“Exiles Must Make Their Own Maps”: Space, Teleology, and Derek Walcott

By Kevin M. Hickey.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Part one of this essay looks at tropes of space in Michel de Montaigne’s “On the Cannibals (Des Cannibales)” and Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment (Kritik der Urteilskraft) to show how these tropes constitute foundational elements of the spatial imaginary of Western imperialism and how they express teleological “imperatives” of “the colonial enterprise.” The range of “positions” taken in the works of Montaigne and Kant (e.g., 16th-century and 18th-century, French and German, essayist and philosopher, “physicist” and “metaphysicist”) provides a sense of the breadth and depth of the spatial metaphors that contributed to conceptions of European imperialism and teleological thinking. Part two of “‘Exiles Must Make Their Own Maps,’” looks at Caribbean poet Derek Walcott’s responses to this spatially-conceived, teleological discourse. Of particular concern is how Walcott’s poetry, essays, and interviews work to revise the dominant cartographies of Western imperialism, capitalism, and tourism in ways that revise history and Caribbean identities.

Keywords: Postcolonial, Empire, Imperialism, Place, Mapping, Identity, Race, Teleology, Metaphysics, Binary Logic, History, Naming

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 7, pp.131-138. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 597.534KB).

Dr. Kevin M. Hickey

Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies, Department of Arts & Sciences, Albany College of Pharmacy, Albany, New York, USA

Kevin M. Hickey is assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at Albany College of Pharmacy (New York) and a NEH award recipient. He has published on travel, colonial, and postcolonial literatures in numerous encyclopedias, journals, and books. His research focuses on conceptions of space (e.g., center, margin, “underground,” home, museum, nation) and power. Specifically, he looks at two interconnecting issues: first, how long-19th-century metaphysical and Romantic philosophies both supported and disrupted ideas of the expanding British empire; and second, how the texts of African and Afro-diasporic writers work to transform these colonial ideas to argue a longstanding African presence. This African presence counters the dominant concepts (i.e., colonial concepts) of space and the power structures sustained by those spatial conceptions. He asks how these new spatial conceptions promote a more just and sustainable world. Additionally, Hickey has published travel articles in American and European newspapers and magazines and is currently working on a book about his six-year (61,000 kms) bicycle trip through Europe and Africa.

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