Cartographic Memories and Geographies of Pain: Bodily Representations in Caribbean Women's Art

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Definitely, this dissertation's central intellectual and political aims are rooted in a guiding principle of Caribbean womanhood; and, with black women's bodies located at the center, the goal of this study is to provide new alternatives to understanding "writing the body" by looking to Caribbean women's cultural products as sites of theory formation. The artists and the works selected for this study demonstrate an awareness of the need for a re-evaluation of the metaphor of writing the body which takes into account the specificities of race, ethnicity and nationality. To that end, this study focuses on texts and performances by Caribbean women in order to examine the development of a Caribbean feminist consciousness and its ability to not only convey but also legitimate Caribbean female perspectives and experiences.

Dionne Brand, Edwidge Danticat, Marion Hall, Joan Riley and Myriam Warner-Vieyra provide us with an opportunity to trace the processes through which Caribbean women artists write their own bodies and how those bodies can be used to explore larger issues around identity, geography and history. In the music and performances of Marion Hall this project looks closely at the intricacies that comprise women's sexuality, sexual autonomy and sexual identity beyond their objectification as sexual objects for men. In Warner-Vierya's Juletane, Riley's The Unbelonging and Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory, the study examines the metropolis as a source of contamination that forces us to recognize madness as a socio-cultural and historical construct with gender specific consequences. Finally, the study concludes with Danticat's The Farming of Bones and Brand's In Another Place, Not Here, where it investigates literary representations of the female body as a representative text that disrupts the official narrative and brings forth a uniquely female historical subjectivity.