Questions for CSA Past Presidents
Responses by Fuat M. Andic
CSA President 1984-85
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.
How did your interest in and commitment to Caribbean Studies evolve?
My commitment to Caribbean studies evolved through time in terms of publishing several books and articles. Later I expanded my interest to Central America both in terms of academic research as well as a consultant to several governments in Central America.
When did you first join CSA and what did it mean to you then?
I joined CSA since its inception; I was one of the founding members
What were your goals for CSA the year of your presidency?
My presidency coincided with the 10th anniversary of CSA and the meeting was held in San Juan. Thanks to the generous contributions of several establishments in San Juan, we were able to mobilize considerable funds with which we were able to bring to San Juan several celebrities both in academia and politics. It was the best-attended meeting until then. That was our goal.
What did you recognize to be the greatest obstacles facing CSA and Caribbean Studies during your presidency?
I had no obstacles at all.
What did you consider to be the greatest accomplishment of CSA that year?
The government of Puerto Rico provided considerable logistic support. There was a wide coverage in the media and we had no shortage of funds. I think as of the 10th anniversary CSA really became an association that commended respect.
Why did you choose the location you did for the CSA annual conference that year?
Since CSA had its start in San Juan the Board had decided that San Juan was the logical place to celebrate the 10th anniversary.
Where do you hope to see CSA in the next ten years?
I would like to see the continuation of the tradition of holding the meetings in the Caribbean.
What is one of your fondest CSA memories?
This is a hard question to answer. I have very many fond memories of the meetings. I do not think I can single out one.
What are you doing now in terms of the Caribbean?
Since I am now a retired professor with ample time at my disposal, I have diversified my interest and became very much involved in the problems of transition of the countries that separated themselves as independent states after the demise of USSR.
My last contribution to the Caribbean was my co-edited book (with Simon Jones-Hendrickson) related to the fiscal problems of the Caribbean. The book was published in 1985 by UWI.
Where do you see the future of Caribbean Studies?
Studies on the Caribbean moved forward by leaps and bounds. I would like to think that CSA was somewhat instrumental. Of course since the 70s a number of issues came to the surface such as governance, gender equality, and millennium development goals etc. All these issues need further research.
What would you recommend to a young scholar starting in Caribbean Studies?
I believe strongly that area studies should come after one specializes in his/her discipline. I do recommend my young colleagues to become an authority in the disciplines and then and only then specialize in the Caribbean.