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Caribbean Culture & US Imperialism (LIT 6236)
Caribbean Culture & U.S. Imperialism (LIT 6236)
Professor Leah Rosenberg
Fall 2008, T El-E3 (7:20-10:10 pm)
In the Twentieth Century, Caribbean culture has had a surprising visibility and influence in the
United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. Trinidadian calypso, for instance, was in vogue in the
U.S. and in England in the 1940s and 1950s; since the 1950s many genres of Cuban music from
Conga to Salsa and more recently Jamaican reggae and dancehall have influenced musicians
across the Atlantic world. Caribbean religions such as Vodou, Santeria, and Rastafarianism, have
influenced culture far beyond the Caribbean, and Caribbean authors such as Claude McKay,
Alejo Carpentier, and Edwidge Danticat have not only established a powerful regional tradition,
but they have also made significant contributions to national literatures outside the Caribbean, in
Britain, France, Canada, and the United States.
An investigation of the relationship between political change and culture, this course examines
the hypothesis that political transformations in the Caribbean have contributed to the prominence
and shape of Caribbean culture in the twentieth century. We explore the influence of Caribbean
culture, such as calypso and reggae, in North America and Britain as well as the influence of U.S.
culture, military, and economic power on Caribbean culture in the Caribbean as well as the shape
Caribbean culture has taken when incorporated into U.S. art and media. The course will focus on
the following historical phenomena: the rise of nationalism in the anglophone Caribbean between
the 1930s and 1960s; the revolutions in Cuba and Grenada; and the rise U.S. imperial power,
particularly the U.S. Occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). It is grounded in historical and theoretical
studies of U.S. imperialism and the Caribbean; it will likely include works by: Jean Price Mars,
Jacques Roumain, Zora Neale Hurston, Eugene O'Neill, V.S. Naipaul, Alec Waugh, Alejo
Carpentier, Christina Garcia, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Merle Collins, Dionne Brand, Russell
Banks, and Oonya Kempadoo as well as films and TV shows such as White Zombie, I Walked
with a Zombie, I Love Lucy, and The Harder They Come.
Concept and requirements
The main goal of the course is to produce a "case book" for teaching the texts covered in the
class which we can use for future teaching and research. This will give us experience in research,
teaching, and delivering presentations. Students will collaborate in small groups on a presentation
and written materials to accompany and supplement that presentation. The materials you
produce will also become part of the UF's new Digital Library (www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc), which now
features pedagogical materials. We are going to produce a guide to teaching the text you have
chosen in a word document or series of word documents. The class can then share this
document for future use in teaching. Laurie Taylor, who is now the Digital Projects Technology
Librarian, will include your work in the educational modules section of the Digital Library of the
Caribbean (www.dloc.com). She will be responsible for transforming your word documents for the
Digital Library. With the exception of the first week, each week a group of 3-4 students will be
responsible for a presentation on the week's reading and writing up and preparing aspects of the
presentation for the digital library.
1) Presentations and written teaching guides should include:
A. An explanation of what you courses you think this text might be appropriate for
and a succinct explanation.
B. An explanation of your goals for teaching the text which may include the course
you would teach it in, and a lesson plan, which includes an overview of critical
themes, formal issues, and issues concerning the historical context. You don't
need to then explore all of them, but it might be useful to give your readers an
overview and then develop specific topics more fully.
Caribbean Culture & US Imperialism (LIT 6236)
C. Information about the historical context.
D. An annotated bibliography and Review of the secondary material on the main
primary text or a selection of primary texts for the week. This should outline the
central theoretical and critical questions and debates in the scholarship
concerning the texts in question.
E. An example and analysis of a relevant primary sources) from the historical
period in which the literary text(s) under analysis was (were produced). These
may include letters by the authors, articles from newspapers or magazines from
the time period, or music, visual art, or film that influenced the text.
Presentations will be given on the day the class discusses the text. The written teaching guide will
be due at the end of the Semester (Dec. 15).
