While Caribbean studies appears to be an established domain of inquiry, it often fails to fully incorporate the islands of the Hispanic Caribbean. Studies of the Hispanic Caribbean, meanwhile, are generally dominated by island-specific work. This essay considers the appeal and limits of the idea of Hispanic Caribbean studies for the historical study of the region. Historically, the Hispanic Caribbean at times included islands and colonies such as Jamaica, Trinidad, and Saint-Domingue. Patterns of migration further complicate the boundaries of the Hispanic Caribbean, as diaspora renders places physically outside the region central to island realities, from economic to affective ones. The essay argues that given the historical impermeability of imperial and national boundaries in the region, a transnational and transimperial approach to the Hispanic Caribbean is required. Finally, it suggests that going beyond national perspectives also includes the study of local histories, reconceived as spaces linked to but not always bound by national narratives.
Ada Ferrer; History and the Idea of Hispanic Caribbean Studies. Small Axe 1 November 2016; 20 (3 (51)): 49–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-3726854
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