AbstractsPolitical Science

Nation And Diaspora: Caribbean Identities And Community Politics In The Fiction Of Earl Lovelace

by Cherif Diatta

Institution: Tulane University
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2058042
Full text PDF: http://louisdl.louislibraries.org/u?/p16313coll12,4867


Scholars have often viewed nation and diaspora as opposing concepts. Such a binary perception is not useful for the establishment of a harmonious nation where multi-diasporic groups are compelled to cohabit. This study attempts to reconcile nation and diaspora. Reading Earl Lovelace’s fiction, I argue that in ethnically diverse countries like Trinidad, migrant populations can maintain their specific diasporic identities and still come together as a nation. Trinidad is inhabited by diasporas and its various people should be seen as such. In this study, the main diasporas in Trinidad include Afro-Trinidadians, Indo-Trinidadians, and white Creoles. Other minor diasporic groups include the Chinese, the Lebanese, and Syrians. The diasporic conception of Trinidad, where the original natives are a small minority, helps to ward off any autochthonous, indigenous and tribal territorial claims that potentially disrupt the social fabric. I argue that the promotion of diasporic consciousness can be a sine qua non pathway towards the formation of a consolidated multi-ethnic island of Trinidad. In practical terms, this means that the different diasporas in Trinidad are likely to come together if they are allowed to revitalize homeland cultures as they contribute to the national space. This study traces the evolution of Lovelace’s nationalist discourse, which progresses from a focus on the Afro-Caribbean male diaspora to an incorporation of other diasporas as well as women, as he imaginatively figures the future of the Trinidadian nation. This shift underscores Lovelace’s growing self-consciousness about the imperative to negotiate and reconstruct ethnic and gender identities in order to create a diverse Trinidadian nation.