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Tropic Tendencies

Rhetoric, Popular Culture, and the Anglophone Caribbean

by Kevin Adonis Browne

Publication Year: 2013

Browne seeks to explain anglophone Caribbean cultural production from a rhetorical perspective. He argues for the existence of a distinctive Caribbean rhetoric tradition and offers a theory of what he calls the "Caribbean carnivalesque" to explain how this tradition coheres for specific effects. The carnivalesque is a key rhetorical device that operates among Caribbean people and is identifiable in every aspect of their cultural production, and it also serves as an effective theoretical device for analyzing texts created by and about Caribbean people, and for exploring how these texts constitute forms of democratic deliberation. Browne applies his formulations of the carnivalesque to a series of texts to demonstrate both how they can be analyzed and what they can potentially accomplish from a rhetorical standpoint. This critical perspective allows for a concise explanation and a coherent assessment of Caribbean discourse that moves along a logical trajectory-that is, from the formation of tradition to contemporary practice.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Series: Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii


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pp. xiii-xvii

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pp. 20-28

Labor Day. Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 1999: there I was, standing half-naked in the middle of Eastern Parkway, covered from head to foot in blue paint. Head bad. My costume: horns, shorts, jungle boots, a rough tail, and a nearly empty leather rum pouch around my neck. Watch me, nah! A former Caliban, reclaiming myself in Brooklyn. A comfortably clichéd champion of my culture. A displaced...

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Chapter 1. Mas Rhetorica: A Brief Discourse on the Caribbean Carnivalesque

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pp. 29-48

The emergence of an articulable Caribbean ethos occurred at a critical juncture in the history of the region. Referred to in the Illustrated London News as “parts of the world to which public attention [was] becoming much directed by impending changes in the main route of commerce,”1 the region was of great...

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Chapter 2. Structure, Strategy, and Rhetorical Parameters in Caribbean Expression

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pp. 49-98

First, a conversion: in the 1960s the anthropologist Roger Abrahams conducted fieldwork in Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, and Tobago. In a pioneering attempt to apply Kenneth Burke’s rhetorical method to the analysis of the folklore and expressive culture that he observed in the region, he theorized that “the carrying out of rhetorical intent [or motive as symbolically enacted in specific genres]...

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Chapter 3. From the Darker Side of a Schism: Performance and the Prophetic Masque

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pp. 99-121

The Caribbean rhetor’s expressions of language, culture, and identity articulate an ethos that grows out of the internalization and subsequent externalization of rhetorical strategies, practices, and tradition as public performance; each performance embodies the idea that...

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Chapter 4. ”We Is People”: Earl Lovelace, Ethos, and a Rhetoric of Vernacular Fiction

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pp. 122-146

The epic of Caribbean history and its long, literary stretch into contemporary times together signify an extended rhetorical situation, producing authors whose concern for their communities and constituents is founded on their desires for the authentic enactment of independence—that is, liberation and participation as recognized and recognizable members of society despite resistance...

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Chapter 5. Inhabiting the Digital Vernacular: The Old Talkers, the Caribloggers, and the Jamettes

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pp. 147-173

For Caribbean people, who have emerged collectively from a history of fragmentation and coalescence, the notion of a “virtual community” ought to be passé;1 at the very least, it ought to be fairly easy to conceive, if only because they have traditionally had to contend with presuppositions about their ability to cohere on a complex vernacular level while devising alternative means of expression...

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pp. 174-185

Labor Day. Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 1999: that memory of myself in blue— with fork and horn and tail—brings with it a nagging question. What is the value of intuition without inquiry, and what merit is there in remembering if action is not forthcoming? This was a call to which I could have provided only a partial response. I quickly decided that the time for critical reflection was not in...


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pp. 186-205


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pp. 206-215


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pp. 216-217


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pp. 218-233

Back Cover

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pp. 234-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780822979111
E-ISBN-10: 082297911X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822962595
Print-ISBN-10: 0822962594

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 14 b& w Illustrations
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture
Series Editor Byline: David Bartholomae and Jean Ferguson Carr, Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 862135493
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Tropic Tendencies

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • English language -- Caribbean Area.
  • English language -- Caribbean Area -- Rhetoric.
  • Popular culture -- Caribbean Area.
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