atlantic studies conference follow-up

May 7, 2007 § Leave a comment

This past weekend I presented a paper at the Atlantic Studies Workshop.  It was organized by folks in the History Departments of both University of Michigan and Michigan State University.  They explained, however, that they wanted it to be an interdisciplinary conference, so I submitted my paper and short video work-in-progress.

My paper, which was actually pre-circulated, was about Caribbean migration.  In terms of migration, I am interested specifically in artists, their migrations from (and sometimes back to) the Caribbean, and how they express their ideas about these movements in their artwork.  (If you are an artist, from the Caribbean, reading this post, EMAIL ME!)

My video was a short clip from a work-in-progress.  The video is a documentation of a performance on the beach in Miami.  In it I am walking towards and away from the ocean.  Sometimes my feet or hands touch the ocean, but I never submerge my body into it.  I see this performance and video as a comment on migration to Miami, where I grew up.  Looking out onto the ocean, it’s hard not to wonder how long it would take to get somewhere else, and what that somewhere else might be like.  The ocean has also been the setting for massive migrations, both chosen and forced, and this makes it an ever potent symbol of the movement of people.

 

The conference was predominantly a history conference, so my paper and video were a bit different, to say the least.  Everyone was very supportive though- asking lots of great questions and giving me great feedback.  It was also interesting to hear about all the work that is being done in terms of reconstructing history through historical documents.  I couldn’t even imagine sifting through piles of archives to do come up with great narratives like the ones presented. Go historians!

Anyhow, the conference was great overall, and it was definitely good preparation for my next presentation on June 1, in Bahia, Brasil, at the Caribbean Studies Association Meeting. 

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