Writing, Reading, Sounding, Painting: Humans and Nonhumans in Caribbean Neo-slave Narratives

CLACS Caribbean Studies Seminar Series

Writing, Reading, Sounding, Painting: Humans and Nonhumans in Caribbean Neo-slave Narratives

Speaker: Renée Landell (ILCS Practitioner in Residence, SAS) 

Thinking across species in the context of slavery in the Caribbean can help to engage the historically embodied reality of being Black in a shared, oppressive world. The talk begins with a summary of my PhD research, which explores how anglophone Caribbean neo-slave narratives rewrite Black humanity and the nonhuman world against controlling anti-Black images. It will examine how this decolonial ecocritical reading has revealed hidden histories of interspecies violence and resistance during slavery in a distinctly Caribbean context. Reflecting on the ways I have sought to deepen and disrupt my own typical methods of engaging with neo-slave narratives, this talk examines how my thesis has evolved into visual and auditory art within my current role as a creative practitioner in residence at ILCS. I will reflect on my process and progress in creating two large-scale visual art pieces and soundscapes as ways of animating my own literary analysis of two Caribbean neo-slave poems. In doing so, I seek to highlight how a multi-sensory experience of Caribbean neo-slave narratives can provide a powerful tool for examining the limitations and possibilities of written literature in re-presenting the intimacies and enigmas of embodied contact with our complicated world. 

Renée Landell is a Creative Practitioner at ILCS, School of Advanced Study. She has recently finished writing up her PhD thesis which undertakes decolonial ecocritical approaches to Anglophone Caribbean neo-slave narratives. Alongside her research, Renée works as the founding director of Beyond Margins UK, a racial justice and equity movement, and as co-founder of Black in Arts and Humanities, a global online network of Black scholars and practitioners. She is also a writer represented by the leading international literary agency, Andrew Nurnberg Associates, and has appeared on Al Jazeera News, BBC News and CBS (Canada) as a commentator, and more recently in the BBC 2 documentary 'David Harewood on Blackface' as an on-screen historian.

Event date: 5 December 2023

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