HNRS 250A Learning in Place: Political Economy and Society in Curacao and Trinidad [CLOSED]

Basic information

  • Location: Curacao and Trinidad
  • Dates: January 6–26, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this off-campus program has been suspended. The information on this page is available for reference and planning purposes, but may no longer be accurate. If and when Calvin is able to re-open this and other off-campus programs, information will be provided at the main Off-Campus Programs website. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Off-Campus Programs office.

This course undertakes interdisciplinary exploration of the historical and contemporary legacies of European empires in the Caribbean region through a cross-national comparative analysis of political economy and society of the islands of Curacao and Trinidad.

On both islands, slave-based sugar plantations, which helped to sustain the economies of European empires (Dutch and British, respectively), eventually changed to petroleum and tourism as primary sources of revenue and economic development. Meanwhile, distinct political, economic, and social institutions and practices emerged on each island, which invite inquiry and exploration. Through course readings, discussion, and immersion, students will be exposed to the rich and diverse cultures of the Caribbean region, which serves as an important political, economic, cultural, and religious crossroads connecting Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Utilizing approaches from the humanities and social sciences and combining academic and experiential learning, students will explore topics such as conquest and colonization, labor and migration, plantation economies and slavery, abolition and emancipation, neoliberalism and power politics, petroleum and tourism, and sports and leisure. In exploring these topics, students will consider themes of community, citizenship, and identity within a specific global context and ponder relevant and enduring connections between past and present.

This course is part of the Honors curriculum. It also can serve as an elective in African and African Diaspora Studies, History, International Relations, or Political Science. This course fulfills the CCE requirement. Students will be graded on participation and engagement in class discussion and activities, two reflection papers, and a final paper examining a topic pertaining to political economy and society in Curacao and Trinidad from an interdisciplinary perspective. Fulfills CCE. $4600. Dates: January 6-26. J. Westra, E. Washington.

Learning in Place


Questions / contact

Eric Washington

Eric Washington

Associate Professor of History;
Director of African & African Diaspora Studies Program
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Joel Westra

Joel Westra

Department Chair, Associate Professor, Pre-Law Advisor
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