Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Caribbean Literature, Culture Taught at A&M-Kingsville During Summers of 2010-2012 Through National Grant

KINGSVILLE - June 24, 2009

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4143

Seminars, mini-conference funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Starting in 2010, Texas A&M University-Kingsville provides a window into the life and culture of the Caribbean with a new series of seminars.

Dr. Susan Roberson, professor and chair of the language and literature department, directed efforts to secure funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project for secondary school teachers and university faculty to examine Caribbean literature and culture in two two-week summer seminars, one summer mini-conference and three continuity group activities during the academic years.

Her proposal, submitted to the NEH grant program Humanities Initiatives at Institutions with High Hispanic Enrollment, was awarded nearly $100,000. The official name of the project is “Exploring the Global Caribbean through Literary and Theoretical Texts.”

“The department of language and literature has identified Caribbean studies as a research area, especially by associate professor Dr. Roberto Vela Cordova, who has taught some Spanish courses on the Caribbean,” said Roberson.

“Building on existing research and teaching interests, I decided to focus on the Caribbean for this grant. The Caribbean is also an area where English, French, and Spanish are spoken, making it a good area for the department as a whole to participate in joined study. As well, I have lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Jamaica and so have some personal interest in the Caribbean.”

According to Roberson, the summer seminars will take place in 2010 and 2011, with
Drs. Shona Jackson of Texas A&M University and Myriam Chancy of Louisiana State University serving as seminar leaders. The mini-conference is scheduled for 2012, with
Dr. Gustavo Perez Firmat of Columbia University serving as keynote speaker. 

In addition, a book club will take place during the academic year 2010-11 and writing groups will meet the academic year 2011-12, to allow participants to ready their conference papers or write syllabi or lesson plans based on their study.

“The Caribbean makes an excellent topic for studying the dynamics of globalization since beginning with Columbus, it was colonized and settled by Europeans and Africans, giving the area several linguistic and cultural traditions,” said Roberson. “Then with the 20th century, so many Caribbean writers and artists have left the area in a contemporary diaspora, or situation of exile, taking the Caribbean, as it were, abroad.”

Humanities teachers and faculty interested in the Caribbean seminars and mini-conference at A&M-Kingsville can call Roberson through the language and literature department at 361-593-2518 or email her at kfslr00@tamuk.edu.

About the NEH Humanities Initiatives at Institutions with High Hispanic Enrollment Program

Humanities Initiatives are intended to strengthen and enrich humanities education and scholarship at Institutions with High Hispanic Enrollment. These grants may be used to enhance the humanities content of existing programs, develop new programs, or lay the foundation for more extensive endeavors in the future. Each project must be organized around a core topic or set of themes.

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