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We Must Learn to Sit Together and Talk About a Little Culture

We Must Learn to Sit Together and Talk About a Little Culture

9781845231088
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The beginnings of the anti-colonial struggle
in Jamaica coincided with the childhood and early adolescence of Sylvia
Wynter, providing the motivation for this, the first phase of her
important body of work. The essays and articles collected here go beyond
making an argument against colonialism, but set out to decolonize the
nature of the discourse that legitimated the imperial order. At the time
of their writing, Wynter was a practicing novelist, an innovative
playwright, a scholar of Spanish Caribbean history, and an incisive
literary critic with a gift for the liveliest kind of polemics. This
intellectual virtuosity is evident in these wide-ranging essays that
include an exploration of C.L.R. James's writings on cricket, Bob Marley
and the counter-cosmogony of the Rastafari, and the Spanish epoch of
Jamaican history (including a pioneering examination of Bernado de
Balbuena, epic poet and Abbot of Jamaica 1562-1627).
Across this varied range of topics, a coherent thread of argument
emerges. In the vein of C. L. R. James, the imperative of her work has
always been to reconceptualize the history of the region, and therefore
of the modern world, from a world-systemic perspective; that is, no
longer from the normative European perspective, but rather more
inclusively, from the "gaze from below" of the neo-serf (i.e. Indian)
and the ex-slave (i.e. Negro), which is "the ultimate underside of
modernity."
Strongly influenced by Marx, together with Black thinkers such as
Aimé Césaire, Jean Price-Mars, W. E. B. Du Bois and Frantz Fanon, and
with an appreciation of the insights brought by the New Studies of the
Sixties (including that of Black feminism), Wynter's work has sought,
from its beginnings, to find a comprehensive explanatory system able to
integrate these knowledges born of struggle.