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Course Syllabus

Title: Introduction to the Caribbean & Central America Credits: 3 - 1 credit = 15 contact hours Instructor: Patrick Brown Meeting dates and times: Tuesdays, 5:30pm 8:15pm Location: TBD

Course Description:
Globalization and the increasing ethnic diversity in the Vermont community and in higher education require students and teachers to be sensitive to other cultures. It is the objective of this course to help students understand gender identity. The most important factors of gender and identity will be addressed and examined. Students will explore and gain an understanding of Women and Gender issues, the similarities and differences in the Caribbean and North America. Students will research and examine the place of masculinity in Caribbean social structure. The course will teach about diversity in the context of 35 diverse nations that make up the Caribbean and Central America. This interdisciplinary course introduces students to the geographical landscape and the political and economic repression caused by the colonial past. This course is cross-listed with Global and Regional Studies.

The primary purpose of this course is to identity the challenges and benefits of in the Caribbean. Our class will also examine some common themes e.g. status of women, community and political leadership, indigenous people, religion, family roles, sexual orientation, education, musical genres and migration. The course will allow students from across disciplines at the University of Vermont to better understand information and gain an understanding of the geographic location, political developments, religion, and other areas of cultural sensitivity that impact the region and people.

Learning Outcomes:
A main objective of this course is to educate students about how people perceive the Caribbean and to create an awareness of cultural challenges that the natives face. While texts will form the background of the course discussion and videos will bring out some of the reality of life in the Caribbean, students are expected to contribute to an interactive learning atmosphere and contribute to class discussions. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to move from being aware of their own culture to becoming culturally aware of the culture of the people of the Caribbean and Central America. Students will also be able to value and celebrate diversity and difference between themselves and others in a comfortable and meaningful way.

General Course Information

Course Policies/Attendance Expectations:
Requirements: Students grades will be based on one research paper and one oral presentation, class attendance and participation. Students will also be graded on timely return of reaction papers to assigned readings, attendance and preparation for class.

Religious Observance:
The official UVM policy for excused absences for religious holidays: Students have the right to practice the religion of their choice. Each semester students should submit in writing to their instructors by the end of the second full week of classes their documented religious holiday schedule for the semester. Faculty must permit students who miss work for the purpose of religious observance to make up this work.


Contributions in Class:
Students grades will be based on one research paper and one oral presentation, class attendance and participation. Students will also be graded on timely return of reaction papers to assigned readings.

Academic Honesty & Professionalism:

All students are required to be familiar with and adhere to the Academic Honesty Policy Procedures delineated in the most recent edition of The Cats Tale. (

Accommodations will be provided to eligible students with disabilities. Please obtain an accommodation letter from the ACCESS office and see one of the instructors early in the course to discuss what accommodations will be necessary. If you are unfamiliar with ACCESS, visit their website at to learn more about the services they provide. ACESS: A-170 Living Learning Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. PH: 802-656-7753, TTY: call 711 (relay), Fax: 802-656-0739, Email:, Instant Messenger: UVMaccess. General office hours: 8:30am 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Call to make an appointment.

Required and/or recommended readings:

Textbooks: In addition to the 20 page bibliography given at the beginning of the semester, the main themes will come from: st Globalization, communication and Caribbean Identity, 1 ed. New York: St. Martins Press. 1995 Small Islands, Large Questions: Society, Culture and Resistance in the post-emancipation Caribbean. London; Portland F. Cass, cl1995. Eudine Barriteau. Ed. Confronting Power, Theorizing Gender, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender and Development. The UWI Press, Kingston, 2003. Alleyne, Mervyn The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the Caribbean and the World (Kingston: The Press UWI 2002) Harney, Stefano, Nationalism and Identity: Culture and the Imagination in a Caribbean Diaspora(London, Zed Books, Jamaica: University of the West Indies, 1996). Alcoff,Linda Martin and Eduardo Mandieta, Identities: Race, Class, Gender and Nationality(London: Blackwell, 2003).

Electronic Submissions/Internet Use: - If applicable

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Student Evaluation/Assessment
Class Attendance and participation 20% Mid-Term 20% Oral Presentation 15% Research Papers 15% Final Exam 30%


Description of Class Assignments:

Instructional Sequence: - List the course topics for each scheduled class meeting date including
readings and assignment due dates. Week One Course overview and student expectations. Overview of Central America and Hispanic Caribbean Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic Students will identify all the major countries and Physical places of the Caribbean and Central America Week Two Response to assigned readings and research Discussion of the History of Cuba and the U.S relations A clear and concise look at themes and people over the Years that frame the history of Cuba. Assignment: Students will use the internet to explore The US embargo on Cuba and the Splendid little War. Week Three Response to assigned readings and research Discussion: Challenges of Diversity & Race Relations In the Caribbean and central America, stereotypes and reality Video: Darker Side of Black Class Assignment: Students will write a two-page paper on the video and react to Gender, Sexual Orientation, Religion. Week Four Response to assigned readings and research. Students will view and critique Mirrors of the Heart Video #6 in the series Americas Haiti and the Haitian revolution. Week Five Response to assigned readings Social change in Central America, exploring Peace, Justice and Community Engagement. Race, Geography and Identity in Trinidad, Guyana and the Dominican Republic. Week Six Response to assigned readings and research. Discussion: Students will respond to the video Under the Cloak of Darkness. Caribbean and Central American Migration to the United States. The Latin American and Caribbean presence in the United States Caribbean Emigration, Diaspora Migration and development in the Caribbean Research Paper due Week Seven Mid-Term Exam Week Eight Response to assigned readings and research The indigenous people of the Caribbean and Central America Focus on the Garifuna, Arawak Indians and Mayans.

-4Week Nine Oral Presentations Students will choose one Caribbean/Central American Country and research it from the perspective of greatest challenge e.g. economy post independence, choose one other aspect of the same country, and present both to the class for a maximum of 5 minutes.

Week Ten Response to Assigned Readings Sexual identities, gender and feminism. Students will examine relationship between identity, race, culture Gender, ethnicity and sexuality in the Caribbean and Central America.

Week Eleven Feminist movements in the Caribbean. The class will examine some of the movements that highlight th st Gender activities in the Caribbean in the 20 and 21 centuries. Jamaica has its first female prime Minister, certainly not the first In the Caribbean.

Week Twelve Feminist movements in the Caribbean, continued. Assignment: The class will research and report their findings on Caribbean Women Writers or Women in the Arts they will examine one way in which Caribbean Women use Literature or Art to express sexuality or another Feminist Theory. Portrayal of Women in dancehall and other musical genres. Week Thirteen The class will define Masculinity in the Caribbean and propose ways to accomplish gender equality. The class will also discuss stereotypes that Caribbean men are mysterious, sexually aggressive and sometimes violent. The way men perceive themselves, other men, as fathers of or as head of households. Students will examine the social construction of masculinities in the Caribbean and Central America. Using Carolyn Coopers Sound Clash as the guide to this discussion students Will come to class prepared to discuss this topic. Week Fourteen Students will read and discuss the musical genre of Reggae as social change and the spread of Rastafarianism. Bob Marley as the late ambassador of culture and reggae music in the Caribbean and internationally. Course review. Week Fifteen Final Exam due Course Evaluation.

Supplemental Readings:
(Additional readings on course content, should students like to pursue additional information on course topic)