By Gerald V. Paul
“The Caribbean is a fascinating and enriching field of study, an area of incredible diversity – ethno-racial, linguistic, political, economic and geographical. Caribbean Studies is truly interdisciplinary,” said Dr. Camille Hernandez- Ramdwar, the new program’s academic coordinator at Ryerson University- Chang School.
She said the number of Canadians who visit the Caribbean each year is growing. Many Canadians – even those of Caribbean origin – are not familiar with the Caribbean in all its diversity. The program, run jointly by Ryerson’s Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and the Chang School, the Certificate in Caribbean Studies is meant to enhance an understanding of the region to develop and reinforce the strong social, academic and commercial links between the Caribbean and Canada.
Also, it further enhances intercultural relations and deepens student knowledge of Caribbean history and culture.
“The Chang School is the first postsecondary institution to offer a certificate in Caribbean Studies. This program allows the students to be exposed to a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including history, sociology, and migrant and gender studies,” Hernandez-Ramdwar said.
The goals of the Certificate in Caribbean Studies include:
- Provide Caribbean and non-Caribbean students the opportunity to study a region rich in history and culture, resulting from the clash and blend of Indigenous, African, Asian, and European populations.
- Broaden understanding of a region that has often been marginalized politically and economically but is central to the study of colonialism, miscegenation, racism, slavery, capitalism, revolutions, neocolonialism, diasporas, transnationalism, and globalization.
- Familiarize students with the Caribbean communities in Toronto and the rest of Canada, with a view to facilitating cross-cultural understanding, inclusivity, and productive future relationships between Ryerson graduates and their clients, colleagues and neighbours.
- Give a solid foundation in interdisciplinary and academic skills, such as critical thinking, research, writing, comparative analysis and close reading.
- Debunk myths and stereotypes about the Caribbean and Caribbean peoples to promote understanding, raise cultural awareness and contribute to Ryerson’s commitment to equity and diversity.