Caribbean Studies Summer Institute: Caribbean Society and Culture in Comparative Perspective

Students on Caribbean ruins

Itinerary - Courses and Credit - Schedule & Fee - Faculty - More Information

Experiences will include:

Program Overview

The Caribbean region is as a fascinating natural laboratory of cultural and ethnic diversity. The four-week Caribbean Studies Summer Institute integrates sociological, anthropological, and historical perspectives to the study of Caribbean society and culture. Students will be introduced to key social-scientific concepts such as race, ethnicity, nation, culture, and their relevance (or irrelevance) in the attempt to understand Caribbean cultures and identities. Students will learn about the contributions of different ethnic groups to modern Caribbean culture, and examine the processes by which these various contributions were blended and transformed through cultural interactions, taking into account the power relations between groups throughout the colonial, imperial, and post-independence historical periods. Students will also be introduced to the major issues regarding U.S. involvement in the Caribbean. The intent will be to consider the variety of traditions making up Caribbean identity, in particular Afro-Caribbean identities, but also identities based on Hispanic, English, French, Dutch, East Indian, Native Indian, and mestizo heritage, among others, as well as identity issues in countries and regions on the Atlantic coast of Central and South America.

Studying in the Caribbean offers students the opportunity to become more globally literate, exposing students to an international perspective and a more complex understanding of global issues. With a heavy emphasis on field trips, experiential learning and daily opportunities to interact with locals, students will be able to live what they are learning. Furthermore, they will share these learning experiences with a cohort of students and professors from different regions of the United States and Puerto Rico, allowing for rich discussions, a diverse setting and collaborative learning.

The program will draw heavily on the study of material culture and cultural productions (archaeological sites, architecture, literature, plastic arts) interpreted as "texts" that speak about the political, economic and social conditions in which they were produced, and which ultimately point to the debates that play a key role in the construction of contemporary identities in the region. Social science methodology will be strongly emphasized with a view to helping students develop research projects. In addition to classroom study and lectures, students will participate in such course-related activities as field trips to major cities, museums, and historical and archaeological sites.

Students will reside in UPRC and UVI on-campus housing, and will be able to access libraries, museums, computer labs, and recreational facilities as are available on the campuses.

Program Itinerary

June 8-17 San Juan, Cayey, Pinones, Loiza, Luquillo
June 17-19 Ponce
June 19-25 Vieques
June 25-28 St. Croix
June 28-July 3 British Virgin Islands: Virgin Gorda, The Baths, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke
July 3-4 Carnival at St. John
July 5 Return to Puerto Rico and the United States from St. Thomas.

Courses and Credit

Upon successful completion, students earn a total of 9 undergraduate credits in three UMass Boston courses (award of graduate level credit is possible by special arrangement in some cases):

Schedule & Fee

This program is not being offered at this time. Please contact with any questions.

The Faculty

This course is brought to you by the Departments of Sociology and Anthropology and the College of Advancing and Professional Studies at UMass Boston, in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey, the University of the Virgin Islands, and with California State University Fullerton.

The institute’s courses will be jointly directed and taught by Jorge Capetillo-Ponce, Associate Professor of Sociology, UMass Boston; Luis Galanes, Professor of Anthropology at University of Puerto Rico at Cayey; and Julian Jefferies, Assistant Professor of Education at the California State University at Fullerton.

More Information

For an application or for more information on applying, please contact:

Karol Victoria Guzman

For detailed program and academic information, please contact:
Professor Jorge Capetillo
Department of Sociology
p: 617.287.6284

Dr. Luis Galanes,
University of PR at Cayey
Cayey, PR 00736
p: 787.738.2161,
(ext 2211)

Dr. Julian Jefferies
Department of Reading
California State University, Fullerton
p: 657.278.7522


Please be advised that international programs are subject to change, slight or major, at any time due to circumstances beyond our control; this includes any and all fees, dates, itinerary, and program activities. We will do our best to inform all applicants of any changes in as timely a manner as possible.