The Caribbean Studies Association hereby issues a call for papers for its 40th Annual Conference, set for May 25-29, 2015, at the Hilton Hotel (Riverside) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The theme for 2015 is “The Caribbean in an Age of Global Apartheid: Fences, Boundaries, and Borders—Literal and Imagined.” The deadline for abstract submissions is December 15, 2014.


Our theme for this year’s conference reflects the unfortunate fact that today’s 21st century Planet Earth is experiencing a steady growth in global inequality. The term “global apartheid” refers to the fact that throughout the world, fences, boundaries, borders and barriers confront all aspects of human endeavor and are protected by a minority with power over and control of most of the world’s land, labor and capital. Yet at the same time, globalization is producing population movements across all these obstacles on an unprecedented planetary scale. Our week-long meeting provides an opportunity from a variety of perspectives to analyze, understand, and address the contradictions—pushes and pulls—of this new global reality as it impacts the Caribbean and its diasporas.

Our designated conference site is New Orleans, often referred to as the “northernmost point of the Caribbean.” Before the “Anglo-American” takeover and Civil War, it was a majority-black city with an implicitly African Creole culture. Like many Caribbean nations, its unique history is comprised of three distinct colonial eras entailing almost three centuries of contact and synthesis among African slaves (the last to be imported legally into the U.S.), French and Spanish colonists, gens de couleur libres (free people of color), native peoples and Cajuns.

The influence of both Haiti and Cuba on New Orleans is palpable, especially in the French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé (the site of Congo Square). In the early 19th century, refugees coming from revolutionary Saint-Domingue, many by way of eastern Cuba, transformed Louisiana, providing inspiration for the largest slave revolt in U.S. history (1811) that ended with a tribunal held at Destrehan plantation near New Orleans (a planned CSA tour). Perhaps less well known is the fact that New Orleans was a port city that enjoyed an almost 200-year long trading relationship with Havana, ending with the U.S. embargo of Cuba.

Today, New Orleans (and Southwest Louisiana/East Texas) is home to a robust and distinctive subculture comprised of black Catholic speakers of Creole (also known as Afro-French, Black Creoles, Black French, Creoles, Créoles, Créoles Noirs, Creoles of Color). Plenaries, round-tables and featured panels will connect these unique Creole cultures of the U.S. with those of Africa and the Caribbean, especially those of Cuba and Haiti. A CSA conference exhibition will show these historical connections visually by featuring strikingly similar beadwork created by the Yoruba, Haitians, and Mardi Gras Indians (Black Indians).

We welcome papers and presentations on subthemes that relate to the overall conference theme, such as: 1) borders as one of the great contradictions in the era of capitalist globalization, the question of national sovereignty, responses to economic superfluity (joblessness) in the Caribbean and Circum-Caribbean; demands for slavery reparations; 2) Creole identity, history, language, migration, cuisine, literature, music, dance, festival arts, art and architecture, religious and spiritual traditions; 3) global climate change, environmental sustainability and urban geography, “toxic tourism” and disaster sites, abandoned populations, emigration and immigration policies, “nations without borders,” transnational citizenship; and 4) efforts in the region to overcome the barriers of race, ethnicity, language, nationality, religion, class status, gender and sexual orientation.

We provide a setting where multi- and inter-disciplinary views are encouraged, where the arts and humanities meet the social sciences, and where different ways of seeing and communicating about the world are presented by a diverse array of participants.

In order to facilitate inter-disciplinary exchange, we encourage our members to propose ideas for papers and panels, by way of contacting others to create multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual panels at our website’s forum.

Guidelines for Panel/Paper Submissions

  • All proposals must be submitted electronically via the CSA website. The deadline for individual and panel submissions is 15 December 2014
  • Abstracts must not exceed 125 words for individual papers or 250 words for panels
  • Titles for individual papers and for panels must not exceed 70 characters (we reserve the right to edit for brevity)
  • Proposed panels should contain at least 3 and no more than 4 presenters, and panel chairperson must be named in the proposal
  • Paper titles (and abstracts if possible) should be submitted in at least one other language besides English (Spanish, French or Haitian Kreyol); multilingual abstracts will be published in the electronic version of the program.
  • Panels should strive to represent a diversity of languages, rank, affiliations and disciplines (i.e., inclusion of graduate students and junior scholars on panels with senior scholars, activists, and/or practitioners; panels composed of social science, arts and humanities scholars)
  • Papers/presentations that require special equipment, installation space, rooms, translation services, etc., must be indicated on the submission form
  • Presentations of films and visual and performing arts, as well as related panels, are welcome. Please see the 2015 Film and Visual & Performing Arts Committee Call for Proposals (below) for information and submission instructions.

Membership dues and conference registration must be paid by April 15, 2015, or papers/panels will not appear in the conference program. Membership and registration details are available on the CSA website.

For help with translation or information on suggested topics, CSA travel grants, visas, submissions forms, author celebration and literary salon, contact Karen Flynn or Keithley Woolward at program.chair@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org or the secretary at secretariat@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org.


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