Modern Caribbean
Professor Jordana Dym
x. 5272;
M, W 2:10-3:30
TLC 308
Joseph S. Speer, Chart of the West Indies, 1774


This class introduces students to themes affecting political, economic and social developments of the 19th and 20th century Caribbean.  Students are expected to have taken history courses and/or be familiar with the general outline and issues of Latin American history; the difference between primary and secondary sources; and approaches to historical inquiry and writing.
The course will be a combination of lecture-discussions in which the professor will provide background and context for readings, and then open the floor to discussion by the class of themes & materials   All students are expected to take part in the discussions. To do this, you will need to have finished the readings prior to the class meeting.  There is a significant amount of reading, so you need to plan to make sure that it gets done in a timely fashion.



1.   Map Quiz/Country Study: 5%
2. Participation: 20% (5% attendance; 15% participation)
3.  Review Essays (2): 10% each
4. Research Paper (20-25 pages) (55%)

Research Paper
Tentative Research Question & Bibliography
--> MIN: 2-3 primary sources; 4-6 secondary sources
no grade
OCT 28 Thesis, Annotated Bibliography & Outline
--> 2-3 primary sources; 4-6 secondary sources
NOV 30 Draft Paper:(min. 12 pages)
NB: grade INCLUDES draft & peer review
DEC 17 Final Paper: (min. 20 pages, max. 25 pages) 25%
DEC 17 Oral Presentation: Research Paper 5%

The participation grade will be divided for attendance (5%) and participation in class discussions (15%). All students will be
expected to come to class, keep up with weekly readings, participate in and occassionally lead discussions. Instructor will look for faithful attendance, timely completion of weekly readings, thoughtful participation, and a desire to create a friendly, respectful and
articulate atmosphere in the class room.   Each student will be allowed 2 absences, no questions asked.  Additional absences
will result in reduction in both attendance & participation grades.

Map Quiz & Country Study
To familiarize the whole class with the physical location and principal statistical and historical background of several Caribbean islands, there will be a map quiz in week 2, and each student will prepare and distribute a "Basic Indicators & Key Events Timeline" handout in week 3. The Basic Indicators form wil be provided by the instructor. The Key Event Timeline should have a minimum of 15 entries, and ideally will include elements of political, social, cultural, economic and intellectual significance (authors, works of art/music/literature, etc). The Country Study should include a bibliography to include at least ONE internet source, and internet & printed sources should be properly cited.

Research Proposal & Paper
Students will write a 20-25 page research project about the Caribbean. Initial topics are to be decided in consultation with the instructor by week 3 of the course. Papers may consider major themes discussed in the course or other themes of interest to the student. It is expected that students will use the first few weeks of class to do preliminary research to help locate sufficient resources for completion of the project. No project will be approved unless students have shown that they can find sufficient primary AND secondary sources to develop a substantive project. A good history research project will 1) start with a particular idea/theme/question of study, 2) focus on a specific location or locations, and 3) narrow its emphasis to a relevant time period. Often, starting with a good primary source (a memoir, a series of newspaper articles, a law, a government report, a travel account) allows you to think about what is feasible as well as what is interesting.

Additional themes could include: Piracy, Gender; Tourism; Sugar; Coping with Disasters; Urbanization; Foreign Relations, Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Religion; Sports & Imperialism (cricket, baseball), Afro-Caribbeans; Asia in the Caribbean (East Indians, Chinese, Javanese), Family & Society; Intellectual Production, Labor; Religion; Diplomacy; Ecology; etc.

Review Essays
The first review will compare CLR James' Black Jacobins to another treatment of the Haitian Revolution (handout will identify texts, most are on reserve at Scribner Library). The second review will be a critical analysis of either 3 films or 2 speakers from the fall series, "Haiti at 200" events. For dates, see the Latin American Studies webage.

Bibliographic reading
For an additional series of essays on the 20th Century Caribbean dealing with issues from language to political and economic systems, see Sidney Mintz & E. Price, Caribbean Contours. For political developments of the 1980s, a good starting point is Modern Caribbean Politics (1993), ed. A. Payne & Paul Sutton. Both books are on open reserve. For a general history of Latin America, see Benjamin Keen, A History of Latin America, and an economically-centered history of the Caribbean, Eric Williams, From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969 (1970).

When beginning your research, I highly recommend consulting the Hispanic American Periodical Index and the Handbook on Latin American Studies (HLAS), both available on-line at the Scribner Library Database webpage ( Skidmore subscribes to several journals on Latin America, including the Journal of Latin American Studies and the review of the North American Conferences on Latin America (NACLA). In addition, the principal journals on Latin American History (Hispanic America Historical Review, The Americas, The Journal of Latin American Studies, Latin American Research Review) can be found through J-STOR, an on-line catalogue of periodicals ( or Project MUSE (This catalogue is subscription-based and only available on campus). Caribbean newspapers will also be a good source on related issues, as well as US newspapers on the Caribbean. Many contemporary newspapers are available on-line, and can be found using U. Texas' Latin American Network (; the website carries news from various papers on the region. For nineteenth century journalism, you might consult Lexis/Nexis for back issues of the New York Times or Cornell's "Making of America" website which has many American journals of this time period, and is accessible with "key word searches."

