Presidents Archive

The CSA Presidents’ Archive records the histories, achievements and memories of CSA from our inception in 1975 and continuing with each successive president, from their various points of view. The presidents of each year are  asked to respond to a ten-question interview, written by Allyson Salinger Ferrante, to tell of their personal experiences with both the organization and their chosen fields within Caribbean Studies. The aims of this project are multiple and include celebrating where CSA came from and where it is going as an organization rooted in fostering personal relationships across waters and disciplines. The archive presents a picture of each president, photos of their chosen conference site, a short biography, and the posted interview. The internet provides an expansive space to record and share the places we’ve been, the challenges we’ve faced, and advice for a prosperous future. It is an opportunity for dialogue between presidents, members, and new scholars just joining Caribbean Studies and CSA. Given the diversity of presidential backgrounds, including such illustrious careers as Olympic athletes, prime ministers, ambassadors, professors and poets, the responses demonstrate both the professional and intellectual breadth of Caribbean Studies. It is our hope that this project will teach, entertain, and inspire old and new members alike, and that in this way we can honor the hard work and service of those people whose commitment to CSA has brought it into the 21st century.

CSA wants to hear of your recent accomplishments.
You may contact the 2017-2018 CSA President Yolanda Wood at: president@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org

Keithley Woolward2016-2017: Keithley Woolward

Keithley Woolward is an Advanced Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas. Woolward also served as Director of Graduate programmes (Interim) during the College’s transition to University status. » Read More

Carole Boyce-Davies2015-2016: Carole Boyce Davies 

Carole Boyce-Davies is Professor of Africana Studies and English at Cornell University. Her most recently published book is Caribbean Spaces. Escape Routes from Twilight Zones, dealing with the issue of internationalizing Caribbean culture. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she is a the author of the prize-wining Left of Karl Marx. The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (Duke University Press, 2008) and Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (Routledge, 1994). » Read More

Jan DeCosmo2014-2015: Jan DeCosmo

Jan DeCosmo is Professor of Humanities in the Department of Visual Arts, Humanities & Theatre at Florida A&M University, where she has been teaching for 34 years. Her undergraduate and master’s degrees were in International Affairs, and her Ph.D. (Florida State University,1987) was in Humanities, with a dissertation on the concept of alienation in the writings of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Hannah Arendt. » Read More

Dwaine Plaza2013-2014: Dwaine Plaza

Dwaine Plaza is a Professor of Sociology in the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University. He has been at Oregon State University for eighteen years and teaches a wide slate of classes both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. » Read More

Godfrey St. Bernard2012-2013: Godfrey St. Bernard 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

Geography was of interest to me by the time I was 5 years old. I remember having the Collins Caribbean Atlas, a little green Atlas that made the Caribbean islands look big. Of course, I had no sense of scale but by age 7 years, I found myself being able to sketch all of the English-speaking islands by hand, name and locate the town/city that was the capital and state the names of the main airports. By the time I was in secondary school, I had been introduced to Caribbean geography and history, both of which gelled in terms of enhancing my understanding of peoples and places from a Caribbean context. » Read More

Carolle Charles2011-2012: Carolle Charles 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I made that choice when I went to Graduate school but I was already involved in doing participant research as I was involved in community activism, particularly working with women and feminist groups.  » Read More

Holger Henke2010-2011: Holger Henke 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

My interest in the Caribbean and Caribbean Studies developed gradually and from several sources.  At a personal (and probably most profound) level I became interested in the Caribbean through the music of Bob Marley and other Jamaican reggae – during the late 1970s and early 1980s.  This was not a linear or straightforward development for me.  In fact, for me, getting to like the music was a process and somewhat an “acquired taste.”   Once, however, I started to appreciate reggae music, it was a love affair that really sparked my interest in its origin. » Read More

Linden Lewis2009-2010: Linden Lewis

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I did my undergraduate work at the University of the West Indies at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. It was there that my intellectual interest in the Caribbean began forming. Not only was I studying the region from different disciplinary perspectives, but for the first time I was interacting with people who were neither Guyanese or Barbadian – the two Caribbean people I knew best. I was becoming familiar with my extended family from around the region in a concrete way that I had not even imagined before.» Read More

