A Conference was planned for the year 2000 on the Theme: The Intellectual Traditions of the Caribbean. I was invited and submitted this Paper: Defining the Caribbean by its Contradictions. The paper was accepted for presentation at the Conference which did not take place. It is therefore referenced here as a Mimeograph Paper.
Defining the Caribbean by its Contradictions does not describe the Intellectual Traditions of the Caribbean directly. Rather, it proposes the major contradictions and cross-currents of Caribbean experience which shape and influence ways of knowing, patterns of thought, mindsets, and genres of argumentation from which Caribbean Intellectual Traditions emerge as they seek to address the unresolved tensions inherent in these contradictions. Implicitly the paper asserts that Caribbean Intellectual Traditions are dynamic and not static and have to be understood from the perspective of imperatives that are neither fixed nor final.
The Paper explores six major contradictions and cross-currents that mark the Caribbean. These are:
- Migrant mainstreams
- Dominant minorities and marginal majorities
- Modern societies of modest means
- Cultural cradle on the economic periphery
- Common history, identity and destiny punctuated by diverse insularities
- Creative folk and conforming intelligentsia.