CREOLE CULTURES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 2:30-3:45
Professor Rose-Marie Chierici
Sturges 13; ext. 5818
Office hours: Wednesday 11:00-12:00 and 1:00-2:00, or at other times by appointment
This course traces the legacy of the colonial experience and the political, economic, religious and cultural changes that shaped societies in the Americas. It looks at the emergence of dynamic and varied creole cultures in the Caribbean and at the similarities and differences among them. We will read case studies and works of fiction by Caribbean authors to get at the issues that people and countries in the region face.
Upon successful completion of this course, a student will demonstrate:
1) Familiarity with the main theories and concepts that explain the formation of Creole cultures.
You will become familiar with dominant models and theories that explain the formation of Creole cultures in the New World. These skills will be demonstrated and evaluated through the preparation of short assignments and essays. Assignments and essays address specific issues such as of post-colonial history in the Caribbean, race and ethnicity, pan-African identity, Afro-Caribbean religions.
2) Competency in the analysis of anthropological concepts.
You will demonstrate competence in the critical and comparative analysis of theoretical perspectives in anthropology. These skills will be developed through focused discussions of the material covered and student led discussion sessions. Discussions are opportunities for students to critically evaluate the material covered in class.
3) Competency in the interpretation of anthropological ideas.
You will demonstrate an ability to identify and critique theoretical ideas and evaluate perspectives of the issues discussed in the course. These skills will be evaluated through student-led discussion sessions, essays, and short assignments.
In order to get the most out of lectures, films and class discussions students are expected to complete all assigned readings and to attend all classes. I strongly encourage all students to take advantage of office hours, drop by even if you do not have a specific question. I look forward to meeting each student. I also hope that you will feel comfortable enough to take part in class discussions; each person has something meaningful to contribute and all questions are worth asking. Rest assured that your comments and questions are welcomed and that your opinions will be respected.
Student performance will be evaluated in the following way:
Your final grade reflects individual work, collaborative efforts through group projects, as well as participation in discussions and activities:
A = 94 + A- = 90-93
B+ = 87–89 B = 84–86 B- = 80–83
C+ = 77–79 C = 74–76 C - = 70-73
D+ = 67-69 D = 64-66 D- = 60-63
E = 0-59
* I strongly encourage you to read your syllabus ahead of time. All the information you need is included there and you are responsible to know what readings are assigned and when assignments are due.
** Essays should be properly documented: cite all your sources and include a bibliography. Failure to do so will cost you up to a full grade. Consult the Writing Guide in case you have any questions: http://writingguide.geneseo.edu/
***Late assignments and plagiarism policy: Assignments are due on the date indicated. Late assignments will be heavily penalized. Plagiarism is never condoned and may lead to failing the class. I strongly recommend that you review the College’s policy on plagiarism.
****You will be asked to fill on line SOFIs at the end of the semester. Do so thoughtfully as we use your comments to improve our courses.
You are responsible to hand in short assignments indicated on the syllabus, here is a schedule of essays/reaction papers:
First essay/Reaction paper: October 3
Second essay: November 26
Discussion sessions: as announced
All diversity experience reviews due on December 3rd, NO EXCEPTIONS
Final: Wednesday December 11, 3:30-6:30 pm
Carpentier, Alejo. The Kingdom of this World.FSG 2006 edition. 978-0-374-53011-2
All other readings can be accessed through Course Materials on myCourses.
From time to time I will upload links articles and other resources on myCourses; please forward me any articles on events that you think might be of interest to the class.
8/27 INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
Meet your colleagues
8/29 Anthropology and the concept of culture
Colonial experience in the New World
Assignment: What do you know about the African Diaspora and its influence in shaping the New World? Working with your group, select a Caribbean culture which fits the description of a post-colonial society and explain the reasons why you selected it.
9/3 THE COLONIAL EXPERIENCE AND DIASPORIC IDENTITY
Reading: Montiel, “Our Third Root: On African Presence in America”
Discussion: Identify two issues that you find interesting in the article. How do these issues challenge your understanding of colonization and of contemporary new world cultures? Bring your comments, questions for today’s discussion.
