Shadowboxing in the Mangrove

Essay Excerpt

In addition to focusing our research interests on the region for 30-odd years, we have for the past decade made the Caribbean our home, living in a rural Martiniquan community we first knew through undergraduate fieldwork in the early 1960s. Like the Martiniquan writers whose ideas we consider in this article, we participate routinely in at least two realms of experience-that of the island's day-to-day realities (from yam gardens and wakes to traffic jams and French TV) and that of a more internationally-oriented intellectual sphere, which operates through air travel, publishing, and far-flung academic networks. In short, we are not studying people out "there" from a home base back "here," but rather engaging the intellectual agenda of people who are very much our peers in terms of their education, publishing involvements, and access to the media. Just as we comment on their work, they comment on ours (see, for example, Chamoiseau 1994c). The plea we make in these pages for a broadening of their vision, a fuller recognition of the region as an interconnected whole, does not advocate the replacement of one essentialism with another. Instead, we intend to be pointing toward conceptual openings that could, we believe, both complicate and enrich their acclaimed literary depictions of Martinique's past, and its place within the wider Caribbean.  (Price, 4)

About the Author

Sally and Richard Price are Professor Emeritus at College of WIlliam and Mary.

 "Writers, researchers, teachers, and lecturers, we often work collaboratively (on a wide range of ethnographic topics), but Sally writes more on aesthetics and museums, while Rich focuses more on ethnographic history and human rights. Since the mid-1960s, we've been learning and writing about Maroons, descendants of rebel slaves throughout the Americas (but particularly in Suriname and French Guiana). Our geographical interests cover Afro-America, from Brazil to Toronto. We currently divide our time between Martinique and Paris."

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