Aarhus Universitets segl


The Virgin Islands in the Colonial Imaginary - postponed to 2022

Stream at the conference Colonial Entanglements held by the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study

Oplysninger om arrangementet


onsdag 29. april 2020, kl. 12:22 - lørdag 2. maj 2020, kl. 12:22


Puerto Rico


Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study

The United States Virgin Islands is a place layered with multiple imaginaries. It is a dream destination for cruise ship passengers and other tourists and the setting of films and a long list of novels taking place in an America’s Paradise fraught with murders and romance written by authors having spent shorter or longer periods of time on the islands. But it is also a contested place negotiated in an everyday struggle for economic, cultural and practical self-determination.

This stream engages with the way in which different imaginaries shape these negotiations from both a writerly, scholarly and cultural perspective. We address the question of how to study and write the history and futures of VI culture in a (post)colonial Caribbean between a colonial Danish past marred by slavery and a US present with uncertain and difficult terms for the development of national or local identities. How should we understand this fragile history in relation to the political and identity-related entanglements it is caught up in? And what possible roles do different imaginaries play in understanding this history and in envisioning new futures?

Special focus is put on the history of literature in relation to these questions. VI history and identity has been reflected in a tradition of literature stretching from Ding Sixto’s utopian Time and I, through the poetic endeavours of J.A. Jarvis, P.I. Gimenez, Habib Tiwoni, Marwin Williams and many others, to a growing number of writers describing life in the islands and envisioning possible futures in genres ranging from the realistic to the speculative. In literature, the past is revisited and rewritten and futures projected and perceived in order to chart and set the trajectories of the VI in a changing world.

Chairs: Tiphanie Yanique (Emory University) and Mads Anders Baggesgaard (Aarhus University)