REQUIRED TEXTS: Available at Skidmore Shop &

1) CLR James, The Black Jacobins
2) Franklin Knight & Colin Palmer, The Modern Caribbean
3) Franklin Knight, The Caribbean
4) Marifeli Pérez-Estable, The Cuban Revolution
5) Aimé Césaire, A Tempest
6) Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
7) Pedro Cabán, Constructing a Colonial People
8) Ernesto Sagás. Race & Politics in the Dominican Republic
9) Rampolla, Pocket Guide to Writing in History

Map from the Lonely Planet Website

For more maps see:; National Geographic Xpeditions, The U.Texas Library Map Collection;



Section 1:  Political History (Background & Outline)


1.       September 9: Introduction: Geographic & Colonial Background
READING: Knight, Ch. 1

2.       September 14 : Colonial Society & Pirates (British, French & Spanish Colonialism)
READING: Knight, Ch. 2; James, The Black Jacobins, Prefaces, Prologue, 3-5; Esquemeling, The Buccaneers of America, 9-54 [Begin James, The Black Jacobins, 3-61]

3.       September 16: Brainstorming Topics & Researching History
READING: [MAP QUIZ] [Continue James, The Black Jacobins, 62-223]
See David Geggus' "Writing Term Papers" webpage for some good starting points...
Website: The Atlantic Slave Trade,

Sept 20: Film Night: The Last Supper


4.       September 21: Sugar & Slavery: Costs & Benefits

READING:  [COUNTRY STUDY/TIMELINE]; James, Black Jacobins, 3-61
Williams, Capitalism & Slavery, 3-29,
Paton, "Punishment.."
[Continue James,  The Black Jacobins, 224-288]

  Section 2:  Turning Points: the 19th c Revolutions

Background Reading: Knight, Ch. 6

5.       September 23: Early Revolution in the Caribbean: Haitian Revolution
READING: James, The Black Jacobins, 1-388

6.       September 28: Early Revolution in the Caribbean: Haitian Revolution Rethought
READING: [REVIEW ESSAY] James, The Black Jacobins, 392-418

7.       September 30: 19th c Caribbean: Abolition's Origins & Policies
READING: *Williams, Capitalism & Slavery, 154-208;

*Narratives of Events by James Williams, an Apprenticed Laborer in Jamaica, 5-27

**----SEPT 30-OCT 3----**

8.       October 5: 19th c Caribbean: After Abolition
READING: *Fick & Emmer in Temperley, ed. After Slavery; Scott, "Explaining Abolition"

[Initial research question & tentative bibliography]

Website: Abolition,;
Primary Source: Life in Cuba (1871)  Mrs. Helen S. Conant (1st 2 pages)

Section 3:  Turning Points: US Intervention

Background Reading: Knight, Ch. 8, 9

9.       October 7: 1898 & the Birth of a US Empire in the Caribbean (Overview)
READING: Cabán, 15-40; Chasteen, 196-211 (WebCt)

1) Monroe Doctrine; 2)Roosevelt Corollary (1904, 1905); 3) Cleveland: American Interests in the Cuban Revolution; 4)US Recognition of Cuban Independence (Site 1) (Site 2) (1898); 5) Platt Amendment (Site 1)(Site 2)(1901); 6) Kellogg Charges: Bolshevist Threat? (1927)

10.    October 12: Empire Expanded: Military Occupation, Puerto Rico,Haiti
READING: Cabán, 41-161

11.    October 14: Empire Expanded: Puerto Rico: Occupied Territory to Colony? READING: Cabán, 162-254

Select Primary Sources

Article: Cuba as Seen from the Inside (1898) by an American Sugar-Grower [The Century, 56: 2, June 1898]

Article: Ten Months with the Insurgents (1898) by Emery W. Fenn, Late Major in the Cuban Army

Article: William W. Howard, The Cuban as a Labor Problem. [The Century; a popular quarterly.  58:4, Aug 1899]

Article: Major J. E Runcie (1900) American Misgovernment in Cuba [The North American review 170:519, Feb. 1900]

Website: The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures,

        Includes: Cuban Refugees Waiting for Rations (1898)


