Monday, January 25, 2010

CFP Extended to Fri. 2/5 for CSA Conference in Barbados


Please also be assured that we are discussing ways of ensuring that the devastating earthquake and its aftermath in Haiti are front and centre questions at CSA in May, and very much look forward to you joining us and participating actively in the conversation.


If you have any questions please direct them to the CSA Conference Address:

Alissa Trotz at

D. Alissa Trotz
CSA Program Chair 2010.

Cuba Haitian Neighbor

The are many parallels between Haiti and Cuba -- from their game changing revolutions to their expulsion from the global community for their audacity to hope. As expected, Cuba is involved in Haiti's recovery efforts.

Cuba Reacts to Haiti Earthquake

Fidel Castro on Haiti Two Weeks After

Granma/Spanish (official newspaper of Cuban gov't)
Granma/English (The international edition of the official newspaper of the Cuban government. Though the international edition is not identical to the local, hard-copy edition, the online source provides insight into locally filtered news reporting. )

Friday, January 22, 2010

Conversations about Haiti and the Region

While many rightfully continue to seek out ways to offer assistance to the thousands in Haiti struggling through nightmarish conditions, there are others like Pat Robertson who have already begun finger-pointing after the tragic earthquake. Another emerging issue in the aftermath of the disaster in Haiti is what will become of those seeking livable conditions elswhere. It is necessary that we, as scholars of the Caribbean, begin a dialogue about Haiti and its neighbors, as frightening proposals are beginning to emerge. The article below offers a number of suggestions of 'what to do' with displaced Haitian nationals who have survived the earthquake, including sending these survivors to Guantanamo Bay. In support of his position, the author writes, "Gitmo may be a grim place, but nothing is as grim as Haiti itself." In the face of 'proposals' like these, those of us who live, work and feel accountable to those in the Caribbean must also begin to speak.
Spreading the Inevitable Flood of Haitian Refugees Around the Region

It is highly likely that there will be a flood of Haitian refugees in the next few months, no matter how heroic the Administration's efforts are to meet the short- and long-term needs of the people in Haiti.
It is time to make some hard-nosed suggestions about the distribution of those refugees.
I heard on the news last night a reporter say that Haiti is "on America's doorstep." Compared to Afghanistan, well, yes, but a look at the map would be helpful.

Haiti, at best, is at the outer fringe of Mainland America's front lawn. The places where the doorstep image fits are: Dominican Republic (on the other side of the island), Cuba, and the Bahamas; also nearby are two American territories that, to be blunt about it, have never lifted a finger to help America to resettle refugees, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Then there are the British, the ex-British, the Dutch, and particularly the French islands in the Carribbean, most much closer to Haiti than Florida.
None of these places are as rich as the U.S. or Western Europe, but all are far more prosperous than Haiti, and all should pitch in and help the probable flow of refugees. The individuals will find a better life in those places than in the other likely locations – the slums of Brooklyn and Miami.
If they wind up in Guadeloupe or Martinique they will even have experience with the local language. (Some Haitians speak French, most speak a French-based creole.)
One of the characteristics of the U.S. refugee program is that there is no central control of where, within the U.S., the refugees settle. The initial distribution is in the hands of junior officers of the private resettlement agencies who meet weekly in New York City; after that a refugee, though initially settled in South Dakota, may move to California – it is rarely the other way around.
What results is called in the trade "secondary migration," as refugees – pretty rootless after their initial arrival – move around the nation to find relatives, or in by-gone days, more friendly welfare systems.
The result is that huge numbers of refugees live in ethnic clusters – think of Orange County, California, and the Vietnamese, or the Twin Cities and the Hmong – which is comfortable for them in the short term, but slows their long-term adjustment to life in America.
My suggestion is that the US prevail upon jurisdictions in Haiti's neighborhood to accept a finite number of refugees – a small fraction, in each case, of what the U.S. will accept. This will not be easy. Islanders can be just as biased as Mainlanders, if not more so. That most of the island governments are run by Blacks is not necessarily helpful vis-a-vis the resettlement of Black refugees.
But the U.S. can use diplomatic leverage on the Dominicans, the British, the French, the Dutch, and the ex-British colonies to help some of the Haitians. How Cuba will react will be interesting.
The U.S. would extend its current per capita refugee resettlement and placement grant of $900 each, now used only on the Mainland of the U.S., to all cooperating island governments. The refugees would be given travel documents that allowed them legally enter only the place of resettlement or Haiti. Refugee resettlement organizations will object to both provisions, of course, they will want to keep R&P grants within the States, and will object to the limited mobility of the new refugees.
Would-be refugees would be offered a choice; either you and your family go to, Jamaica, say, or you can stay in Haiti. Few would choose the latter.
As to the cooperation of the U.S. island governments, the levers are easily pushed and pulled. Both island jurisdictions are heavily dependent on flows of funds from Washington, most of which are not automatic, and can be sped or delayed by agency action. (The Departments of Agriculture, Education and Transportation provide moneys, as does the Federal Communications Commission, among others.) The Governors could be told, quietly, that all of these flows will be stalled until the islands work out their refugee resettlement programs.
Whereas the U.S. can not block a refugee in South Dakota from moving to California, regulating air traffic out of Puerto Rico, and particularly the Virgin Islands, is much more manageable. Besides, there is the precedent of issuing Guam-only visas to potential tourists to that island. (Part of this plan would involve issuing VI- or PR-only visas to Haitians resettled in those locations.)
In addition the U.S. would see to it that some small classes of refugees – such as those picked up seeking illegal entrance to the U.S. – would be sent to Guantanamo. The Navy Base there also could use its hospital to treat some of those injured in the earthquake. Not all Gitmo is a prison, and its extensive grounds have been used to house Haitian refugees in the past.
Gitmo may be a grim place, but nothing is as grim as Haiti itself. I know, I once spent a year in Port-au-Prince, or so it seemed in those four days; I am sure that, even without an earthquake, it is the most depressing place on earth.

