Mapping a Chronopelago: The Temporal Ecologies of Caribbean Women’s Writing Open Access

Currents, Julian (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL:


This dissertation, “Mapping a Chronopelago: The Temporal Ecologies of Caribbean Women’s Writing,” proposes an interdisciplinary investigation of a series of biomimetic signifiers—living objects acting metaphorically—that reveal a unique relationship between time, space, and identity in women’s literature from across the Caribbean region. Often excluded from canonical analysis, these contemporary women’s texts offer some of the most radical representations of destabilized linear time, reflecting a temporally bound circum-Caribbean identity that I refer to as the chronopelago. In recognition of the distinct ways in which these biomimetic signifiers—mangroves, conch shells, the shallows, and the intertidal zone—react to or actively prompt destabilized time, I argue that not only do these texts reveal a unique understanding of nonlinear time, but they illustrate holistic responses to such destabilization. Responding explicitly to our current historical context of anthropogenic climate change, this series of chronopelagic readings provides a compelling set of directions for navigating the disrupted temporal state in which we currently find ourselves.

Expanding out of the burgeoning field of critical ocean studies with a necessary emphasis on Black feminist thought and postcolonial critique, “Mapping the Chronopelago” focuses on the multivalent metaphorical nuances of the ocean as it appears in Caribbean literatures—both deeply symbolic and historically situated. Shallow, active, ecologically lush, and increasingly vulnerable, Caribbean waters operate in these texts both as metaphor and framework, signposting important moments of temporal disruption while impacting the narrative’s structure itself. Understanding the Caribbean as a site of ongoing social and political resistance, chronopelagic literatures privilege the temporal knowledges and narratives of Caribbean women, critique the ongoing violences of white Western imperial expansion, and call into question current methodologies for responding to the climate crisis.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Turning from the Terrestrial (1)

Chapter 1: Mangled Time: Rhizomes and Reanimation (16)

Chapter 2: Combing the Beach for a Conch Shell Poetics (62)

Chapter 3: Waiting Through the Shallows (111)

Chapter 4: “Wind and Shore are my close companions”: Intertidal Temporalities (157)

Conclusion: “Creativity at the end of time” (199)

Bibliography (205)


About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files