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CLA JOURNAL 31 30 CLA JOURNAL Thomas Edison Vega, Marta Moreno.“The Ancestral Sacred Creative Impulse of Africa and the African Diaspora: Ase, the Nexus of the Black Global Aesthetic.”Lenox Avenue: A Journal of Interarts Inquiry, vol. 5, 1999, pp. 45–57. Washington-Bâ, Sylvia. The Concept of Négritude in the Poetry of Léopold Sédar Senghor. Princeton, Princeton UP, 1973. West-Durán, Alan.“What the Water Brings and Takes Away.” Yemoja: Gender, Sexuality, and Creativity in the Latina/o and Afro-Atlantic Diasporas, 2013, pp. 197-213. Williams, Eric. From Columbus to Castro. New York: Vintage Books, 1970. Williams, Lorna V.“Recent Works on Afro-Hispanic Literature.” Latin American Research Review, vol. 22, no. 2, 1987, pp. 245-254. ---.“The African Presence in the Poetry of Nicolás Guillén.” Africa and the Caribbean: The Legacies of a Link. Ed. Margaret E. Crahan and Franklin W. Knight. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1979. Erna Brodber’s Myal Principle in Afro-Caribbean Literary/Philosophical Discourse Marie Sairsingh In his seminal work, Caliban’s Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy (2000), Paget Henry, in mapping the field of Afro-Caribbean philosophy, states that, until recently, asserting the “African heritage” of Afro-Caribbean philosophy would have elicited much skepticism among academic philosophers (21). This is attributable to the then widely held assumption that there was no such thing as African philosophy, especially since philosophy was presumed to be the product of Europe, not Africa. African “wisdom traditions” are steeped in spirituality, and are defined within the framework of myth, mysticism, sagacity, and proverbial discourses that are structured elements in African cultural systems. From the perspective of Western rationalism, these tenets of African philosophy and spirituality are generally deemed non-rational, (non-philosophical) systems and, according to these prevailing notions of philosophical discourse, are steeped in primitive mythologies,witchcraft,and black magic.Yet it is precisely the infusion of a spiritualist sensibility and ethos that, I posit, is needed to redefine the contours of the discipline of philosophy, more broadly, and re-focus its core questions. Henry traces the development of Afro-Caribbean philosophy showing shifts in its orientation and focus across three distinct phases: “the idealism of traditional African religions, the Christian moralism that combined with or displaced African idealism and the poeticism and historicism that have dominated both the latecolonial and postcolonial periods” (5). In the first phase (1630-1750), AfroCaribbean philosophy was “rooted in traditional African thought… embedded in religious discourses and …marked even by the “militant spiritualism of Shango, Vodou, and other religious discourses” (5). The second phase, which spans 1750 – 1860, is marked by “asymmetrical processes of acculturation and creolization” within an Afro-Christian paradigm, characterized by dynamic mixings of European and African practices that produced a host of syncretic forms such as Myalism, Zion, Vodou, and Santeria, among others. The third phase, 1860 – present) saw the politicization of Afro-Caribbean philosophy with a decided shift toward more secular concerns and “related philosophical positions” (7) such as the threat of non-being within the matrix of colonial domination. PostIndependence Caribbean historicists, Henry asserts, channeled their concerns into an anti-colonialist political activism and in producing treatises of progressive Afro-Caribbean self-formation that were, ironically, grounded more in the European rationalist worldview than in African origins and African spirituality. CLA JOURNAL 33 32 CLA JOURNAL Marie Sairsingh This emphasis, Henry posits, has dominated attitudes toward African Caribbean existence in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (“African” 14). I focus on Brodber’s 1988 novel, Myal, and examines how the author’s literary work participates in the discourse of Afro-Caribbean philosophy by advancing an alternative worldview outside the logic of strictly Westernist theoretical models oftenprivilegedinthestill-emergingfieldof academicAfro-Caribbeanphilosophy.1 The novel invokes the Afro-Caribbean syncretic religion, Myal, and, I argue, presents a re-articulation of African/Afro-Caribbean cosmogony and worldview, with its spiritual epicenter. Brodber’s representations of African belief systems that inhabit Afro-Caribbean philosophical inheritance, evince the spiritual world as the most important realm of existence; it infuses the physical, material, social and individual worlds, and is at once immanent and transcendent in its relation to all other spheres of existence. Hence...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2766-0265
Print ISSN
0007-8549
Pages
pp. 31-44
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-01
Open Access
No
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