Monday, November 16, 2009

CFP--Caribbean Enlightenment

Caribbean Enlightenment conference

In conjunction with the Glasgow University Caribbean Discussion Group, we are delighted to announce a major conference on the theme of 'Caribbean Enlightenment'.
Caribbean Enlightenment
An Interdisciplinary Caribbean Studies Conference
8th to 10th April 2010, University of Glasgow

Keynote Speakers
J. Michael Dash, Professor of French, Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University
Paget Henry, Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Brown University
Nick Nesbitt, Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen
Charles Forsdick, James Barrow Professor of French, University of Liverpool
Kei Miller, Creative Writing Department, University of Glasgow

Call for Papers
In a speech widely regarded as instigating the series of events that would lead to the overthrow of the Lescot government in 1946, André Breton's proclamation of Haiti's 'inalienable enthusiasm for liberty and its affirmation of dignity above all obstacles' articulated the enduring revolutionary conviction in the Enlightenment-inspired principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. This artistic, cultural and political expression of a universal right to freedom and self-determination reflects the diverse and complex ways in which Enlightenment ideals have found expression in the Caribbean. From the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 to The Black Jacobins, surrealism, négritude, and the contemporary writings of such theorists as Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Édouard Glissant, and Wilson Harris, the interrogation of universality has both contributed to the ongoing dissemination and creolization of Enlightenment discourse and has subjected it to a thorough critique. This conference aims to explore the various ways in which the site of the Caribbean, with its writers, artists, revolutionaries, and diverse peoples, has adapted and questioned the legacies of the Enlightenment. Acknowledging the Caribbean's crucial role in the Atlantic world, the Enlightenment's history of empire building and slave rebellions, colonial domination and postcolonial nation-building, the valorization of reason and its role in the division of knowledge will be interrogated against the dissemination of a discourse promoting universal human rights, democracy and equality.

This conference seeks to bring together interdisciplinary perspectives on Enlightenment themes, both historical and contemporary, in order to trace the spread of a universalist discourse across the Caribbean. We hope to bring together Anglophone, Francophone and Hispanophone perspectives that explore figurations of the universal within the Caribbean context. Noting the region's national and linguistic divides, this conference will expose the ways in which Enlightenment ideals have been adapted to express the particular experience of the Caribbean peoples. Finally, we pose the question: 'Does the commitment to universalism amount to a totalizing discourse, or can universalism be revisioned'?
We invite papers and panel suggestions that deal with any aspect of Caribbean Enlightenment, but which may include:
Reason and Rule of Law
Revolutions and uprisings
Shortcomings of the Enlightenment: slavery and racism
Development of 'improvement' in technologies, medicine and language
Universal Human Rights, Democracy, Marxism, Self-determination
Economics of Caribbean Enlightenment
The impact of surrealism
Négritude and the universal
Appraisals of The Black Jacobins
Contemporary Caribbean literature/philosophy and universality 'revisioned'
Gendered, gay, racial, and class perspectives on universality
Religion and the Caribbean
Caribbean thought and 'post-continental' philosophy.

PG Bursaries
We are happy to say there will be a limited amount made available for Postgraduate Travel Bursaries. If interested, please enquire.

Please send panel proposals and/or paper abstracts (300 words) with a brief biographical statement (150 words) to Dr. Lorna Burns and Michael Morris at by 1st December 2009.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Advice for People Doing Research in the Caribbean?

Do you remember the best piece of advice you received while planning to do research in the Caribbean?

For the past few years, I have collected the “words of wisdom” concerned colleagues, researchers, elders in my discipline, “everyday experts,”* friends, and family members have graciously given me before, and during, my multiple research trips to Jamaica. In last month's volume of Transforming Anthropology**, I wrote about the five themes that connected these pearls of wisdom in a piece titled, "'Don't Ride the Bus': and Other Warnings that Women Anthropologists Are Given During Fieldwork." Although the individuals giving me advice seemed dedicated to thinking up ways to help me navigate unfamiliar territory, and genuinely wanted to make me feel comfortable in this space, in reality, much of their advice and warnings only worked to remind me of three things: (1) I was traveling alone; (2) I was a foreigner; and (3) I was a woman. For almost all of my advice givers, the gendered fact of Number 3 somehow exacerbated their anxiety and concern around the first two sentiments. It seemed that being a foreign woman alone in Jamaica, and the Caribbean more broadly, was somehow dangerous and problematic. Subsequently, these well-meaning American tourists, business travelers, African diasporic researchers, and Jamaican residents called, emailed, and whispered strategies to help me deal with the obstacles I would undoubtedly face.

