Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Transmission/distortion: A re-reading of C.L.R. James’ The Black Jacobins

Saturday, 10 June 2023, 12 noon to 5 pm*
24 Erthig Rd, Belmont

A re-reading of C.L.R. James’ The Black Jacobins

This upcoming Saturday, June 10th, you are cordially invited to join us at Granderson Lab for a re-reading session of C.L.R. James' renowned work, "The Black Jacobins," in the company of video artist and filmmaker Ésery Mondésir.

"When I arrived here three weeks ago, I was perplexed by the enthusiastic smiles that greeted me when people learned I was Haitian. It wasn’t the usual “poor Haiti” I have faced many times in other settings. Instead, the folks I encountered associated my homeland with ideas of pride, freedom, and justice. It struck me as peculiar until Christopher [Cozier] reminded me that C.L.R. James hailed from this very land. Suddenly, it dawned on me that Haiti, as both an idea and perhaps an ideal, had long been embedded within the ‘Trini imaginaire.’

As author Millery Polyné emphasizes in his work 'The Idea of Haiti,' there is no singular, unified notion of Haiti. While it may symbolize freedom, justice, and equality for the “the wretched of the earth,” the “brutes,” and the “rebels,” Haiti continues to stand as a "monstrous anomaly" in the face of colonialism, imperialism, and white supremacy to paraphrase Nick Nesbit.

Which particular ideas of Haiti have permeated and continue to permeate Trinidad and Tobago? How do ideas diffuse through the intricate web of social and political contradictions? What are the mechanics of transmission or distortion of transformative ideas? How do we leap from revolutionary ideas to liberatory gestures that generate new ideals? Can we go beyond criticality? These questions and others will shape my residency at Alice Yard this spring.

On Saturday, we encourage you to bring your copy of 'The Black Jacobins.' We will engage in collective readings and invite you to share your favourite passages.

All are welcome.

*Readings may be recorded.

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