Understanding the Caribbean, according to the editors of this collection of essays, entails pursuing the “elusive ideal of a region meant by its geography to be apprehended as a totality even though it is fractured by history and dispersed by language and discourse” (p. 3). In their eloquent introduction, Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo take up Antonio Benítez Rojo’s injunction to acknowledge the dualities attendant on studies of the Caribbean: if fragmentation and heterogeneity inhere, so too do particular historical and cultural continuities. Their response to this challenge has involved assembling a series of local studies on widely disparate issues, distant from one another with regards to subject matter as well as temporal and geographic scope. While this approach might have produced a confusing assortment of chapters, shared methodological and ethical perspectives knit them together into a compelling, if diverse, unity.

Eight essays address subjects including environmental change, AIDS, Christopher...

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