Election Information - 2013Dear CSA Member
During the 38th Annual Conference week (June 1 - 7, 2013), the Caribbean Studies Association also holds its annual Executive Council Elections. As members in good financial standing and life members, you all are invited to participate in the election process. You may vote during the conference week or by completing the attached ballot and sending it via email on or before Monday May 27, 2013. For more information about the candidates, please see the information posted below.
Candidates for Vice President:
Janet L. DeCosmo
Angelique V. Nixon
Nadia V. Celis
Student Representative Candidates:
Vilma Díaz Cabrera
Candidates for Vice President:
Janet L. DeCosmo
Janet L. DeCosmo is Professor of Humanities in the Department of Visual Arts, Humanities and Theatre at FAMU, where she has taught since 1981. At present she teaches humanities and religion classes that focus on the Caribbean, Africa, and the African Diaspora.
From 1992 until 2006, DeCosmo served as director of the Center for Caribbean Culture at FAMU. In concert with the Offices of Student Activities and International Programs & Study Abroad, the Center sponsored public programs on academic subjects in the arts and humanities; produced an “African-Caribbean Concert” each semester (featuring community groups and out-of town guest artists); maintained a collection of books, art, film, music and costumes from the African Diaspora; and served as a liaison between the community and student performing groups. The latter include the Rhythm Rushers Bahamian Junkanoo group, Dromatala (an African percussion group), the Caribbean Student Association Dancers, and the Haitian Cultural Club Dance Troupe.
DeCosmo has traveled extensively to present papers, attend conferences and conduct research. The countries she has visited include: St. Maarten (2013, 07), Anguilla (2007), New Orleans and S.W. Louisiana (each year 1991-present), Brazil (2007, 05, 03, 02, 99, 98, 97, 96), Spain (2006, 72), Italy (2012, 05, 74), Hawaii (2005, 04), Dominican Republic (2005), France (2004, 03, 72), Cuba (2012, 11, 08, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00), St. Kitts (2004), Belize (2003), Bahamas (each year 1996-present), St. Lucia (2000), Trinidad & Tobago (2011, 09, 07, 06, 04, 00, 94), Haiti (2007, 03, 01, 00, 95, 93, 92), Jamaica (2010, 09, 99, 97, 96, 95, 93), Curacao (2011, 1995), Puerto Rico (1996), Colombia (2008, 1997), Antigua (1998), Panama (1999), Mexico (Merida & Yucatan) (1994, 87).
She has been to Brazil many times to conduct research on Rastafari (once on a group Fulbright for a month), and travels regularly to Southwest Louisiana to explore the connections between Louisiana's Black Creole culture and Creoles in the Caribbean.
DeCosmo has published articles on a variety of subjects, including Bahamian Junkanoo, Bob Marley, Rastafari, Dub poetry, Carnival, and Creole culture in S.W. Louisiana. She is currently working on several articles and a book to be entitled Rastafari in Salvador, Bahia: The Caribbean Connection in Brazil.
DeCosmo is also committed to community service. She founded TAZACA (Tallahassee Area Zydeco and Cajun Association), in order to bring Creole bands and dance instructors from Louisiana to Tallahassee. She founded Tallahassee's first crawfish festival, the "Mudbug Bash," held for three summers in a row. She formed "Friends of the Caribbean" to help students, professors, and community members travel to a variety of places in the Caribbean.
In an effort to bring discussion and understanding of the humanities to the public, DeCosmo has written grant proposals and obtained funding for conferences on subjects involving the Caribbean and other areas within the African Diaspora. Since 1982, over 30 of her grant proposals were awarded, for a total of $225,000 (from the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts International, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Florida Humanities Council, the State of Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs, and the State of Florida Folklife Master-Apprentice Award Program).
A native of Apalachicola, Florida, DeCosmo received both her doctorate degree in Humanities (with an emphasis on the role of religion and culture in social change and a dissertation on the concept of alienation in Marx, Weber and Arendt), as well as her master's degree in International Affairs, from Florida State University.
Director of the AfroLatin@® Project. He is responsible for all organizational and administrative matters and is also responsible for programming and strategy. The Project, previously funded by the Ford Foundation, is currently developing tools for social media and mobile learning, as well as digital curation, and looks to facilitate participatory action in these communities. Prior to his current tenure, Amilcar served as Counsel for the AfroLatin@ Project. He began his legal career as an associate at a boutique entertainment law practice and most recently served as a Director of Business and Legal Affairs at Westwood One, Inc. He is also the Principal at C.O.I. Consulting, LLC an intellectual property, licensing and digital media consulting firm. Amilcar is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Brooklyn Law School.
Angelique V. Nixon
Angelique V. Nixon is a writer, scholar, teacher, community worker, artist, and poet - born and raised in The Bahamas. She earned her Ph.D. in English specializing in Caribbean and postcolonial studies with a certificate in women and gender studies at the University of Florida. Currently, she is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Susquehanna University. Dr. Nixon teaches and writes about Caribbean and postcolonial studies, African diaspora literatures, feminist and postcolonial theories, and gender and sexuality studies. She is in the process of publishing a scholarly book titled Resisting Paradise: Tourism, Diaspora, and Sexuality in Caribbean Literature and Culture. Her work as a scholar and poet has been published widely in academic and literary journals, namely Anthurium, Black Renaissance Noire, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, Lucayos, MaComere, ProudFlesh, small axe salon, tongues of the ocean, and WomanSpeak. Also, her work has been featured in the book collection The Caribbean Women Writer as Scholar and the anthology Caribbean Erotic. Angelique is deeply invested in grassroots activism and is involved with a number of community-based organizations, including the grassroots healing collective Ayiti Resurrect and the Caribbean International Resource Network (IRN), among others. She is co-editor of the online multi-media collection Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean: Complexities of Place, Desire and Belonging, which launched in June 2012. Also, she is author of an art and poetry collection titled Saltwater Healing - A Myth Memoir and Poems published by Poinciana Paper Press in February 2013.
Dr. Nixon has been active in the Caribbean Studies Association since she was a graduate student; she has presented her scholarly work regularly at CSA conferences for several years. In 2009, she organized a roundtable panel on the Caribbean Sexual Imaginary at the CSA conference in Jamaica; she also co-facilitated the first Caribbean IRN meeting at CSA, which brought together over 30 scholars and activists to discuss the sexual minority activism and research in the region. She has co-facilitated Caribbean IRN workshops for CSA conferences in 2010 (Barbados) and 2011 (Curacao), which brought local activists and artists into both conferences. As part of her work with the Caribbean IRN, Dr. Nixon has consistently worked with program chairs to advocate for the presence of local social justice organizations and activists, as well as for gender and sexuality studies and scholars. In 2010, she co-founded the Sexualities Working Group as an official CSA working group with several other CSA members. She is the coordinator of this group and has helped to organize sponsored panels and the working group meetings. At the CSA 2012 conference (Guadeloupe), she worked with the program committee, assisted at the registration table, presented her scholarly and creative work, and facilitated the film screening and discussion of Chinee Girl. Overall, Dr. Nixon has contributed to CSA as a scholar, writer, and community worker, who is committed to Caribbean Studies and cultural production and to bridging the gap between academia and community.
Cédric Audebert has a PhD in social geography (Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, 2003). He is Permanent researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Vice-Director of MIGRINTER (International Migration Space and Society Institute). He is the author of La Diaspora Haïtienne : Territoires Migratoires et Réseaux Transnationaux (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012) and has co-edited Migration in a Globalised World : New Research Issues and Prospects (Amsterdam University Press, 2010).
I wish to express an interest to serve on the Executive Council of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) for the period 2013/2015. I am committed to the philosophy of the CSA and wish to offer my skills and other resources to the organisation. I am confident that I can make a meaningful contribution to the CSA through my service as a member of the Executive Council.
I have been associated with CSA since 1995 and became a lifetime member in 2000. Since my first conference in 1995 I have endeavoured to attend the annual CSA conference which I have enjoyed thoroughly. In the last six years I have organised, chaired and presented at the annual conference on issues pertinent to democracy and governance in the Commonwealth Caribbean, issues which are not only dear to me but my larger family of the CSA.