In my article, I conclude that the advice people gave me during my research did not necessarily help me figure out how to get around Jamaica, or do my fieldwork research more efficiently. However, their advice did tell me a great deal about the ways Jamaica, and the Caribbean more broadly, are read through racialized, nationalized, gendered, sexualized, and classed lenses. Additionally, I realized that there were not enough spaces available for those completing research in the Caribbean, (particularly women), to talk about and discuss their experiences—the daily ins and outs of “doing research,” while navigating bustling city streets, crowded beaches, lively taxi car parks, jam-packed buses, and peaceful mountain towns. The silencing of these stories does not prepare our graduate students to do better research. And the revisionist histories that we often include in the texts that we write, erasing the highs and lows of our experiences, often downplay the significance of our identities and how these social markers affect our interactions with, and research about, the Caribbean.

Therefore I ask you: How was your experience of doing research in the Caribbean? What advice would you give current and future researchers working in the diverse locations that make up the Caribbean?

*I use the term “everyday experts” to describe the individuals anthropologists have traditionally called “informants.”

**Volume 17, issue 2, October 2009.

Contributed by Bianca C. Williams

Monday, November 2, 2009

CFP - Freedom and Power in the Caribbean: The Work of Gordon K. Lewis (UWI, Mona, June 3-5 2010)

Call for Papers and Panels:

Freedom and Power in the Caribbean: The Work of Gordon K. Lewis

UWI, Mona, June 3-5 2010

The Centre for Caribbean Thought (CCT) UWI, Mona, in association with Africana Studies at Brown University and the Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras is proud to host the VIIth Caribbean Reasonings Conference entitled Freedom and Power in the Caribbean: the Work of Gordon K. Lewis, to be held June 3-5, 2010 at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Professor Gordon K. Lewis, (1919 – 1991) taught for many years at the University of Puerto Rico and wrote path-breaking books on the Caribbean’s history, politics and intellectual development. Texts such as Puerto Rico: Freedom and Power in the Caribbean (1963), The Growth of the Modern West Indies (1968), and Main Currents in Caribbean Thought: the historical evolution of Caribbean society in its ideological aspects (1983), exemplify the breadth of his interests as well as the range and quality of his output.

Lewis’ work transcended the region’s linguistic fragmentation and was consistent with the view that “No one could really claim to be a full practitioner in Caribbean Studies until he came to write ultimately, on the Caribbean as a whole.” (Main Currents in Caribbean Thought, (1983) Maingot, introduction vi). This conference in 2010 will reopen inter-territorial networks to enable studies across language barriers, a goal the Centre for Caribbean Thought has articulated and continues to realize since 2001 through several conferences and the “Caribbean Reasonings” book series with Ian Randle Publishers. It will also seek to introduce the seminal work of Gordon K. Lewis to a new generation of young scholars, interested in moving beyond constricting national barriers, in order to study the region in its entirety.

There is limited space on the conference programme for individual papers and panels, thus we are suggesting that proposals that fall within the following broad categories will be given serious consideration:

1. Critical examination of Gordon K. Lewis’s scholarship, particularly The Growth of the Modern West Indies; Main Currents in Caribbean Thought; Puerto Rico: Freedom and Power in the Caribbean; and Grenada: the Jewel Despoiled.

2. Critical work on the present state and the future of social sciences research in the Caribbean, with particular emphasis on pan-Caribbean research and inter-disciplinary studies.

3. Critical exploration of the state of Caribbean Thought in the contemporary period beyond Lewis’ assessment in Main Currents in Caribbean Thought

4. The state of politics in the Caribbean, forty years beyond The Growth of the Modern West Indies.

5. The existential condition of Caribbean Intellectuals and intellectualism in the 21st century.

6. Reflections on the Grenada Revolution and Lewis’s assessment of its collapse in Grenada: the Jewel Despoiled.

7. Critical reflection on the state and status of Puerto Rico, beyond Lewis’ analysis in Puerto Rico: Freedom and Power in the Caribbean.

