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.

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