Section 4:  Turning Points: The Cuban Revolution & The Cold War

Background Reading: Knight/Palmer, Ch. 8

12.   October 19: The Cuban Revolution
READING: Pérez-Estable, Intro; Ch. 1, 2

13.   October 21: The Cuban Revolution
READING:  Pérez-Estable, Ch. 3-5;
Recommended:Castro: Oct 22, 1959, Nov 30, 1959

14.   October 26: The Cuban Revolution (Afterwards)
READING:  Pérez-Estable, Ch. 6-8

15.   October 28: Present RESEARCH PROPOSALS (5 minutes each)
[Thesis/Research Question (Revised) with Annotated Bibliography & Outline]

16.   November 2: Decolonization of the British Caribbean
Knight, Ch. 10; Manigat, Knight/Palmer, Ch. 12 (Maingot); Manigat, "Grenada,", Thorndike, "Political Economy"; Recommended: Eric Williams,Massa Day Done (Select JPG format)

17.   November 4: The Caribbean & the Cold War: Aftermath of the Cuban Revolution
: Knight/Palmer, Ch. 5, 6 (Palmer & Bennett); Munasinghe, 182-283 (Callaloo or Tossed Salad?)



Section 5:  The Caribbean Melting Pot

18.     Nov. 9: Race & Nation: Paradox of mestizaje and racial democracy, Cuba
READING: de la Fuente, "Resurgence of Racism" [Sagás, 1-68]


19.   Nov. 11: Race & Nation: Paradox of mestizaje and racial democracy, DR
READING: Sagás, 69-128

Recommended: Knight, Ch. 7

20.   November 16:Race & Nation: Négritude
READING: Césaire, A Tempest; *Williams, "Racism in the Caribbean"; *Césaire "Discourse on Colonialism," "Négritude"

21.   November 18:The Nation in Migration 1: Around the Basin, 1900-1950
READING: Knight/Palmer, Ch. 10 (Richardson); Marshall, "History of W. Indian Migrations"; Ronald N. Harpelle, "Identity in Transition: From West Indian Immigrant to Afro-Costarricense" in English Speaking Communities in Latin America (St. Martin's Press, 2000)."
RECOMMENDED: Brown, "Contexts of migration & diasporic identities";
Conten, Duarte "Five Hundred Thousand Haitians in the Dominican Republic"(1995)

22.   November 23: The Nation in Migration 2: Caribbeans Overseas, 1950-1990
READING: *Gladwell, "Black Like Them;" *Freeman, "Migration to Britain & France"; *Model, "Where NY's West Indians Work"
RECOMMENDED: *Letters, VS Naipaul & Father, Scanlan, "Human Rights, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Haitian Refugees" (1984); Portes & Grosfoguel "Caribbean Diasporas: Migration and Ethnic Communities" (1994)
   November 25: Thanksgiving Break
Section 6:  Contemporary Issues & Conclusions

23.   November 30:Cultural Nation: The Music Says it All
READING: Manuel, Caribbean Currents, 1-15
EACH student will be responsible for presenting an individual performer or style of music.
24.   December 2: Society & Nation: Religious Belief and Modern Society
READING: *Zorah Neale Hurston, "Voodoo & Voodoo Gods," pp. 137-209; 279-301;
*Farmer, "Sending Sickness" ;DeYoung, “A Deadly Stigma in Caribbean

26.   December 9: Tourism, Ecology & Consequences
 READING: Kincaid, A Small Place; Mullings, "Caribbean Tourism: Trouble in Paradise"
27.   December 14: Current Events

Friday, December 12/17, 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM: PRESENTATION OF FINAL PAPERS



REQUIRED TEXTS: Available at Skidmore Shop &

1) CLR James, The Black Jacobins
2) Franklin Knight & Colin Palmer, The Modern Caribbean
3) Franklin Knight, The Caribbean
4) Marifeli Pérez-Estable, The Cuban Revolution
5) Aimé Césaire, A Tempest
6) Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
7) Pedro Cabán, Constructing a Colonial People
8) Ernesto Sagás. Race & Politics in the Dominican Republic
9) Rampolla, Pocket Guide to Writing in History


Additional Readings


Karen DeYoung, “A Deadly Stigma in Caribbean: As AIDS rate soars, Infected are shunned,” Washington Post, June 18, 2001,

Pieter Emmer, "A Spirit of Independence or Lack of education for the Market?: Freedmen and Asian Indentured Labourers in the Post-Emancipation Caribbean, 1834-1917," in Temperley, ed., After Slavery: Emancipation and its Discontents, pp. 150-168;
Paul Farmer
, “Sending Sickness: Sorcery, Politics, and Changing Concepts of AIDS in Rural Haiti,” Medical Anthropology Quarterly
New Series, Vol. 4, No. 1, Culture and Behavior in the AIDS Epidemic. (Mar., 1990), pp. 6-27.

