Date of Degree

6-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Robert Reid-Pharr

Committee Members

Ashley Dawson

Mark McBeth

Subject Categories

Africana Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

Keywords

gay and dancehall, Gay Caribbean, Queer Caribbean, Caribbean Gay Activists, LGBTQ Caribbean, Caribbean Writers

Abstract

My dissertation, The Making of a Queer Caribbean: Grassroots, Dancehall, and Literary Advocacy (1975-2015), provides a collective analysis of literature, dancehall performances, and grassroots movements as activist embodiments that have markedly influenced the contemporary history of the queer English-speaking Caribbean. Based on an examination of these movements, two fundamental questions emerge: What is the history of queerness in the Caribbean? How do literature, dancehall, and grassroots organizations function as social justice movements that have shaped LGBTQ history over the last forty years? I address these questions with an interdisciplinary approach that draws on archival collections and examines literary and lyrical productions. I analyze the data using Afro Diasporic theories and close readings of the literatures of writers such as Marlon James, Shani Mootoo, and Patricia Powell, and the lyrics of several dancehall artists. I argue that grassroots organizations, literature, and dancehall have functioned as social justice embodiments and engendered queer Caribbean culture. Ultimately, my project provides a genealogy of LGBTQ social justice in the region. This mapping of history will benefit researchers seeking to determine relationships and experiences that connect studies on Gender and Sexuality, the African Diaspora, Transnational Studies, Social Justice, and Caribbean Popular Culture.

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