8. Critical analysis of the state and future of Pan Caribbeanism and integration movements.

9. Sports, culture and the future of Caribbean unity.

Abstracts should be sent as a Word attachment to Beverley Sutherland Lewis at:

FINAL date for submission: December 15, 2009

.Hosted by: The Centre for Caribbean Thought, UWI, Mona, The Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and the Africana Studies Department, Brown University, Rhode Island.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Historical Roots of Social Exclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean (in comparative perspective)

This intensive two-day workshop seeks to stimulate new research in the historical roots of social exclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean from a broad comparative and historical perspective, highlighting the nature of institutions inherited from pre-Columbian societies as well as British, French, and Iberian colonial empires and the nature and social consequences of the struggle for Independence in the colonies.

For the full CFP visit the following link:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rethinking Power, Production and Possession

Very few will question the imperialistic effects of U.S. established and developing federal policies, for they have widespread impact on the economies, cultures, and visualizations of communities far beyond its national borders. Thus with President Barack Obama's recent call for federal agencies to stop pursuing state sanctioned medical users and suppliers of marijuana, since it is "not a good use of federal manpower to prosecute those who are without a doubt in compliance with state law," what implications will we begin to see on the typically criminalized cannabis industries of the United States' closest neighbors? As a contributor for the, Ronald Sanders articulates the necessity to "Change Anti-Drug Strategies" throughout the Caribbean. The full article can be found at following link: In considering the forthcoming theme for CSA 2010, how might proposed and alternative changes in anti-drug strategies assist in derailing violence and poverty throughout Caribbean nations?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CSA's 2010 Annual Conference (May 24th -28th) in Barbados!!!

Understanding the Everyday Occurrence of Violence in the Cultural Life of the Caribbean: Where Do We Go From Here?

This year’s conference theme provides a space for a full discussion of the physical, emotional, psychological, social and political exploration of the notion of violence. The policy implications of this topic are unavoidable and urgently needed; it is to this end that the subtitle poses the question, where do we go from here? As the largest and most well-established professional organization of Caribbean scholars, we should offer some input into how public policy concerning violence is formulated. The CSA could, for example, begin to investigate the cost associated with violence in the region, namely, the pressures on the public health system to address the needs of those victims of violence, prison costs resulting from conflict, the violence of poverty and unemployment, and the monopolization of violence by the state, inter alia. We welcome panel and individual submissions from people across the humanities, arts, social sciences, public policy and civil society organizations.

For the full call for papers, please download the following pdf:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Graduate Student Essay Contest

The Gender and Young Scholars (GYS) Sub-Committee of the Caribbean Studies Association is pleased to announce…

The First Annual CSA Graduate Student Essay Contest

The GYS invites individuals who are students in a degree-granting program (including M.A. and Ph.D.) at the time of their submission to send research essays between 6000 and 8000 words centering on the analysis of political, cultural, literary and/or socio-economic phenomena in the Caribbean region and its diasporae. We encourage submissions that expand the purview of Caribbean Studies and challenge us to think beyond traditional divisions among disciplines and conventional approaches to areas, while maintaining a focus on historical or emergent concerns within the region and its outposts. Essays will be read and evaluated by a committee of readers chosen from the GYS Sub-Committee and the broader CSA membership. The winner will be announced in the CSA newsletter, and the winning paper will be published in the peer-reviewed journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists, Transforming Anthropology (

Submissions should be sent to: 

Deborah A. Thomas
Associate Professor and Editor, Transforming Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania
3260 South Street, Museum 335
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Electronic submissions are preferred, but mailed hard copies of essays will also be accepted. Please use one of the following formats: Word, rtf, or pdf

Deadline: 15 January 2010
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As the chief publication of the Association of Black Anthropologists, Transforming Anthropology advances scholarship across the four fields of anthropology and beyond. We seek contributions that reflect the dynamic, transnational, and contested conditions of social worlds, and work that pushes the boundaries of discipline and genre. The publication interrogates the contemporary and historical construction of social inequalities based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, nationality and other invidious distinctions. We remain committed to publishing material that generates dialogues among communities of scholars, activists, artists, and the people with whom they work. Transforming Anthropology is published semiannually. We invite submissions of research articles for peer review, book and film reviews or review essays, as well as short commentaries, research reports, interviews, and other innovative formats.