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Making Counter-plantation in Twenty-first Century Caribbean Philosophy and Visual Art

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 4:30pm to 6pm

3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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A workshop of scholarship in process open to faculty, staff, and students.

The counter-plantation, as Jean Casimir describes about Haitian revolutionaries, is a form of self-reliance that expands day-to-day living against state-enforced slavery. In considering contemporary post-disaster experiences in Puerto Rico and Haiti, we can see similar counter-plantation dynamics unfold where local community action creates modes of survivance against a state apparatus of abusive neglect. In this workshop we will consider two twenty-first century visual artists—Miami-based Haitian artist Édouard Duval-Carrié and Puerto Rican Rosaura Rodríguez—whose work makes visible how Caribbean peoples in continuing colonial situations also continue to engage counter-plantation traditions. While counter-plantation practices are wide-ranging and constantly evolving, they have in common an interdependence with local plant and earth matter, community resources, and peer-group education as the basis for the autonomous organization of reciprocal solidarity. To open up a discussion about the philosophical bases that sustain Caribbean traditions of counter-plantation, this workshop offers as a starting point Duval-Carrié's "Soucouyant" series, where the folk figure of the soucouyant is composed of a collage of images of bacteria and plant matter, and Rodríguez's practice of making her own pigments from the plant and earth matter found around Campo Tabonuco, the mountain farm and education center in the Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico where she lives. Looking closely at the materials with which they work along with their two series of pieces creates the opportunity to consider how artists and collective public actions in the Caribbean update counter-plantation traditions and, furthermore, offer a comparative approach to our own local experiences with mutual aid actions and the interdependence of human and more-than-human kin. 


Jeannine Murray-Román (PhD Comparative Literature, UCLA) is an Associate Professor of French and Spanish in Modern Languages and Linguistics at Florida State University. Author of Performance and Personhood in Caribbean Literature (University of Virginia Press, 2017), their work has appeared in The New Centennial Review, Interventions, and Small Axe. Their current work focuses on the sensorial in speculative Caribbean writing, and post-María Puerto Rican digital writing.  

Sponsored by the departments of art and French and the Humanities program.

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