I recognize Aime Cesaire mostly for his work as a poet. I was introduced to his literary work as an undergraduate student and I cannot say that I understand much about the man behind works such as, Une Tempete, that allowed its readers to contemplate Caribbean history and culture. I was excited to explore the website, Legacies of Cesaire as a source that would contain a wealth of information from which I can become more knowledgeable of Cesaire’s legacy. With much regret I admit that I was let down as soon as I realized the “Learn More” button only linked me to announcements that promoted events hosted at Columbia University, precisely where the forum is being launched. The site serves as a message board for people who are already knowledgable on our main subject at hand. This works greatly for academics who have studied his works at great lengths and create insightful and well researched posts, some which begin a stream of discussion with other academics, but it does not serve as source where one can be thoroughly introduced to Cesaire, the dynamic figure.
Upon entering the site we are greeted with a wonderfully sketched portrait of Cesaire, a title that reads “The work of man has only just begun,” and a blob that introduces the forum and how it is organized. They have paired different scholars to discuss 4 topics that view Cesaire’s works through literary, political, sociological, and historical lens. You can easily click into any conversation of your interest as they are separately laid out across the bottom of the screen in their designated boxes which include the question and names of the scholars who inspire and lead that particular discussion. Once you click a question you are met with a main response, a counter-response, and a rejoinder response which allows the conversation to come full circle.
The interesting thing about having specific people lead each message board is that you are welcomed to connect with them directly as they respond to comments and stimulate further contribution to the board and if you are a fan it can be exciting (One of the featured scholars was an old professor of mine and I did a little jump for joy at the recognition of her name). Furthermore, I enjoyed being able to read multiple perspectives from trusted and purposeful sources within each topic provided. For a reader like me, the site incites further interest and background research for a complete understanding of the questions asked, the contributors, and the referenced works of Aime Cesaire.
I would recommend the addition of formal introductions to each question/discussion on particular the message board, links to the scholars’ personal pages and projects, and additions to the “Learn More” link such as a blog roll that connects the readers to recommended sources that provide foundational information the Legacies of Cesaire builds upon. Forums are not the most entertaining sites but a section of multimedia sources like videos and photos, and a brief on who Aime Cesaire is, his major works, and contribution to progressive thought for the Caribbean island Martinique could add an element of fun, more interaction, and open arms to newcomers.