“The Global Early Modern Caribbean”
A Residential Seminar at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
June 30 – July 18, 2014
The Huntington Library, UCLA, and the USC Early Modern Studies Institute (EMSI) will run a pilot in the summer of 2014 for a West Coast equivalent to the Folger Institute and the Center for Renaissance Studies Program at the Newberry Library. This will be a collaborative project involving the Huntington, UCLA’s Clark Library, USC EMSI, and other universities in the area, and will be formally entitled the Huntington-Clark Summer Institute in Early Modern Studies.
We envisage that our Summer Institute will place a particular emphasis on early modernity in its broadest spatial context; that is to say, it will cover the British and European territory on which the Folger and the Newberry libraries also focus, but will go beyond it to embrace our very considerable faculty strengths in other areas, especially the Americas.
The pilot Institute next summer will be held at the Huntington Library between Monday 30 June and Friday 18 July, and will have space for approximately twelve faculty and graduate student participants. We have agreed that we should launch with a UCLA faculty member at the helm and are delighted that Professor Carla Pestana has agreed to teach the Institute seminar on “The Global Early Modern Caribbean.”
During an era that witnessed an increasingly interconnected world, in which Europeans sought trade and dominion in distant lands, the Caribbean occupied a key situation. The location of Columbus’ landfall and the first place that the natives of the Americas felt the full force of European dominance, the West Indies became from the middle of the sixteenth century a locus of contestation among European, American, and African peoples. Initially the Spanish monarchy defined the Greater Caribbean as an exclusively Iberian Sea. Despite such prohibitions on their presence, various Europeans infiltrated the sea first as occasional visitors, trading illegally, raiding and harvesting natural resources such as salt, logwood, and turtle. From the early seventeenth century the English, French, and Dutch established settlements of their own, against Spanish proscriptions and despite occasional military incursions aimed at clearing out intruders. Over the next century, the West Indies functioned as a watery borderland. Encounters, peaceful coexistence, frequent violent clashes, oppression, collusion, and betrayal shaped this space, as various peoples carved out lives and livelihoods for themselves.
This seminar will consist of three three-hour a.m. meetings in each of the three weeks beginning Monday 30 June, to a total of twenty-seven hours contact time. The sessions will consider the evidentiary base and conceptual frameworks for the study of the early modern global Caribbean during this formative period. Scholars, including advanced graduate students and faculty at any level, working on an aspect of the Greater Caribbean (from any relevant discipline and researching in any language) prior to the turn of the eighteenth century, are invited to participate
Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.