyme is also deployed by Raoul Peck in Molloch tropical (2009), an account of the decline of an increasingly despotic Haitian leader that unravels in parallel to the production of a US film about the Revolution. Peck's film is a rare example engagement with the revolutionary events in Caribbean cinema. The paper concludes with a reflection on the reasons for these tangential approaches, and compares this evidence of 'unfilmability' to the presence of the Haitian Revolution across other visual media.