AFR 221 - Introduction to Caribbean Studies
In this course, we look out at the world from a Caribbean center. As such, we approach the history and formation of the region and its cultural diversity from a bottom-up view. This helps to better understand the various cultural processes of mixture, pluralism and engagement that came together to produce the Caribbean as a complex multicultural space today. Central mechanisms of “difference-making” in the colonial past and into the present such as racial hierarchy, shadism/colorism, ethnic groups, religious difference, class inequality, gender power, and sexuality are discussed to better appreciate the ways different groups in the Caribbean emerged and developed. The pitfalls and significance of the term “post-colonialism” is also examined.
The course aims to answer these questions through the history, development and contemporary culture of the Caribbean. The course also introduces the concept of multiculturalism as a continuum of political strategies and processes that range from the dangerous and conflict-inducing to the promotion of tolerance and the production of empathy. Lastly, the course provides the necessary intellectual concepts to articulate and connect global political economy to Caribbean history, culture and contemporary politics.