In the last twenty odd years I have accumulated organisational skills which I was able to bring to the CSA Executive when I was afforded the signal honour of spearheading the local preparation for the 2010 conference. The general confidence that the CSA Executive reposed in me in my capacity as Chair of the Local Organizing Committee and the unstinting support of the Executive and the small fraction of the CSA family in Barbados contributed in no small measure in making the conference a relative success. I believe that I can therefore make a worthwhile contribution to the organisation which is beyond that of presenting at the conference and support to the organisation when the occasion arises.
I would be most humbled if given the opportunity to serve, and I promise to do my best always in the interest of the CSA. Whatever the outcome, I will continue to serve the CSA in any capacity I am required and remain always a proud member of the organisation.
Nadia V. Celis
When I was nominated for the EC two years ago I offered my leadership in what I considered to be two major areas for growth in the CSA. First, bridging the different linguistic areas in the Caribbean and encouraging their participation and representativeness not only at the annual conferences but also at the decision-making level of the Association. Second, fostering stronger connections between the CSA academic community and the communities we study and visit. These actions were prompted from a combination of sincere admiration for the scholarly and human quality of this association, and sincere commitment to make it better. Both of these motivations have only grown in the last two years.
Although I continued with previous endeavors such as the Travel Grants and the CSA Newsletter, most of my energy went to the establishment of the Translingual Working Group. Building on the hard work of an outstanding team of volunteers and the enthusiastic support of other members, the TWG successfully developed initiatives ranging from the allocation of funds and coordination of professional translation to the facilitation of multilingual presentations. More is to come once we incorporate the feedback of our members.
I also witnessed and supported the strengthening of our democratic culture and community involvement. Yet, as excited as I am with these developments, we are at an early stage in the process of making intentional inclusiveness an engrained part of the CSA culture. Persistence is capital in consolidating these efforts. I am therefore eager to continue with this work as an EC member for a second period, while change takes a hold in our institutional memory.
Cuando fui nominada para el Consejo Ejecutivo hace dos años ofrecí mi liderazgo en lo que consideraba dos áreas importantes para el crecimiento de la CSA. En primer lugar, para tender un puente entre las diferentes áreas lingüísticas en el Caribe y fomentar su participación y representatividad no sólo en las conferencias anuales, sino también al nivel de toma de decisiones en la Asociación. En segundo lugar, para fomentar conexiones más fuertes entre la comunidad académica de la CSA y las comunidades que estudiamos y visitamos. Me movía una combinación de sincera admiración por la calidad académica y humana de esta asociación y el compromiso sincero con hacerla mejor. Estas motivaciones sólo han crecido en los últimos dos años.
Aunque continué con compromisos anteriores como las becas de viaje y el boletín de la CSA, la mayor parte de mi energía fue al establecimiento del Grupo de Trabajo por una CSA Translingüe -TWG. Contando con la labor de un excelente equipo de voluntarios y el entusiasta apoyo de otros miembros, el TWG implementó con éxito iniciativas que van desde la asignación de recursos y coordinación de la traducción profesional a la facilitación de presentaciones multilingües. Más vendrá una vez que incorporemos las sugerencias de nuestros miembros en general.
También fui testigo y apoyé el fortalecimiento de nuestra cultura democrática y la participación comunitaria. Pese a mi entusiasmo con estos progresos, entiendo que estamos en una etapa temprana en el proceso de radicar la inclusión intencional en la cultura de la CSA. Persistir es central a la consolidación de estos esfuerzos. Es por eso que me gustaría continuar con este trabajo en el Consejo Ejecutivo por un segundo período, mientras el cambio se arraiga en nuestra memoria institucional.
Mark Schuller is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership Development at Northern Illinois University and affiliate at the Faculté d’Ethnologie, l’Université d’État d’Haïti. Supported by the National Science Foundation and others, Schuller’s research on globalization, NGOs, gender, and disasters in Haiti has been published in twenty book chapters and peer-reviewed articles as well as public media, including a column in Huffington Post. He is the author of Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs (Rutgers, 2012) and co-editor of four volumes, including Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake (Kumarian Press, 2012). He is co-director / co-producer of documentary Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy (Documentary Educational Resources, 2009). Schuller is a series co-editor for Catastrophes in Context, published by Kumarian Press.
