Keynote Speakers

Prof Janet Polasky (University of New Hampshire, USA) and Dr Conrad James (University of Birmingham, UK)

Professor Janet Polasky is a specialist in Eighteenth-century Atlantic Revolution, comparative, urban, and women’s history. Her most recent book Revolutions Without Borders: the Call to Liberty in the Atlantic World (2015) discusses the role of the travellers who spread ideas of liberty and equality, from the American revolution to the declaration of Haitian independence, beyond national and linguistic borders. Professor Polasky has discussed how women and men disseminated these ideas through collaboration, long before the days of instant communications and social media. She has written widely on labor, urban history, and the active role of women in social change.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Dr Conrad James took his first degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona. He started his teaching career at the University of Durham and has held visiting positions at the University of Maryland, the University of California, Santa Cruz and Dartmouth College. He has published widely on 20th century Caribbean women’s writing, issues of gender and sexuality in the Spanish Caribbean and in the field of Afro-Caribbean literature. With a prime concentration on Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Dr James’s research explores Caribbean cultural production in terms of what it reveals concerning the significance of race thinking, the politics of movement, diaspora creativity and the emergence of new world philosophies. He also works on urban literatures and migrant sexualities.

The presence of Professor Janet Polasky and Dr Conrad James in our postgraduate symposium will boost discussions on anti-colonialism, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, multilingualism, identities, and interdisciplinary perspectives and methodologies, topics that are all thematic axes of this event. Academic exchanges with the keynote speakers will also be fruitful for postgraduates, early career researchers and lecturers, across disciplines and departments, working on migration, memory, and gender studies.