Against the City: What Derek Walcott Has to Teach Us about the City Imaginary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The basic argument of this article is that the Caribbean author, Derek Walcott, illuminates how the concept of “the city” can be used to enable a geopolitical system of centralized power seated in culturally, politically, and economically significant nodes (i.e., “cities”). In short, following Walcott, the concept of “the city” at times serves as a cultural technology to justify colonization, the monopolization of political power, and the domination of so-called peripheral sites. “The city” is not always a neutral descriptor of a given geographical locus, but instead can be a cultural technology of power insofar as it is at times a concept employed in order to garner control over an extended territory from a socio-political center. To demonstrate this thesis, I engage in a close reading of Derek Walcott’s theoretical essays and epic poem, Omeros (1990).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-568
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Caribbean
  • city
  • colonialism
  • literary urban studies


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