I am honored to be a nominee for the CSA board. Far and away the CSA is my favorite conference, one that I most look forward to. Why this is also explains why I am interested in running. I am committed to CSA because of its real concern to interdisciplinarity. This is admittedly fragile with a wide range of epistemologies and scholarly dialogues represented. I would like to help strengthen this, specifically encouraging cross-disciplinary plenaries, panels, and other events. Another fragile but unique aspect of CSA is its commitment to multi-lingualism; this fledgling initiative deserves institutional support. The Book Launch is a powerful tool and platform for us to celebrate each other’s work; in practice the spirit of collegiality is being strained by factors within our control to address such as the length of the program.
RUSSELL BENJAMIN is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois. He earned both an M.A and a Ph.D. in Political Science the Uni¬versity of Florida.
Benjamin’s research focuses upon the politics of race and colonialism, both as they relate to the United States and to the Caribbean. He has a particular interest in ways in which African Americans react to (and sometimes participate in) ongoing U.S. colonialist policies toward the Caribbean. He has presented his research on the mainland U.S., in Hawaii, and in the Caribbean. In early 2010, Benjamin, along with Dr. Gregory Hall, co-edited Eternal Colonialism, with the University Press of America. Benjamin will soon publish a book manuscript, African Americans and the Caribbean: Recent Political Considerations, with Edwin Mellen Press.
I would be very honored to serve on the of the Caribbean Studies Association Executive Council. Since joining CSA in 2001, I have served the organization in several capacities. These include: mentor for the Graduate Student Breakfast, membership on the CSA Student Mentorship Committee, membership on the Election
Committee, co-chair of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee, and chair of panels at the Annual Meeting.
If the members of CSA choose to place me on the Executive Council, I would devote my greatest efforts to help our organization remain as strong as possible. In that vein, I believe that it is especially important that graduate students in CSA receive mentorship. To be clear, I do not believe that graduate students should become the clones of CSA mentors. Rather, the role of mentors should be to help guide (and listen to!) graduate students as they strive to become scholars of the dynamic and changing Caribbean.
Dr. Francio Guadeloupe is an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Prior to joining the UvA, Guadeloupe worked at the department of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of the Radboud University in Nijmegen. Guadeloupe’s main research foci has been the manner in which hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses on national identity, multicultural recognition, migration, and the role of religion in post-imperial polities, (un)wittingly bear traces of our long colonial moment. He is currently researching the manner in which European citizens born on, or with kinship ties to, the Caribbean outposts of the EUundefinedthe French, Dutch, and British Antillesundefinedappraise the culturalisation of citizenship in the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom. This research is a continuation of Guadeloupe’s work which has been published in among others his two most recent books, Chanting Down the New Jerusalem: Calypso, Christianity, and Capitalism in the Caribbean, University of California Press, and, Adieu aan de Nikkers, Koelies en Makambas: een pleidooi voor de deconstructie van rasdenken binnen de Nederlandse Caraïbistiek (Amstelveen: Totemboek).
I have been a member of CSA since 1993 when I first attended the annual conference in Kingston (Jamaica) as a post-graduate student at the University of the West Indies. As a member who has over the years greatly benefited from being active within with CSA, I have had the pleasure and responsibility of serving in different capacities – as newsletter editor between 2003-2009, as vice president elect in 2010 and president in 2011. Like any other vibrant organization, ours has the task of balancing the promotion of new talent and young members with drawing on institutional memory and procedural familiarity and experience. I believe I can provide a certain measure of the latter, together with a strong and persistent understanding of and advocacy for the former.
One of the remaining challenges for CSA are the further development of the new website that was recently introduced, and the issue of language. With regard to the new CSA website, I believe that there are numerous potential benefits, but there are operational and procedural challenges to making fuller use of it. Aware of the costs and limitations the website’s development, I have a strong interest in driving the promotion and implementation of these new benefits.
