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Jamaica Study Group

University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica
Director Spring 2015: Professor Brian Moore, Professor of History and Africana & Latin American Studies



The University of the West Indies (UWI) at Mona, Jamaica. The UWI Mona campus is located in the suburbs of Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston. The university is a regional institution with students drawn from all over the Caribbean and beyond. The campus at Mona is the oldest and largest of four located in different Caribbean islands. Ranked very highly in the Commonwealth, the UWI offers courses in a wide array of disciplines in the humanities, education, social sciences, pure and applied sciences, medicine, law, engineering, journalism, and business studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The West Indies study group to Jamaica is a semester long program, running from late August to mid-December, and students are eligible to earn four credits. The classroom experience will be enhanced by field trips, concerts and shows, and by living and studying with Caribbean students in a prestigious multi-national university. Students will find this study group offers a unique educational experience through combining excellent courses with a rich cultural environment.


This study group will expose Colgate students to life in a developing country with a vibrant culture and dynamic society where virtually everything is different from what they are accustomed to at Colgate and in the United States. It will most certainly take them out of their comfort zones and into an entirely new and unfamiliar world. Their lived experience among Jamaican and Caribbean students of different ethnic backgrounds and with widely differing values and interests will challenge, expand and enrich their understanding of the world, how it functions, and their place in it. The UWI will place the study group participants in a scholarly environment where academic traditions and pedagogical systems are very different from Colgate; and they will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in courses in different disciplines that emphasize the issues of relevance and importance to the Caribbean and the developing world.


Students are required to have taken at least one of the following courses in Caribbean Studies: ALST 203 Introduction to Caribbean Studies (CORE 163 The Caribbean); ALST 220 The Black Diaspora: Africans at Home and Abroad; ALST/HIST 228 The Caribbean: Conquest, Colonization and Self-Determination; ALST/HIST 327 Authoritarianism, Dictatorship and Democracy in the Caribbean; or ALST/HIST 377 History of Culture in the Caribbean. They must also be in good academic standing. There is no language requirement. Applicants’ motivation will be evaluated, and preference may be given to those who have taken more than one Caribbean course or are concentrators in Africana and Latin American Studies.

Living Arrangements

All students will live in campus housing, sharing accommodation with UWI and other Colgate students.  Students will have a choice of preparing some meals for themselves in the kitchens provided in the halls of residence or eating at the campus cafeterias or in various facilities in the surrounding community. Most students choose a mix of these eating options.  Housing is fully secured with 24-hour security service provided throughout the campus.


There will be a standard four-course load, with some additional cultural activities and field trips. Students will be required to take two courses with the Study Group Director, and two UWI courses. The director’s courses will provide students with the academic grounding to assist them to interpret and understand the socio-cultural environment they are living in and their experiences in it:

ALST 225 Jamaica: from colony to independence. This analyses the history of Jamaica from 1655 when the British took possession of the island to the present. It examines the early social and economic growth of Jamaica based on slavery; its decline after emancipation; socio-political developments leading to independence in 1962; and post-independence challenges. Taught by the director.

ALST 326 Jamaican Culture. This examines the growth and florescence of Jamaican culture drawn from diverse sources beginning with indigenous Taino/Arawak roots, European cultures, the cultures of enslaved Africans, and later cultural inputs from newer immigrants mainly from India and China, leading to the emergence of a unique Jamaican creole culture. Various aspects of this culture as well as the social forces that helped to shape it will be explored. Taught by the director.

Colgate students will have full access to the library facilities and academic support programs at the UWI. A wide range of courses will be available in African and African Diaspora Studies, Anthropology, Biology, Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Demography, Economics, Education, English, Environmental Biology, French, Gender Studies, Geography, Geology, History and Archaeology, International Relations, Linguistics, Mathematics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, Zoology, and many more. 

Course Credits

All four pre-approved credits earned will count towards graduation, and grades for all the courses will be recorded on the students’ transcripts as Colgate grades. Appropriate courses will count towards concentrations in Africana and Latin American Studies, and credits for other concentrations should be negotiated directly by the student with the Chairs of those departments.

University of West Indies, Jamaica, Course Pre-Approval Form 

Extracurricular Activities

Students will be able to participate in all sporting, religious, and other cultural activities at the University of the West Indies, and a range of other activities is available off-campus. In addition, a variety of activities and field trips will be organized by the Director to places of academic interest such as sugar plantations, runaway slave (maroon) settlements, historic colonial sites, art galleries and museums, e.g., the Bob Marley museum.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.


The deadline for applications to the spring 2015 West Indies Study Group is Friday, November 8, 2013.  Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online.  Student notification of selections will be completed in early January 2014.  Written confirmation of participation is expected by January 10th, 2014.

General Information

Course-related Materials
Latin American Studies