Caribbean Social Thought Lecture Series: “The United States and the Caribbean since 1898”

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Casa de las Américas’s Center for Caribbean Studies is offering a Lecture Series on Caribbean Social Thought: “Los Estados Unidos y el Caribe a partir de 1898: avatares de una vecindad durante la primera mitad del siglo XX” [The United States and the Caribbean since 1898: Transformations of a neighborhood in the first half of the 20th century]. This lecture series/conference will take place from September 25 to 27, 2018, at Casa de las Américas, Havana, Cuba. Although the deadline for participants has long passed, the lecture cycle is open to anyone interested in attending the series as a course. Registration is open until September 15, 2018. [See guidelines at the end of the description.]

Description: At the 120th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Paris—which put an end to Spanish rule in Latin America, announcing the future expansion of the United States across the continent, and under a current context of reconfiguration of political forces in its own territory—Casa de las Américas, through its Center for Caribbean Studies, announces the Caribbean Social Thought Lecture Series: “The United States and the Caribbean since 1898: transformations of a neighborhood in the first half of the 20th century.”

This event is organized in collaboration with the Program of Studies on Latinos in the United States, the Faculty of Philosophy and History, the “Norman Girvan” Caribbean Studies Chair, and the Juan Bosch Chair (University of Havana), and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

This congress aims to gather specialists and students to reflect on the systemic strategy of the United States towards the Caribbean, understood as a core space for its foreign policy, economic interests, national security, and area of “natural expansion.” In this sense, the response strategies that emerged from the Caribbean region, in line with the resistance to the expansion of an empire’s borders, are of vital interest. The closeness and interaction of both areas resulted in cultural contacts that today make up their societies and traditions. It is important to analyze in parallel both the international projection of the United States towards the Caribbean and the history of this region based on its historical relationship with that nation.

For this, it is necessary to understand the Caribbean space in all its breadth—from the Caribbean islands to the continental Caribbean, passing through Mexico, the Central American isthmus and the northern territories of South America—as an area of ​​influence of the United States. To understand the geopolitical strategy of the United States in the region, it is necessary to analyze the transverse nature of the mechanisms of domination and projection towards the Caribbean, from starting with events related to the Panama Canal, military interventionism, and the presence of naval bases, the establishment of colonial structures of a new order, acquisition of territories, expansion of capital, cultural colonialism, and the advancement of the North American paradigm, including the influence of the media and the “American way of life.”

A transdisciplinary and systematizing approach is necessary in order to understand, the period in its geographical and historical magnitude and to understand critically the further development of these relations in the 20th century, as the implementation of the Cold War policy and the triumph of the Cuban Revolution determined readjustments in the U.S.’s projection towards the Caribbean and Latin America. The approach will propose a present-past dialogue, in order to facilitate the understanding of the current regional context.

Main topics:

From the Monroe Doctrine to 1898, a historical projection: the Latin American intelligentsia’s perception.

The first half of the 20th century and the configuration of a hegemony: the diplomacy of the dollar, the Big Stick, and the Good Neighborhood.

Migrations, flows of capital, and historical-cultural exchanges between both spaces.

Reactions to the northern expansion in the Caribbean area and the irruption of “the Caribbean” in the United States.

Culture and identity facing the North American presence in the region.

Social thought about the United States and the Caribbean during the first half of the 20th century.

Those interested in registering under the open course modality must formalize their application before September 15, 2018, by phone (7838-27-10) or electronically (seccaribe@casa.cult.cu), providing the following information:

  • Name and surname
  • ID number
  • Level of education
  • Study or work center
  • Phone number or email address
  • Registration as open course Yes__ No___

A course certificate will be awarded to those who enroll and attend three or more sessions; participants will receive a certificate accrediting their contribution to the series.

[Image above: “The Battle of Las Guásimas near Santiago, June 24th, 1898. The 9th and 10th colored cavalry in support of rough riders.” (Painter unidentified.) From https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batalla_de_las_Gu%C3%A1simas_(1898) and https://www.britannica.com/event/Spanish-American-War.]

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