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Re-Imagining the Guyanas

Lawrence Aje
Thomas Lacroix
Judith Misrahi-Barak

Biographical notices

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1Gaiutra Bahadur is a Guyanese-American writer. She is the author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, a narrative history of indenture which was shortlisted in 2014 for the Orwell Prize, the British literary prize for political writing that is artful.  Her fiction debut, the short story ‘The Stained Veil’, is forthcoming in the anthology Go Home! (New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2018)She has won residencies or fellowships from Harvard, the MacDowell Artists Colony, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy, the British Library and the British Society of Authors, among others.

2Bahadur has reported and written for The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Lapham’s Quarterly, Ms. Magazine, Dissent, Foreign Policy, The Guardian and the Washington Post, among other publications.

3Sonja Boon is Associate Professor of Gender Studies, Memorial University (Canada). She has research interests in the body and embodiment, feminist theory, life writing, and autoethnography. Her research appears in Life Writing, SubStance, Journal of Women’s History, International Journal of Communication, Cultural Studies <-> Critical Methodologies, and the European Journal of Life Writing, among others. Her fourth book, What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home, is forthcoming in 2019.

4Janette Bulkan is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Canada. She was Coordinator of the Amerindian Research Unit, University of Guyana (1985 to 2000) and Senior Social Scientist at the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, Guyana (2000 to 2003). She has led collaborative research projects with Indigenous Peoples in Guyana, Suriname and Perú. Her research interests are natural resource concession systems and management, community forestry, forest certification and governance. Janette serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Sustainable Forestry and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Archaeology and Anthropology. She is a member of the Governing Council of the Commonwealth Forestry Association (CFA) and of the Policy and Standards Committee of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Janette is a regular contributor on natural resources policy and Indigenous Peoples issues to the two independent newspapers of Guyana.

5Gabriel Cambraia Neiva is a PhD Candidate and Teaching Assistant at Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University of Manchester. He has a BA in Literary Studies and his MA Research, awarded with a fully-funded scholarship, was entitled ‘Do canto xamânico e outras histórias’ (UFRR, 2015). It is a comparative reading of Wilson Harris’ The Age of the Rainmakers (1971) and ethnographical and travellers’ accounts of Amerindian textualities. For this research, he travelled various times to Guyana to do archival research and, during this time, had the opportunity to live in indigenous communities in the interior. Awarded with the President Doctoral Scholarship from the University of Manchester, his interdisciplinary PhD project analyses the cross-national region of the ‘Guianas’ as a literary space, through the Amerindian notion of Kanaima, under the supervision of Prof Lúcia Sá.

6Juanita Cox Westmaas completed her thesis Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-1965) and the Shaping of his Novels at the University of Birmingham in 2013. She is editor of Creole Chips and Other Writings (2018), a compendium of Mittelholzer’s short stories, poems, plays, and non-fiction articles. Other publications include: ‘Music and Symbolism in Edgar Mittelholzer’s The Life and Death of Sylvia’ (Guyana Arts Journal, 2009) and introductions to the republished Peepal Tree editions of Mittelholzer’s Corentyne Thunder (2009) and The Life and Death of Sylvia (2010).  Dr Cox Westmaas presented a keynote paper, Corentyne Thunder: A Quiet Revolution, at the XXVIII Annual West Indian Literature Conference in 2009, and for the Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial Lecture in 2014, Edgar Austin Mittelholzer’s Creative Genes(is) and the Geni(us) Behind It. Forthcoming publications include In the Eye of the Storm: Edgar Mittelholzer—Critical Perspectives. She is currently working on a critical biography of Mittelholzer’s life.

7Tim Cribb is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, where until retirement he was Director of Studies in English and Tutor for Advanced Students. In the Faculty of English he launched the third-year option in Commonwealth, now Postcolonial, Literatures in English. He has been a visiting lecturer at the Universities of Ife and Kwara State University in Nigeria. His main areas of research are Shakespeare, Dickens, and Caribbean literature. He acts as Senior Member for Cambridge University Marlowe Dramatic Society.

8Cyril Dabydeen’s Cyril Dabydeen’s recent books include: My Undiscovered Country (Mosaic), God’s Spider (Peepal Tree Press), My Multi-Ethnic Friends (Guernica), and Beyond Sangre Grande: Caribbean Writing Today (Mawenzi House). Previous works include: Jogging in Havana, Black Jesus and Other Stories, Berbice Crossing, My Brahmin Days, North of the Equator, Play a Song Somebody, Imaginary Origins, Dark Swirl, The Wizard Swami, and Drums of My Flesh (IMPAC/Dublin Prize nominee, and Guyana Prize winner). Cyril has appeared in over 60 magazines (e.g, Critical Quarterly, Warwick Review, Kunapipi, Fiction International, Wasafiri, Prairie Schooner, Canadian Fiction Magazine, Canadian Literature, and in the Oxford, Penguin, and Heinemann Books of Caribbean Verse. A former Poet Laureate of Ottawa, he has taught Writing at the University of Ottawa, and also worked in governments; he managed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Anti-Racism Program for a decade. He holds post-graduate degrees from Queen’s University in English and in Public Administration. He twice adjudicated for Canada’s Governor General’s Award (Poetry) and the international Neustadt Prize for Literature (University of Oklahoma).

