Petal Samuel Colloquium

Michelle Cliff, Colonial “Common-sense”, and Afro-Jamaican Sonic Insurgency
November 3, 2017 - 3:30pm
107 Old Cabell Hall
The McIntire Department of Music will present a colloquium by Petal Samuel on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 3:30pm in 107 Old Cabell Hall. Her talk is entitled "Michelle Cliff, Colonial 'Common-sense', and Afro-Jamaican Sonic Insurgence".  This event is free and open to the public.
Petal Samuel is a postdoctoral fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. She earned her PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and specializes in twentieth-century Afro-Caribbean women’s writing and anticolonial thought, politics, and aesthetics. Petal’s manuscript examines the role of sound in tactics of colonial governance—through noise abatement laws, for instance—and strategies of anticolonial resistance articulated in the works of twentieth-century Anglophone Afro-Caribbean women writers. 
Abstract: In this paper, I examine colonial noise laws and correspondences alongside Afro-Jamaican woman writer Michelle Cliff’s novels Abeng and No Telephone to Heaven in order to demonstrate the racial and gendered programs of repression that accompany colonial preoccupations with suppressing noise, discursively and through legal measures. Cliff’s Afro-Jamaican women characters, in particular, are confronted repeatedly by demands to lower their voices and quiet their bodies as a term of their inclusion in British colonial spaces. My talk’s argument is twofold: First, I expose how ostensibly objective measures of “noise” are rooted in colonial concerns about black rebellion and self-determination. Next, I examine Cliff’s identifications of Afro-Jamaican women as both uniquely targeted by noise abatement legislation and as standing at the forefront of movements to disrupt the enforced “quiet” of colonial soundscapes.


Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA's historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda.  (map) Parking is available in the central grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

All programs are subject to change.

For more information please call the McIntire Department of Music at 434.924.3052.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176