Spring 2022

Islands as Metaphor and Method

Islands have captured our imagination and entered the repertoire of human practices in numerous ways: as philosophical concepts, utopias, commercial and cultural entrepots, paradise getaways, high-security prisons, testing grounds, overseas colonies, spaces to quarantine the sick, and havens for shipwrecks and refugees. Islands function as physical spaces and metaphorical representations of the dialectic between belonging and exclusion, alterity and relationality, center and periphery, confinement and trespassing, archaism and transformation. Some islands have disappeared or been made invisible, their populations decimated or marginalized, while others continue to resist various pressures, from (neo)imperial imposition and integrationist policies to the effects of climate change. Still others have been artificially constructed as private assets or for government profit. Challenging the tendency to view the world as a mosaic of continents, scholars, artists and activists have been turning to islands as microcosms and catalysts of preservation, restoration, and coexistence. There has been a growing tendency to link the experiences, sensibilities, views, and worldviews of islanders—to extend Édouard Glissant’s poetics of relation, initially conceived with the Caribbean in mind—to the Mediterranean, the Pacific, and beyond. As islands materialize the intersection of cultures, languages, and societies, they demand a parallel interaction between disciplines and an archipelago of methodological approaches. How do these cultural, social, and linguistic intersections form? How are they formalized? In what ways are islands ideal harbors for the interaction of different disciplines? We welcome archipelagic reflections on islands as spaces, concepts, and methods.



All lectures begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted.  Locations vary by date.


“I wished I had a scythe”; or, Questions of Inheritance, Relation, and Haunting in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy

REN ELLIS NEYRA • Wesleyan University • via Zoom


The Chaney Children of the Danish West Indies: Slavery and Colonialism in Captive Performance

RASHIDA SHAW MCMAHON • Wesleyan University • via Zoom


Islands and the Production of Spatial Theory

JOHANNES RIQUET • Tampere University, Finland • Daniel Family Commons


An Island Named Zion

YANIV FELLER • Wesleyan University • via Zoom


Rapa Nui’s Errantries: Toward a Distant Archipelagic Reading

PAULA PARK• Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons



Island and Ocean Convergences: Oceania and Caribbean Connections and Multiplicity

JOANNA POBLETE • Claremont Graduate University • via Zoom


Archives of Olvido: Disappearances, Femicide, and Black Puerto Rican Life

YOMAIRA FIGUEROA • Michigan State University • via Zoom


Towards a Consciousness of Relation: Creolizing Holocaust Memory in Caribbean Art and Literature

SARAH CASTEEL•  Carleton University • CANCELLED


Insula in Fabula: Sardinia as Narrative and Text

FRANCESCO MARCO ARESU • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons


Cold War Archipelagos: Militarization, Performance, Ecology

KATHERINE ZIEN • McGill University • Daniel Family Commons



Islands on Sale: Reimagining the Ends of the Earth

ELIZABETH DELOUGHREY •University of California, Los Angeles • via Zoom