Re-Thinking the Human-Centered Planet: Place, Affect, and the Multispecies World in Contemporary Caribbean Poetry

Whitcomb, Caroline, Spanish - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Rogers, Charlotte, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia

Why does art matter in the midst of disaster? This dissertation project focuses on three contemporary Caribbean poets (Nicole Delgado, Kei Miller, and Thais Espaillat Ureña) and the ways in which their poetic subjects’ reactions to environmental change at a local level transform their relationship to their respective homelands. In voicing changing relationships to place, even and especially as these landscapes visibly deteriorate, each of these poets examines how contemporary environmental violence reaches back to echo colonial legacies of violence in the Caribbean. What emerges in their work, then, is a way of reckoning with, redefining, and imagining autonomous futures in their respective homelands. This is especially significant in a region with a complex geopolitical history in which place and belonging have historically been contested and parsed out over racial, political, economic, and diasporic lines. The Caribbean poets I study are important not just because they seek to undermine imperial narratives about the people and environments of many nations in the Greater Antilles, but because they contribute to larger, deeply political and culturally relevant conversations about all archipelagic cultures living under the dual shadows of climate change and global imperialism.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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