Sarah Phillips Casteel, "The Holocaust in Caribbean Literature and Art"

Elizabeth and Tony Comper Holocaust Education Fund

Discussions of Black-Jewish cultural relations have focused almost exclusively on the United States and have tended to be inflected by the persistent political tensions between African Americans and Jewish Americans. Jewish themes also feature prominently, however, in Caribbean literature. Caribbean writers regularly invoke the memory of two traumatic moments of Jewish historical experience: the Sephardic expulsions of the 1490s and the Holocaust. In this talk, I will argue that Caribbean Holocaust literature offers an important, neglected case study of the global circulation of Holocaust memory. Addressing a Caribbean tradition of cross-cultural engagement that has been obscured by the institutional divide between Jewish Studies and Postcolonial Studies, I will show how Holocaust memory has been reactivated by postwar Caribbean writers in the service of particular needs and political projects such as decolonization. Finally, I will consider the work of a visual artist that further illuminates the global and colonial dimensions of the Holocaust and that problematizes the category of Holocaust art itself.

Sarah Phillips Casteel is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Carleton University. Read her academic profile here.

Presented with the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies

Date & Time
Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 3:00pm

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100, 170 St. George Street