Week 1 8/26 Chapman, Peter Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World
U.S. Imperialism Smith, Peter H. Talons of the Eagle: Latin American, the United States, and
in the the World
Caribbean: (introduction and chapters 1 &2)
Week 2 9/2 A. Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism, introduction. (e-learning)
B. Joseph, Gilbert M. et al. Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural
U.S. Imperialism History of U. S.-Latin American Relations. (the following chapters:
in the 1. Joseph, Gilbert "Close Encounters: Toward a New Cultural History of the
Caribbean: the U.S. Latin American Relations" pp 3-46.
Place of Culture 2.Salvatore, Ricardo. "The Enterprise of Knowledge: Representational
Machines of Informal Empire." 69-104.
3. Derby, Lauren. Gringo Chickens: Food and Nationalism in the Dominican
4. Pozas, Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas. "From Reading to Seeing:
Doing and Undoing Imperialism in the Visual Arts." Pp
C. Kaplan, Amy "Black and Blue on San Juan Hill" in Cultures of United
States Imperialism. Eds. Amy Kaplan and Donald Pease, eds. Durham:
Duke U Press, 1993: pp.219-236
Week 3 The Representation of U.S. Banana Imperialism in Jamaican Literature: the
9/9 Case of Banana Bottom
1. McKay, Claude. Banana Bottom.
2. Holt, Thomas. The making of the Jamaican working Class in the Problem
of Freedom, 344-365
Week 4 1. Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. One Hundred Years of Solitude.
9/16 2. LeGrand, Cathering. "Living in Macondo: Economy and Culture in a
The United Fruit Company Banana Enclave in Colombia" in Encounters with
Representation Empire. Pp 333-368.
of U.S. Banana
case of One
Week 5 1) Frederick, Rhonda. Col6n Man a Come: Mythographies of Panama
9/23 Lexington Press 2005 (chapters: Introduction, 1,2,4, and conclusion)
Caribbean Culture & US Imperialism (LIT 6236)
Panama Canal 2) Walrond, Eric. "Wharf Rats" "Panama Gold" and "Subjection" from
in West Indian Tropic death (1926)
Literature 3) Senior, Olive. "Window." Discerner of Hearts and Other Stories. Toronto:
McClelland and Stewart, 1995. 57-74.
Week 6 Price-Mars, Jean. Thus Spoke Uncle. Intro??
9/30 Occupation Renda. Mary. Taking Haiti Introduction (E-Book)
of Haiti: the Largey, Aims. Vodou Nation Introduction
Week 7 Roumain, Jacques. The Bewitched Mountain
10/7 Roumain, Jacques. Governors of the Dew
of Haiti: Haitian
Week 8 Seabrook, Wm. The Magic Island, sections on Zombies
10/14 The White Zombie (Halperin 1932)
U.S. literature I Walked with a Zombie (Tourneur 1943)
Week 9 Carpentier, Alejo.
Influence of Haiti The Kingdom of This World
and the wU.S.
the Case of
Week 10 Week 10 Occupied Trinidad
10/28 Neptune, Caliban and the Yankees
The Occupation Music: focus on the following tracks, so you can download just the three
of Trinidad songs below or get the whole CD
Calypso at Midnight song: Rum and Coca Cola
Calypso After Midnight songs: The Gi and the Lady, Yankee Dollar
Week 11 1. James, C.L.R. ATriumph.@ From Trinidad ed. Reinhard Sander Africana
11/4 Publishing Company, 1978: 86-103.
2. Mendes, Alfred. ASweetman.@ in :Pablo's fandango and other stories
3. Selvon, Sam. ACalypsonian.@ West Indian Stories. London: Faber and
Faber, 1960: 106-117.
4. Walcott Derek, "The Spoiler's Return"
5. The Mighty Spoiler, "Bedbug" download from the Mighty Spoiler Unspoilt.
6. Anthony, Michael. The Chieftain's Carnival
Week 12 No Class
Week 13 Island in the Sun (film Daryl Zanuck 1957)
Week 14 Perez, Louis. On Becoming Cuban
12/2 Hijuelos, Oscar. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
The Mambo Kings (film Arne Glimcher 1992)
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