This review essay explores the extent to which the phenomenon of imperial “neglect” proposed in Christopher Taylor’s Empire of Neglect: The West Indies in the Wake of British Liberalism (2018) maintains saliency in the wake of national independence throughout the British Caribbean. Through a reading of Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, the essay highlights how the market logics of mid-nineteenth-century imperial liberalization continued to animate new forms of West Indian erasure well into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While Kincaid deploys arguments of imperial neglect, she refuses the aspirations for repair that neglect implies. By stressing the impossibility of repairing the violence of British colonial rule, her work instead asks, What new forms of thought become possible beyond argumentative frames of repair?
Mine the Ruins
Petal Samuel is an assistant professor in the Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in twentieth-century Afro-Caribbean women’s writing and Caribbean anticolonial thought, politics, and aesthetics. Her work examines how the management of the soundscape—through noise abatement laws and public discourses condemning noise—has served as a crucial avenue of racial and colonial governance in both the pre-and postcolonial Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora.
Petal Samuel; Mine the Ruins. Small Axe 1 November 2019; 23 (3 (60)): 178–184. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-7912478
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