This essay sustains that to earn credibility as a field seeking academic identity de lege, Hispanic Caribbean studies must address the legacy of the colonial past that keeps people in the Antillean world from communicating productively across national borders and language blocs. The field needs to help us address the following problems: relying on the insular metaphor to name a region whose population in large part inhabits continental land masses; making pan-Caribbean claims based on the knowledge (often partial) of only one linguistic zone; uncritically embracing transnationalism to explain the Antillean person's mobility across polities; and conflating the tellurian geography of the region with the diasporic locales of Caribbean-descended citizens of Western metropolises. The essay advises the humble recognition of the Caribbean as a not easily learned culture area, one rife with internal diversity and a checkered history, and urges serious consideration of the interlaced human landscape pervading the region.

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