Fall 2024 Course Spotlight: Topics in AMCS: The Ugly Caribbean

L98 AMCS 330 - Topics in AMCS: The Ugly Caribbean

Blue Skies. Clear Waters. Sun. Sand. Paradise. Yet, as Derek Walcott has said, "the Caribbean is not an idyll, not to its natives."

This paradisical Caribbean then is hardly less of a reality and more of a construction. How, then, did these simple and reductive depictions come about? When were they created? And why are they problematic? In this course, we explore the creation and persistent representation of the Caribbean as a utopic place.

We will examine texts like Shakespeare's The Tempest and Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and watch clips from the Pirates of the Caribbean films to examine how the Caribbean was created in Western imagination. Against these representations, we will read the works of important Caribbean authors like Jamaica Kincaid, V.S Naipaul, Caryl Philips, Derek Walcott, Eric Walrond, and Claude McKay, and discuss how these authors have imagined and inscribed the Caribbean in their own vision as a contradictory, less-than-ideal place.

Crystal Payne is PhD student in English Literature and a Lynne Cooper Harvey Fellow in American Culture Studies. In her part time position as a Community Engagement Fellow, Crystal works closely with local community leaders in North St. Louis to plan community development events. Her academic research interests include Caribbean Literature, Postcolonial Studies, Global Anglophone Literature, Migration Studies, and Hemispheric American Studies. Originally from San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago, she has lived in Japan, Bonaire, and in New York City, where she earned her Master’s degree at CUNY-Brooklyn college.