PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – In completion of her Master in International Affairs in 2017, Carla-Evelyn Vlaun wrote ‘Tis We Ting, All Ah We: The Historical Development of Carnival on St. Maarten’, a historical analysis of carnival since 1970. She presented her work to the Board of the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) in order to contribute to the preservation of the history of Carnival on the island.
In honor of the 50th celebration of Carnival and with the help of the Infomedia Foundation, she has printed 200 copies of her research to distribute in order to foster a greater discussion around the history of Carnival. “This book is very important not just for discussion purposes, but for general knowledge of Carnival which many people still do not have,” the SCDF said.
“We would like to see it offered in schools, the public library and other institutions. It could help close the dis-connect that sometimes exist between the public and the organizing of Carnival. We are very proud of Carla, a young St. Maarten who loves Carnival and who have taken the time to produce this crucial book about the country’s national festival,” the SCDF added.
Her research focuses on the roles of the different Carnival committees in organizing and developing Carnival over the years, starting with the Oranje Committee leading up to the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation. Her research is based on interviews done with Jocelyn Arndell, Valerie Gitterson-Pantophlet, Keith Franca, Erno Labega, and Michael Granger.
Through the lens of Carnival, she analyzes the construction of identity on St. Maarten, relating it to broader debates in the Caribbean on national and transnational identities, while also questioning the role of government in the formation and promotion of such identities. She hopes making her research more accessible will inspire other students producing work about the island to bring their research home and connect with the discussions taking place here.