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Bheecham, Rachel

Bheecham, Rachel

Master's student of Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement @ New York University


Rachel Bheecham is a graduate student at New York University, currently pursuing her master’s degree in XE: Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement. Her academic interests include post-colonialism, self-perception and belonging, diasporic relations, intergenerational trauma, and literary studies. She draws upon theorists, such as Césaire, Fanon, and Babha to contextualize her interests and situate it in the greater world of Caribbean literary works. As such, Rachel’s current research project centers around self-perception and intergenerational trauma in the Caribbean, primarily through literary works.

Geographical location : New York, USA

Research Area and Interest : Nation Language, dialect, kaiso, Calyspo, Caribbean education

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What yuh say?: How language and music in the Caribbean are used as forms of protests.
Summary: The dialect of English spoken in the Anglophone Caribbean is commonly accepted by Caribbean people and non-Caribbean people as “broken English.” As such, Caribbean education systems and society pressures the upcoming generations to learn how to speak “proper English.” Even though the various countries that make up the Anglophone Caribbean have unique dialects and patterns of speech based upon its colonization history, the idea of Anglophone Caribbean people speaking improperly is universal. But how does the Anglophone Caribbean categorize what English is “broken” and what English is “proper”? Kamau Braithwaite challenges the idea of “proper English” in his piece, Nation Language, specifically referencing the kaiso as a form of protest. In this paper, I will look at the history kaiso songs and the usage of kaiso––in the Caribbean, now commonly known as Calypso––to explore the expectations and stereotypes that have been imposed onto Caribbean English through the teaching of “proper” English. I will use kaiso lyrics to analyze the critiques of “proper” English, and by extension, analyze how the Caribbean has been harmfully shaped by British colonization.
Event: SCS 2023 Postgraduate Conference

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