Bearing Witness, Holding Space: Black Caribbean Migrant Women and The Literacies of Belonging

October 22, 2019 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
York Lanes 280A

The Centre for Feminist Research presents:

Bearing Witness, Holding Space: Black Caribbean Migrant Women and The Literacies of Belonging

Talk by CFR and CERLAC Visiting Graduate Student Warren Harding

Chaired by CFR Director Dr. Enakshi Dua

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Time: 12-1:30pm

Location: 280A York Lanes, York University, 4700 Keele St

Accessibility: Wheelchair-accessible space, gender-neutral & gender-segregated washrooms. York Lanes is not a scent-free environment. FREE event. All are welcome.

Please RSVP to


Warren Harding speaks to the ways in which late twentieth-century Black Caribbean migrant women use their creative expressions to develop spaces that interrogate meanings for belonging, both on and beyond the page.

Caribbean women writers and cultural producers enact “bearing witness” and “holding space” as practices that radically transform literary, performative, cultural, and everyday practices of belonging. Interiority, relationality, imagination, materialization, and mobility are integral themes between these women’s gendered, raced, migrant, and Caribbean experiences.

Four questions guide this research: 1) How do Black Caribbean migrant women writers and cultural producers’ embodiments of “bearing witness” and “holding space” create a radical politics of belonging? 2) How do these embodiments expand what it means to belong in spite of heteropatriarchal, anti-Black, nativist, and colonial enactments on the world? 3) How can fieldwork enhance the study of Black women’s literary and cultural productions? 4) How do Black Caribbean migrant women’s experiences reshape the discourses of language and nation between the African and Caribbean diasporas?


Warren Harding is a PhD candidate (ABD) in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University and a Visiting graduate student with CFR.

While pursuing his PhD, he earned an A.M. in Comparative Literature at Brown through the Open Graduate Education Program and an A.M. in Africana Studies. Warren also earned a B.A. with Honors in Africana Studies and History from Oberlin College where he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. He is currently conducting fieldwork in Toronto on twentieth-century Black Anglophone Caribbean migrant women in Toronto where he is researching the Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection at the Toronto Public Library and conducting interviews with Black Caribbean migrant women writers, publishers, and performers in Toronto.

Co-Sponsors: Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) and the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples at York University