ANN: Caribbean Literatures, Arts, and Cultures Graduate Student Cluster at UVA

Marlene Daut's picture

Caribbean Literatures, Arts, and Cultures

Graduate Student Cluster at UVA

The Caribbean archipelago by itself (without including the countries on the Caribbean coasts of South America) comprises 13 sovereign nations and 12 dependent territories.  While there are only five official languages of the Caribbean — English, French, Dutch, Haitian Kreyòl, and Spanish — there are 59 living languages. Because of various forms of colonialism, forced migration, slavery, and unfree labor, the Caribbean cultural region is even more vast. Made up of Europeans, indigenous Americans, Africans, and Asians, it stretches from the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, to the Atlantic coasts of Central and South America, to the diasporic communities of cities like Montréal, Miami, New York, Paris, and London.

For these reasons, doctoral students studying the Caribbean must be trained to think across differing and sometimes overlapping histories of colonization and across the varied racial, national, and linguistic discourses that emerged from those histories. Students require mentorship from scholars with expertise not only in several nation states, but also in multiple languages.

The approach of this research cluster, led by scholars with expertise in the Francophone, Hispanophone, Creolophone, and Anglophone Caribbean, will be hemispheric and transatlantic in scope. Fellows will benefit from the presence of many other Caribbean Studies faculty on campus, who form part of UVa’s Greater Caribbean Studies Network. Our aim is to encourage transnational study of Caribbean literatures, arts, and cultures with an eye to the comparative complexity that understanding the history of the Antillean archipelago demands.

Possible areas of study

Artistic creation has often been the chosen method by which Caribbean peoples have imagined, processed, and communicated not only freedom and joy, but the tragic histories and realities of colonialism and empire, along with the experiences of slavery, revolutions, hurricanes, earthquakes, dictatorships, and military occupation.  Whether we are considering literature, film, painting and sculpture, political posters, or musical styles, the Caribbean is an apt space for exploring the relationship among history, politics, and artistic creation.

Through the lens of examining artistic production, the projects of our doctoral students will intersect with a variety of other research areas, such as:

  • Gender and sexuality
  • Migration and diaspora
  • Religion and philosophy
  • Legacies of slavery and colonialism
  • Globalization and inequality
  • Digital humanities
  • Race and racism
  • Political movements, including Communism, socialism, and democracy
  • Empire, translation, and tourism
  • Environmental humanities

Mentoring Plan and Resources

Fellows will have coordinated access to the following resources and opportunities at UVA.

Greater Caribbean Studies Network

Academic Conferences

Teaching Assistantships

Research Assistantships, Editorial Work and Web Design

Graduate Certificate Programs


Faculty Mentors

The following faculty proposed this theme for an interdisciplinary doctoral fellowship program and are committed to co-mentoring students from a variety of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.  Please contact them with questions about the research cluster or to discuss your research interests.

Marlene L. Daut

   Professor, African Diaspora and American Studies

   Associate Director, Carter G. Woodson

   Affiliate Faculty, French

Njelle W. Hamilton

   Associate Professor, English and
   African and African-American Studies

Anne Garland Mahler

   Associate Professor, Spanish, Italian, &

Charlotte Rogers

   Lisa Smith Discovery Chair
   Associate Professor, Spanish, Italian, & Portuguese

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