Sylvia Wynter, on receipt of the Order of Jamaica, proposed that “the unique origins
and contemporary situation of the Caribbean call on us as its intellectuals to attempt to realize a now ecumenical-therefore, post-Western European, that is, post-monohumanistic, and complementarily post-monotheistic-conception of being human.” Wynter challenges us to decolonise what it means to be human, to understand the Caribbean’s history and contemporary situation to be central to understanding the global and interlocking crises we currently confront and to demand an ethical, collective responsibility of intellectuals for visioning and working to bring about more just and equitable futures.


Global feminisms have long been central to analysing the interlocking nature of gender, economic and ecological injustice, and how these relations overdetermine the human. Catalysed by a history of feminist, women’s and anti-colonial organising, and research and praxis, the formation of the Women and Development Studies (WDS) group in 1982, and the Centre for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) (later designated – Institute for Gender and Development Studies – IGDS) in 1993, represent key turning points in the intellectual history of The University of the West Indies (UWI), now celebrating its 70th anniversary. Caribbean activists(/-) intellectuals have long been concerned with organised, structural, historical and institutionalized inequalities and how these arrangements are navigated and embodied. To mark the 25th and 70th anniversaries of the establishment of the IGDS and The UWI respectively, the IGDS will host a Regional Conference on the theme “Global Feminisms & the Anti-Colonial Project.” Over the last 70 years, The UWI has stood at the vanguard of anti-colonial thought and action in the Caribbean. This is well exemplified in the teaching, research and outreach of the IGDS.


The simultaneity of thought and action produced within Caribbean and global south feminist freedom movements against the epistemic, ecological, structural and embodied violence of coloniality, neoliberal globalization, the state, institutions and individuals remain urgent. The theme of Global Feminisms & the Anti-Colonial Project calls for scholars to consider how anti/decolonial feminist perspectives and global feminisms are both critical and crucial in disrupting colonial and neo-colonial projects that have produced an entanglement of social and economic hierarchies, inequalities and ecological crisis driven by white, Western, masculinist, capitalist interests within our global arena.


What is this contemporary Caribbean situation that is also a global reality? In the wake of hurricane Maria and Irma, Caribbean countries have felt what it means to be on the frontline of ecological crisis wrought by a capitalist, consumerist, white supremacist, Western understanding of what it means to be human. The response to the crisis has too frequently served to entrench the very values at the root of climate change (for example, the suggestion that private capital is the only way to rebuild Barbuda, reversing the unique post-colonial land reform which established the island as public land.) Indeed, neo- liberal governance has emerged as economic fundamentalism across the globe for the past 40 years, drawing on, reinforcing and producing new forms of inequality and stratification.

Gender, as a key central organising logic of what it means to be human, continues to be central to the exclusionary experience of citizenship, violence and precarity.


And, as decolonial feminist thinkers increasingly argue, cannot be understood outside of the colonial project of racialization and its contemporary legacy.


In addition, a special 25th Anniversary focus (Subtheme 10) entitled “Critical Engagement with the Work of Eudine Barriteau, Patricia Mohammed, Rhoda Reddock” will honour and engage the work of the founding Heads of the Campus based Units of the IGDS. As the first Heads of the IGDS, Professors Barriteau, Mohammed and Reddock, among a second generation of professors of Gender Studies at the UWI (following Elsa Leo-Rhynie’s ascension to that rank in 1992), senior members of administration, activists, an artist and filmmaker with a long involvement in left politics and women’s organising, their contribution to The UWI, the Caribbean region and the world spans many areas and takes many forms.


This subtheme examines their intellectual grounding, thought, scholarship, activism,
advocacy, pedagogy, creative endeavour and leadership. It critically engages the theoretical propositions of these thinkers such as gender systems, gender justice, ideological and material relations of gender and gender negotiations, men as gendered beings, and attends to the thematic areas that have been the focus of their work such as power and leadership, gender, race and culture, Caribbean visualities, labour,
feminist political economy, men and masculinities, and love. This subtheme situates their work within the context of Global Feminisms & the Anti-Colonial Project.


Abstracts of no more than 250 words for individual papers, films, performances or book discussions, and no more than 300 words for panel and activist roundtable proposals can be submitted for consideration by clicking on the link below. Please note that we require individual paper abstracts, when submitting a panel proposal.