Panel Discussions: Calypso & Cricket – Caribbean Studies Association’s (CSA) 35th annual conference
Two of this country’s most passionately debated topics – calypso and cricket – are up for public discussion this week when the Caribbean Studies Association’s (CSA) 35th annual conference kicks off in Barbados.
Immediately after tomorrow’s official opening ceremony of the conference, well-known calypso critic Elizabeth Watson will chair a panel comprising Anthony “Gabby” Carter, Red Plastic Bag, Alison Hinds and Tassa. The discussion under the theme “From the Inside Looking Out: Reflections of Calypsonians on Popular Music, Violence and Caribbean Society,” takes place in the Roy Marshall Teaching Complex, Cave Hill campus and starts at 7:45 p.m.
On Tuesday evening, the region’s most unifying sport will take centre stage under the topic Nationalism and the Future of West Indies Cricket. The cricket session will be chaired by UWI, Cave Hill Principal Sir Hilary Beckles and will have Chief Executive of the West Indies Cricket Board, Ernest Hilaire; former ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Chairman, Rawle Brancker; former West Indies batsman Carlisle Best and Dr. Justin Robinson, Head of Management Studies at Cave Hill among the panelists. It takes place at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, starting at 7:00 pm.
Chair of the CSA’s local organisation committee Ms Cynthia Barrow-Giles says she expects both discussions to be well attended and highly interactive. She noted that the annual Crop Over season is virtually upon us and already one song with the double entendre lyrics Ah Pinning uh Blackberry has set tongues wagging.
She added that cricket in the Caribbean, according to popular expression, goes beyond the boundary and the recognition of nationalist responsibilities by the current crop of West Indies players has been questioned in several quarters in recent years.
“While CLR James strongly made the case, in his book Beyond A Boundary, that cricket was more than bat and ball on the field of play , the late Tim Hector and Professor Sir Hilary Beckles have also contended that cricket is located in the wider historical struggles of West Indian people and the quest for nationhood and freedom.
“In its true historical perspective, West Indies cricket is largely about a people who transformed a tool of subjugation, domination and cultural genocide into a medium of resistance and liberation.”
Barrow-Giles pointed out that while the teams led by Frank Worrell, Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards took Caribbean nationalism, in all its manifestations wherever they played, the current band of West Indies players have been roundly criticised for showing too little nationalism and seemingly not fully understanding the bearing of their performances on the region.
The calypso and cricket discussions form part of the weeklong conference hosted by the CSA, an independent professional organization devoted to the promotion of Caribbean studies from a multidisciplinary and multicultural perspective. The hemispheric conference, which is being co-hosted by The UWI Cave Hill is based on the theme of violence in the cultural life of the Caribbean.
The CSA is the primary association for scholars and practitioners working within the Caribbean region (including Central America and the Caribbean coast of South America) and currently boast more than 1100 members