Symposium: “American Occupations: The United States and the Caribbean in the 20th Century”


Symposium: “American Occupations: The United States and the Caribbean in the 20th Century”

Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Thursday, November 19, 2015

9:30 am – 5:00 pm


Harvey Neptune (Temple University)

Shalini Puri (University of Pittsburgh)

Valerie Scoon (Florida State University)

Matthew J. Smith (University of the West Indies, Mona)

In July 1915, 330 US Marines landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and began an occupation that would last 19 years. The United States military had already occupied Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic would follow in 1916.

This seminar takes the centenary of the US occupation of Haiti as an opportunity to reconsider that occupation in the context of other prominent American interventions in the 20-th century Caribbean, specifically Trinidad during World War II and Grenada in the Cold War 1980s.

Leading scholars will address the causes, effects, and implications of each American occupation. Why did the United States intervene in each case, and how did US policy in the Caribbean evolve during the 20th century? Importantly, speakers will consider the enduring consequences of each occupation in the Caribbean itself—what long-term effect did these events have on notions of race, culture, sovereignty, and independence?

FSU film professor Valerie Scoon will also screen her recent film Grenada: Colonialism and Conflict.

For more information go to

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