“What ‘Minor Histories’ Allow Us to See”: Donette Francis on Writing African Diaspora
“I am deeply interested in what ‘minor’ stories enable us to see....How is it that these artists are trying to go against the grander narratives about what we think about Caribbean stories or art history and practices? And what do the[se artists] do differently, and how do their gestures or their commitments––their aesthetic commitments––allow us to see a different kind of project and politics of placemaking?”
In this episode
Caitlin Woolsey speaks with Donette Francis, an associate professor of English at the University of Miami, Coral Gables and a founding member of the Hemispheric Caribbean Studies Collective. Donette's research and writing investigate place, aesthetics, and cultural politics in the African diaspora and they discuss the politics of making visible what she calls “minor histories.” Across her work on the novel as well as in the realm of contemporary art, Donette invites us to ask: What does attending to these histories allow us to see?
Donette Francis is the founding co-director for the Center for Global Black Studies and past director of the American Studies Program at the University of Miami, Coral Gables. She is the author of Fictions of Feminine Citizenship: Sexuality and the Nation in Contemporary Caribbean Literature, and is currently working on two book projects: Illegibilities: Caribbean Cosmopolitanisms and the Problem of Form, an intellectual history of the Anglophone Caribbean’s transnational literary culture from 1940 to 1970, and Creole Miami: Black Arts in the Magic City, a sociocultural history of Black arts practice in Miami from the 1970s to the present.
This conversation was recorded on December 13, 2022.