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Discursive Spatialities of Caribbean Redress

Authors: Zaira Simone*, CUNY - Graduate Center
Topics: Political Geography, Human Rights, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Caribbean, Reparations, "Problem-Space"
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a collective of nation-states of the Anglophone Caribbean working together on developmental projects(CARICOM, 2020). CARICOM was launched in 1976, under the direction of post-independence leaders primarily from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, and Guyana(CARICOM, 2020). In 2013, CARICOM launched the CARICOM Reparations Committee (CRC), comprised of scholars, activists, and government officials primarily from the Anglophone Caribbean(CARICOM Reparations Commission, 2019). While these efforts are regionally defined, each Caribbean country has its own trajectory within the struggle for reparations as the impacts of plantation slavery and colonialism vary according to place.

This paper examines the “problem-space” of the reparations struggle in the Caribbean. I employ David Scott’s concept of the "problem-space" as an "ensemble of questions and answers around which a horizon of identifiable stakes (conceptual as well as ideological-political stakes) hangs" (2004, p. 4). However, I imagine the "problem-space" in more material terms. I consider how the political geography of the Caribbean is rendered through the CRC's reparatory discourse, as well as how social, economic conditions have precipitated claims for reparatory justice today. While increasing attention has been given to demands for reparations for Trans-Atlantic slavery and colonialism, there remains little discussion on how these claims are situated in the particular material realities of Black geographies, such as the Caribbean.

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