Caribbean studies, institutionalized from inception as part of the “third world,” might be beneficially reconceptualized minus the postwar geopolitical presumptions of three worlds and, remapped, instead, within the two-world schema. To resituate the Caribbean this way enables recognition of the region as an inaugural space in the invention of a modern consciousness—not as a problematic tertiary portion of the globe where modernity is a belated burden. In advancing this case for a hemispheric recasting of the Caribbeanist field, it helps to reread a little-known essay that took the New World approach to the region. Titled “Paths to National Self-Discovery: USA and Puerto Rico,” it first appeared in 1956 and was written by Daniel J. Boorstin, a historian of the United States. Unlike conventional scholarship on the Caribbean, including the definitive work, The People of Puerto Rico: A Study in Social Anthropology, Boorstin's essay framed Puerto Rico within the familiar “New World” rather than the exotic “third world” in relation to First World North America.

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