The University of Iowa

Crossing Borders Convocation

News & Events

W401 Papajohn Business Building
March 23-24, 2012

Transcultural Communication and Migrations in the Indian Ocean Rim and the Caribbean

13th Annual Crossing Borders Convocation

March 23-24, 2012

Location: W401 Papajohn Business Building

Event Materials: Poster PDF, Program PDF

The Convocation will focus on two of the major geographical areas constituting the global South -- the Indian Ocean Rim and the Caribbean. Moving from the colonial period to contemporary times, we will seek to interrogate the following issues:  How can these regions be construed as composite entities sharing colonial and relational histories? How do distinguishing features of these colonial, postcolonial, transcolonial, and postcontact spaces play into these comparisons? How have transoceanic migrations, both voluntary and forced, influenced the political, economic, social and cultural fabric of these spaces? For example how do food, religious, and gender dynamics that emerged from these transoceanic displacements contribute nowadays to the elaboration of a new diasporic habitus? What parameters do the concepts of creolization, hybridity, transculturation, and globalization have in common? Does the concept of Coolitude appropriately reassess the shared diasporic historicity of Indian indenture in the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean? What type of alternative theoretical paradigms can be articulated to interrogate contemporary and institutionalized patterns of dislocated, impoverished and vulnerable peoples in these two regions? How have contemporary migration flows from the Caribbean to North, Central and South America reconfigured culture and media in the host countries?

Keynote Speakers

Oonya Kempadoo, a novelist, writer and social development researcher, was born in England of Guyanese parents and brought up in Guyana.  She has lived in Europe, St Lucia, Trinidad, Tobago, currently resides in Grenada and her travels include some countries of the Indian Ocean Rim.  Her first novel, Buxton Spice (1998) set in Guyana, was long-listed for the Orange Prize and translated into six languages. Her second novel Tide Runningwon a Casa De Las Americas 2002 prize, was also well received in the on both sides of the Atlantic, and Kempadoo was named a "Great Talent for the 21st Century" by the Orange Prize judges.  Oonya was awarded a fellowship for the International Writer’s Program, at the University of Iowa in 2011, and is now editing her third novel and working on a non-fiction narrative from Grenada, based on local perspectives of sexual abuse. She has worked with UNICEF and UNAIDS as a consultant and researcher and was tempted by travel writing.

Aisha Khan teaches in the Anthropology Department at New York University. Her research interests include New World diasporas, Atlantic studies, identity, race, religion, and postcolonial societies. She has conducted ethnographic research in Honduras, The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and The Cooperative Republic of Guyana. She has published widely on creolization, diaspora, religion, and race, including the monograph, Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad, and the edited volume, Empirical Futures: Anthropologists and Historians Engage the Work of Sidney W. Mintz. She is currently working on two book projects: Islam and the Atlantic World and Sacred Sacrilege.

David Vine is assistant professor of anthropology at American University, in Washington, DC. He is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton University Press, 2009), and the co-author, with the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, of the Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual, or Notes on Demilitarizing American Society (Prickly Paradigm Press, 2009). His other writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian (London), Mother Jones, Huffington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, International Migration, and Human Rights Brief, among others. David is a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.   In addition to studying military bases, U.S. foreign and military policy, and human rights, David has conducted research on gentrification in Brooklyn, NY, homelessness and mental illness, environmental refugees, and summer league basketball in Washington, DC.  David’s other scholarly interests include forced displacement and migration, indigenous peoples, race/ethnicity, poverty and inequality, the Indian Ocean, urban anthropology, ethnography, and public anthropology. He is currently working on a new book about the more than one thousand U.S. military bases located outside the United States. David received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, an M.A. in anthropology from Hunter College, and a B.A. in sociology from Wesleyan University.

Click here for the full schedule and more details in a PDF.