Guadeloupe harbor panoramaMonday-Wednesday-Friday 3:00-3:50pm; University Hall, Room 001

On-line, you can jump to the class schedule here

Contact Information

  1. Email:, but please use the BlackBoard email when possible.
  2. Office: University Hall 343
  3. Office Hours: Wednesday 4pm to 7pm; please make make an appointment with me if these times are not convenient.
  4. History Department Office Phone: 817-272-2661
  5. BlackBoard:; you will find all class handouts here and submit all projects electronically
  6. Website:


This course will present a picture of the Caribbean quite different from that held by many North Americans. For 500 years, this region has been the site of encounters and clashes among Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, and Asians. For three centuries Europe’s leading states fought each other to control these islands, which were the most valuable real estate in the Atlantic world. At the same time Dutch, English, French and Spanish colonists imported millions of enslaved men, women, and children from Africa to work on the sugar and coffee plantations that made the region so profitable for its masters. Supported by racism and colonialism, plantation slavery left its mark on the Caribbean long after emancipation and independence.

But poverty and powerlessness could not prevent Caribbean people from developing their own resilient and resourceful cultures, forged in resistance to slavery and rooted in a shared African heritage. In music, religion, and literature the Caribbean has given the world new voices and modes of expression that many North Americans value, though often without understanding their origins.

The goal of this class is to trace the emergence of modern multi-ethnic Caribbean nations from the slave colonies of the not-so-distant past. We will show that that though they provide tourists with a picturesque “escape” destination, the islands of the Caribbean have played a central role in the history of the Atlantic world for the last 500 years.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will be able to identify major Caribbean countries on a map. This will be assessed on a map quiz.
  2. Students will be able to construct reasonable interpretations of primary documents, books, and films about Caribbean history. This will be assessed in class discussions, and eight book quizzes.
  3. Students will be able to evaluate the impact on Caribbean peoples of factors including geography, global trade, slavery, racism, and imperialism. This will be assessed in four short country reports.
  4. Students will describe the connection between Caribbean history and the processes of globalization. This will be assessed in the final project.

Required Books:

  1. Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN: 9780374527075
  2. Vincent Brown, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery. Harvard University Press, 2008.
  3. Philippe R. Girard, Toussaint Louverture: A Revolutionary Life. New York: Basic Books, 2016.
  4. Karen McCarthy Brown, Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn. University of California Press, 2001. ISBN: 0520224752
  5. Aviva Chomsky, A History of the Cuban Revolution. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. ISBN: 978405187732

Major Assignments

Map quiz

  • Date: 01-21
  • I’ll pick ten countries on a blank map of the Caribbean and ask you to identify each of them, together with the main European language spoken there.

Nine on-line book quizzes

  • Dates: 01-23; 01-30; 02-11; 02-20; 02-25; 03-25; 04-08; 04-24; 05-01
  • For each of our books you will find a study guide on Blackboard, with four to nine discussion questions and a list of important terms. Eight times during the semester [see schedule] we’ll have a on-line quiz on the book, consisting of four multiple choice questions on the terms and an essay on one of the discussion questions. You may drop the lowest quiz score.
  • You will take the quiz on Blackboard before class and we will discuss the book during class. It will be heavily based on the Book Guide, with multiple-choice questions of the vocabulary and 1 essay question selected from those listed in the Book Guide.

Twelve on-line lecture quizzes

  • Dates: 01-18; 01-25; 02-01; 02-15; 02-22; 03-01; 03-22; 03-29; 04-05; 04-12; 04-26; 05-03
  • Most Fridays in the semester we’ll have an on-line lecture instead of class. There’ll be a 5 question multiple choice quiz on each lecture, to ensure you get credit for listening to the lecture. You can take these Friday quizzes as often as you like but you must do it before the following Monday.

