This spring’s colloquium series Whither the Caribbean? Critical Perspectives on History, Politics, and Culture opened with a talk by Melanie Newton, Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto. Newton specializes in the social and cultural history of the Caribbean and the history of slavery, gender, and emancipation in the Atlantic World.
Newton presented her paper “The Race Leapt at Sauteurs”: Genocide, Narrative, and Indigenous Exile from the Caribbean Archipelago, which explores the history of Garifuna people (Afro-indigenous descendants of the people of the ‘Caribbee’ islands) between 1492 and the eighteenth century. Her objective was to demonstrate that the Lesser Antilles’s histories of enslavement and colonization fit the 1951 United Nations definition of genocide as an attempt to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” To do so, she took into account three acts of annihilationist violence committed by the Spanish in 1493, the French in 1651, and the British from 1796-1797 against the Lesser Antillean peoples who came to be known as the Caribs. The three military defeats suffered by the Carib people translated into symbols of racial annihilation that helped colonial authorities to dispossess Caribbean aboriginal people of legal claims to either redress or rights based on Carib ancestry.
On Monday, CLACS hosted the first event of the Spring 2012 Research Colloquium series. Ronald Briggs, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures at Barnard College, presented on “Independence Pedagogy and the Cult of the Perfect Book.” The event was well attended, and was a strong kick-off to the spring series!
Each semester, CLACS hosts a Research Colloquium series that combines a graduate level course with a speaker series. The course is co-taught by faculty of distinct disciplines, bringing together different academic fields of study. CLACS Director Sinclair Thomson (NYU History) and Sibylle Fischer (NYU Spanish) are teaching the course this spring.
CLACS Director Ada Ferrer, Anthropologist Sidney Mintz, and Anthropology Professor Aisha Khan at the CLACS Caribbean History and Anthropology Conference
On December 1 – 2, scholars and Caribbean studies enthusiasts came together for a two-day conference highlighting the recently acquired RISM Collection.
The expansive RISM (Research Institute for the Study of Man) Collection was founded in 1955 by Dr. Vera D. Rubin (1911–1985), and produced unique social science research ranging the fields of anthropology, history, demographics and medicine. This conference focused on three specific collections from Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Harvey Neptune (CLACS alum and Assitant Professor of History at Temple University) talks about the Trinidad Study
The Trinidad Study is comprised of materials from the Study of the Aspirations of Youth in a Developing Society, which includes a series of in-depth surveys of high school student in 1957 and 1961. The project aimed to understand “how youth perceived the changing social, political, and economic issues facing Trinidad and Tobago as a developing nation in the Caribbean.”
The Puerto Rico Project, which scholar Sidney Mintz participated in, was conducted by Dr. Julian H. Steward and a team of anthropologists between 1947 – 1949. The collection includes field notes, meeting minutes, manuscripts, printed matter and other ephemera.
Eva Sanchis, CLACS Alum
Eva Sanchis graduated from the CLACS joint journalism M.A. program in 2003. At CLACS, she focused her research on media portrayals of Latino communities, and overall media coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean. Since then, she continues to focus on these issues, and has published her work extensively, She recently relocated to London, where she works for the international NGO REDRESS. Here’s more about Eva, her time at CLACS, and her current work.
Q. What did you focus your research on at CLACS?
A. While completing my joint master’s program in Journalism and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU, I had the opportunity to intern with two CNN primetime shows: American Morning with Paula Zahn and Greenfield at Large. I also began working as a full-time reporter for El Diario-La Prensa, the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, where I covered the Hispanic and Latin American and Spanish Caribbean communities in New York. My thesis at CLACS was partly based on these experiences. It examined mainstream media portrayals of those communities in the United States as well as U.S. media coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Q. Is there any connection between your current work and your research at CLACS?
A. Yes, since I completed my M.A. in 2003, my journalistic career has been devoted to writing about Hispanic and Latin American and Spanish Caribbean communities. An ongoing concern within my work has been to combat distorted perceptions of these communities in the U.S. mainstream media. After NYU, I became the Metro and National News editor at the New York-based El Diario-La Prensa, the U.S.’s second largest Hispanic newspaper. As editor, I supervised coverage of local and national news, and major international stories such as the 2008 US presidential election, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the earthquake in Chile. Prior to being an editor, I was the New York City Hall Bureau chief for El Diario, and I also reported special coverage from Latin America as an IRP Johns Hopkins’ fellow. I have written for El Diario and other publications such as the World Policy Journal, the Progressive magazine, and the Financial Times magazine. I was also an adjunct professor at CLACS, where I taught the course “Covering Latino Stories in the United States.” Since I relocated to London in 2010, I have continued writing as a freelancer about these communities from Europe.
NYU Professor Juan Flores convening the FRN Summer Seminar
Greetings from sunny Puerto Rico! Just a note to express my gratitude for a wonderful week of productive and thought-provoking discussion and for the pleasure of meeting all the participants at the 2011 NYU Summer Institute. Even though we come from all walks of life and different disciplines, I felt the camaraderie and respect towards each other that filled the room where we met made all the difference in the seminar’s success. From literature, music, and history to sociology, anthropology, health, and more, our shared experiences came together in discussing issues related to Afro-Latino History and Culture in ways that I never imagined possible.
To Dr. Juan Flores, thank you so much for leading the way and providing such a wealth of information that we can easily adopt in our own teaching and research. From the very beginning I mentioned that one of the important reasons for signing up for the seminar was your participation as convener. By the end of the week, I was again reaffirmed in my respect and admiration for you, your work, and your generosity. The guest speakers you invited (Willie Perdomo and Alba Mota) as well as our wonderful visit to the Schomburg Center (with a privileged guided tour/discussion by Miriam Jimenez) were an added bonus to the experience. I also reiterate the entire group’s petition that we have another seminar that treats the same subject, a Part II of sorts. One week just wasn’t enough; so much more can be read, discussed, visited, and appreciated.
Posted by Prof. Carmen Haydee Rivera, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
Professor Carmen Haydee Rivera was a participant in the New York University Faculty Resource Network Summer Institute on Afro-Latino History and Culture held in June 2011. The Institute was moderated by NYU Professor Juan Flores. The FRN Institute was co-sponsored by the FRN and NYU CLACS.