1.12. The Caribbean a hybrid contact zone

Document Sample
1.12. The Caribbean a hybrid contact zone Powered By Docstoc
					1.12.: The Caribbean: a hybrid
         contact zone
              Caribbean hybridities
•   Historical and political:
•   another case of misnaming: „West Indies“ and „caribs“
•   diverse colonial influences: French, English, Spanish, Dutch; colonial
    theatre of war with an archipelagic geography
•   plantation economy: producing wealth, but also „creole“ children
•   a history of continuous displacement and diaspora: 4-5 million African
    slaves, more than half a million indentured workers from India

•   Cultural and religious:
•   syncretisms of musical styles (calypso,reggae, meringue) and traditions
    from the slaves‘ indigenous cultures
•   ‚creolization‘ of various African and Indian religious practices: Voodoo,
    Shango, obeah and many others
•   culminating in diverse carnival rituals to be found all over the Caribbean
Caribbean carnival traditions
Linguistic diversity: a place of many
• diglossia resulting from a multilingual history: former
  colonial languages in formal domains, creole or patois in
  informal domains
• creole languages: African substrate elements
  (grammar), European super-strate elements (lexicology)
• creole genesis: plantation slaves were prohibited to use
  their native languages and thereby forced to develop
  new syncretic forms
• pidgin: contact language without native speakers; can
  turn into creole in next generation
• creole no inferior, ‚bad‘ English, but complex, elaborate,
  functioning form of language
 Marlene Nourbese Philip, „She Tries
Her Tongue Her Silence Softly Breaks“

is my mother tongue.
A mother tongue is not
not a foreign lan lan lang
- a foreign anguish.
 Linton Kwesi Johnson, „England is
          a Bitch“ (1980)
w'en mi jus' come to Landan toun
mi use to work pan di andahgroun
but workin' pan di andahgroun
y'u don't get fi know your way aroun'
Inglan is a bitch
dere's no escapin' it
Inglan is a bitch
dere's no runnin' whey fram it

mi get a lickle jab in a big 'otell
an' awftha a while, mi woz doin' quit well
dem staat mi aaf as a dish-washah but
w'en mi tek a stack, mi noh tun clack - watchah!
Inglan is a bitch
dere's no escapin' it
Inglan is a bitch
no baddah try fi hide fram it
Merle Collins, „No Dialects, Please“
WE‘RE British!
To tink how still dey so dunce
an so frighten o we power
dat dey have to hide behind a language
that we coud wrap roun we little finger
in addition to we own!
    Survey of colonial oppression:
•   16th century: Spanish conquest and genocide of indigenous Amerindian populations
    and civilizations (Caribs and Awaraks)
•   1492: Christopher Columbus lands on San Salvador and misnames the area „West
•   1560-80: first English explorers
•   1623: Thomas Warner founds first English settlement and plantation on St Kitts;
    beginning of sugar, cocoa, coffee and tobacco planting
•   1620s: Britain joins the slave trade
•   1739: British peace agreement with run-away slaves („maroons“) in Jamaica
•   1760s: slave rebellions on many islands
•   1756-1763: English-French War
•   1790-1804: black Republic of Haiti founded after rebellion on Saint-Domingue
•   1802: English-Spanish peace treaty
•   1834: abolition of slavery in British colonies
•   1865: „Gordon riots“ on Jamaica
•   1919: riots in Jamaica, British Honduras and Trinidad
•   1946: Martinique and Guadeloupe become French départements
•   1948: SS Empire Windrush takes Caribean immigrants to England
The Middle Passage
         Towards independence:
• 1953: Cheddi Jagan‘s socialist party wins election; Britain sends
  troops, suspends constitution, Jagan imprisoned
• 1958-1962: West Indian Federation
• 1959: Cuban revolution; Castro takes power
• 1961: Cuba crisis
• 1962: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago gain independence
• 1966: Guyana and Barbados independent
• 1966: Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, visits Jamaica
• 1973-1981: oil boom creates prosperity for Trinidad
• 1978: Bob Marley‘s „One Love“ concert in Jamaica
• 1979: St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines independent
• 1986: Haitian dictator Duvalier overthrown
• 2007: St Kitts ends sugar production
    Pioneer thinkers and activists of
• C.L. R. James (1901-1989):
•   Minty Alley (1936)
•   A History of Negro Revolution (1938)
•   The Black Jacobins (1983)
•   Beyond a Boundary (1963)

• Eric Williams (1911-1981):
• The Economic Aspect of the West Indian Slave Trade
• First Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago (1956-1981)
Cricket: a colonial athletic heritage
               „Back-to-Africa“ and

