Why do you like teaching this course?
I'd have to say I love, not like, teaching this course! This is a subject matter close to my heart as the Caribbean and tourism are synonymous in the minds of most people, yet the region is so much more than that. The tourist images we are bombarded with suppress the harsh reality of the Caribbean, both historically and presently. I love to expose the realities beyond the hype to students, have them understand more deeply the ongoing injustices that persist, and to become concerned - even activist - about how these injustices can be addressed.
What types of topics do you talk about in this course?
We discuss how and why tourism has become the number one economic pursuit in most Caribbean countries, and how it is largely controlled by foreign interests. We talk about the social construction of the tourist and the local, and how these are problematic. We talk about various forms of tourism - mass tourism, ecotourism, cruise ship, sex and romance, etc. Finally we discuss alternative models of sustainable and ethical tourism.
What do you hope students take away from this course?
I want students to understand why a region like the Caribbean has had to persist in a model of subservience vis-a-vis the global North. History has left the region destitute, and the only viable resource now from the perspective of many nations is sun, sand and sex, which sadly is what many foreigners are looking for. This reinscribes colonial models of exploitation. Most students in the class are familiar with the Caribbean, either as a tourist or local, and they want to know more about what is behind the façade presented by the tourist industry. Many leave the class committed to developing and/or promoting better models of tourism; this includes educating others - friends, family, and peers - about ethical and sustainable tourism.
What other Caribbean Studies courses might students be interested in taking?
The Introduction to the Caribbean course (CRB100) is great for gaining an understanding of how the Caribbean came into being as a created space - created by European colonizers for their own benefit - and what the outcome of this has been, for the Caribbean, for Africa, and for Europe and the global North as a whole. The other Caribbean Studies courses riff off this core course, looking at more specialized areas of the Caribbean experience.