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CLACS Caribbean Studies Seminar Series actively promotes intellectual engagement and knowledge exchange by providing scholars - including postgraduate students and early career researchers - with the opportunity to present their interdisciplinary, comparative and integrated research on the Caribbean.

Black Caribbean archive: Sites, methods and imagination

Speaker: Olivier Marboeuf (ULIP)

How to approach and account for the forms of presence – political, cultural, material and immaterial, visible and invisible – of the Caribbean diaspora in the cities of Paris and London and their circulation between these two capitals? How to approach the traces of an emancipation project carried by Caribbean communities in spaces born of the imperialist economy and still governed today by the powers of coloniality? How to build forms of representation and alliances capable of responding to systemic violence and producing reparations?

The work that Olivier Marboeuf is currently developing, as part of the Banister Fletcher Global Fellowship hosted by the University of London Institute in Paris, attempts to answer this set of questions by showing that they require reconsidering disciplines such as architecture and urbanism and developing new epistemologies and research methods in order to relate to the particular materiality that makes up the archives, forms of life, spaces of transmission and resistance of the Caribbean diaspora at the heart and margins of Europe’s urban centres. 

During this presentation, Marboeuf will discuss a method of sharing – and inventing – of the diaspo-Caribbean archive. Inspired by a reading of Sylvia Wynter’s essay “Novel and History, Plot and Plantation” (Savacou n°5, 1971), Marboeuf imagines this particular archive no longer as a series of stable artefacts to classify but as a transdisciplinary, collective and dynamic composition; a weaving of plots, fragments of events, traces and voices. This living archive, which is constantly being reformulated, is the result of the performance of an interpretive community – composed of families, activists, artists and researchers – capable of giving a sense of narrative continuity beyond the apparent dispersion, in space and time,of diasporic narratives. This weaving establishes a negotiated and partially secret place, below the great story of the plantation. Archive and place of memory then become common responsibility and knowledge.

From the Caribbean diaspora of the Paris region, Olivier Marboeuf is an author-storyteller, artist, curator and film producer. He has published several essays, poetry collections and numerous texts of cultural criticism around the aesthetics of secrecy and masquerade, performance and cunning as techniques of resistance to the extractive economy of contemporary art. His work focuses on forms and infrastructures of minority transmission as well as knowledge commons. It combines aesthetics of presence, fugitivity and abolitionist politics in order to develop new forms of research, representations and places based on an ethics of complicity.

Texts and research by Olivier Marboeuf are available on his blog:

Seminar Programme
Autumn term
10 October 2023
7 November 2023  
5 December 2023            
Spring term

20 February 2024
19 March 2024
9 April 2024

Eve Hayes de Kalaf (IHR) 

All are welcome to attend this free seminar, which will be held online via Zoom at 16:00 BST. You will need to register in advance to receive the online joining link. Please click on the Book Now button at the top of the page to register.

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