Imagined Nations: 50 Years Later
In October of 2012, the University of Miami had the honor of hosting the 31st Annual West Indian Literature Conference. The annual conference coincided with the occasion of the 50th anniversary of independence in Trinidad and Jamaica. Quite naturally, this provided conference participants with the opportunity for reflection and dialogue on the last fifty years, not only in Jamaica and Trinidad, but also in other territories in the region. The conference theme, reconfigured for this volume of essays as Imagined Nations: 50 Years Later
, represents an effort to open a critical space for scholars and artists to contemplate the imagined enterprise of independence, its successes and failures, as well as the ongoing struggles within marginalized communities of independent nation-states. Many of these essays also reflect on a range of emerging questions about the next fifty years of post-independence and the hopes and aspirations of a new generation of writers imagining this future through an increasingly diasporic lens. This issue represents a small cross-section of the debates that animated the conversations throughout the conference. It includes insights about the challenges of representing nationalism, sexuality and citizenship in pre- and post-independence literature, and ever-evolving questions of equality and self-determination.