Secondly, a challenge for us whose individual and organizational dimensions I have come to more fully understand and embrace is the language frontier that requires us to become more and remain persistently intentional about, as it inherently acts as a limitation more than as an enabling horizon. New initiatives have been spawned in recent years, but they will require – in my view – an ongoing advocacy and pro-active planning. Their success is dependent on our limited resources on the one hand, and the promotion – on the other hand – of a new awareness and willingness in our membership to commit to overcome this historical burden in the region through individual efforts and an example to others. Fortunately, many of our members already are more committed than past generations to becoming more multi-lingual, but the challenge remains for us to create a CSA culture that embraces and promotes multi-lingualism. I remain committed to work for that, and the greater benefit of the organization.
Student Representative Candidates:
Vilma Díaz Cabrera
Doctorante en Ciencias Históricas. Ha cursado dos maestrías: Historia Contemporánea y Relaciones Internacionales, mención Estudios Latinoamericanos (2007) y Estudios Sociales del Caribe (2010). Profesora asistente de Historia de América contemporánea e Historia del Caribe del Departamento de Historia de la Universidad de La Habana. Ha impartido cursos internacionales en Guatemala y República Dominicana. Miembro del Programa de Estudios de Posgrado Interdisciplinario del Centro de Estudios del Caribe de la Casa de las Américas. Miembro del consejo editorial de revistas como: Anales del Caribe, Anuario de la Cátedra Juan Bosch, Global (Fundación Global, Democracia y Desarrollo) y del Proyecto 50/50. Surveying the past to inform the future, SALISES, UWI. Ha publicado diversos artículos, los más recientes: Mujeres: su espacio privado y público en la construcción de la identidad caribeña. Encuentro de Jóvenes escritores y artistas en el Caribe. Casa Tomada, diciembre, 2010. Consulta: http://laventana.casa.cult.cu/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5256 ,“Tres textos en la encrucijada de la descolonización caribeña”. En: La Jiribilla. Revista de Cultura cubana, no. 547, año 10, La Habana, 2011. http://www.lajiribilla.co.cu/2011/n547_10/547_12.html; Forjadores del Pensamiento Crítico Latinoamericano y Caribeño, Ediciones La Tierra, Ecuador, 2011; “El ciclo revolucionario cubano en la Historiografía caribeña, un estudio preliminar”. En: Martínez Milagros y Jacqueline Laguardia (comp.) El Caribe a los 50 años de la Revolución Cubana. Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana, 2011. Coordinadora de múltiples encuentros académicos, por ejemplo, el Primer Encuentro Internacional de Revistas Caribeñas y el Ciclo de Pensamiento Social Caribeño “Medio siglo de descolonización e independencia en el Caribe anglófono, ambos realizados en Casa de las Américas. Asimismo, es miembro de la directiva de la Cátedra Juan Bosch y desde esta institución coordinó el Coloquio Internacional “Juan Bosch, el Pentagonismo 42 años después” y colabora en la elaboración de la Enciclopedia Digital EnCaribe. Además, elabora la multimedia “Próceres de la Independencia Latinoamericana en el Caribe”. Membresía internacional: Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Caribbean Studies Association (CSA). Investigadora invitada de Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), University of West Indies. Coordinadora por el Departamento de Historia de la Universidad de La Habana al Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO).
Ms. Sylvester is the recipient of a Bachelors of Science (B.Sc.) in Sociology and Government and a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Relations. She also possesses a Masters of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Sociology of Development with a special emphasis in Research, Development and Political Economy of the Caribbean from The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and Mona campuses, respectively. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology with special emphasis on Music and Identity in Trinidad and Tobago at her alma mater at the St. Augustine Campus.
To date she has several publications on Higher Education in the Caribbean, Developmental Research Options for the Caribbean and Music and Identity in the Caribbean.
Lauren Pragg is going into the 5th year of her PhD at York University, Toronto, in the Social and Political Thought department. Her work centres around queerness, identity, and diaspora, focusing especially on Trinidad. She would also like to query the ways in which heteronormativity is used to uphold ideas of citizenship and the nation in Caribbean states, their diasporae, and the academy. Lauren is also involved with the grassroots activist community in Toronto. Lauren recently became the columns editor of Shameless magazine. She has been a part of the CSA since 2006 and is eager to serve in this new position.