9Charles Forsdick is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. He is currently Arts and Humanities Research Council theme leadership fellow for ‘Translating Cultures’. He has published on a range of subjects, including travel writing, colonial history, postcolonial and world literature, and the memorialization of slavery. Recent publications include The Black Jacobins Reader (Duke University Press, 2016) and Toussaint Louverture: Black Jacobin in an Age of Revolution (Pluto, 2017). Forsdick co-edited Human Zoos: Science and Spectacle in the Age of Colonial Empire (Liverpool University Press, 2008) and curated with ACHAC the exhibition ‘Human Zoos: The Invention of the Savage’ in Liverpool in 2016. A member of the Academy of Europe, Charles Forsdick was Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, 2010-13. He currently leads an international project on ‘“Dark Tourism” in Comparative Perspective: Sites of Suffering, Sites of Memory’.

10Lisa Katharina Grund completed her MA in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, UK. Prior to commencing her Ph.D. at the Centre for Amerindian Studies, Department of Social Anthropology, at the University of St. Andrews, UK, she worked in the interior of Guyana in the area of audio and video documentation of indigenous culture. Her doctoral research among the Makushi people of the Rupununi and South Pakaraima region, Guyana, explores Makushi conceptions and practices of movement, particularly of women. She additionally works in an indigenous language documentation project (DoBeS) in the Brazilian Amazon, through the Max-Planck-Institute, Nijmegen. Although different, both projects are thematically connected and have contributed to her general understanding of Amazonian peoples.

11Kathleen Gyssels is Professor of Francophone Postcolonial Literature and Culture at Antwerp University, where she teaches classes on authors from the African and Jewish diasporas. Her publications are principally concerned with African American, Caribbean and Francophone authors and subjects from a broad, comparative perspective. Her current research has extended her reach to include conflictual issues, such as the Memory Laws and the Memory Wars in the French Republic and postcolonial countries. In recent publications, for example, she has tackled the resurgence of antisemitism in the Caribbean and its echoes in both literature and criticism. She is Coordinator of the Research Group for Postcolonial Literature at the University of Antwerp and an Associate Member of the Institute for Jewish Studies. More info on:​en/​rg/​postcolonial

12Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D. is a writer whose work explores the arts, public policy and cultural identity. She is an assistant professor in Howard University’s graduate program in Communication, Culture and Media Studies and a fellow of the Interactivity Foundation. A former staff writer, editor and culture critic at The Washington Post and The Root, she is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Go-Go Live (Duke University Press), and Deconstructing Tyrone (Cleis Press; with co-author Natalie Y. Moore). A Mouth is Always Muzzled, her third book of essays that expands on the themes in this chapter, was published in 2018 by The New Press.

13Ateeka Khan is a senior PhD Candidate at the Department of History at McMaster University. This paper is extracted from her dissertation project on Muslims and politics in twentieth century Guyana, which is a case study seeking to understand how religious and ethnic groups and organizations interact and/or engage with political changes in the lead up to nationalism and decolonization in the twentieth century. The author is grateful for invaluable funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the Department of History at McMaster University, which made this research possible.

14Sinah Theres Kloß holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from Heidelberg University. She is a research associate at the Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies, University of Cologne, Germany. Her research interests include Migration Studies, the Anthropology of Religion, Caribbean Studies, Southern Theory and Material Culture Studies. Her ethnography Fabrics of Indianness: The Exchange and Consumption of Clothing in Transnational Guyanese Hindu Communities (2016) was published with Palgrave Macmillan. She currently works on a research project on tattoo and biography in the Surinamese-Guyanese border region.

15Michael Mitchell is an Associate Fellow at the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick, and a lecturer in English at the University of Paderborn, Germany. He spent many years teaching English at secondary schools in Germany. He is the author of Hidden Mutualities: Faustian Themes from Gnostic Origins to the Postcolonial, introductions to the Peepal Tree editions of Wilson Harris novels and numerous articles on postcolonial literature, particularly the Caribbean and Wilson Harris.

16Clem Seecharan is Emeritus Professor of History at London Metropolitan University. He was the Head of Caribbean Studies there from 1993 to 2012. He is the author of several books on Indo-Caribbean history and the history of West Indies cricket. His Sweetening Bitter Sugar: Jock Campbell, the Booker Reformer in British Guiana, 1934-66 was awarded the Elsa Goveia Prize in 2005 by the Association of Caribbean Historians. Clem is now working on a three-volume study, Hand-in-Hand History of Cricket in Guyana, 1865-1966, two of which have been completed. He is also writing a book on Cheddi Jagan, the Guyanese politician. He received the Doctor of Letters from the University of the West Indies in 2017.

17Jan Lowe Shinebourne was born in Guyana in 1947. She received her early education in Guyana and started a B.A degree in English at the University of Guyana which she completed in the UK when she moved there in 1970, then did postgraduate studies at the University of London. During the 1980s she was a cultural and political activist and was a book reviewer, writer and associate editor for several magazines, including The Southall Review, Race Today, Spare Rib andEverywoman. She was also a lecturer at several London colleges. In 1991, she did a British Council reading tour in Germany, and in 1992, she was Visiting Fellow at New York University. Peepal Tree Press has published her four novels and collection of short stories. In 1987, her first novel, Timepiece, won the Guyana Prize for a first novel. In 1987, her collection of stories, The Godmother and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the Guyana Prize in 2004. She has published 4 novels and a collection of stories, all of which how her preoccupation with Guyana’s transition from colonialism to postcolonialism. She lived in West London for over thirty years, but now lives in West Sussex.

© Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2019

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