Around the Corner: Caribbean Cityscapes, a Multidisciplinary Conference

The Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies (LHCS) at Rutgers University (with the support of the Bloustein Shool of Planning and Public Policy and the School of Arts and Sciences) is hosting “Caribbean Cityscapes,” a multidisciplinary cultural event and academic conference focusing on the urban ecologies of the Caribbean. The series of events—including panels, readings, exposés, film screenings, and music performances—will be held on February 17 and February 18, 2011, at Rutgers University.

Description: Cities are remnants and architects of societies and their people, their histories and everyday relationships, their desires and struggles, their achievements and defeats. In the Caribbean, cities configure colonial relationships, layered over slavery and racial oppression, struggles for sovereignty and self-definition, and a constant and circuitous global movement of bodies and cultures. Urbanization in the Caribbean has occurred without industrialization and economic growth, which are thought to be necessary catalysts. Yet, these now largely urban societies, in their commonalities and divergences, physically, socially, and culturally exhibit the diverse set of promises and challenges of cities and urban life, from San Juan to Havana, from Kingston to Santo Domingo, from Port-au-Prince to Caracas. Recent crises in the Caribbean-the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the student strike at the University of Puerto Rico, and the police raid on a poor district of Kingston for a suspected drug lord-call attention to some of the everyday realities and politics of urban forms underlying these events: high population densities, problems with infrastructure, and increased privatization and lack of access to public services and education.

This multi-disciplinary forum, cultural event, and academic conference aim to address the broader issues of urban ecologies and sustainability in the Caribbean. It moves beyond national, geographic, and cultural and linguistic boundaries by examining Caribbean “cityscapes.”

[Many thanks to Leslie Offutt for bringing this item to our attention.]

For detailed schedule, see http://latcar.rutgers.edu/caribbeancityscapes.htm

Photo of Havana from http://place2travel.blogspot.com/2009/04/havana-largest-caribbean-city.html

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