My research project investigated the ways in which conceptions of blackness and national identity are represented and performed in Central America, Costa Rica. While in Limon, Costa Rica, I had the opportunity to work alongside and engage with various community and religious leaders in the province—in addition to those working closely with the historic Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Prior to this trip, I was interested in how fragmented notions of citizenship, ethnicity, culture, and migration inform identities across the region and how the silencing and absence of Afro-Central American narratives call into question which histories are included and sustained within the collective national memory. My research trip coincided with Limon’s Black History celebrations and I learned a great deal about the complexities of language (something that I didn’t pay much attention to before), Caribbean identity, and how Afro-Costa Ricans residing on the Caribbean coast negotiate these dynamics through cultural production, visual culture, and practices of history.
August 27, 2016