Three country project assignments

  • Dates: 02-08; 03-08; 04-19
  • You’ll choose one of the following Caribbean countries to study over the course of the semester: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti and Puerto Rico. Over the course of the semester you’ll submit three five-page papers on pre-assigned aspects of the history and culture of that country.

Class participation

I base this on two elements: your regular attendance and your oral/written participation in class, especially on our pre-announced discussion days.

Final project

  • Date: Wed 05-08 due on Blackboard by 5:00 pm
  • At the end of the semester you’ll use a template I provide to combine your four country project assignments into a single project on the country you picked.

Important Policies:

Grading Policy:

At the end of the semester, students who have accumulated 900 or more
points will receive a “A”; 800 to 899 is a “B”; 700 to 799 is a “C”;
and 600 to 699 is “D”. Less than 600 points is a failing grade.

Assignment Points
Map quiz 50
Ten on-line lecture quizzes 100
Eight on-line reading quizzes 400
Three country projects 150
Final Project 200
Class participation 100
TOTAL 1000

Attendance Policy:

At The University of Texas at Arlington, taking attendance is not required but attendance is a critical indicator in student success. Each faculty member is free to develop his or her own methods of evaluating students’ academic performance, which includes establishing course-specific policies on attendance. As the instructor of this section, I take attendance every class meeting. However, while UT Arlington does not require instructors to take attendance in their courses, the U.S. Department of Education requires that the University have a mechanism in place to mark when Federal Student Aid recipients “begin attendance in a course.” UT Arlington instructors will report when students begin attendance in a course as part of the final grading process. Specifically, when assigning a student a grade of F, faculty report the last date a student attended their class based on evidence such as a test, participation in a class project or presentation, or an engagement on-line via Blackboard. This date is reported to the Department of Education for federal financial aid recipients.

Academic Integrity:

All students enrolled in this course are expected to adhere to the UT Arlington Honor Code:

I pledge, on my honor, to uphold UT Arlington’s tradition of academic integrity, a tradition that values hard work and honest effort in the pursuit of academic excellence.

I promise that I will submit only work that I personally create or contribute to group collaborations, and I will appropriately reference any work from other sources. I will follow the highest standards of integrity and uphold the spirit of the Honor Code.

UT Arlington faculty members may employ the Honor Code as they see fit in their courses, including (but not limited to) having students acknowledge the honor code as part of an examination or requiring students to incorporate the honor code into any work submitted. Per UT System Regents’ Rule 50101, §2.2, suspected violations of university’s standards for academic integrity (including the Honor Code) will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Violators will be disciplined in accordance with University policy, which may result in the student’s suspension or expulsion from the University. Additional information is available at Faculty are encouraged to discuss plagiarism and share the following library tutorials and

Drop Policy:

Students may drop or swap (adding and dropping a class concurrently)
classes through self-service in MyMav from the beginning of the
registration period through the late registration period. After the
late registration period, students must see their academic advisor to
drop a class or withdraw. Undeclared students must see an advisor in
the University Advising Center. Drops can continue through a point
two-thirds of the way through the term or session. It is the student’s
responsibility to officially withdraw if they do not plan to attend
after registering. Students will not be automatically dropped for
non-attendance. Repayment of certain types of financial aid
administered through the University may be required as the result of
dropping classes or withdrawing. Contact the Financial Aid Office for
more information.

Disability Accommodations:

UT Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of all federal equal opportunity legislation, including The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. All instructors at UT Arlington are required by law to provide “reasonable accommodations” to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate on the basis of disability. Students are responsible for providing the instructor with official notification in the form of a letter certified by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). Only those students who have officially documented a need for an accommodation will have their request honored. Students experiencing a range of conditions (Physical, Learning, Chronic Health, Mental Health, and Sensory) that may cause diminished academic performance or other barriers to learning may seek services and/or accommodations by contacting: The Office for Students with Disabilities, (OSD) or calling 817-272-3364. Information regarding diagnostic criteria and policies for obtaining disability-based academic accommodations can be found at
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or calling 817-272-3671 is also available to all students to help increase their understanding of personal issues, address mental and behavioral health problems and make positive changes in their lives.

