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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: TAKING EXCEPTION: "HISTORY," HYPER-COLONIAL EXPLOITATION, AND THE TRANSPARENT CARIBBEAN
Author: VIRANJINI MUNASINGHE (Cornell University)   
Date/Time: Sat., 2:30 PM
Co-Author(s): VIRANJINI MUNASINGHE (Cornell University) 
Abstract: This paper draws inspiration from Trouillot’s analysis of the production of history. History, Trouillot theorizes is produced in that ambiguous space between historical process (what happened) and historical narrative (what is said to have happened) and the task he argues lies not in trying to understand the nature of history but in how history works—“for what history is changes with time and place or, better said, history reveals itself only through the production of specific narratives.” This paper is an inquiry into the “history” that has produced the Caribbean as a regional exception to other world areas because of its history of hyper colonial exploitation. Area scholars, including Trouillot, have persuasively argued that Caribbean peoples have a specific awareness of historicity and heterogeneity due to the abrupt rupture caused by colonialism that effectively created the Caribbean as we know it today. Drawing on the histories of other world areas (Thailand because it is understood to have been “undercolonized” and U.S. which is also a nation based on immigrant and forced labor) this paper attempts to critically engage the exception thesis from a comparative perspective. The paper will argue that the Caribbean is not an exception but in fact an amplification of the norm—that is, the extreme historical conditions of Caribbean societies appear to make them exceptions only in so far as they have the capacity to render transparent social and cultural processes that are muted in other societies. I hope to make this argument by drawing a link between histories of exceptions and/or norms and prerogatives driving nation-states. Specifically, the paper will analyze how the nation-state form and its homogenizing logic, sets the appropriate empirical foundation for the production of normative conceptual (anthropological) categories thereby peripheralizing areas that do not “empirically conform”—the exceptions.

Program Number: 4-0750
Session Title: HISTORY, MEMORY, GLOBALIZATION: IN HONOR OF MICHEL-ROLPH TROUILLOT
Session Sponsor: American Ethnological Society
Session Date/Time: Sat., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): RICHARD PRICE (College of William & Mary), BRACKETTE WILLIAMS (University of Arizona) 
Chair(s): RICHARD PRICE (College of William & Mary)  
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