Place in the Caribbean imagination has been treated in terms of the idea of either a grounded identity typical of Cesairean poetics or Edouard Glissant’s vision of Caribbean space as indeterminate, enabling a network of global relations. In his lecture, Professor Dash looks at Glissant’s problematizing of origins and belonging in terms of a salutary dislocation, of the shaping force of the Caribbean Sea’s disruptive fluidity. In rejecting atavistic models of grounded identity he launches an innovative relational model of horizontal incomplete beginnings.
J. Michael Dash, born in Trinidad, has worked extensively on French Caribbean writers, especially Edouard Glissant, whose works, The Ripening (1985), Caribbean Discourse (1989) and Monsieur Toussaint (2005) he has translated into English. He is now Professor of French at New York University and his publications include Literature and Ideology in Haiti (1981), Haiti and the United States (1988), Edouard Glissant (1995), The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World Context (1998). His most recent books are, Libeté: A Haiti Anthology (1999) with Charles Arthur and Culture and Customs of Haiti (2001).