IDIS W49 Legacies of Empire: Political Economy and Society in Curacao and Trinidad

This program is not offered this academic year. See this year's interims.

Basic information

  • Location: Curacao and Trinidad | Map
  • Dates: January 4-24
  • Cost: $3,760 (estimate)

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 on 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which helped to sustain the economies of European empires (Dutch and British, respectively), subsequently were superseded by petroleum and tourism as primary sources of revenue and economic development.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 comparative inquiry and exploration. Focusing on two Caribbean islands, the course broadly highlights the important benefits received by more industrialized portions of the West through interactions with Caribbean societies and states, in contrast to the lack of wide-ranging and deep societal and economic benefits received by these societies and states through interactions with more industrialized portions of the West. Through a combination of academic and experiential learning, students will examine topics such as colonialism and conquest, labor and migration, slavery and emancipation, power politics and decolonization, petroleum and tourism, sports and leisure, while being exposed to the rich and diverse cultures of the Caribbean region.


This course may serve as an elective in HIST, POLS, IR, IDS, or AADS.  


$3,760 (estimate)

Questions / contact

Joel Westra

Joel Westra

Department Chair
Associate Professor
Director, Pre-Law Program
Full profile

Eric Washington

Eric Washington

Professor of History;
Director of African & African Diaspora Studies Program
Full profile



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