F20 Black Atlantic: Resources, Pedagogy, and Scholarship on the 18th Century Black Atlantic

Orrie Florius Presentaion

This past week, I attended the GESA graduate colloquium over Zoom. Orrie Florius, a graduate student in the English department. Her presentation focus on marronage in several recent Caribbean texts, including The Book of Night Women by Marlon James. Marronage, as Orrie defined it through her talk, focuses on Black Caribbeans' movement to mountain or otherwise inaccessible areas where they set up societies largely separate from the White planters. 

The bulk of the discussion was focused around finding alternative methods of marronage in the text. We had a robust discussion over how the literacy in the text might function as a form of marronage. I was particularly interested in how literacy can be looked at as a way of building - escaping into the mountains is how people were able to form their own identity separate from the plantation. This also allowed them a certain kind of power. I think literacy could operate similarly. Literacy does give the enslaved people intrinsic power from simply being able to read. However, I'm also interested in how it can function oppositionally. I am wondering if the ability to not only read, but use that literacy to define their opposition also folds into marronage, Marronage was a way for the Caribbean people to form their identity, and I belive literacy could function the same.

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