(At Scribner) The seizure of Haiti by the United States; a report on the military occupation of the Republic of Haiti and the history of the treaty forced upon her, Frederick Bausman, et. al., 1922;
Haiti under American control, 1915-1930, Arthur C. Millspaugh. 1931

Jack Alexander, “Love, Race, Slavery, & Sexuality in Jamaican Images of the Family,” 147-180 in Smith, ed., Kinship Ideology and

Practice in Latin America (UNC Press, 1984)

Barbara Bush, “Hard Labor: Women, Childbirth, & Resistance in British Caribbean Slave Societies,” in More than chattel: black women

and slavery in the Americas (Indianapolis: Indiana Univ. Press, 1996), pp. 193-217


F.R. Aparicio, "Situating Salsa," pp. 69-82 in Listening to Salsa: Gender, Latin Popular Music, and Puerto Rican Culture (1998)

K. M. Bilby, “The Caribbean as a musical Region,” in S. Mintz & E. Price, eds., Caribbean Contours;  pp 181-218

Holton, “Oil, Race & Calypso in Trinidad & Tobago, 1909-1990”, pp. 201-212 in Latin American Popular Culture: An Introduction,

Beezley & Nurcio-Nagy, eds.;


H. Hoetnik, "'Race' and Color in the Caribbean," pp. 55-83, in Mintz & Price, eds., Caribbean Contours
David Booth,”Cuba, Color and the Revolution, “ Science and society, 11:2, Summer 1976, p. 129-172

Adrian Burgos, Jr , “Playing Ball in a Black and White "Field of Dreams": Afro-Caribbean Ballplayers in the Negro Leagues, 82:1

(Winter, 1997), pp. 67-104.[ View Article ] [ Download ]

Ada Ferrer, “Rustic Men, Civilized Nation: Race, Culture & Contention on the Eve of Cuban Independence

Malcom Gladwell, “Black Like Them,” The New Yorker, April 29/May 6, 1996


CLR James, “The Mighty Sparrow,”  pp 373-381, in Lowenthal & Comitas, ed, The Aftermath of Sovereignty: West Indian Perspectives
José Martí, “Our America,” “Our Ideas”

VS Naipaul, "Power to the Caribbean People," pp 363-371 in Lowenthal & Comitas, ed, The Aftermath of Sovereignty

Zorah Neale Hurston, “Voodoo & Voodoo Gods,” pp. 137-154; 279-301 in Tell My Horse (See also, 13-25 on Jamaica)

Winston H. Griffith , CARICOM Countries and the Caribbean Basin Initiative, Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 17, No. 1, Caribbean

Crisis and Global Restructuring. (Winter, 1990), pp. 33-54.[ View Article ] [ Download ]

Ronald T. Libby, “The United States and Jamaica: Playing the American Card” Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 17, No. 1, Caribbean

Crisis and Global Restructuring. (Winter, 1990), pp. 86-109. [Download ] [View Article]

Gilburt Loescher, John Scanlan, “Human Rights, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Haitian Refugees,“Journal of Interamerican Studies and

World Affairs,”26:3. (Aug., 1984), pp. 313-356.[ View Article ] [ Download ]

Harold Molineu, “The Concept of the Caribbean in the Latin American Policy of the United States, “Journal of Interamerican Studies

and World Affairs, 15: 3 (Aug., 1973), pp. 285-307.[ View Article ] [ Download ]

A. J. Payne, P. K. Sutton, “The Commonwealth Caribbean in the New World Order: Between Europe & North America?” J. of

Interamerican Studies & World Affairs, 34:4 (Win.1992/3), pp. 39-75.[ View Article ] [ Download ]

Dion E. Phillips, “Barbados and the Militarization of the Eastern Caribbean, 1979-1985, “Lat. American Perspectives, 17: 1, Caribbean

Crisis& Global Restructuring. (Winter, 1990), pp. 73-85. [Download] [ View Article

Andres Serbin, Towards an Association of Caribbean States: Raising Some Awkward Questions, Journal of Interamerican Studies and

World Affairs, Vol. 36, No. 4. (Winter, 1994), pp. 61-90.[ View Article ][ Download ]

Tony Thorndike, “The Future of the British Caribbean Dependencies” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, 31:. 3, Special Issue: The International Dynamics of the Commonwealth Caribbean. (Autumn, 1989), pp. 117-140.[ View Article ][ Download ]


E.G. Hagelberg, "Sugar in the Caribbean: Turning Sunshine into Money," in Mintz & Price, eds., Caribbean Contours, pp. 85-126

Scott B. MacDonald, F. Joseph Demetrius, “The Caribbean Sugar Crisis: Consequences and Challenges,” Journal of Interamerican

Studies and World Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 1. (Spring, 1986), pp. 35-58.  [ View Article ] [ Download]