What is Caribbean Studies? Prisms, Paradigms and Practices

Date: April 1-2, 2011

Location: Whitney Humanities Center, Room 208

Summary: “What is Caribbean Studies?” is a two-day symposium that builds upon a preliminary international workshop held at Yale in Fall 2009 entitled “New Directions in Caribbean Studies.” Co-sponsored by Initiative on Race Gender and Globalization, Center for Transnational Cultural Analysis, and African American Studies, this workshop set the agenda for the articulation of a number of key questions that are central to this symposium. The mission of ‘What is Caribbean Studies: Prisms, Paradigms, and Practices’ is to serve as a critical forum for participants to exchange ideas about the significance of Caribbean Studies in our transnational world and to ask what constitutes the ‘Caribbean’ in Caribbean Studies? To what extent do the divergent locations, subjectivities, and traumas captured by the term Caribbean actually render a fixed notion of the Caribbean impossible? What is gained or missed by applying concepts such as empire,transnationalism, globalization, and neoliberalism to the locations historically imagined as the Caribbean? In answering these questions our focus will be on the national and transnational networks and linkages that have come to constitute the Caribbean beyond its geography and its political and subject formations.

Speakers: Speakers will include artists and scholars such as David Scott (Columbia University), Marlon James (Macalaster College); Roshini Kempadoo (University of East London); and Jorge Giovanetti (University of Puerto Rico). Faculty from Yale University such as Caryl Phillips, Jafari Allen, Terri Francis, among others will serve as respondents.

Sponsors: Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund (Macmillan Center); the Council on Latin American & Iberian Studies U.S. Department of Education Title VI Grant; Whitney Humanities Center; African American Studies; the Initiative on Race, Gender, and Globalization; and Small Axe Journal.


Hazel V. Carby
Professor, Departments of African American Studies and American Studies
Director of the Initiative on Race, Gender, and Globalization
Yale University

Kamari M. Clarke
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Director of the Yale Center for Transnational Cultural Analysis
Yale University

David Scott
Professor, Deparment of Anthropology
Editor of Small Axe & Director of Small Axe Project
Columbia University


David Scott, “The question of Caribbean Studies” 

Conversation 1
Jorge Giovannetti (University of Puerto Rico)
Harvey Neptune (Temple University)
Michelle Stephens (Colgate College)
Respondent: Jafari Allen (Yale)

Conversation 2
Melaine Newton (University of Toronto)
Alissa Trotz (University of Toronto)
Respondent: Chris Johnson (Yale)

Aesthetic Regimes: A Roundtable Discussion
Roshini Kempadoo (photographer, media artist, East London)
Marlon Griffith (visual and public performance, Trinidad and Tobago)
Mark Raymond (architect, Trinidad and Tobago)
Wayne Modest (curator, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam)

Documentary film: Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens
Filmmakers: Deborah Thomas (University of Pennsylvania); John Jackson (University of Pennsylvania)
Respondent: Terri Francis (Yale)

Conversation 3
Aaron Kamugisha (UWI Cave Hill, Barbados)
Patricia Saunders (University of Miami)
Respondent: Sean Brotherton (Yale)

Conversation 4
Shani Mootoo (multimedia artist and writer, Canada)
Marlon James (Macalester College)
Respondent: Caryl Phillips (Yale)

Conversation 5
Shalini Puri (University of Pittsburgh)
Deborah Thomas (University of Pennsylvania)
Kelly Josephs (CUNY)
Respondent: Kristin Graves (Yale)