The Silence of the Seabed: Reimagining Traumatic Water Crossings in the Indian Ocean and Caribbean


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Romance Languages and Literatures


Eurocentric tales of marine adventure abound in popular culture, but the trauma of oceanic crossings for marginalized peoples—slaves, indentured laborers, clandestine migrants— is understudied, especially in lesser-known regions of the world, such as the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. Similarly overlooked are the effects of these journeys on the marine ecosystem itself. “The Silence of the Seabed” argues that writers today confront both the lasting legacies of these transitions in everyday life, and the lack of either written archive or burial site to depend upon: thus, they simultaneously grapple with the importance and impossibility of recreating stories of traumatic oceanic crossings from ecological and subaltern perspectives. “The Silence of the Seabed” explores this paradox through contemporary literature from the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, written in English, French, Spanish, Hindi and Mauritian Creole.