• Marcus Garvey (1887-1940): pan-African activist, founder of the
  Universal Improvement Negro Association; promoted concepts of
  separatism and repatriation by adopting Biblical stories to the
  situation of the Caribbean diaspora.
• Bob Marley (1945-1981): popularized the Rastafarian religion
  (based on the idea of a black messiah and the return to the
  Promised Land of Africa) as life-style und music, dreadlocks and
  African colours
 Fred D‘Aguiar, „Dread“ (1975)
Bob under the lights, when, between
chanting down
He shook his dread, and in shaking them a
ran through the city knocking points off
the stocks and shares at the Exchange
and noughts off some dealers‘ profits…
 Jean Rhys (1894-1979),
Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)
            • white Caribbean
              alienated from both
            • rewriting of Charlotte
              Bronte‘s Jane Eyre
              (1847): Bertha‘s story and
              Caribbean background
              revealed; the silenced
              West Indian woman is
              given a voice
            • analogy: centre –
              periphery/men - women
V.S. Naipaul (*1932)
          • Miguel Street (1959)
          • The House of Mr. Biswas
          • The Middle Passage. A
            Caribbean Journey
            (1962): „nothing was
            created in the West
          • The Mimic Men (1967)
          • A Bend in the River
          • The Enigma of Arrival
        Miguel Street (1959)

„I walked along Alberto Street a year later, but I could
find no sign of the poet‘s house. It hadn‘t vanished, just
like that. It had been pulled down, and a big, two-
storeyed building had taken ist place. The mango tree
and the plum tree and the coconut tree had all been cut
down, and there was brick and concrete everywhere.
It was just as though B. Wordsworth had never existed.
I left them all and walked briskly towards the aeroplane,
not looking back, looking only at my shadow before me,
a dancing dwarf on the tarmac.“ (49, 179)
           The Mimic Men (1967)
• „I know that return to my island and to my political life is impossible.
  The pace of colonial events is quick, the turnover of leaders rapid. I
  have already been forgotten; and I know that the poeple who
  supplanted me are themselves about to be supplanted. My career is
  by no means unusual. It falls into the pattern. The career of the
  colonial politician is short and ends brutally. We lack order. Above
  all, we lack power, and we do not understand that we lack power.
  We mistake words and the acclamation of words for power; as soon
  as our bluff is called we are lost. Politics for us are a do-or-die, once-
  for-all charge. Once we are committed we fight more than political
  battles; we often fight quite literally for our lives. Our transitional or
  makeshift societies do not cushion us. There are no universities or
  City houses to refresh us and absorb us after the heat of battle. For
  those who lose, and nearly everyone in the end loses, there is only
  one course: flight to the greater disorder, the final emptiness:
  London and the home counties.“ (8)
    A Bend in the River (1979)
„The sky hazed over, and the sinking sun showed orange and was reflected in a
broken golden line in the muddy water. Then we sailed into a golden glow. There was
a village ahead – you could tell from the dugouts in the distance. In this light the
silhouettes of the dugouts and the poeple in them were blurred, not sharp. But these
dugouts, when we came to them, had no produce to sell. They were desperate only
to be tied up to the steamer. They were in flight from the river banks. They jammed
and jostled against the sides of the steamer and the barge, and many were
swamped. Water hyacinths pushed up in the narrow space between the steamer and
the barge. We went on. Darkness fell. (…)
At the time what we saw was the steamer searchlight, playing on the river bank,
playing on the passenger barge that had snapped loose and was drifting at an angle
through the water hyacinths at the edge of the river. The searchlight lit up the barge
passengers who, behind bars and wire-guards, as yet scarcely seemed to
understand that they were adrift. Then there were gunshots. The searchlight was
turned off; the barge was no longer to be seen. The steamer started up again and
moved without lights down the river, away from the area of battle. The air would have
been full of moths and flying insects. The searchlight, while it was on, had shown
thousands, white in the white light.“ (286-287)
   The Enigma of Arrival (1987)
• „I saw what I saw very clearly. But I didn‘t know what I
  was looking at. I had nothing to fit it into. I was still in a
  kind of limbo. There were certain things I knew, though. I
  knew the name of the town I had come to by the train. It
  was Salisbury. It was almost the first English town I had
  got to know, the first I had been given some idea of, from
  the reproduction of the Constable painting of Salisbury
  Cathedral in my third-standard reader. Far away in my
  tropical island, before I was ten. A four-colour
  reproduction which I had thought the most beautiful
  picture I had ever seen. I knew that the house I had
  come to was in one of the river valleys near Salisbury.“
George Lamming (*1927)
           • In the Castle of My
             Skin (1953)
           • Water With Berries
           • The Pleasures of
             Exile (1960), where
             he criticises Naipaul
             for having „wiped“
             his West Indian
             background „out of
             his guts“.
Edward Kamau Brathwaite (*1930)
                • A independent
                  Caribbean aesthetics?
                • tries to retrieve African
                  origins by rejecting
                  European models and
                  developing a decisively
                  oral style:
                • „The hurricane does
                  not roar in pentametre.“

