The Climate of Theory: Hurricanes, Slave Skeletons, Tidalectics
Please join the Climate Change, Decolonization, and Global Blackness Lab (CCDGBL) for "The Climate of Theory: Hurricanes, Slave Skeletons, Tidalectics" by Anny-Dominique Curtius, Professor of Francophone Studies, University of Iowa.
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In 1995, hurricanes Iris, Luis and Marylin blasted the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe with devastating long-term effects. A similar phenomenon happened in 2007 in Réunion in the Indian Ocean, after hurricane Gamède severely impacted the island with record rainfall and flooding. While these hurricanes remain in collective memory among the most damaging ones, and while the trauma that they generated is cyclically reactivated every time island populations grapple with the durable effects of these hurricanes, massive soil erosion has excavated slave burial grounds on popular touristy beaches of Guadeloupe and Réunion. As intangible witnesses of a camouflaged archive, the land and the ocean unsettled an archeology of absence, triggered a resurgence of traumas, and channeled symbolic commemoration practices by grassroots communities. Professor Curtius examines how enslaved bodies molded into the soil of the violent space of the plantation rematerialize no longer as the ghosts of history or the furniture of the Code Noir, but as a memorial grammar that needs to be deciphered. Cross-pollinating embodied community engagement, mortuary archeology, creative spiritual art and post/decolonial critical theory, Curtius posits that a tidalectical and anarchival imagination matters to excavate entangled layers of meaning and reconfigure the skeletons of history in a time of climate change.
Anny-Dominique Curtius is Professor of Francophone Studies at the University of Iowa where she also serves as Co-Director of the Museum Futures Working Group at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. Her interdisciplinary books include Suzanne Césaire. Archéologie littéraire et artistique d'une mémoire empêchée [Suzanne Césaire. Literary and Artistic Archeology of a Hindered Memory] (2020), Symbioses d'une mémoire: Manifestations religieuses et littératures de la Caraïbe (2006) [Symbiosis of a Memory: Caribbean Religions and Literatures]. She is also the author of numerous articles and book chapters in leading edited volumes and journals.