Afro-Caribbean Culture

Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Afro-Caribbean Culture

  • Host University

    Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra

  • Location

    Santiago, Dominican Republic

  • Area of Study

    African Studies, Latin American Studies

  • Language Level

    Intermediate, Advanced

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    This course will examine the roots that define culturally what it is to be Afro-Caribbean in its diversity, specificity, and unity. It will analyze the principal political-ideological, religious, and artistic manifestations in the regions of the Caribbean.


    By the end of the course, the students will be able to:

    1. Locate the Caribbean geographically and become familiar with the roots of its unity and diversity.
    2. Gain a general vision of the culture of the Caribbean peoples.
    3. Analyze the dominant racist practices and ideas in the Caribbean and its historical roots.
    4. Analyze the phenomenon of anti-Haitianism in the Dominican Republic.
    5. Become familiar with the principal religious manifestations in the Caribbean and their link to the daily life of the Dominican people.


    Unit 1: Starting points: The shaping of the Caribbean from the time of the European Conquest.

    1.1. Principal currents in Caribbean thought.
    1.2. Cultural identity in the island Caribbean

    Unit 2: Slavery, exploitation, and resistance.

    2.1. The slave trade, plantations in the Caribbean, and slave-holding ideology.
    2.1.1. Female slavery: African women and their descendants in Brazil.
    2.1.2. Social organization in the Antilles.
    2.1.3. Cultural contributions of de-culturation.
    2.1.4. The conquest of women: captives, symbol of femininity in Latin
    2.1.5. Capitalism and slavery.
    2.2. Resistance, anti-slavery ideology, and the emergence of Afro-Caribbean
    2.2.1. Escape and confrontation.

    Unit 3: Abolition, independence, and nationality.

    3.1. Response to the problems of slavery and colonization in Haiti.
    3.2. The problem of liberty: race, work, and politics in Jamaica and Great
    3.3. Caribbean transformation.

    Unit 4: Nationalism, race, gender, and class.

    4.1. The paths of negritude.
    4.2. Greeting and farewell to negritude.
    4.3. Pluralism, race, and class in Caribbean society.
    4.4. The new nations and ethnic minorities.
    4.5. Anti-Haitian prejudice in the city of Santiago.

    Unit 5: Afro-Caribbean cultures: Folklore and popular religiosity.

    5.1. Cultural identity and popular religiosity.
    5.2. The black world and Bible reading.
    5.3. The other science: Dominican voodoo as a religion and popular medicines.
    5.4. Religion and black culture.


    1st Partial Exam: 25%
    2nd Partial Exam: 25%
    Final essay: 25%
    Participation, attendance, punctuality: 10%
    Assignments, reports from reading: 15%
    Total: 100%


    Andújar, C. (1999) Identidad cultural y religiosidad popular. Santo Domingo: Editora Cole.

    Benoist, J. (1977) África en América Latina. México: UNESCO y Siglo XXI Editores.

    Barros Mott, M. L. (1993) 500 años de patriarcado en el Nuevo Mundo. Santo Domingo: CIPAF, Edición Internacional.

    Bastide, R. (1967) Las Américas Negras. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.

    Cela, J. (1994) Cuerpo y solidaridad. Mundo Negro y lectura bíblica. Revista de interpretación bíblica latinoamericana. No. 19.

    Davies, M. E. (1987) La otra ciencia: el vodú dominicano como religión y medicinas populares. Santo Domingo: Editora Universitaria UASD.

    Gordon, L. (1983) Main Current in Caribbean Thought. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Hall, S. (1978) Raza y clase en la sociedad postcolonial. Madrid: UNESCO.

    Holt, T. (1992) The problem of freedom: race, labor and politics in Jamaica and Britain. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.

    Mintz, S. (1974) Caribbean transformation. Chicago: Aldine Publishing

    Moreno Fraginals, M. (1983) La historia como arma y otros estudios sobre esclavos, ingenios y plantaciones. Barcelona: Editorial Crítica.

    ONE RESPE. (1995) El otro del nosotros. Santo Domingo: Editora Búho.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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