Carole Boyce-Davies is the H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters and Professor of Africana Studies and Literatures in English at Cornell University. She is the author of the prize-wining Left of Karl Marx. The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (2008); the classic Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (1994); Caribbean Spaces. Escape Routes from Twilight Zones (2013) and a bi-lingual children’s story Walking/An Avan (2016/2017) in Haitian Kreyol and English. In addition to over a hundred essays, articles and book chapters, Dr. Boyce-Davies has also published thirteen critical editions on African, African Diaspora and Caribbean literature and culture such as the two-volume collection of critical and creative writing Moving Beyond Boundaries (1995): International Dimensions of Black Women’s Writing (volume 1), Black Women’s Diasporas (volume 2); the 3-volume Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2008) and Claudia Jones Beyond Containment: Autobiographical Reflections, Poetry, Essays (2011) A member of the scientific committee for UNESCO’s updated General History of Africa, she edited the epistemological forum on “Global Blackness” for the African Diaspora volume. Her forthcoming contracted monograph is titled Alternative Presidents. Black Women’s Right to Political Leadership (2021). She is a past-president of the Caribbean Studies Association which organized under her leadership the first CSA Conference in Haiti in 2016.
Title: “The Ubiquitous Door of Return and No Return/ Belonging and UnBelonging”
Abstract: Dionne Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return provides us with a meditative engagement with that mythical and actual “door of return” constructed with a particularly emotive utility in mind. Used diasporically as metaphor, as photographic site, as poetic reference, an iconic Sankofa place or non place captured cinematographically it references the impossibility of healing the trauma of ancestral trans-atlantic loss. Yet once departed and once returned generations later, we realize the multiplicity of these departure points and the ways of belonging and unbelonging in any location. This is a good place twenty years later to think of these multiple belongings and unbelongings.