In the broadest terms, our objective is to introduce students to the full range of Caribbean societies and cultures, then attempt to make historical and sociological sense of the region as a whole. We examine common patterns of socio-economic and cultural adaptations beneath the outward diversity of the region. Following an introductory overview, we examine the historical sociology of the area. The second part of the course examines the range and variations of Caribbean societies through case studies of four countries—Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti— and several major issues common to all societies of the region. Finally we explore the cultural responses to, and expressions of, the social and historical context previously examined, through case studies of religion and music. A major theme is the global context of Caribbean societies, and throughout the course we use the region to illustrate the costs and benefits of globalization for third world societies, especially ones under the all-powerful umbrella of America. The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course Societies of the World 34.

Meet The Author

Orlando Patterson

Orlando Patterson

John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

PhD, London School of Economics

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