Professorial Inaugural Lecture: Cracks in the Edifice: Notes of a Native Daughter

Event Date(s): 19/04/2018

Location: UWI, School of Education (SOE) Auditorium

The Open Lectures Committee presents a Professorial Inaugural Lecture by Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw titled, Cracks in the Edifice: Notes of a Native Daughter.

The lecture takes place on April 19 at 6pm at the School of Education (SOE) Auditorium.

 To indicate your attendance, please email UWISTAevents@sta.uwi.edu or call 662-2002 ext. 83635.


Drawing primarily on the work of the poet Aimé Césaire, this lecture focuses on the difficulty in attempting to construct the idea of a Caribbean region that has been traumatized by a past that continues to haunt its present. As someone of Caribbean origin, as well as someone who writes both creatively and academically about the Caribbean, I have often felt the resonance of Frantz Fanon’s words: “These are the cracks in the edifice.” Fanon captured in this phrase, the indelible psychological scar left by the Caribbean region’s history.  Authors and artists across the region continue to explore the manifestations of these cracks across languages, generations, genres and genders. As such fragmentation, rather than unification, is my thematic motivator, scrutinizing the submarine dis-unity rather than attempting to reconstruct a romanticized whole. The lecture also examines the notion of a return to a homeland captured in Aimé Césaire’s poem Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a Return to My Native Land). The Cahier emphasizes the cyclical nature of our condition, repeating questions in repeating islands. So I ask: How do we move forward with a vision that is wide enough to include us all and to get us home? 

About Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw

Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw is a professor of French literature and creative writing at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. She has published scholarly articles and essays on Francophone Caribbean Literature and had co-edited several works including Border Crossings: ATrilingual  Anthology of Caribbean Women WritersMethods in Caribbean Research: LiteratureDiscourse, Culture; Echoes of the Haitian Revolution( 1804-2004); and Reinterpreting the Haitian Revolution and its Cultural Aftershocks. She has also published creative works. Four Taxis Facing North was her first collection of short stories and was translated into Italian. Mrs B, a novel, was short listed for “Best Book of Fiction” in the Guyana Prize for Literature in 2014. Her short stories have been widely translated and anthologized. She has recently completed another collection of short stories. 

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