How is the memory of slavery represented by Belizean women in literature?
How has the history of colonisation in Belize impacted upon the formation of cultural identities?
What is the specific use of the novel, as a cultural form, able to tell us about the connections between memory and identity? What can it include that traditional, hegemonic narratives exclude?
To investigate the cultural memory of slavery in an under-researched country
Despite its proximity to the Caribbean, Belize has so far been occluded from Atlantic wide studies of memories of slavery. The project will draw on Bolland’s historical studies (1979, 1997, 2003) to examine the specificity of Belizean logwood slavery whilst addressing how a sense of this past has been produced or silenced, in relation to colonial rule, slavery and resistance (Hesse, 2002).
To investigate the complexities of Belizean cultural identity
Hall (1993) insists upon acknowledgement of the deep and critical differences that characterise postcolonial identity. His framework will be used to explore the specificities of multi-cultural identity in Belize, recognising the influence of colonisation, immigration, occupation and recent independence.
To establish the importance of Belizean women’s writing
Building on Condé and Lonsdale (1999), the project will critically examine the work of internationally recognised Belizean author, Zee Edgell and lesser known writing by a number of Belizean women in order to interrogate how literature constructs gendered relationships with the past. Analysis of these women’s work will provide insight into an overlooked area of the emerging Caribbean canon.
To contribute to knowledge
Addressing an under researched area, the project will investigate how storytelling affords Belizean women a space to explore their colonial history. It will specifically enhance discussions surrounding the legacies of slavery, and how memories are buried and silenced in postcolonial sites.