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Third Annual Caribbean Symposium at Stanford: Caribbean Epistemologies

Event Sponsor
Center for Latin American Studies
Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
El Centro Chicano y Latino
History Department
Stanford Global Studies Division
Stanford Humanities Center

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Coordinated by the Caribbean Studies Symposium sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies and sponsored by:

  • El Centro Chicano y Latino
  • The Stanford Humanities Center through Concerning Violence: A Decolonial Collaborative Research Group
  • The Program in African & African American Studies
  • The Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages through Caribbean Studies Reading Group
  • Stanford Global Studies through Law and Literature in the Global South
  • The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society
  • The Stanford History Department
  • The Black Studies Collective

Wednesday, May 17 - Zoom

10:00-11:30 am Pacific

Opening remarks followed by “Mangrove as Caribbean Method in Two Acts,” presentation by Tao Leigh Goffe and Eddie Bruce-Jones - see the description below for more details

1:00-2:30pm Pacific

Thinking through Puerto Rico - see the description below for more details

(Stanford moderator:  Omar Ramadan-Santiago)

Thursday, May 18 - Zoom

10:00-11:30am Pacific

Panel Slot 2 Haitian Women’s Political Thought - see the description below

(Stanford moderator: Fatoumata Seck)

1:00-2:30pm Pacific

Thinking Through Hispaniola - see the description below for more details

(Stanford moderator: Xavi Luis Burgos)



“Mangrove as Caribbean Method in Two Acts,” a co-keynote by Dr. Tao Leigh Goffe (Cornell) and Dr. Eddie Bruce-Jones (SOAS) that is situated at the intersection of environmental/ecological issues and epistemology.

Thinking through Puerto Rico

As the first of three panels for the third annual Caribbean Studies Symposium at Stanford, Thinking through Puerto Rico highlights the island’s unique histories while also demonstrating the productive conversations that can be held with other locations when thinking through Puerto Rico. From Arturo Alfonso Schomburg’s legacies and the multiple valences of diaspora to the resignification of lime for cancer patients in those who have suffered Vieques’s half-lives (as in Glorimar Marrero’s Biopsia), to the role of surveillance, control, and resistance of everyday people as well as laboratories of colonial education, Puerto Rico is a crucial locus for understanding the contemporary world. Puerto Rico is, Rita Indiana notes, “a place that has radicalized me a bit, in terms of the colonial question.” This holds especially given the role of race and imperial dynamics in shaping Puerto Rican thought. Building on last year’s Queer Caribbean Symposium, specifically the panel and performances curated by Xavi Burgos with Rocco Córdova Lebrón and Laboratoria Boricua de Vogue (LaBoriVogue), this year’s distinguished panelists will provide a wide range of expertise on different aspects of what thinking through Puerto Rico means. Marisol LeBrón, Solsiree Del Moral, and Rocío Zambrana will provide opening remarks before engaging in a conversation moderated by Omar Ramadan-Santiago. Together, these scholars highlight the cross-disciplinary discussions stemming from deep engagement with Puerto Rican activism, culture, education, ecology, history, society as propositions for understanding the “operation of coloniality” (Zambrana), the role of punitive governance (LeBrón), and education and incarceration as confronting U.S. colonialism (Del Moral).

Haitian Women’s Political Thought 

Haitian women have always been crucial to the establishment, maintenance, and re-imagination of society, whether in Haiti or in the diaspora. Their ideas have shaped and continue to inspire our understanding of and approaches to citizenship, ethics, transnationalism, freedom, autonomy, justice, and power. This panel, “Haitian Women’s Political Thought,” centers on the unique voices, perspectives, experiences, and political thoughts that emerged from Haitian women. How have Haitian women challenged dominant discourses and contributed to the development of new conceptual frameworks that center the experiences of marginalized communities? How have "Haitian Women's Political Thought" influenced and enriched broader Caribbean epistemologies? How have their ideas helped and can continue to help address pressing issues in contemporary global politics? Panelists will explore the rich and complex political thoughts that have emerged from Haitian women at different times in history and how their ideas continue to shape contemporary world issues and Caribbean thoughts. 

Thinking through Hispaniola

In honor of May 18 as Haitian Flag Day, this special panel on “Thinking through Hispaniola” brings the “Caribbean Epistemologies” symposium theme to the specific geographical context of Hispaniola, the island in the Caribbean archipelago which Haiti and the Dominican Republic share. What kind of unique philosophical and political thought has emerged from Dominican and Haitian people through the particular cultural diversity, political struggles, resiliency, and lived experiences of these island nations? What kinds of knowledge do we access when we center Haitian and Dominican voices and perspectives? What lessons can be gleaned from Haitian and Dominican history as we strive to create more just societies in the Caribbean and beyond? Put differently, how might thinking through Hispaniola help scholars and activists around the world challenge enduring legacies of racism, imperialism, and colonialism in the contemporary era?  Our esteemed panelists explore these and related questions in their own research projects, providing the space for a rich conversation on avenues for thinking critically about Hispaniola’s past, present, and future. Moreover, the panelists will speak to what can be learned from centering Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a crossroads of world history.