Caribbean and Transatlantic Worlds on the Move

Building a paradigm of modernity based on the Caribbean

The activities of the “Mondes caraïbes et transatlantiques en mouvement” (MCTM) programme take a general approach in which the Caribbean is regarded as a paradigm that lends itself to comparison with a set of situations that Western modernity has helped to modify. As a place where extremely varied social dynamics have condensed, and a prototype of early globalization, the Caribbean calls into question the historical foundation of contemporary life by incessantly reminding us of the initial relationship of violence that irrigated Western democracies at the time when they were drafting the first constitutions and universalist ideologies on the basis of slavery in the Americas.

The objectives of the MCTM group are thus to examine the longevity and recurrence of these dynamics within the Americas in their widest possible sense; the Caribbean serves here as a paradigm for examining other contexts where slavery is woven into the accumulated layers of history. Attention is given as much to the production of knowledge informed by this historical condition as to the circulation of such knowledge and its implications between Africa, the Americas and Europe. Any topic, any question – literary, artistic, musicological, sociological, political, anthropological, philosophical, geographical – is acceptable as long as it offers the materials needed to decrypt the social forms that mediatize a relationship to the world in the (post)slavery and post(colonial) context. In the group’s comparative and “trans-area” perspective, this investigation is broadened to include the social strata that have been added to the historical roots (notably through successive waves of migration) and to apply even beyond the Americas, to other social formations, particularly to societies in the Indian Ocean, through historical interactions between neighbouring societies that are too often ignored.

Areas of research

  • Caribbean thought and thinkers
  • Trans-area approaches: comparing the Caribbean and Oceanian paradigms
  • Africanity, Afro-centricity, non-European epistemologies
  • Movement of ideas
  • Racialization of social relationships, democracy and modernity
  • Environment: the plantation as the cradle of the Anthropocene epoch
  • Colonial violence and democracy
  • Museography and slavery

Recent activities under the programme

The MCTM group has held regular day-long meetings since 2014, three or four times a year