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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Shepherd, Verene A.
Author Role
Presenter
Author Affiliation
Department of History & Archaeology
Paper/Section Title
'Coolitude' : The Diasporic India's Response to Creolization, Negritude and the Ranking Game?
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Proceedings Title
International Indian Diasporic conference on 'East Indians in the Caribbean: Reflections on the past, Charting the way forward'
Date of Meeting
28-29 May 2005
Place of Meeting
Trinidad and Tobago
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Abstract
‘Creole’ as a description of specific New World or Indian Ocean cultures and societies has not found favour with some sections of African and Indian diasporic communities affected by the forced migration through the trade in African captives and the alleged voluntary migration and settlement of Indians respectively. For example, the potential of cultural imperialism and creolisation to mask the Africanness of most Caribbean societies has caused many people of African descent to be more supportive of the négritude movement than of creolité or antillanité, rejecting even the compromise of Afro-Creole. The seemingly dichotomous relationship of négritude vs. creolisation/Creole, créolité vs. indianité and négritude vs. indianité caused Khal Torabully to search for a mediating theoretical construct and to eventually offer the concept of Coolitude' in 1992. Coolitude first redefines and re-appropriates the image of the “coolie”, an image distorted in many literary and historical writings. It revalorizes the hitherto pejorative word ‘coolie,’ using it not so much to describe a people (therefore not essentializing it), but an economic condition and human situation, involving multi-ethnic groups (Indians, Chinese, Africans). The paper revisits “coolitude” and discusses its likely reception in the Caribbean. ....
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