9/5 Introduction to Scholarly Research with Research Librarian: Kim Hoffman
COLOR AND NATIONAL IDENDITY AND CULTURE
9/10 Reading: Trouillot, “Culture, Color, and Politics in Haiti”
“Haitians, They Call Us Boat People” http://www.notthehaitians.com/video.php/1038
9/12 Reading: Walker, “Africanity vs. Blackness: Race, class, and culture in Brazil”
Student led discussion: Cultural notions of race and color in Haiti and Brazil
9/17 Reading: Munasinghe, “Introduction” to Callaloo or Tossed Salad
9/19 Film: Hosay Trinidad
9/24 Reading: Thomas, “Introduction” and Ch. 1 “The Problem of Nationalism in the British West Indies; Or, What are We and What do We Want to Be?
This book is challenging so to help you process the issues it raises you will keep a journal to document your reactions to the book and the film. The journal will serve as one of the sources for your paper.
Discussion: Join your small group for a brief discussion of the articles. Specifically, what do you think Thomas is telling us about the meaning of “identity” and “nation’ in Jamaica? What does it mean to construct an ethnic identity? How do Jamaican fit in the larger context of the Caribbean and African Diaspora? We will then expand the discussion to the whole class.
**First essay: The paper is due Thursday October 3rd.
Essay topics TBA
9/26 Black in Cuba:
View this episode and bring your questions and comments.
10/1 The New Diaspora: Caribbean out-migration and adaptation to other cultures
Small group work: Research Caribbean communities in large cities such as New York, Paris, Montreal, Miami, Toronto, etc. We will assign your group a city and your task will be find out
10/3 Student led discussion
***First essays are due today
10/8 HAITI: A CASE STUDY OF NEW WORLD
Begin reading: Alejo Carpentier The Kingdom of this World
10/10 Finish reading The Kingdom of this World
**Write a 400 words review of the book and drop it in the folder Individual Submissions. We will compare interpretations on the 17th.
10/15 FALL BREAK
10/17 Student led discussion: Discussion of The Kingdom of this World
10/22 Reading TBA
10/24 Haiti and the Dominican Republic: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/black-in-latin-america/featured/haiti-the-dominican-republic-an-island-divided-watch-full-episode/165/
What connections can you make between what you know of Haitian history and early beginnings and its current situation?
10/29 Reading: Michel, “Vodou in Haiti: Way of Life and Mode of Survival” (eRes) and
Student led discussion:
10/31 Reading: Elizabeth McAlister. "Rara as Popular Army: Hierarchy, Militarism, and Warfare" In Philip W. Scher, ed., Perspectives on the Caribbean: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation. MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, pp. 129-143.
Check this blog for further insights: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sashafrerejones/2009/07/haitian-music-part-2-what-does-revolution-sound-like.html
11/5 This week we will watch The Agronomist and at the same time read 2 chapters from Laurent Dubois’ book Haiti: The Aftershocks of History.
Second essay ~ 2nd Essay question will be distributed, essay is due November 27.
11/7 The Agronomist and Dubois
11/12 Reading: Selection of short articles from Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake.
11/14 Nou Bouke [We're Tired]: Haiti's Past, Present and Future http://www.vimeo.com/21211925
***Second essay is due Nov 26. Topic TBA
11/19 Caribbean Diaspora in the US – a patchwork of cultures
Latino on culture, color and identity:
11/21 Assignment: Research Caribbean immigrant communities in NYC and bring your findings and video clips.
Student led discussion
11/26 2nd Essays are due today. Please be on time, late submissions severely penalized.
11/28 Thanksgiving Break
12/3 Student led discussion: nationalism and globalization through music
***All Diversity Experience write ups are due today, last chance.
12/5 Wrap up and conclusion
Final Exam, Tuesday December 11 3:30-6:30 pm