Essays and Articles

Clouds painting the continent of Africa onto the Caribbean Sea. Photo credit: Sonja Boon

I’ve been interested in archives, transnational family histories, and belonging for a long time. What does it mean to belong? Who decides this? And when our family histories – like mine – include global migrations, how do we figure out where we fit in? What might complicated belongings look like?

I’m also really interested in the role of the researcher who tells these stories: what are our responsibilities? How do we do ethical research? What does it mean to dig through the archives? Who has the right to do it?

I’ve explored all of these questions in a number of venues, from blogs to academic articles.

In October 2017, I wrote a guest blog on the vulnerability of research for Storying the Past, a creative histories blog based in the UK.

Salt fish and molasses, two food products that link Newfoundland, my current home, with Suriname, where my mother’s side of the family comes from, were the subject of an essay I co-wrote with Gina Snooks. It’s based on a research trip both of us took to Suriname in 2015, and on our food memories. It even includes recipes!

I look at fingerprints, family history, and identity in an essay I published in January 2017 in an Australian publication. This essay is based on my experiences of losing my fingerprints (!) while working at a Dutch care home.

Way back in 2015, I published an essay on multi-racial belonging in The Ethnic Aisle’s Canada issue. “But Where Are You Really From?” is about my childhood as a chameleon not-quite-white child on a very white Canadian prairie. A version of this essay was long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction prize in 2014. I discuss the genesis and background for this essay in a guest blog post for Allyson Latta’s Memories into Story blog.