Without Memory Can there be History?

Without Memory Can there be History?

_ M. NourbeSe Philip, She Tries her Tongue, her Silence Softly Breaks

The role of remembering and the connections between memory and history, particularly official written histories – have always been central to Caribbean literature. Many literary texts have grappled, and continue to engage with the fraught nature of historical archives where the perspective and experience of indigenous cultures, enslaved Africans and indentured workers was predominantly erased. In turn, and through this critical engagement, Caribbean literature has offered an invaluable space and avenue for documenting and exploring those histories  – often blending research and imaginative work in productive ways.

Writers and cultural practitioners in the Caribbean region and the diaspora have an acute sense of the role of memory and heritage, and their contribution to enriching historical memory in varied and complex ways has has a major impact in readers and intellectual and grassroots communities internationally. However, there is space and necessity to make sure that the work of Caribbean authors is preserved, across generations and geographies. Research around archival and literary preservation as well as innovative new mediums to record authors’ papers becomes a pressing issue today. Similarly, the study and discovery of neglected authors and time periods, which this project will also focus on, will illuminate areas of Caribbean literary history.