David North served as both a consultant to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, in the Department of Health and Human Services, and as an official of the Office of Insular Affairs, in the Department of the Interior.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Post-Earthquake Action Steps for Haiti

In the wake of the catastrophic damage in Haiti caused by the recent earthquake, many people have expressed a desire to help in some way. This post offers some suggestions for ways to donate time, money or support. If you know of additional credible avenues to assist in Haiti, please add them in the Comments section.

People have been asking:

1) Where to contribute

a) Most reliable organizations seemingly best able to provide immediate assistance

These top 4 have people already on the ground & already tending to victims :

i. Having spoken to people on the ground, these two above are serving as a shelter for impacted survivors, providing food & water, but their reserves (normally for several hundred orphans & staff) will not last very long:

Go Free Ministries (

- Click on 'donate' to give by Paypal or credit card
- Mail: Go Free Ministries Intl. PO BOX 163108, Fort Worth, TX 76161-3108.
- Email inquiries to: (you can direct it to go specifically to earthquake relief efforts)
Hope Foundation International Ministries, Inc.
2822 54th Ave. South #229, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

ii. Partners in Health or mail Partners In
Health, P.O. Box 845578, Boston, MA 02284-5578

iii. Doctors Without Borders, or toll-free at 1-888-392-0392 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
USA Headquarters 333 7th Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001-5004.

b) Good for longer term support

i. Food for the Poor:

ii. The Lambi Fund:

iii. World Vision:

c) Unsure of time-table to get aid on the ground

i. YeleHaiti (Wyclef's org)

ii. Red Cross (although unclear how to direct the funds to specifically Haiti):

iii. For more complete lists of options, see:
d) Clothing Donations

e) Donate Relief Goods

2) What actions can I take

a) Contact your Congresspeople (to get your Senator & Representative's
number to MAKE A QUICK CALL, visit to
support IMMEDIATE RESCUE EFFORTS to Haiti; and

b) To request TPS for Haitians, not just "halting deportations"

The Obama administration should grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status
(TPS), which is regularly granted to the people of other countries who've
suffered much less disasters than Haiti; by DHS's own definition, even with
the hurricanes preceding this earthquake, Haiti is overqualified.

c) If you want to help & go the extra mile, please WRITE in to media outlets like your local newspaper, and/or newstation's website.


i. Plans are coming together for a trip of Matador volunteers to go to Haiti to assist in earthquake recovery and relief.
NOAH is also gearing up to head to Haiti.

ii. Hope for Haiti is looking for medical personnel & donations:

iii. So is:


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Hello blog followers! The deadlines are fast approaching for the CSA's Graduate Student Essay Contest and the CSA Best Dissertation Award.

If you are a graduate student, and seek to become published, the Graduate Student Essay Contest is a great place to start. The winner of this contest will be published in "Transforming Anthropology," the peer-reviewed journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists. The deadline for this contest is January 22, 2010, and you can find details about this it at the Caribbean Studies Association website at

If you have completed your dissertation in the past two years (2008 and 2009), you are eligible to apply for the CSA Best Dissertation Award. The winner will receive a Crystal Award at the 2010 CSA Meeting in Barbados, and will be reimbursed their 2010 CSA membership fees. The deadline for this award is February 1, 2010. Please see the Caribbean Studies Association's website for more details.

These are great opportunities to have your work reviewed by prominent scholars who study the Caribbean through a multiplicity of disciplinary lenses. We encourage you to apply!

Contributed by Bianca C. Williams

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Congraatulations to Laura Lomas!!!

The Modern Language Association has awarded Laura Lomas the seventh annual MLA Prize for United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies. She is awarded the prize based on her text Translating Empire: Jose Marti, Migrant Latino Subjects, and American Modernities.

The committee's citation for the winning book reads:

Translating Empire: José Martí, Migrant Latino Subjects, and American Modernities does an excellent job of reinterpreting the legacy of José Martí while documenting an impressive body of archival work. Covering the North American literary and cultural texts of the United States in the Gilded Age, Laura Lomas reads Martí and his contemporaries to tell the story of Latino migrants as the translators of cultures situated between modernities. Lomas gives close attention to Martí's lesser-known texts, reinvigorates his contributions to the United States, and provides an abundance of provocative and thoughtful readings. Lomas's reinterpretation of Martí recasts the transamerican imaginary as a model for a contemporary readership drawing north-south intersections between Latin American studies and United States Latino studies.

Laura Lomas is an associate professor in the English Department and the Graduate Program in American Studies at Rutgers University, Newark.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Welcome to the 2010 CSA Blog!!!

Hopefully you are full of as much excitement for the new year as we are. For those who are new, welcome to the Caribbean Studies Association's blog. For those who are returning, thank you for your continued support in developing this blog that spreads and supports scholarship and dialogue concerning Caribbean Studies beyond our annual conference. As the year begins we wish blessings of vigorous energy on all who are diligently engaged in expanding content and knowledge related to Caribbean region. This is a space for professors, students, and independent scholars to share information about the many things concerning the Caribbean that arise in our multifaceted research experiences. So please assist in growing our blog by submitting for possible posting short essays (500 wds), reviews, CFPs, personal achievements, and other related announcements concerning the diverse fields of Caribbean Studies. Submissions may be sent to
Additionally, please remember the CFP deadline for the CSA annual conference in Barbados is rapidly approaching. We would love to see you there! For the full CFP, please visit