The Caribbean: From Conquest to Freedom

Presented by Karen Richman

Romantic, sun-drenched beaches, quaint colonial plantations, and happy-go-lucky natives are our images of the Caribbean. This seminar will explore the reality behind these images that draw us to tour our closest island neighbors. Through our study of the major themes in the Caribbean past and the present, this class will examine discovery and conquest, colonialism and plantation slavery, revolution and emancipation, migration and globalization. We will consider the rich, creative, expressive cultures of music, literature and visual art through which Caribbean peoples have reinterpreted their histories and futures on their own terms and in their own languages of Patois, Creole and Papiamento. The lessons of five hundred years of Caribbean experience will demystify our idyllic images of the Caribbean and shed new light on pressing issues facing not only the resilient societies of the Caribbean but also ourselves.

About Karen Richman

Karen Richman is a cultural anthropologist. She is the author of Migration and Vodou (2005), of numerous articles and book chapters on Haitian and Latino migration, religion, labor, consumption and expressive culture. Richman won the 2009 Heizer award for ethnohistory for “Innocent Imitations? Mimesis and Alterity in Haitian Vodou Art.” She co-edited a special volume on Haitian Religion for Studies in Religion in 2012. In 2004, Richman expanded her research focus to Mexican transnational migration. She is the principal investigator of an interdisciplinary project funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education exploring Latino retirement, which includes a case study of how Mexicans in Chicago understand retirement and engage with the formal retirement savings system. She is the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Institute for Latino Studies and of the Creole program in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, a concurrent faculty in Anthropology and a fellow of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame.