[Caribbean Literature]

Hypertext and Robert Antoni's Divina Trace


David P. Lichtenstein '99, Brown University, Contributing Editor, Caribbean Web

Although we can talk about the convergence between the aesthetics of Postcolonialism and hypertext, we cannot actually talk about Postcolonialism as it appears in hypertext, for, at last count, it does not exist. Computer technology in Postcolonial nations does not match even that of the United States, which itself has not yet been able to spread access to this technology very far. I could find very few statistics on internet usage in the Caribbean region -- which in itself points to an underrepresentation of the West Indies in this medium. The Atlanta Constitution (August 23, 1998) did publish an article (on Jamaica's new thirteen-year-old technology adviser) that claimed a mere 35,000 to 40,000 of Jamaica's 2.5 million people (1.4 to 1.6 percent of the population) used the internet. By contrast, United States estimates range from thiry-five to forty-five million people, 12.9 to 16.7 percent of the population. Furthermore, a study conducted by the Cyberatlas company found that, as of 1997, 99 percent of internet servers came from North America, Western Europe, or Asia (primarily Japan) -- again signalling that the Third World has thus far been left out of the "globalization" that the internet promises. I'm still looking for better information on the access available in the Caribbean -- if you have any information email me.

Although we set out to develop a correspondence between two potentially divergent schools, those of hypertext and Postcolonialism, we thus run the risk of assuming Postcolonial literature will or should appear in yet another form to which it has no access. We risk making assumptions about the literature based on the access that those of us writing or even reading such internet material enjoy. And thus we must not only be careful in our assumptions, but also push to make this access as widespread and universal as possible. For the web to truly fulfill the potential its capabilities promise, access must greatly increase, so that this converge between Postcolonialism and hypertext may exist on the practical as well as the theoretical level.

For an informative report on the challenges of providing internet access to the Caribbean region and one man's attempt to overcome these challenges, click here.

Hypertext and Divina Trace

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