Non-Discrimination Policy:

The University of Texas at Arlington does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, genetic information, and/or veteran status in its educational programs or activities it operates. For more information, visit

Title IX Policy:

The University of Texas at Arlington (“University”) is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment that is free from discrimination based on sex in accordance with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits sex discrimination in employment; and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act). Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination and will not be tolerated. For information regarding Title IX, visit or contact Ms. Michelle Willbanks, Title IX Coordinator at (817) 272-4585 or

Student Support Services:

UT Arlington provides a variety of resources and programs designed to help students develop academic skills, deal with personal situations, and better understand concepts and information related to their courses. Resources include tutoring, major-based learning centers, developmental education, advising and and mentoring, personal counseling, and federally funded programs. For individualized referrals, students may visit the reception desk at University College (Ransom Hall), call the Maverick Resource Hotline at 817-272-6107, send a message to, or view the information at

Electronic Communication Policy:

UT Arlington has adopted MavMail as its official means to communicate with students about important deadlines and events, as well as to transact university-related business regarding financial aid, tuition, grades, graduation, etc. All students are assigned a MavMail account and are responsible for checking the inbox regularly. There is no additional charge to students for using this account, which remains active even after graduation. Information about activating and using MavMail is available at

Student Feedback Survey:

At the end of each term, students enrolled in classes categorized as “lecture,” “seminar,” or “laboratory” shall be directed to complete an on-line Student Feedback Survey (SFS). Instructions on how to access the SFS for this course will be sent directly to each student through MavMail approximately 10 days before the end of the term. Each student’s feedback enters the SFS database anonymously and is aggregated with that of other students enrolled in the course. UT Arlington’s effort to solicit, gather, tabulate, and publish student feedback is required by state law; students are strongly urged to participate. For more information, visit

Final Review Week:

A period of five class days prior to the first day of final examinations in the long sessions shall be designated as Final Review Week. The purpose of this week is to allow students sufficient time to prepare for final examinations. During this week, there shall be no scheduled activities such as required field trips or performances; and no instructor shall assign any themes, research problems or exercises of similar scope that have a completion date during or following this week unless specified in the class syllabus. During Final Review Week, an instructor shall not give any examinations constituting 10% or more of the final grade, except makeup tests and laboratory examinations. In addition, no instructor shall give any portion of the final examination during Final Review Week. During this week, classes are held as scheduled. In addition, instructors are not required to limit content to topics that have been previously covered; they may introduce new concepts as appropriate.

Emergency Exit Procedures:

Should we experience an emergency event that requires us to vacate the building, students should exit the room and move toward the nearest exit, which is located just outside our classroom door. When exiting the building during an emergency, one should never take an elevator but should use the stairwells. Faculty members and instructional staff will assist students in selecting the safest route for evacuation and will make arrangements to assist handicapped individuals. Call the UTA Police Department at ext. 3003 .


Week 1: Beginnings

  • 01-14 Mon What’s in a Name?
  • 01-16 Wed Geography of the Caribbean
  • 01-18 Fri On-line lecture and quiz on Native Peoples of the Caribbean;

Week 2: Caribbean Slavery in Context

  • 01-21 Mon Columbus and the Origins of Caribbean Slavery; Map quiz
  • 01-23 Wed Pre-class on-line quiz on Jamaica Kincaid / in-person graded discussion
  • 01-25 Fri On-line lecture and quiz about “How to Make Sugar”

Week 3: How was Caribbean Plantation Slavery “different”

  • 01-28 Mon The Barbadian Sugar Revolution and Pirates of the Caribbean
  • 01-30 Wed Pre-class on-line quiz on Brown, p 1-156 / in-class graded discussion of Brown
  • 02-01 Fri On-Line lectures and quiz: Africa, America, and the Slave Trade

Week 4: Farms or Factories?

