Close Menu

CALL FOR PAPERS: West Indian Literature Conference

West Indian Literature Conference
October 12-14, 2023
Caribbean literary and cultural criticism highlights the myriad connections between geography, history, language, identities, culture, and forms of knowledge. From George Lamming reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a metaphor of the colonial relation to Sylvia Wynter highlighting the racialized foundations of Western Humanism, Caribbean writers and critics have invested in what Edouard Glissant calls “a poetics of relation.” This necessary awareness of connections has shaped the annual West Indian Literature Conference’s evolution from its initial focus on Anglophone Caribbean literature toward a Pan-Caribbean focus on literatures in all the languages of the Caribbean and its diasporas. The widening of linguistic and territorial connections has occurred in tandem with disciplinary and interdisciplinary expansion. Film, visual studies, popular music, cultural studies, digital humanism, activism, and performance studies are now routinely included in the conference menu agenda, as are contemporary explorations of Caribbean futurity.
With this year’s focus on connections, the 41st West Indian Literature Conference seeks to bring together academics, postgraduate students, creative practitioners, secondary school educators, and the general public to both critically assess the literature and celebrate the scholarly analysis of West Indian (Caribbean) literary artists. This conference gathering also takes the opportunity to recognize the connections between West Indian music and West Indian writing. We honor the life and brilliant cultural criticism of the late Professor Emeritus Gordon Rohlehr (UWI, St. Augustine), and we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication of Noises in the Blood by Professor Emerita Carolyn Cooper (UWI, Mona); and Woman Version by Professor Emeritus Evelyn O’Callaghan (UWI, Cave Hill), two texts that continue to inspire scholars to make new critical connections among gender, music, orality, and literature.
Hosted by the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus (Kingston, Jamaica), the 41st annual West Indian Literature Conference invites papers and panel proposals that explore the critical connections in Caribbean literary and cultural studies.
Papers can include but are not limited to topics such as:

• Regional, international, and diasporic connections
• Linguistic and cross-cultural relations
• Institutional and disciplinary affiliations
• Noises in the Blood, thirty years later
    > Connecting gender and orality
• Woman Version, thirty years later
   > Connecting music and women’s literary voices
• Digital cartographies and connections
• Environmental and terrestrial connections
• Supernatural and existential connections
• Dialogic conversations
• Literature and history
• Literature, visual culture (film), and graphic representation
• Museums, galleries, archives, and curation
• Culture and criticism
• Sexualities and textualities
• Pedagogy, challenges, and innovations
• Connecting non-Caribbean texts in West Indian contexts
• Indigenous identities, Maroons, and dis/connections to colonizers
• Broken connections
• Treaties, heritages, roots, and the law
• Vibes and spiritual connections
• Performance culture, popular culture
• Non-human and animal connections
• Vernacular culture
• Roots and grassroots cultures
• Points of contagion
• Publishing and industries of dispersal 
• Culinary connections
• Art, activism and community building
Individual abstracts: should include presenter’s name and institution, email address, title, and a 250-word abstract.
Abstracts for panels: Three-person or four-person panels can be proposed. The chair of the panel should submit a 350-word abstract for the panel, that includes the panelists’ names, email addresses, affiliations, and the panel’s title. We additionally welcome panels dedicated to Cooper’s Noises in the Blood and O’Callaghan’s Woman Version.

The conference will be face to face but will provide opportunities for a limited number of fully online panels to participate.
Abstracts should be emailed to The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 15, 2023.

Top of Page