The Caribbean Domestic
Organizer: Keja Valens
Co-Organizer: Emily Taylor
Contact the Seminar Organizers
To be domestic is to be home-grown, but to be a domestic is to work in a home that is not your own. These valences of the domestic speak to perennial issues Caribbean studies of belonging and location as well as of economics and exploitation. “The domestic” implies working rather than being, invoking understandings of identification as performance rather than identity as essence and also pointing to the questions of production and reproduction that undergird many aspects of Caribbean studies, from GDP to home economics, from family planning to remissions, from construction to travel. This seminar asks: how are homes made in the Caribbean? What makes a Caribbean home? What homes do Caribbeans make? Where are Caribbean homes? Where are Caribbeans home? Who is home in the Caribbean? The Caribbean domestic overlaps and intersects with concepts of habitus, dwelling, and the local. Questions of material culture arise as we ask about Caribbean domestic objects and products. Questions of gender and sexuality emerge as we look at the gendering of domestic space and ask how domestic configurations overlay with those of family, romance, and sex. Questions of ecocriticism and ecopoetics are embedded in the ways that “domus,” like “ecos” designates a dwelling and its inhabitants. By gathering these under the rubric of “The Caribbean Domestic,” we focus attention on how belonging and power are related to physical structures that must be created and that must be created in ways that are porous and productive as much as they are stable and protective.
We welcome work in queer studies, cultural studies, women’s and gender studies, and other interdisciplinary fields as well as literary and theoretical interventions. Papers that take on the intersections of Caribbean studies with Black diaspora and Africana studies, Latinx and Latin American Studies, and Indigenous studies are also welcome as well as works that look at settler cultures in the Caribbean and at other diasporic cultures in the Caribbean.