Pat Mohammed2008-2009: Patricia Mohammed
Anton Allahar2007-2008: Anton Allahar

1) How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I was born in Trinidad and lived there for the first 20 years of my life. I immigrated to Canada in 1969 and my Caribbean identity was born there, in exile, so-to-speak. It is difficult to have a Trinidadian identity when one lives in Trinidad and all around you are Trinidadians. The same goes for an Antiguan, a Bajan or a St. Lucian etc. Because social identities are situational, they depend on social context, so when I am with Canadians, I am Caribbean, but if I am with Caribbean people I am from Trinidad, and if I am with Trinidadians I am from Diego Martin and so on. » Read More

Percy Hintzen2006-2007: Percy Hintzen 
Pedro Noguera2005-2006: Pedro Noguera

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

My interest in the Caribbean grew out of my family background (my mother is Jamaican, my father Trinidadian.  My family’s roots are pan Caribbean including Venezuela, Panama, Barbados, Guyana, Tobago and Haiti).  My research interests began with the Grenada Revolution in 1979 and my desire to understand the changes that were occurring in the country and to contribute to the experiment in democratic socialism. » Read More

Emilio Pantojas2004-2005: Emilio Pantojas-García 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I started in 1987 with a Fulbright Scholarship to do research on the impact of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) on the Eastern Caribbean.  I spent 6 months doing research in Dominica, St. Lucia and Barbados. During my tenure as a Fulbright Scholar I participated in U.S. Congressional Hearings on the CBI in Barbados and got in contact with a network of NGOs activist and academics that became lifelong friends. » Read More

Frank Mills2003-2004: Frank Mills

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I am of the Caribbean, and even though I studied in Canada and the United States, there was never any hesitation as to what I wanted to study or where I wanted to spend my professional life. » Read More

Jean Stubbs2002-2003: Jean Stubbs 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I came to Caribbean Studies through Latin American Studies. My doctoral studies under the great late historian Eric Hobsbawm at Birkbeck College, University of London, took me to Cuba in 1968 to research labour history in tobacco. They were heady times and I stayed, having met my soul mate – and life partner to this day – writer and journalist Pedro Pérez Sarduy. It was several years before I finished my PhD (1975) and reworked my thesis to be published as a monograph for Cambridge University Press (1985), our two children and an exciting social and cultural life in Cuba taking up much of my time in the intervening years. » Read More

Ivelaw Griffith2001-2002: Ivelaw Griffith
Cora_Christian2000-2001: Cora Christian 

1. How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I am married to one of the founding members of the Association. It was started the year before I got married and I attended my first CSA in 1976. I had always done applied research as a physician since my education at Johns Hopkins emphasized the importance of applied research. Being from the Caribbean and living in the Caribbean, it was important to do so although I was not at a university. » Read More

Neville Duncan1999-2000: Neville Duncan 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

Because I wanted to make a contribution to Caribbean Development.

How did your interest in and commitment to Caribbean Studies evolve?

Simply from my University educational choice for economics and then political science along with a deep impatience I have with injustice in the world. » Read More

Gilberto Arroyo1998-1999: Gilberto Arroyo 
Lynn Bolles1997-1998: Lynn Bolles 

1) How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

My graduate work focused on the African Diaspora from the very beginning with designs of working on the Black communities in Peru. After an opportunity to do a summer school session at the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica, I knew that the work in Latin America would have to wait. I have done most of my scholarship in the Caribbean. » Read More

Locksley Edmondson1996-1997: Locksley Edmondson 
Laverne Ragster1995-1996: Laverne Ragster 
Rita Giacalone1994-1995: Rita Giacalone 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

My first job in Venezuela (1979) was as a research assistant in a project about the border question between Venezuela and Guyana. » Read More

