Monday, February 22, 2010

Preserving Haitian History and Culture

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, scholars are beginning efforts to preserve Haiti's magnificent history and culture for the future. One idea being circulated among the Association of Black Anthropologists is for those with access to primary source Haitian material to coordinate with the Haitian embassy in Washington DC to collect and store those materials until the appropriate Haitian museum is prepared to accept them. More information will be provided as it becomes available; your feedback is welcome.

In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal recently reported on the unearthing of Alan Lomax's archive of Haitian research (conducted in collaboration with Zora Neale Hurston).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Remembering Rex Nettleford

Professor Ralston Milton Nettleford, better known as Rex Nettleford, one of Jamaica’s most famous scholars and cultural icons, passed a week ago on Feb. 2, 2010, in Washington, D.C. He collapsed in his hotel room a few days before, while visiting the U.S. to raise funds for the University of the West Indies, where he acted as Vice-Chancellor Emeritus. During his 76 years with us, Professor Nettleford lived a full life as a Jamaican intellectual, social critic, and choreographer. It is difficult to list this Rhodes Scholar’s numerous achievements, however some include his authoring of books such as the seminal study on the Rastafari movement in 1961 (which he co-authored with M.G. Smith and Roy Augier), “Manley and the New Jamaica” with Norman Manley in 1971, his collection of essays titled “Mirror Mirror,” and his book “Caribbean Cultural Identity: The Case of Jamaica.” Nettleford was an artistic director of the University Singers at the UWI Mona campus for over twenty years, founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica in 1963, and acted as a chairman on the Council of the Institute of Jamaica. To get more information on Professor Nettleford’s many achievements see: Is Jamaica/nettleford.html

Through his work as a mentor, teacher, university administrator, artist, and cultural ambassador, Professor Nettleford touched the lives of many, including members of the Caribbean Studies Association across generations, geographic areas, and disciplines. CSA member Honor Ford-Smith shares her experiences with Nettleford and the impact he had on her life in her tribute titled, “In Memoriam: Rex Nettleford 1933-2010,” which you can read on the CSA website at

We open up the comments section as a space for CSA members to share their experiences with Professor Nettleford, and to talk about the profound impact his academic and artistic pursuits had on their research in the Caribbean and their lives.

Contributed by Bianca C. Williams

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Indigenous People Being Pushed Out of the Amazon?

With governmental negotiations underway for a multi-billion hydro-electric dam, are indigenous peoples being pushed out of the Amazon? Some sources say yes!

Brazil grants environmental licence for Belo Monte dam
By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Brazil's government has granted an environmental licence for the construction of a controversial hydro-electric dam in the Amazon rainforest.

Environmental groups say the Belo Monte dam will cause devastation in a large area of the rainforest and threaten the survival of indigenous groups.

However, the government says whoever is awarded the project will have to pay $800m to protect the environment.

The initial approval was a key step before investors could submit bids.

For full article (