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FOLK 507 640 Cruising the Caribbean

R. Romberg
Seminar: Tuesday 5:30-8:10

Shaped by transnational desires, first of sugar and then of tourism, the Caribbean presents a challenge for the cross-disciplinary study of cultural change. Especially since its has been shaped by the displacement of people, goods and ideas from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin American since its very inception. In this introductory course on the Caribbean we will critically examine "creolization" processes at social, religious, political, economic and artistic levels as they were driven by pirates, privateers, maroons, exiles and tourists. Drawing from works in folklore, history, anthropology, music, film and literature, we will ask, for instance, in which ways did the French Revolution propel the creation of the first Black Republic of Haiti, and the sugar boom boost the fomration of Cuban Santeria? How has the image of the sensuous/threatening mulatta evolved since plantation, minstrel shows, to tourist experiences? On what kind of histories and emotions do "zombies" feed upon? Why did Raggae and Merengue succeed on the global stage? What is the relation between the display of national icons in Trinidadian carnival and the rhetoric used by the tourism industry? How is the colonial past re-packaged as "pleasure islands" for global consumption?

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