Caribbean-studies scholar to speak
Faith Smith, who teaches Caribbean literature and chairs the African and Afro-American studies department at Brandeis University, gives a lecture titled Travel and/as Authentication in Caribbean Studies: How to Tell a True West Indian at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9, in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Ave., Bates College. The talk, sponsored by the college’s African American studies program and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, is open to the public free of charge. For more information, call 207-753-6933.
“How do Caribbean people juggle their sense of themselves as long-standing, seasoned travelers, their desire to make themselves at home anywhere in the world and remain ‘Caribbean,’ and their awareness that people traveling to the region as tourists crave an escape from ‘modern’ life?” asks Smith, an associate professor. “E-mail riddles, novels and other discourses demonstrate interesting responses to this, and my talk considers some of these.”
Smith received a B.A from the University of the West Indies, Mona (Jamaica), with a concentration in English. She earned an M.A. in Afro-American studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in literature from Duke University. She held the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, in 2002-03.
Smith’s book, Creole Recitations: John Jacob Thomas and Colonial Formation in the Late Nineteenth-Century Caribbean (University of Virginia Press, 2002), provides a context for understanding 20th-century Caribbean writers such as C.L.R. James, V. S. Naipaul and Jamaica Kincaid.
Smith is currently at work on two projects. The first, an edited collection of essays on Sexuality and Citizenship in the Caribbean, pursues issues addressed in a special issue of the journal Small Axe on genders and sexualities that she guest-edited in 2002. The second is a book manuscript on conceptions of modernity across the Caribbean in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A member of the Small Axe collective, she is an editorial adviser for the Journal of West Indian Literature published by the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, and Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, published by the Department of English at the University of Miami. She is an associate editor of the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, which will be published under the general editorship of Professor Colin Palmer by Thomson Gale Publishers.