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Free Up Yuh Self - Transgressive Bodies and Contestations in Carnival

Free Up Yuh Self - Transgressive Bodies and Contestations in Carnival

Free Up Yuh Self - Transgressive Bodies and Contestations in Carnival

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Free Up Yuh Self: Disrupting Gender, Sexuality, Race and Finding Agency in Carnival

Histories of race, class, gender and sexual resistance continue to inform carnivals across the world. It is through our creativity, expression and performances that Caribbean people find ways to contest dominant ideas and create new meanings. In short, carnival is a time of agency for masqueraders. In this discussion, carnival scholars from across the world explore how people utilize spaces of festivity within regional and diaspora carnival celebrations to confront, negotiate, disrupt and transgress norms, mores and boundaries of respectability within the spaces that they are located. By incorporating academic, literary and artistic work, panelists also discuss how carnivals allow people to find agency in their participation in the festivals, the new meanings that emerge within carnival spaces and the importance of these meanings in continuing a tradition of resistance.


Moderator:    Dr. Nikoli Attai, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto

Dr. Attai has concentrated on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork across four countries (Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago) to explore transgressive gender and sexual relations and practices across the Anglophone Caribbean communities. Dr. Attai explores the ways that sexual minorities – and specifically trans people – create communities of internal exile within the Caribbean, despite being deeply affected by politically and culturally sanctioned transphobia. His current project involves working with community archivists primarily in Trinidad and Tobago to produce and curate an archive of queer life in that country.

Email: nikoli.attai@mail.utoronto.ca

Panelist    Dr. Kai Barratt, School of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Technology, Jamaica

Dr. Kai Barratt is a lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica. Her research interests include exploring social media platforms as a space for carnival performance.  In addition, she looks at the extension of the Trinidad-style carnival to other sites in the Caribbean particularly in Jamaica. She is currently working on projects related to the export of the Trinidad-style parties (fetes) to Jamaica as well as the self-presentation strategies of soca artistes on social media. Dr. Barratt is a social media enthusiast, and her own blog focuses on socio-cultural issues surrounding the Caribbean style carnival.

Email: kai.a.barratt@gmail.com   Blog: kaibarratt.wordpress.com

Panelist  :   Dr. Sue Ann Barratt, Lecturer, Institute for Gender and Development Studies, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. 


Sue Ann is a Lecturer at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus where she teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, holding a BA in Media and Communication Studies with Political Science, MA Communication Studies, and PhD Interdisciplinary Gender Studies.  Her research areas are interpersonal interaction, human communication conflict, social media use and its implications, gender and ethnic identities with a focus on mixedness, mental health and gender-based violence, and Carnival and cultural studies. Her work has been published in several journals, including the Journal of Intercultural Studies, Journal of International Women’s Studies and the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies. She has also contributed to several edited collections including, Indo-Caribbean Feminist Thought: Genealogies, Theorizing and Enactments, edited by Gabrielle Hosein and Lisa Outar, and The Palgrave International Handbook of Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification edited by Zarine L. Rocha and Peter J. Aspinall. Through her work at the IGDS she continues to be a collaborator with and ally of the Caribbean women’s movement and other social justice movements in the region.

Email: Sue-Ann.Barratt@sta.uwi.edu

Panelist  : Ryan Persadie, PhD Candidate, Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto 

Ryan Persadie is a PhD candidate in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. He holds a MA in Ethnomusicology and Sexual Diversity Studies from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario. His doctoral research investigates queer Indo-Caribbean diasporas and how performance, and specifically Anglophone Caribbean popular music, dance, and embodiment, offer salient archives for descendants of Indian indenture to negotiate, as well as disrupt hetero-/homonormative notions of sexual citizenship, belonging, desire, identity, and "Pride" in Toronto and New York City. 

Email: ryan.persadie@mail.utoronto.ca 

Panelist    :  Jade Nixon, PhD Student, Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto 

Jade's doctoral research foregrounds the beauty of Black gathering that Carnival and feteing make possible in the world. The site of this beauty is also the site of her joy. 

Email: Jadetoneshianixon@gmail.com

Blog: https://www.kzoo.edu/praxis/carnival/


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