April Shemak – ‘Asylum Speakers’

Another extremely interesting book, connecting the actual debate on hospitality, cosmopolitanism, migration politics, citizenship and testimony with the condition of the refugees and asylum seekers in the Caribbean, Central America and USA. Reviewed by Donette A. Francis (University of Miami) on the academic journal ‘Anthurium. A Caribbean Studies Journal‘ (9.1, 2012):

April Shemak, Asylum Speakers: Caribbean Refugees and Testimonial Discourse (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011).

Cover of Asylum Speakers

Cover of Asylum Speakers



Monique Allewaert – ‘Ariel’s Ecology’

I just want to signal this very interesting publication, recently reviewed by Valérie Loichot (Emory University) on Southern Spaces. It is an ecocritical perspective on the ‘parahuman’, liminal and transversal forms of subjectivity, personhood and agency historically developed in the slave plantation environment. It promises to be a very interesting piece of scholarship for my research on Caribbean biopolitics.

Monique Allewaert, Ariel’s Ecology: Plantations, Personhood, and Colonialism in the American Tropics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013).
Cover of Ariel's Ecology

Cover of Ariel’s Ecology

Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
The Tempest
I take this opportunity to signal another absolutely ravishing project: the underwater sculptures of the English-Guyanese artist Jason deCaires Taylor (see the book’s cover image). In 2006, he created the first underwater sculpture park, situated off the coast of Grenada.

Job interviews and campus visit in Chicago and Miami

During the last few months I have been spending a considerable amount of energy and time in several application processes in order to get an academic job, especially in the US but also in the UK. The American recruiting process starts quite early, usually in September, and it is quite long and challenging, as it contemplates three or four steps and a lot of documents, application forms, letters and statements to be submitted. Since I was in Atlanta during the last fall semester, I have been writing and sending cover letters, CVs, teaching and research statements, sample syllabi, writing samples, asking for and delivering reference letters etc. It is almost a full time job that can require lots of energies and can prove to be very hard in many ways. Since it compels you to confront with your own achievements, your personal capacities, skills and limits, and to handful potentially stressful situations, it is an extremely enriching experience, too. I have been applying for several positions and I am still in the process, so I cannot say if I will be successful or not. Despite this, I have learned many things, especially in terms of how the American academic system works, sometimes in a very different way if compared to the English and, more generally, to the European one. I have been shortlisted for an interview at the MLA annual convention in Chicago in January, for the position of Assistant Professor in Francophone Caribbean literatures and cultural studies at the University of Miami (FL). This was my first job interview and I have been very satisfied. (By the way, Chicago is an amazing city and I have found out that its founder, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, was probably Haitian!)

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable - Founder of Chicago

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable – Founder of Chicago

Next, I have been selected for the campus visit in Miami, which took place last week. It has been really challenging, especially because of the long trip and the jet lag. I have been asked to spend an entire day on campus, with many interviews and meetings, lunch and dinner, with all the staff of the department, and I gave a paper, too. It has been really exciting: everybody was extremely nice and welcoming and, above all, I met plenty of keen scholars and professors with whom I could discuss about my research and teaching projects in a fruitful way. It would be amazing to work in such a stimulating scholar community! And the location, of course, would be a perfect one to work on the Caribbean. The paper I presented was entitled Caribbean Biopolitics and Literature: NourbeSe Philip and Édouard Glissant. It has been well received, with many questions and debates. I am going to further develop it in my next publication, for the special issue of the International Journal of Francophone Studies (IJFS) I am currently preparing with Louise Hardwick, on the topics of biopolitics, violence and race in Francophone postcolonial literatures (forthcoming in 2015).

University of Miami at Coral Gables

University of Miami at Coral Gables