Hilbourne Watson1993-1994: Hilbourne A. Watson

1. How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

My fields of concentration in graduate school were International Relations, Comparative Politics (Africa), Political Theory, and International Political Economy. I did not complete any formal study of the Caribbean as a college student. I came to Caribbean Studies in an indirect way, when I decided to conduct doctoral dissertation research on the Political Economy of Foreign Direct Investment in the Commonwealth Caribbean since World War II. » Read More

Jacqueline Anne Braveboy-Wagner1992-1993: Jacqueline Anne Braveboy-Wagner

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I obtained an M.S. in International Relations at the Institute of IR, UWI, St. Augustine where I specialized in an area best described as Caribbean conflict and international law. However, in my further studies and work in the United States, I specialized in broader global south international studies, albeit while retaining a sub-specialty in small states, including the Caribbean. » Read More

Robert Millette1991-1992: Robert Millette 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean studies?

My interest in Caribbean studies was developed during my tenure as an undergraduate student at Brooklyn College in New York.  My interest was intensified during my stint as Grenada’s Ambassador to the United Nations. » Read More

Jorge Heine1990-1991: Jorge Heine 

Jorge Heine (PhD, Stanford) is the CIGI Professor of Global Governance in the Political Science Department at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Canada’s premier think tank on IR, in Waterloo, Ontario. He serves currently as Vice-President of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and is gearing up for the XXI World Congress of Political Science, to be held in his native Santiago, Chile, in July 2009. He was previously Ambassador of Chile to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (2003-2007), and served also as Ambassador to South Africa (1994-1999) and as a Cabinet Minister and Deputy Minister in the Chilean Government. » Read More

Selwyn Ryan1989-1990: Selwyn Ryan 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

Being a Caribbean person and a social scientist, I was always interested in Caribbean Problems.

How did your interest in and commitment to Caribbean Studies evolve?

I wrote my PhD thesis on the political history of Trinidad and Tobago and continued my interest after getting my doctorate. » Read More

J. Eddie Greene1988-1989: J. Edward Greene 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?
When I was appointed as a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Economic Studies, UWI St Augustine, in 1969.

How did your interest in and commitment to Caribbean Studies evolve?
Recognizing the need for more empirical studies especially to enhance policy making in the region.
» Read More

Andres Serbin1987-1988: Andres Serbin 
Alma H. Young1986-1987: Alma H. Young 
Compton Bourne1985-1986: Compton Bourne 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

From my teenage years, I have had a deep interest in Caribbean affairs. It was natural then to concentrate my professional life on research and policy in the Caribbean. » Read More

Vera Rubin1985: Vera Rubin 
Fuat Andic1984-1985: Fuat M. Andic 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I joined the Institute of Caribbean Studies in 1964 as a researcher, splitting my time between teaching at the department of economics at UPR and the Institute. Since there was a considerable body of research related to the British Caribbean and hardly any research on French and Dutch Antilles I decided to specialize on those islands. » Read More

Simon Jones-Hendrickson1983-1984: Simone Jones-Hendrickson 

How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

I got interested in Caribbean Studies from my High School days when I was Head Prefect of my High school. Every Wednesday I had to present some news items on the Caribbean and the world to the entire school. That was my primary start. » Read More

Anthony Maingot1982-1983: Anthony Maingot 
Ransford Palmer1981-1982: Ransford Palmer
Vaughn Lewis1980-1981: Vaughn Lewis 
Wendell Bell1979-1980: Wendell Bell 

1. How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?

Wendell Bell: When I planned my first trip to Jamaica in 1956, I thought that I would be spending only one summer there. My intention was to do research on the social areas of Kingston to compare with research that I had been doing on American cities. In 1955, I had co-authored a monograph on Social Area Analysis that focused on mapping the social areas of cities differentiated by socioeconomic status, family life, and race and ethnicity. » Read More

1978-1979
John Figueroa1977-1978: John Figueroa (deceased)
Basil Ince1976-1977: Basil Ince 
1975-1976: Roland I. Perusse 
1974-1975