Prof. Gloria Wekker visits University of Curaçao
21-21 November 2017
Prof. Gloria Wekker (Emeritus Professor Gender and Ethnicity, University of Utrecht) participated in a number of activities in Curaçao, in co-operation with the Ministry of Social Welfare (SOAW) and as Advisory Board member of the research project ‘Cultural Practices of Citizenship under Conditions of Fragmented Sovereignty: Gendered and Sexual Citizenship in Curaçao and Bonaire'.
On Tue 21 November 2017 Prof. Wekker participated in a workshop on gender and culture on the island, wherein activists, researchers and outreach workers who have significant experience with gender-related issues shared their views and experiences on how culture shapes and is shaped by gender.
On Thu 23 November 2017 Prof. Wekker gave a lecture at the General Faculty, University of Curaçao on her recent study ‘White Innocence’ and what implications it might have in the context of the Dutch Caribbean. The lecture explored a central paradox of Dutch culture: the passionate denial of racial discrimination and colonial violence coexisting alongside aggressive racism and xenophobia. Accessing a cultural archive built over 400 years of Dutch colonial rule, it fundamentally challenges Dutch racial exceptionalism by undermining the dominant narrative of the Netherlands as a ‘gentle’ and ‘ethical’ nation.
On Fri 24 November 2017 Prof. Wekker facilitated a day-long seminar to mark the International Day against violence and discrimination against women and girls. The seminar was organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare and brought together researchers, social workers, officials and civil servants. It addressed the question of violence against women and the need for a comprehensive gender policy on the island following the constitutional changes of 10/10/10.
Sexual Diversity Movie night
September 21, 2017
On September 21, the project co-organized together with International Queer and Migrant Film Festival, Casa Moderna (gallery and artist collective) and our civil society partner Fundashon Orguyo Korsou (FOKO), a ‘Sexual Diversity Movie Night’.
The event was a pre-gay pride event, leading up to the Pride Walk the following week. Three short films were shown: Lugares de Medo e Ódio (Places of Fear and Hatred) by Alexandre Nakahara (Brazil), 10 Ave Maria by Juan Francisco Pardo and Ryan Oduber (Aruba) and Moments by Sharelly Emanuelson (Curacao).
After the screenings, there was a panel where Marnix van Thiel, Marfa Wawoe and Wigbertson Julian Isenia discussed issues of race, religion and sexuality in Curacao. Can one be religious and Queer? How do racism and classism come into play within Queer liberation struggles and or the dating scene. These are questions raised by the panel. The panel was moderated by Marlon Reina (FOKO).
We want to thank Casa Moderna, FOKO and the International Queer and Migrant Film Festival for their support.
September 5, 2017
On Monday, September 4th 2017, we kicked off the project Cultural Practices of Citizenship under Fragmented Sovereignty: Gendered and Sexual Citizenship in Curacao and Bonaire by holding a stakeholders meeting at the University of Curacao.
Members of the organizations that were present were Fundashon Orguyo Korsou (FOKO), Sentro Di Dama (SEDA), ALIANSA pa Kombatí Abuso kontra di Mucha i Violensha Doméstiko, student council and faculty members of the University of Curacao, National Archaeological Anthropological Memory Management (NAAM), Ministry of Justice/ OCWS and Trinity Incorporated, among others.
Dr Rose Mary Allen introduced the research team, promoters and advisory board, while the PhD candidates Jacqueline Martis and Wigbertson Julian Isenia gave a more in-depth presentation about their respective doctoral projects.
The stakeholders found it relevant that the project aims to not only translate theoretical concepts from the Anglophone and Dutch academic world to Papiamentu but also develop a theory on gender and sexuality from the local contexts of Curaçao and Bonaire in Papiamentu.
Also, the issue of how we can collaborate on sharing information was discussed. The stakeholders will keep us informed on new and old publication on the topics in Papiamentu, as well as give access to relevant gatekeepers and participants. The project, on the other hand, will keep an audio-visual archive of lectures, presentations and discussion panels accessible for a wider audience.
Also, some stakeholders urged to invite more local scholars and feminist researchers from the Caribbean to collaborate on the project, and specifically to the workshops and lectures in Curacao.
Two key points of interest, according to the stakeholders should be the role of the media in presenting 'alternative facts' and Christian groups propagandizing homophobic ideas. How do people with purportedly different and contradictory subcultures enact sexual citizenship in Curacao?