  • 02-04 Mon Slavery and Industrialization
  • 02-06 Wed Slavery and Resistance in the Greater Antilles
  • 02-08 Fri On-Line Submit First country project on Blackboard by 11:59pm

Week 5: The Haitian Revolution, part 1

  • 02-11 Mon Pre-class on-line quiz on Girard, Chapters 1-10/ in-class graded discussion of Girard
  • 02-13 Wed Saint-Domingue’s Slave Uprising and Emancipation;
  • 02-15 Fri On-Line lectures and quiz: Emancipation in Saint-Domingue

Week 6: The Haitian Revolution, part 2

  • 02-18 Mon Napoleon tries to take control of Saint-Domingue
  • 02-20 Wed Pre-class on-line quiz on Girard Chapters 11-21 / in-class graded discussion of Girard
  • 02-22 Fri On-line lectures and quiz: Haitian Independence

Week 7: End of Slavery in British Territories

  • 02-25 Mon On-line quiz on V. Brown, pp157-264 / in-class graded discussion
  • 02-27 Wed Britain: First Abolition, then Emancipation
  • 03-01 Fri On-line lectures and quiz: The Rise of Cuban Sugar

Week 8: Slavery Continues

  • 03-04 Mon Jamaica’s Morant Bay “Rebellion”
  • 03-06 Wed Asian Sugar Workers
  • 03-08 Fri On-line: Submit second country project on Blackboard by 11:59pm

Spring Break

Week 9: The Spanish Caribbean and the USA

  • 03-18 Mon Slavery and The Cuban Struggle for Independence
  • 03-20 Wed US Imperialism and the Caribbean, part 1
  • 03-22 Fri On-line lectures and quiz: US Imperialism, part 2

Week 10: Life After Slavery

  • 03-25 Mon Pre-class on-line quiz on K. Brown, Chapter 1-6/ graded discussion of Brown
  • 03-27 Wed Caribbean Migrations in Jazz Age 1920s
  • 03-29 Fri On-line lecture and quiz: Afro-Cubanismo

Week 11: The 1920s-1940s

  • 04-01 Mon Marcus Garvey and Pan-Africanism
  • 04-03 Wed The Great Depression
  • 04-05 Fri On-line lecture and quiz: World War II and Caribbean Decolonization

Week 12: The “Independent” Caribbean

  • 04-08 Mon Pre-class quiz on K. Brown, Chapters 7-10/ graded discussion of Brown
  • 04-10 Wed Fidel Castro and his Cold War Revolution
  • 04-12 Fri On-line lecture and quiz: Fidel Castro, part two

Week 13: Nation and Culture in the Caribbean

  • 04-15 Mon Rastafarianism
  • 04-17 Wed The Harder They Come (Jamaica, 1972)
  • 04-19 Fri On-line submit third country project due on Blackboard, 11:59pm

Week 14: Cold War and Neocolonialism

  • 04-22 Mon Life and Debt (US, 2001)
  • 04-24 Wed Pre-class quiz on Chomsky, pp. 1-105/ graded discussion of Chomsky
  • 04-26 Fri On-line lecture and quiz: The Duvaliers and Haiti

Week 15: After the Cold War

  • 04-29 Mon Cuba’s “Special Period”; Castro Steps Down
  • 05-01 Wed Pre-class quiz on Chomsky, pp. 106-195; graded discussion of Chomsky
  • 05-03 Fri On-line lecture and quiz: Haiti’s 2010 Earthquake

Final Project: submit to Blackboard by Wed 05-08 at 5:00 pm.

As the instructor for this course, I reserve the right to adjust this schedule in any way that serves the educational needs of the students enrolled in this course. John D. Garrigus.

Emergency Phone Numbers:

In case of an on-campus emergency, call the UT Arlington Police Department at 817-272-3003 (non-campus phone), 2-3003 (campus phone). You may also dial 911. Non-emergency number 817-272-3381