Questions for CSA Past Presidents
Responses by Selwyn Ryan
CSA President 1989-1990
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.
When did you first join CSA and what did it mean to you then?
I can’t remember when I started attending CSA meetings, but it must have been in the late seventies. I would have to consult records. I joined when I returned from Canada to teach at UWI and wanted exposure to Caribbean scholars who shared my research concerns.
Why did you choose the location you did for the CSA annual conference that year?
I chose to hold the meeting in Trinidad because I am from Trinidad and felt I would be able to get the financial support needed to organize a successful meeting and expand the membership of the organization.
What is one of your fondest CSA memories?
My fondest memories of the CSA are about the people whom one meets from year to year. The CSA is essentially an academic family.
What are you doing now in terms of the Caribbean?
What I am doing now in respect of Caribbean Studies? I am formally retired, but still at work teaching graduate students at Mona and finishing a book on entrepreneurship in T@T 1838 to 1938. I am also at work on a biography of Patrick Manning and a comparative study of political leadership in the Caribbean, reflecting on the 50 years that have elapsed since independence in 1962. I am somewhat disappointed about what is happening in the region in terms of its political economy, but optimistic about the future of CSA.