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Keynote Speakers


Dr Erna BrodberDr Erna Brodber

B.A, M.S.C, PhD(University College of the West Indies)

Probably no one else in the West Indies, apart from Wilson Harris has revolutionised the art of fiction as much as Erna Brodber

Erna Brodber is a Jamaican writer, sociologist, social activist and cultural historian. An author of four novels: Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home (1980), Myal (1988), Louisiana (1994) and The Rainmaker's Mistake (2007), she has also written extensive articles for the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Jamaica and has produced works of Non-fiction. In addition to teaching at the University of The West Indies, Erna has been Dupont Visiting Scholar at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland Virginia, Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Clark/Atlanta University in Georgia and Visiting Professor at East Carolina University, Johannes Gutenberg University, Gettysburg College and University of California (Santa Cruz).

Research Interests

  • My work, fiction and non-fiction is devoted to helping Africans of the diaspora to understand themselves and hopefully to consequently undertake with clarity the job of social (re) construction which we have to do. To better communicate with this target group I use folk songs, etc., which are well known within the culture to make my points and to inform a group often from archival data. I inject information which I think this group needs to have, and which I arrive at from my investigations, into my novels. This emphasis on non-Western forms and ways of understanding functions as a challenge to colonial practises and ways of ordering the world, while also valuing traditions that colonialism attempted to eradicate.

Selected Publications


Articles for the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Jamaica:

  • Abandonment of Children in Jamaica (1974)

  • Yards in the City of Kingston (1975)

  • Reggae and Cultural Identity in Jamaica (1981)

  • Perceptions of Caribbean Women: Toward a Documentation of Stereotypes (1982)


  • The Second Generation of Freemen in Jamaica, 1907-1944. (University Press of Florida, 2004)

  • The Continent of Black Consciousness: on the history of the African diaspora from slavery to the present. (New Beacon Books, 2003)

  • Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home (Play) - adapted from the novel (1990)

Dr Syblle Fischer

Dr Sibylle Fischer

M.A (Berlin), PhD (Columbia)

Associate Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; affiliated with Comparative Literature and Africana Studies. Homepage

sibylle dot fischer at nyu dot edu

Her work is situated at the intersections between literature, history, political philosophy and aesthetics


Sibylle Fischer's book Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (Duke University Press 2004) has won numerous awards including, the (2006) Bryce Wood Award of the Latin American Studies Association for Outstanding book on Latin America in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the (2006) Katherine Singer Kovacs Award from the Modern Language Association for Outstanding book on Iberian and Latin American literatures and cultures and the (2005) Frantz Fanon Award of The Caribbean Philosophical Association. Modernity Disavowed; Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution places the Haitian Revolution at the centre of the development of western modernity. Through extensive historical and cultural research in archives in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the study makes a compelling argument about the significance of race, national and political identities as a reflection of fear and trauma in the new world during revolutionary times.


Research Interests

  • Latin American and Caribbean literatures, literatures and cultures of the 19th century, literature and national independence literature, literacy and orality, literature of the Americas, transnational culture, the cultures of abolitionism and slave resistance, the Black Atlantic, the Haitian Revolution, literature and dictatorship, cultural, aesthetic, and political theory.


Selected Publications


  • Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. (Duke University Press, April 2004)
  • Cirilo Villaverde, Cecilia Valdés or El Angel Hill. Trans. Helen Lane. Introduction and notes. (Oxford UP, 2005).


  • “Bolívar in Haiti: Republicanism in the Revolutionary Atlantic.” Forthcoming in Haiti and theAtlantic World, edited by Luis Duno-Gottberg and Rafael Dalleo. U of Missippi P. 2013.
  • “History and Catastrophe.” A response to Susan Buck-Morss’ Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History. Small Axe 2010
  • “Haiti: Fantasies of Bare Life.” Small Axe, June 2007. Reprint in The Idea of Haiti, ed. Millery Polyne. Forthcoming U of Minnesota P. 2013.
  • “Unthinkable History? Some Reflections on the Haitian Revolution and Modernity on the Periphery" Realidad Historica, eds. Nelson Maldonado Torres and Walter Mignolo. Ed Centroamericana. Revised version of “Unthinkable History?” 2005. Forthcoming in Spanish translation.
  • “The Haitian Revolution.” The Blackwell Companion to Latin American Culture and Literature. Ed. Sara Castro-Klarén.
  • “Modernity Disavowed.” Response to Clevis Headley and Neil Roberts. Journal of Caribbean Studies vol. 33, no. 2, 2005.


Dr Robbie Shilliam robbie2013.jpg


B.A., M.A., DPhil, (Sussex)

Senior Lecturer In International Relations. Queen Mary, University of London & Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, Queen Mary. Homepage

r dot shilliam at qmul dot ac dot uk

Robbie blogs at and has a personal blog at


Research Interests

Robbie's research interests consists of three overlapping streams:

  • Investigating "Atlantic Modernity" :

    I am working to retrieve the archives and traditions of thought of enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Americas in order to reassess the framed understandings of enlightenment, modernity and capitalist development.

  • Mapping global interconnections between (post) colonised subjects:

    While most postcolonial theory focuses on the relationship between the colonised and coloniser, I am exploring ways to theorise the global relationships between differentially situated (post) colonial subjects. I seek to map out the way in which these relations have inspired and engendered critiques of a colonially inflected global modernity. My current major research project explores the American influences of Black Power and Rastafari upon the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific.

  • Decolonising International Relations (IR) Theory:

    The archives and traditions of thought that I currently engage with focus upon suffering, surviving and resisting a (neo-)colonial world order. However, they do so by utilising understandings of time, space and relationality that fall outside of the broadly profane, impersonal and developmental frameworks of modernity assumed by historical sociology and implicit in the major frameworks of IR theory. I am therefore exploring the extent to which IR theory needs to be decolonised in terms of its accepted canon, broad assumptions, and central concepts.

Selected Publications



  • The Black Pacific: Anticolonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections. (Bloomsbury Academic Press, Forthcoming 2014)
  • (edited) International Relations and Non-Western Thoughts: Imperialism, Colonialism and Investigations of Global Modernity. (London: Routledge, 2010)
  • German Thought and International Relations: The Rise and Fall of a Liberal Project. (London: Palgrave, 2009)
  • (co-edited) Silencing Human Rights: Critical Approaches to a Contested Project. (London: Palgrave, 2008)

Book Chapters:

  • “The Intimate Other: Hegel’s Exploration of a European Self”, in Ritu Vij (ed.), Hegelian Encounters: Subjects to International Relations. (Palgrave, forthcoming 2013), 20pp.
  • “The Spirit of Exchange”, in S. Seth (ed.), Postcolonialism and International Relations. (London: Routledge, 2013), pp.166-182

Journal Articles:

  • “Redemption from Development: Amartya Sen, Rastafari and Promises of Freedom”. Postcolonial Studies (forthcoming)
  • “Forget English Freedom, Remember Atlantic Slavery: Common Law, Commercial Law, and the Significance of Slavery for Classical Political Economy”. New Political Economy (forthcoming)
  • "Civilization and the Poetics of Slavery", Thesis Eleven: Critical Theory and Historical Sociology, 108 (1), 2012 pp.97-116