Centre for Feminist Research talk focuses on migrant women and the literacies of belonging

Bearing Witness FEATURED

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR) will present a talk titled “Bearing Witness, Holding Space: Black Caribbean Migrant Women and The Literacies of Belonging” by Warren Harding, a CFR visiting graduate student and Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC) visiting researcher.

The free event will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. in 280A York Lanes, Keele Campus, and will be chaired by CFR Director Enakshi Dua. All are welcome.

Harding will speak to the ways in which late 20th-century Black Caribbean migrant women use their creative expression to develop spaces that interrogate meanings for belonging, both on and beyond the page.

Caribbean women writers and cultural producers enact “bearing witness” and “holding space” as practices that radically transform literary, performative, cultural and everyday practices of belonging. Interiority, relationality, imagination, materialization and mobility are integral themes between these women’s gendered, raced, migrant and Caribbean experiences.

Four questions guide Harding’s research on this topic:

  1. How do Black Caribbean migrant women writers and cultural producers’ embodiments of “bearing witness” and “holding space” create a radical politics of belonging?
  2. How do these embodiments expand what it means to belong in spite of heteropatriarchal, anti-Black, nativist and colonial enactments on the world?
  3. How can fieldwork enhance the study of Black women’s literary and cultural productions?
  4. How do Black Caribbean migrant women’s experiences reshape the discourses of language and nation between the African and Caribbean diasporas?

Harding is a PhD candidate in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University. While pursuing his PhD, he earned a master of arts in comparative literature at Brown through the Open Graduate Education program and a master of arts in Africana studies. He also earned a bachelor of arts with honours in Africana studies and history from Oberlin College, where he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. He is currently conducting fieldwork in Toronto on 20th-century Black anglophone Caribbean migrant women with the help of the Rita Cox Black & Caribbean Heritage Collection at the Toronto Public Library and interviews with Black Caribbean migrant women writers, publishers and performers in Toronto.

This event is co-sponsored by CERLAC and the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples. It is is being held in a wheelchair-accessible space with both gender-neutral and gender-segregated washrooms. For more information and to RSVP, email Julia Pyryeskina at juliapyr@yorku.ca.