Certificate in Caribbean Studies

The Africana Studies Undergraduate Certificate in Caribbean Studies provides students with a solid introduction and broad understanding of the Caribbean region's cultures, history, languages, literatures, institutions, peoples, and traditions. This certificate was specifically designed for students and professionals who are interested in the Caribbean region and who wish to combine their main area of specialization with a solid background in the new and changing international landscape.

More specifically, the Africana Studies undergraduate certificate in Caribbean Studies graduates more astute American and world citizens, more sophisticated community leaders: students who have strong analytical and critical thinking skills; who can work and adapt to any kind of settings; who can face and adapt to the unfamiliar; who are knowledgeable about and comfortable with diversity; who are able to ascertain and see operations of racial knowledge and power within a variety of settings, extrapolate the knowledge into parallel issues of domination, and to hopefully use the knowledge for a better democracy.

Moreover, according to the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), the Caribbean American community is estimated at near 10 million. Consequently, there is a need to deal with the issues of critical importance to the Caribbean American community. (https://www.icsdc.org/history_)

The undergraduate certificate in Caribbean Studies provides students with the ability to:

  • broadly understand the Caribbean region’s cultures, history, languages, literatures, institutions, peoples, and traditions.
  • adapt and function well in unfamiliar environments and new situations
  • communicate effectively with people from diverse cultural backgrounds 
  • negotiate difficult tasks with creativity and an acute sense of initiative 
  • analyze, evaluate, and assess cultural differences in professional settings
  • apply the skills of critical thinking, reading, writing, and the synthesizing information

All the electives in this certificate train students in all the above skills regardless if taken in Tucson, online, or abroad.

Certificate Requirements

The undergraduate certificate in Caribbean Studies requires the completion of at least 12 units among the courses listed below. At least 6 units of work toward the certificate must be completed at the University of Arizona.  At least 6 units must be upper-division. Students are required to address the following prompts in two papers (2-3 pages each) they must turn in to the Director of Africana Studies once they have completed the other certificate’s requirements:

  1. Based on your experiences in the courses you completed for this Certificate, describe the role of populations and their descendants throughout the Caribbean region as objects and subjects in human history. Focus on a specific selected period, such as a decade, century, major historical or cultural events.
  2. Select a contemporary issue of your choice related to peoples (and their descendants) of the Caribbean regions and discuss it in its historical context: a specific selected period, such as a decade, century, major historical or cultural events.
Select From the Following Electives:
  • AFAS 314 Caribbean Literature and Culture (West Indies) (3 units)
    The course examines how the literature captures the multifaceted social, cultural, and political life of the region.
  • AFAS/LAS/POL 345 Caribbean Politics (3 units)
    This course provides an introduction to the politics of Caribbean states, from 1960 to the present. It will discuss major issues that affect the Caribbean region, namely, migration, poverty, regional economic cooperation and political integration, democratic institutions, and U. S. foreign policy towards the region.
  • AFAS/ENGL 423 Topics in Caribbean Culture, Literature, and Identity (3 units)
    The aim of the course is to investigate African Caribbean writings in English on issues from slavery through the 20th century.  The key focus will be on issues from what is now considered the post-colonial islands and countries.  It will also take into account, the growing body of literature by Caribbean women writers.
  • AFAS 493-SA Internship (3 units)
    Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.
    Must take place on site in the Caribbean region.
  • ANTH 203 Caribbean Transformations From “Cannibals” to Reggae (3 units)
    The systematic study of processes of culture change. Course focuses on an ethnographic region - the Caribbean - which has been the site of intense culture contacts.
  • GEOG 311B Geography of Central America and the Caribbean (3 units)
    Land, people and politics in Central America and the Caribbean. Major themes include colonialism, race and national identity, development, revolution and counterrevolution, globalization and migration.
  • HIST 324 History of Puerto Rico (3 units)
    This course examines the history of the oldest colonial territory of the United States.  We will study Puerto Rico as an example of U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America and as an island with a long history of confrontation with foreign occupiers.
  • HIST/AFAS/LAS 352 Slavery in Latin America (3 units)
    A broadly comparative introduction to slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean. Exploration of slavery, the use of slave labor, and the daily lives of slaves and slave owners in different settings and different cultures.

To declare a certificate in Caribbean Studies, please email your student ID# to Dr. Jennifer Donahue* at jenniferdonahue@email.arizona.edu