Living Languages | The blog for the Institute of Modern Languages Research

A citizen of the world in an interesting intellectual world

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Clara Rachel Eybalin Casséus is a visiting fellow at the IMLR during the academic year 2016/17. She talks here about her experience at the IMLR

When I joined the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) as a visiting fellow in the fall of 2016, my intent was to find the right place to work on my manuscript with the provisional title ‘Geopolitics of Memory and Transnational Citizenship. Thinking Local Development in a Global South‘. I take memory as a powerful dynamic engine to deconstruct citizenship while connecting beyond borders. I am currently at the end of a chapter about diaspora politics and the particular involvement of Haitian-Americans in the past US election.

clara-rachelFor the past few months, I realised how well this interesting intellectual place fits my career project as an independent researcher eager to explore many facets of the institute and beyond. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies  or the Centre for Post-Colonial Studies (CPS) or the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), all carry activities that overlap my research interest: the interaction between mobility, citizenship and state politics. This is the case with the Centre for Integrated Caribbean Research (CICR) where I presented last December ‘The Geopolitics of Going South for the Caribbean: Moving Away from NGOs?’ This paper critically engaged with the geopolitical spaces of the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean and questioned the pertinence of memory.

I quickly immersed in this dynamic and friendly academic environment, host of several centres of particular interest to me such as the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory. I attended a one-day workshop titled ‘Reconfiguring Black Europe’ where I challenged the many categories too reductionist to grasp human complexity. I also participated for the first time in the two-day conference of the Society of Postcolonial Studies. It was a great opportunity to interact with scholars with whom I shared my positionality as an independent researcher originally from Haiti. It was a great opportunity to introduce my first monograph along with the re-editing of my late dad’s Geographical Dictionary of Haiti. At the School of Advanced Study, the Institute of Modern Languages Research offers a great site to make interesting contacts through the rich events it organises and sponsors. On March 31 2017, I’ll present a paper entitled ‘Circularity, Creolization and the Spatial Practices of Belonging’ where I aim to uncover how the interdependence of territories from both Commonwealth and Francophone Caribbean collide to meaningfully expand a creolized world.

 After being awarded my PhD in Political Geography at the University of Poitiers (France) in 2013 and living for about four years in the Gulf, I was looking for a multicultural environment where I felt at ease with an interdisciplinary background which encompasses migration and environment studies, civil society and south-south cooperation. Today, I am quite enthused with the progress of my manuscript given the precious help I got in proofreading. IMLR is truly an ideal site of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research for a citizen of the world whose research interest spans from the Caribbean to the Gulf passing through Europe.

Clara Rachel Eybalin Casséus, IMLR Visiting Fellow, 2016/17

The next call for applications for both funded and non-funded Visiting Fellowships is now open! Full details of application procedures are available online. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2017, for the fellowship to be taken up between September 2017 and June 2018.

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