                • The Arrivants: A New
                  World Trilogy (1973)
                • X/Self (1987)
Derek Walcott (*1930)
           • Cultivating ‚mongrelization‘:
           • Opposing essentialist and
             unitary notions of a Caribbean
             aesthetics Walcott insists on
             the productivity of hybridity, on
             a language that is always
             already marked by translation,
             polysemy and creative

           • Dream on Monkey Mountain
           • Pantomime (1974)
           • Omeros (1990)
 The master of the twisted tongue:
• „I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
  Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? I
  who have cursed the drunken officer of
  British rule, how choose Between this
  Africa, and the English tongue I love?
  Betray them both, or give back what they
  give? How can I face such slaughter and
  be cool? How can I turn from Africa and
  live?“ (Collected Poems 18)
Dream on Monkey Mountain (1964)

   „A spotlight warms the white disc of an African drum until it glows
   like the round moon above it. Below the moon is the stark silhouette
   of a volcanic mountain. Reversed, the moon becomes the sun. A
   dancer enters and sits astride the drum. From the opposite side of
   the stage a top-hatted, frock-coated figure with white gloves, his
   face halved by white make-pu like the figure of Baron Samedi,
   enters and crouches behind the dancer. As the lament begins,
   dancer and figure wave their arms slowly, sinuously, with a spidery
   motion. The figure rises during the lament and touches the disc of
   the moon. The drummer rises, dancing as if in slow motion,
   indicating, as their areas grow distinct, two prison cages on either
   sode of the stage. In one cell, TIGRE and SOURIS, two half-naked
   felons are squabbling. The figure strides off slowly, the CONTEUR
   and CHORUS, off-stage, increase the volume of their lament.“
                  Pantomime (1974)
•   „For three hundred years I served you. Three hundred years I served you
    breakfast in . . . in my white jacket on a white veranda, boss, bwana,
    effendi, bacra, sahib . . . in that sun that never set on your empire I was your
    shadow, I did what you did, boss, bwana, effendi, bacra, sahib . . . that was
    my pantomime. Every movement you made your shadow copied . . . and
    you smiled at me as a child does smile at his shadow's helpless obedience .
    . . But after a while the child does get frighten of the shadow he make. He
    say to himself, that is too much obedience, I better hads stop. But the
    shadow don't stop, no matter if the child stop playing that pantomime, and
    the shadow does follow the child everywhere; when he praying, the shadow
    pray too, when he turn round frighten, the shadow turn round too, when he
    hide under the sheet, the shadow hiding too. He cannot get rid of it, no
    matter what, and that is the power and black magic of the shadow . . . until it
    is the shadow that start dominating the child, it is the servant that start
    dominating the master . . . and that is the victory of the shadow, boss. And
    that is why all them Pakistani and West Indians in England, all them
    immigrant Fridays driving all you so crazy. And they go keep driving you cry
    till you go mad. In that sun that never set, they's your shadow, you can't
    shake them off.“ (112-13)
              Omeros (1990)
• "This is how, one sunrise, we cut down them
  Philoctete smiles for the tourists, who try taking
  his soul with their cameras. Once wind bring the

  to the laurier-cannelles, their leaves start
  the minute the axe of sunlight hit the cedars,
  because they could see the axes in our eyes."
          Caribbeans abroad:
        the younger generation
• Lawrence Scott (*1943)

• David Dabydeen (*1955)

• Caryl Phillips (*1958)

• Robert Antoni (*1958)
            Female voices:
• Lousie Bennett (1919-2006)

• Erna Brodber (*1940)

• Michelle Cliff (*1946)

• Jamaica Kincaid (*1949)
  Walcott, „What the Twilight Says“
• „Colonials, we began with this malarial enervation: that
  nothing could ever be built among these rotting shacks,
  barefooted backyards and moulting shingles; that being
  poor, we already had the theatre of our lives. So the self-
  inflicted role of martyr came naturally, the melodramatic
  belief that one was a message-bearer for the millennium,
  the the inflamed ego was enacting their will. In that
  simple schizophrenic boyhood one could lead two lives:
  the interior life of poetry, the outward life of action and
  dialect. Yet the writers of my generation were natural
  assimilators. We knew the literature of Empires, Greek,
  Roman, British, through their essential classics; and both
  the patois of the street and the language of the
  classroom hid the elation of discovery. If there was
  nothing, there was everything to be made.“ (4)

Shared By: