History of the Jamaica Study Group
In 1964, the Jamaica Study Group was proposed for September 9, 1970 and continued for the duration of the 1970-71 academic year. The personnel for the experiment included 20 male Colgate Students and 20 female students from Vassar, Skidmore, and Wells, and five faculty members from the above colleges. Each student would be required to conduct an in-depth study of at least on interest and to present evidence of his work in this area. Students were also expected to participate in the work of the experimental community. In 1983, the West Indies Study Group visited Giddy House in Port Royal Jamaica.
The program runs in the spring biennially. The study group studies and lives in the University of West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, which exposed 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.
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/ENGL 367Y “Jamaica in the Literary Imagination, 1930 to the Present”. An introduction to Jamaican literature from the plantation to the diaspora, spanning a period from 1930 to the Present. While this historical framing is central to the organization of the course, our study is not strictly a historical survey, but rather an attempt to read Jamaican literature produced at different historical moments, in rural and urban, global and local spaces, and across perspectives mediated by differences and convergences of race, gender, sexuality and location. Writers may include Claude McKay, Roger Mais, Erna Brodber, Curdella Forbes, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, among others. Students will examine how the historical forces of colonialism, nation-building, migration and the information age have helped to shape how the selected writers from different spaces and identities imagine Jamaica's culture, cultural products and geopolitical relations in the global world. Taught by the director.
ALST 340Y “Art and Culture in Contemporary Jamaica”. This course introduces students to ways of reading and interpreting Jamaican culture using a broad interdisciplinary approach. In keeping with a cultural studies framework, students will examine literature, theatre, music, dance and film as expressions of Jamaican subjectivities and identities. The contexts and conversations out of which these artistic representations have emerged will be considered through historical, sociological and political texts that will help to map the larger cultural matrix. Textual explorations will be accompanied by field trips and guest lectures (from experts in the various disciplines) with the understanding that Jamaican culture is not fixed but evolving and dynamic, multifarious and heterogeneous.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.
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
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 estimated details of student expenses on this study group, please see the Student Cost Estimate Sheets.
Costs above Colgate’s tuition include room and board, travel to and from Jamaica, visa fees, and necessary out-of-pocket expenses. On the average students can expect to spend about the same as a semester on campus.
Students who are planning extensive personal travel will need to increase their budget accordingly.