Erotic Cartographies: Decolonization and the Queer Caribbean Imagination (Critical Caribbean Studies) (Paperback)
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Erotic Cartographies uses subjective mapping, a participatory data collection technique, to demonstrate how Trinidadian same-sex-loving women use their gender performance, erotic autonomy, and space-making practices to reinforce and resist colonial ascriptions on subject bodies. The women strategically embody their sexual identities to challenge imposed subject categories and to contest their invisibility and exclusion from discourses of belonging. Erotic Cartographies refers to the processes of mapping territories of self-knowing and self-expression, both cognitively in the imagination and on paper during the mapping exercise, exploring how meaning is given to space, and how it is transformed. Using the women’s quotes and maps, the book focuses on the false binary of public-private, the practices of home and family, and religious nationalism and spiritual self-seeking, to demonstrate the women’s challenges to the structural, symbolic, and interpersonal violence of colonial discourses and practices related to gender, knowledge, and power in Trinidadian society.
About the Author
KRYSTAL NANDINI GHISYAWAN is an independent Indo-Trinidadian queer scholar, educator, and activist currently living in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
"Erotic Cartographies is a significant and a very welcome contribution to the small but growing body of scholarship on same-sex loving women in the Caribbean. Through subjective maps, Ghisyawan teases out Trinidadian women’s articulations of identity, passion, friendship, and family, as well as how they resist homophobia and find spaces of safety and belonging. It is a finely crafted study that is theoretically and methodologically rich, clearly produced with much care and respect. A vital text in Queer, Caribbean and decolonial studies."
— Kamala Kempadoo
"Ghisyawan makes an outstanding contribution to Caribbean knowledge production in this profound and insightful study of Caribbean sexuality and same-sex desire. Through a much-needed focus on same-sex-loving women and space-making practices, she offers a unique decolonial methodology through subjective mapping and intersectional feminist praxis that demonstrates complex understandings of safety, visibility, place, identity, and queerness. Erotic Cartographies locates and affirms queer Caribbean belonging and spaces by examining lived experiences, creativity, spirituality, and erotic subjectivities that are fiercely and powerfully defiant."
— Angelique V. Nixon
"For Ghisyawan, the erotic is a kind of self-knowing that allows us to reshape space into safe havens, shifting and eliminating the boundaries of what it means to transgress, while also intuiting unsafe spaces and knowing the kinds of performances that become necessary around the potential hostilities of family members, friends, coworkers, and strangers. Ultimately, Erotic Cartographies challenges us to consider the role the erotic plays in our lives as what moves us toward decolonial spaces that are more than just safe enough. By allowing ourselves to inhabit our erotic selves more fully, we also allow ourselves to map the world anew."
— Jessica Díaz Rodríguez