MLA Convention, Seattle 5-8 January 2012

Special Session

“Transforming the Atlantic: Caribbean-Scottish (Post)Colonial Relations”


The past few years have seen the emergence of a new, cross-cultural area of investigation involving scholars from both Caribbean and Scottish studies. Building on recent historical scholarship, which has mapped out the complex relations linking these regions in the colonial age (e.g. Hamilton, Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic World 1750-1820, Manchester UP, 2005), scholars from different disciplinary/methodological backgrounds have shifted their investigation method from the traditional tools and perspectives of historiographic research to both a retrieval and a reassessment of literary/visual representations of such links, as well as to a theoretical inquiry into the impact that these may have on the entrenched critical discourses dominating today Caribbean and Scottish studies. In this sense, the aim of this field of investigation is not only recuperative but also transformative and holds a great potential for both disciplinary areas.

Caribbean-Scottish cultural relations have been recently addressed by two publications (G. Covi, J. Anim-Addo, V. Pollard, C. Sassi, Caribbean-Scottish Relations, Mango, 2007; International Journal of Scottish Literature  4:2008, special issue “Caribbean-Scottish Passages” co-edited by G. Robinson, C. Sassi), and two international conferences ("Caribbean-Scottish Passages", Univ. of Stirling, UK, 2008; "Caribbean Enlightenment", Univ. of Glasgow, UK, 2010).

This MLA special session proposes to foreground the transformative potential of this field of studies through the discussion of a series of interrelated topics and the gauging of adequate methodological tools. To provide an effective articulation of such a complex field four panelists, two for each literary/cultural area, will engage with different cross-cultural and methodological issues.

Organiser: Carla Sassi (Univ. of Verona, Italy)


Joan Anim-Addo (Univ. of London, Goldsmiths College, UK)

‘I, daughter’: Auto/biography, Anxiety and Familial Quest for ‘Scotch Blood’ in Grenada & the Grenadines

Corey E. Andrews (Youngstown State Univ., US)

Fellow Travelers: Scottish Women Writers on Slavery in the West Indies, 1775-1792

Michael Morris (Univ. Glasgow, UK) 

Maroon memories of the Scottish Empire

Giovanna Covi (Univ. of Trento, Italy)

Writing Embodied Caribbean Scottish Relations as a Politics/Poetics of Creolization of the Caribbean, of the British Empire, and of Postcolonial Discourse