Browne’s Tropic Tendencies is a groundbreaking study, and a necessary one. He provides a nuanced and distinct analysis of Caribbeans and their rhetoric with his careful exploration of the origins and contemporary meanings of the strategies and forms used to activate and display the complexities of Caribbean consciousness. Browne’s thought-provoking theory of the Caribbean Carnivalesque—itself a prime example of the rhetorical creolization present in the many performances he observes—blends classical and contemporary vernacular traditions to articulate an ethos that is distinctly Caribbean.”
—Elaine Richardson, The Ohio State University
Kevin A. Browne Publishes Tropic Tendencies
The Writing Program is pleased to announce the publication of Tropic Tendencies: Rhetoric, Popular Culture, and the Anglophone Caribbean by Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Kevin A. Browne. The book is published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, which calls the text “a decisive step toward filling a void in Caribbean scholarship.”
Browne examines the development of an Anglophone Caribbean rhetorical tradition in response to the struggle to make meaning, maintain identity, negotiate across differences, and thrive in light of historical constraints and the need to participate in contemporary global culture. Browne says that other recent volumes in the field “do not apply a consistent rhetorical lens for reading Caribbean expressive traditions. None present a scaffold based in Caribbean epistemic activity that can be used to understand the significance of Caribbean values, beliefs, and experiences as rhetoric.”
His study is based on the concept of the “Caribbean carnivalesque” as the formative ethos driving cultural and rhetorical production in the region and beyond it. He finds that carnivalesque discourse operates as a “continuum of discursive substantiation” that increases the probability of achieving desired outcomes for both the rhetor and the audience. The book takes up rhetorical modes and strategies in a variety of forms—music, dance, folklore, performance, sermons, fiction, poetry, photography, and digital media. Browne introduces chantwells, calypsonians, old talkers, jamettes, stickfighters, badjohns, and others as exemplary purveyors of Caribbean rhetoric and deconstructs their rhetorical displays.
Browne’s excellent contribution to cultural studies in the Anglophone Caribbean is grounded in a rhetorical praxis that ranges over several expressive forms, including poetry, masquerade, music, folklore, fiction, and digital media. The compelling analysis is impressive both in coverage and insight.
—Glyne A. Griffith, University at Albany, State University of New York