Some concrete collaborations were proposed such as a workshops/lectures with and for the students of the University of Curacao, organized together with the student council and civil society partners. But also, possible future collaborations were discussed between the project members and civil society partners and between the civil society partners themselves.
The next public event will be the 'Sexual Diversity Movie Night' on September 21 and a lecture and workshop by Prof. Dr. Gloria Wekker and dr. Sruti Bala.
Lecture Egbert Alejandro Martina
May 3, 2017
"Thinking from the Bottom: The Ambiguous Position of the Dutch Caribbean"
On May 3th 2017, the NWO Project supported and participated in the seminar "Relinked, (Relayed), Related: a Reflection", an event aimed at young scholars situated in the Netherlands invested in Caribbean Studies. The lecture was attended by 18 participants, mainly PhD and Graduate students, from different disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Martina's lecture considered how the association between blackness and waste material and racial capitalism organize space. The longstanding relationship between racial capitalism and the abjection of blackness has not only condemned black people to deprived areas, but also made black communities particularly vulnerable to environmental toxicants.
The analysis focused on the effects of racial capitalism and the abjection of blackness by examining two geographies of pollution: the districts Wishi/ Marchena in Curaçao and Nieuw Engeland (New England) - a neighborhood in Hoogvliet where many Dutch Caribbeans settled in the 1980s.
Martina argued that there is "a curious consistency" between these ostensibly distinct areas that is grounded on notions of "black contamination." Approaching this issue from the context of air pollution will make visible the bodily impact of transnational (and persistent) patterns of anti-black violence. Martina examined the way in which black performance and spiritual practices, specifically tambú and brua, have disrupted the symbolic association between blackness and disposability concluded the lecture.
The discussion following the lecture touched on the impact of state policies, and the implications of thinking from the bottom. The question of independence and responsability emerged as a way of thinking from out different disciplinary and professional backgrounds.
Organizers: Inez Blanca van der Scheer, Emma van Meyeren (Students rMA Literary Studies, University of Amsterdam)
Website Seminar: https://relinkedrelayedrelated.tumblr.com/About
On the Politics of Respectability in Colonial Curaçao
March 27, 2017
Dr. Rose Mary Allen is a pioneering oral historian and Senior Researcher at the University of Curaçao. She is the primary project partner in the NWO-funded research project “Cultural Practices of Citizenship under Conditions of Fragmented Sovereignty: Gendered and Sexual Citizenship in Curaçao and Bonaire” (2017-2022, with PI Sruti Bala, University of Amsterdam).
Allen’s visit to Amsterdam served as a preparatory meeting and informal launch of the project. Her lecture and workshop showed how important it is to turn around the usual developmentally-tainted route of scholars from the West going to offer their knowledge in the Global South.
In a lecture hosted by Atria – Institute for Gender Equality and Women’s History titled “Contesting respectability: sexual politics in post-emancipation colonial Curaçao” (27 March 2017), Allen analysed how, following the abolition of slavery on the Dutch Caribbean islands (1863), a politics of ‘respectability’ emerged as a dispositive of governance, with the Roman Catholic Church taking the lead in instructing and policing the population. Respectability became the concept with which the supposed hypersexuality of Afro-Curaçaoan culture and the assumed destabilisation following the end of slavery could be regulated. Sharing numerous examples from her own oral history based research in the past two decades, Allen examined the devices and strategies developed on a communal level to commemorate and remember slavery. Songs from tambu festivities, proverbs and poems attest to a search for self-dignity and resistance to the gatekeeping function of ‘respectability’. Allen argued that respectability carried an intrinsic ambivalence: it guaranteed social mobility and advancement to some but at the cost of a collective self-constraint and degradation.
The Q&A was moderated by Esther Captain, oral historian at HvA.
Unheard Voices: Critical Perspectives on Oral History
March 28-29, 2017
The workshop focused on the methodology of oral history and the specific analytical and ethical questions it raises, especially when reflecting on subjugated lives and voices and sensitive, taboo issues. How to access and approach people who are ashamed or otherwise uninterested in talking about their past? How to balance the search for life stories and a thematic exploration? What needs to be remembered? Can we distinguish a ‘noble’ silence that needs to be respected from an ‘imposed’ silence? How to verify the reliability of sources? How to ask good questions? How to analyse, interpret and transmit an oral history research process? How to make sense of body language, humour, paralinguistic and performative elements? These are some of the questions that participants grappled with during the workshop, with inputs from Rose Mary Allen, based on her own extensive research experiences.
The workshop was attended by Research MA students from UvA, VU, Leiden, art academies and Institute of Social Studies in the Hague.