I’m a fan of Caryl Phillips‘s writing as a dramatist, novelist and essayist. Over the years we’ve become friends. I was asked by the premiere scholar of his work, BénédicteLedent, to write an essay about his novels for a special edition of a pukka literary journal concentrating on his work. I said I was no literary critic, but she liked my essay (on this site) about Don Bannister’s novels, so we went ahead. Reviewing each of his novels to date, I made the argument that — contra those who see his work as unremittingly gloomy — it always reveals shafts of hope. The pukka journal rejected my essay. But it came out some time later, updated to include some reflections on Caz’s latest work, A View of the Empire at Sunset (which provides a new interpretation of Jean Rhys). Here’s the PDF. Caryl Phillips Novels
By Max Farrar on October 13, 2021
The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities 2021 (Chair: Dr Tony Sewell) — Why it is so very wrong
By Max Farrar on April 6, 2021
This article joins the storm of criticism that greeted Dr Tony Sewell and his Commission’s report when it was published on 31.3.21. It makes some specific criticisms, but it provides a broader context than most of the responses I’ve read so far. Firstly, it aligns the Commission with the ‘culture war’ the current UK government is waging over Britain’s place in the world (and specifically its ‘success’ in responding to racism). Secondly, it shows the intellectual impoverishment of the Commission’s implied analysis of the causes of racism.
In writing for the general reader here, I’m trying to distill a lifetime of reading, writing and demonstrating in the field that sociologists used to called ‘race relations’.
The main article is here. (Quite a long read, about 4,000 words.)
I am working with the #RememberOluwale charity on a project designed to transform visitors’ experience of the place in Leeds near where David Oluwale was hounded to his death by two Leeds policemen in 1969. This led me to think about how all ‘places’ could be transformed if we applied a full understanding of the causes of racism that are set out in the above article. So I’m uploading the chart I made here. It’s a quick read. All comments welcome.
By Max Farrar on May 6, 2020
By Max Farrar on January 6, 2020
This article is my latest effort to think about the Caribbean form of carnival as I’ve experienced it over nearly 50 years, mainly in Leeds, and occasionally in Trinidad. It emphasises the regenerative, satirical and playful elements of carnival, utilising the work of the great Russian thinker Mikhail Bakhtin.
It was written for the academic journal Caribbean Quarterly, excellently edited by Dr Kim Robinson-Walcott, so it has some of the flavour demanded by universities. But it should be fairly readable, especially to those who love the bacchanal. Download here:
This special issue of Caribbean Quarterly (Vol 65, No. 4) on carnival was edited by Dr Emily Zobel Marshall and it contains lots of other interesting work on this topic. You can see the list of articles on the CQ link above. If you have free access to the journal online please download them. If not, email me and I’ll send you them as PDFs. (This issue is on the Caribbean Quarterly link above.)
Some time ago I co-authored with Emily ZM and my brother Guy another article on carnival for the journal Soundings. It’s less academic than the CQ article and it makes a slightly different argument. You can download it from their site or (to save money) you may download this PDF.
All comments are welcomed.
Posted in blog, culture and politics | Tagged bacchanal, Caribbean Carnival, Carnival, HBMDM, Leeds West Indian Carnival, masquerade, Mikhail Bakhtin, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago Carnival | Leave a response