‘Turning Tides’ Conference Will Put Spotlight on Caribbean Studies

Trinity College Teaming with University of the West Indies for Interdisciplinary Forum in Trinidad and Tobago Next Year

Hartford, Connecticut, September 10, 2015 – Scholars, artists, and activists are invited to take part in a new forum co-sponsored by Trinity College and The University of the West Indies that will reach beyond borders, across languages, and among the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The inaugural conference, “Turning Tides: Caribbean Intersections in the Americas and Beyond,” will be hosted by The University of the West Indies at its St. Augustine campus in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on February 18-20, 2016.

“Turning Tides” aims to provoke wide-reaching and transdisciplinary conversations about the instabilities, changes, developments, perspectives, and future trends that intersect the cultures and societies bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and beyond.

“This is the first time that a liberal arts college is teaming up with one of the most important universities in the English-speaking Caribbean to host a conference of this magnitude,” said Dario Euraque, Trinity College professor of history and international studies. Euraque is the chair of Trinity’s contingent of the organizing committee that is currently planning the conference and is co-director of Trinity’s Trinity in Trinidad study-away program, along with Milla Riggio, James J. Goodwin Professor of English, and Pablo Delano, professor of fine arts.

Trinity College’s organizing committee for the new conference, “Turning Tides: Caribbean Intersections in the Americas and Beyond,” first met in January 2015. Pictured are: Eric A. Galm, associate professor of music; Stefanie Chambers, Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Political Science; Davarian L. Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies; Thomas M. Wickman, assistant professor of history and American studies; Milla C. Riggio, James J. Goodwin Professor of English; Donna-Dale Marcano, associate professor of philosophy; Janet L. Bauer, associate professor of international studies; Dario A. Euraque, professor of history and international studies; Cheryl Greenberg, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of History; Kent D. Dunlap, professor of biology; Anne Lambright, Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Language and Culture Studies; Maurice L. Wade, professor of philosophy; and Jeffrey Bayliss, associate professor of history. The committee also includes Gary Reger, Hobart Professor of Classical Languages; Katherine L. Bergren, assistant professor of English; and Mandi Haines, senior associate director of admissions and coordinator of international recruitment and financial aid. Photo by Pablo Delano, professor of fine arts.
 The upcoming conference goes hand-in-hand with a new program house that Trinity will rent at The University of the West Indies. “President Joanne Berger-Sweeney and I traveled to Trinidad in April for the groundbreaking of that program house, which will be inaugurated early next spring,” Euraque said. “We felt that as a way to consolidate those relationships, it would be interesting to co-sponsor a scholarly conference not only involving faculty, but one that would also attract scholars of renown about the Caribbean from all around the world.” He added that Berger-Sweeney has said she plans to attend the conference, as have several Trinity faculty members.

Another objective of the conference is to highlight the Caribbean studies offered in Hartford. “President Berger-Sweeney is supporting the establishment of a Caribbean Studies Center at Trinity College. After all, Hartford has one of the largest Caribbean populations in the United States outside of New York. Many people in the region, and sometimes our own students, aren’t aware of this,” Euraque said. “This will highlight the power of Trinity College as a place to study the Caribbean.”

Students in Trinity’s study-away program in Trinidad also will be encouraged to participate in the conference. “The study away program there will be validated or valued in ways that sometimes study in the Caribbean is not,” Euraque said. “Sometimes it is reduced to thoughts about having fun on the beach and so forth. Our program is not that. This conference will really highlight the academic dimensions of study and travel.”

Of course, Euraque added, that doesn’t mean that there is not time for excursions. “One of the features is that the students go for 10 days to Caribbean Costa Rica to compare what the Spanish-speaking Caribbean is like to Trinidad, which is English-speaking,” he said. “It’s not what many people have in their minds, which is the islands only. The Caribbean includes many counties in Central America and eastern Mexico – including the Yucatán – wherever the Caribbean Sea touches. It crosses many international boundaries and across cultures; it’s not just islands.”

Euraque said that many conferences issue a call for papers, but “Turning Tides” is curating an event that is much wider in scope. “We actually have a call for presentations,” Euraque said. The conference is actively seeking proposals for complete panels, individual papers, posters, roundtable discussions, performances, and alternative-session formats that offer a fresh vantage point on past and present transnational and transcultural developments in the Americas.

The subjects may include history, immigration, colonialism, art, religion, and much more, Euraque said. “Whatever can connect to that theme of the conference.”

Proposals should be sent as e-mail attachments (Word document or PDF) to Dario Euraque and Heather Cateau by October 15, 2015. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by November 1, 2015.