Drawing on both personal experience and critical theory, Carole Boyce Davies illuminates the dynamic complexity of Caribbean culture and traces its migratory patterns throughout the Americas. Both a memoir and a scholarly study, Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones explores the multivalent meanings of Caribbean space and community in a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspective.
From her childhood in Trinidad and Tobago to life and work in communities and universities in Nigeria, Brazil, England, and the United States, Carole Boyce Davies portrays a rich and fluid set of personal and professional experiences. She reflects on these movements to understand the interrelated dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality embedded in Caribbean spaces, as well as many Caribbean people’s traumatic and transformative stories of displacement, migration, exile, and sometimes return.
Throughout, she demonstrates how a Caribbean perspective has linked her political vision to broader currents of the Black World including the Civil Rights Movement, the environmental catastrophes of Haiti, the failure of the New Orleans levies during Hurricane Katrina, and the use of modern technologies such as smartphones and global positioning systems within the Caribbean. Ultimately, Boyce Davies reestablishes the connections between theory and practice, intellectual work and activism, and personal and private space.
“The Personal Is Academic” — Review by Tatiana McInnis
“Carole Boyce Davies has deftly used the personal to illuminate the universal. Her writing about her mother’s innate brilliance and sauciness, like her wonderful autobiographical pilgrimage from Trinidad to Upstate New York, proves, yet again, why she is so crucial to us as a cultural critic. I can’t think of a book that better combines the experiential with the theoretical, the political with the commonsensical, in prose that is lyrical, evocative, and lucid.”
–Kenneth A. McClane, W.E.B. DuBois Professor of Literature, Cornell University
“With a superb alloy of intellect and imagination, Carole Boyce Davies has brought exceptional excitement to paradigms of space that conceal more than they reveal. Caribbean Spaces: Escapes From Twilight Zones advances the extreme of phenomenal questions. Her endeavor here is heroic.”
–Leroy Clarke, Caribbean artist
“Persuasive and comprehensive, Caribbean Spaces achieves an intriguing sequence of intricate journeys through Caribbean and African diasporic cultural spaces, political landscapes, historiographies, and literary-artistic terrains, each keenly observed. The result is a powerful engagement of the politics and realities of diaspora with black women’s histories in particular. The voices of writers, poets, activists, and those of the author’s own family complete the lively, necessary concert.”
–Thomas Glave, author of Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh