ON Sunday, October 29 at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Anthea Octave was conferred with a Doctorate in Cultural Studies with high commendation. Her work was applauded as a “convincing and important contribution to Caribbean Cultural and Performance Studies as interrelated fields of knowledge.”
The dissertation examined the Flower Festivals and masquerade tradition of St. Lucia, as well as the transposed Lawoz celebrations in Cayenne, French Guiana and Mahdia, Guyana for what they suggest about tradition and change.
Entitled “Negotiating Cultural Survival: Tradition and Change in traditional enactments of St. Lucia”, the dissertation makes an original contribution to scholarship on Caribbean Cultural Festival Arts by theorizing on the specific mechanisms of cultural survival that enables some practices to continue seemingly uninterrupted while others wane into obscurity or manifest in new forms. By isolating the mechanisms of survival, the study makes a case for policies and practices regarding preservation, transmission and retention to begin with understanding the organic processes that have secured the meaningful continuity of the Cultural traditions.
An excerpt from the dissertation is a chapter in the soon-to-be-released “The Road to Mount Pleasant”.