42nd Annual Conference of the Caribbean Studies Association

June 5 – 10, 2017

Melía Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas

In an address to the 26th Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (February 2015) former Jamaican Prime-Minister, The Most Honorable P.J. Patterson insisted on the “urgent need (for CARICOM member states) to find new development pathways that encourage creativity and innovation in the pursuit of inclusive, equitable, and sustainable growth and development.” While the Caribbean region has come a long way (using UNDP Millennium Development Goals as a benchmark) the region continues to fall short in economic growth, competitiveness, economic diversity and impact, and human capital output. Patterson’s evocation of “creativity and innovation” implicitly acknowledges the continuing absence of Caribbean knowledge, culture and economy in debates surrounding the future of regional development.

The 2017 conference theme—Culture and Knowledge Economies: The Future of Caribbean Development?—focuses on the shifting roles of knowledge, culture and economy in the Caribbean while repositioning the question of “development” historically and in our contemporary moment. “Development”—understood as the way a society manages available resources to drive inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth has often been plagued by narrow economic, technical and public policy paradigms. This conference asks us to (re)consider what counts as economic activity, cultural and creative endeavor, and knowledge regimes from the broad social, cultural, institutional and historic contexts of enslavement, independence, national debt, globalization and reckonings with nature.

Indigenous and African rooted cultural practices, traditional and artisanal forms of knowledge, and our human ability (in sports, performing arts, dance etc) abound across the archipelago whether in music, craft, literary arts, culinary inventiveness, fashion design, festivals, theater, film, “bush” medicine, languages and world athletic dominance. CSA’s 2017 conference will be the occasion to tarry on the complex and heterogeneous cultural and knowledge landscape as offering new and/or different models through which to (re)imagine and (re)theorize “inclusive, equitable and sustainable” growth possibilities for the region.

The CSA Conference Program Committee invites scholarly papers, workshops, and roundtable proposals from individuals spanning the broadest disciplinary and methodological range whose work directly engages the conference theme as well as the complexities of the region, particularly in terms of the intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, nationality, religion, etc. CSA welcomes a wide range of participants, from independent and emerging scholars to well-known scholars, from professionals in industry, politics, etc. to activists, artists, and community-based researchers. We are also very interested in workshop and roundtable proposals that offer in-depth discussion in any of the proposed topic areas with a focus on viable solutions and applicable models for change.

Fully constituted panels, in particular ones that are multi-disciplinary and multilingual, will be given first priority. Submissions and proposals can be made in relation to the range of questions related to the overall conference theme such as (but not limited to):

  • The role and contribution of “development” theory and practice; conceiving culture and knowledge as a resource; regional industries, infrastructure and production; development institutions, practices, and texts as cultural entities; alternative models for sustainable economic integration of the Caribbean; complications of tourism as the model for development.
  • Caribbean creative imagination and knowledge production; defining Caribbean culture and knowledge economy; Caribbean creative industries; role that cultural texts—literature, music, film, art, etc.—play in reflecting, shaping/defining, complicating and or integrating “culture” and traditional knowledge; archiving and curating culture and knowledge; Caribbean arts, craft, food, festivals, music, athletes, as global commodities; the industrialization of culture; Caribbean diasporas’ contribution to regional cultures and knowledge.
  • Policy and governance implications; cultural policy as essentialist gesture; neoliberal policies and the neo-colonial/postcolonial state; Caribbean migration and social movements; economic dimensions of cultural practices and products; “cultural” factors as a source of differentiation and competitive advantage; historic, cultural and environmental preservation policy and practice; climate change impact on Caribbean economies, people and environments; social systems such as education, health, religion.
  • Caribbean intellectual movements and development; radical intellectual thought in relation to culture and knowledge production; Caribbean feminist critiques of development; social justice and civil society organizations mobilizing culture.
  • Culture and knowledge viable models; internationalization of reggae and Rastafarianism; Caribbean style, music and dance cultures; visual art and global cultural circuits; performance and Carnival culture; Afro-Caribbean and other syncretic spiritualities and religious movements.

All submissions and conference presentations will be eligible for consideration for inclusion in an edited conference proceedings publication.

Guidelines for Panel/Paper Submissions

All proposals must be submitted electronically via the CSA website (NOT via email). The deadline for individual and panel submissions is December 31, 2016.

  • Abstracts must not exceed 125 words for individual papers or 250 words for panels.
  • Titles for individual papers and for panels, roundtables or workshops must not exceed 70 characters (we reserve the right to edit for brevity).
  • Proposed panels or roundtables should contain at least 3 and no more than 4 presenters, and panel chairperson must be named in the proposal.
  • Paper titles and abstracts should be submitted in at least one other language besides English (Spanish, French or Haitian Kreyol, Dutch or Papiamento); 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.
  • Workshops should be strategy focused and directly engage in the topic areas, and must include clearly stated outcomes and goals.
  • Presentations of films and visual and performing arts, as well as related panels, are welcome. Please see the 2017 Film and Visual & Performing Arts Committee Call for Proposals for information and submission instructions.

Membership dues must be paid by January 15, 2017 (as per the CSA constitution, we are returning to annual membership fees by calendar year; therefore annual membership ends 31 December) and Conference Registration must be paid by March 1, 2017 in order for papers/panels to appear in the conference program. Membership and registration details are available on the CSA website.

CSA offers a limited number of travel grants to assist current and potential members who do not have access to any funding from their institutions or countries, and who will not be able to attend the conference without assistance, in exchange for volunteer work during the conference. Additional details about travel grants criteria and applications are available on the CSA website.

For additional information or help with suggested topics, submission forms, author celebration, literary salon, film and arts tracks, and/or translation, please contact the CSA Program Co-Chairs, Guido Rojer, Jr., and Okama Ekpe Brook, at program.chair@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org.


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