This essay introduces the special section “Con-Federating the Archipelago: The Confederación Antillana and the West Indies Federation,” which interrogates the literary, intellectual, social, and political imaginaries fomented by the Confederación Antillana (Antillean Confederation) and the West Indies Federation, with the aim of promoting comparative studies and dialogue among scholars working on these two political projects. The Confederación Antillana was conceived to bring together three Spanish Antilles in dialogue with Haiti and Jamaica from the 1860s to 1898; the West Indies Federation became a governing body in the British Caribbean territories from 1958–62. These “con-federated” forms reverberate together in the idea of trans-Caribbean unity as a utopian reference for anti-imperial sovereignty and the decolonial achievement of racial equality. The guest editors provide a historical trajectory of both confederation projects in order to identify points of convergence and divergence between these two collective political projects to guide future comparative studies.
Con-Federating the Archipelago: Introduction
Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel holds the Marta Weeks chair in Latin American studies at the University of Miami. She has published two books on Hispanic, Anglo-, and French Caribbean studies: Caribe Two-Ways? Cultura de la migración en el Caribe insular hispánico (2003) and Coloniality of Diasporas: Rethinking Intra-colonial Migrations in a Pan-Caribbean Context (2014). She publishes and teaches courses on comparative Caribbean studies from the colonial period to the present.
Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann is an assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College, Boston. She is completing a book about Pan-Caribbean discourse in literary magazines across the region. Her essays have appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, MLN, Small Axe, the Global South, the C. L. R. James Journal, and Inti. Also a literary translator, she recently translated Spinning Mill by Legna Rodríguez (2019).
Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann; Con-Federating the Archipelago: Introduction. Small Axe 1 March 2020; 24 (1 (61)): 37–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8190541
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