Dr. Patricia van Leeuwaarde Moonsammy, Africana Studies
Theorizing Sustainability in the Caribbean: Intellectual Thought, Socio-cultural Practices
This project, which aims to consider sustainability in both the realms of intellectual thought and socio-cultural practices in the Caribbean, has as its outcome the revision of an existing course, “Introduction to Caribbean Studies” (AFST 235/ANTH 245) as a Sustainability Connections course.
This course currently surveys the Caribbean, examining its geography and ecology, population, diversity, and significant role in shaping world events. The underlying thesis of the course is that despite a long history of European colonialism and American imperialism, the Caribbean region has generated intellectual leaders, cultural icons, and social movements that have had a transformative impact upon the people of the region and throughout the world. Whereas the existing course has focused on the important role of key intellectuals who played foundational roles in anti-colonial and post-colonial black consciousness, the revision will incorporate the concept of sustainability as a thread that links readings and activities throughout the semester. This will be achieved by:
• Introducing readings on cultural sustainability and re-framing existing readings that deal with cultural agency and resistance through this lens;
• Adding a unit on food, in which current readings on the plantation economies of the Caribbean will be augmented by new readings on agricultural decline, food import dependency, and new efforts to encourage the production and consumption of local produce;
• Building into the syllabus a field trip to the Dickinson Farm where students will spend a day working on the farm, resulting in an experiential learning opportunity for them while also contributing labor to the workings of the farm.
Students will be assessed on their understanding of sustainable ideologies and practices through class discussions, self-reflective journal entries and reading responses, group presentations, quizzes and exams, and a final writing project.