Spring 2021

Heartland: An Almanac for Caribbean Futures

For this intervention, Dr. Schuyler Esprit will present Heartland: An Almanac for Caribbean Futures. Heartland, uses family stories and genealogy as a point of departure to explore the history of the land in the Caribbean. The project will look at agriculture, ecology, and economy through the lens of a once-thriving commercial banana farm that was also the heartbeat of the family who owned and worked the land. Heartland illuminates the ways that the history of plantation slavery, maroon ideology and Creole sensibilities bear upon Caribbean families as they navigate the success and failures of the banana industry. It generates questions about how Caribbean people’s connections to land and water have helped them survive and thrive amidst environmental change, as well as political and economic neglect and instability. A return to the almanac, the guiding text of the banana estate, allows an imagining of the Caribbean’s relationship to land and agriculture. The almanac has guided farmers for centuries with its three-pronged approach to crop production and synergetic farm planning: agricultural science, astronomy and climate science. Heartland frames the history of family, community and nation/region at the intersection of the real and symbolic agriculture (earth, labor, grounding), astronomy (material resources and institutional frameworks), and climate (shifting environmental and social contexts). This digital love letter to fruit and family is also evidence of the myriad challenges and promises of postcolonial resilience, survival and reinvention.

This presentation is designed as an interactive alternative to a synchronous lecture format for Ecologies Entrelacées. It is part of a larger work in progress. Because it exists in this digital space, she may, from time to time, enhance this version with additions from the larger work. The final version of the project will be shared on the Carisealand project website. Please also visit Carisealand to see some of the amazing other digital humanities work that Dr. Esprit has done with other colleagues over the years. 

Many thanks to your co-sponsor for this intervention, the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University


Heartland: A love letter to fruit & family | An almanac for Caribbean futures by Schuyler Esprit

Heartland Submissions

Call for Submissions: 

Leading up to and after this presentation, we invite you to submit your family history artifacts or stories related to agriculture, astronomy, and/or climate, in any way you interpret or connect with these themes. These can be photos, writing, songs or audio recordings, and/or artistic pieces in the language of your choosing. All submissions will be posted below. We hope you will also engage with other submissions by leaving reflections, questions, and/or affirmations. E-mail submissions to:

Dans les quelques temps qui précèdent ou qui suivent cette conférence, nous vous invitons à partager vos archives et objets de famille que vous estimez liés d'une manière ou d'une d'une autre à l’agriculture, à l’astronomie, ou au climat/environnement—peu importe la manière dont vous vous tissez le lien entre les objets et ces thèmes. Ces contributions peuvent prendre la forme de photographies, d'écrits, de chansons, d'enregistrements, ou d'oeuvres d’art dans la langue de votre choix. Toutes les contributions seront publiées ci-dessous. Nous souhaitons également encourager les interactions entre les différentes contributions par des réflexions, des questions ou des encouragements à suivre. Veuillez envoyer vos contributions par mail à l’adresse suivante: