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Independent Researcher @ Independent


Dyanne K. Martin is a native of Jamaica. Her multicultural background fosters her deep interest in diasporic literatures across the Americas, with an emphasis on Caribbean literature. Her areas of scholarship also include classical rhetoric, visual rhetoric, semiotics, race theory, and Holocaust studies. Dr Martin earned her PhD in comparative studies with an emphasis on cultures, languages, and literatures. She is a former scholar-in-residence at the University of Oxford, ISGAP and a current research fellow at the University of Cambridge, ISGAP. Her publications include peer-reviewed articles on female adolescent immigrant experiences, moral self-realisation within slavery, and paradigmatic representations of race—as well as forthcoming book chapters on notions of voice and on literary apologetics.

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Migration and mobility in Caribbean literature


Bounded in a Nutshell:’ A Search for Space in the Confines of Slavery

First published in 1831, The History of Mary Prince debuted at a time when polemical disputes about slavery reigned in both the old and new worlds. Prince, straddling the continents as a British colonial slave from Bermuda in a free England, represents in her history not only the cruelties of slavery but also the possibilities of liberation. I argue that Prince’s subtle mutinies against her oppressors on various Caribbean islands exemplify a burgeoning island of self-will—a growing inner freedom that Prince gains for herself even while still a slave. While the battle for freedom sometimes necessitates the death and the overthrow of the old order, Prince’s narrative suggests an alternative account of the master-slave dialectic is needed, if only as a supplement, to understand Prince’s path to freedom aright. Prince’s story shows how a recognition of her primary identity and her finely tuned sense of injustice propel her to small but significant actions that interrupt this larger master-slave dialectic. Prince does not engage in physical violence against her tormentors, but her non-violent protests, voiced with reason, accomplish more than force itself might have. She finds agency not in her physical strength but in her moral voice. This moral voice represents an inner island of fortitude that enables Prince to find release not only from the physical island of Bermuda but also from slavery itself.

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