Title: Trinidad & Tobago - Carnival, Culture and Conservation
Description: This trip and course will explore the history, culture and environment of Trinidad and Tobago through experiential learning and cultural immersion, using calypso and conservation as the twin central lenses of analysis. We have the incredible opportunity to visit and participate in the Trinidad Carnival – the second-biggest carnival in the world. Through this immersive experience, we will examine the rich and complex history of Trinidad and Tobago, focusing on themes such as pre-Columbian indigenous cultures; piracy and European colonization; slavery and the slave trade; the formation of post-emancipation societies; forced and voluntary immigration from India, China, Europe and Africa in the 19th century; the struggle for independence; Black Power and the oil boom. We will explore how this history is represented in cultural practices such as masquerade, calypso, soca and chutney soca. We will attend some of the most important elements of the Trinidad Carnival, including the Calypso Monarch contest, Panorama (the steel pan contest), the Carnival King and Queen contest, J’Ouvert and the Masquerade procession of bands. We will conduct oral history interviews with carnival arts practitioners to gauge changes in how cultural experiences such as carnival and Calypso have changed over time. Additionally, we will explore the diverse and fascinating natural environment of Trinidad and Tobago and examine how conservation strategies have shaped the island landscapes, the local flora and fauna, and the lives of local inhabitants. We will visit the world’s oldest protected forest reserve – the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve – explore national parks including Pigeon Point Beach and Caroni Swamp, and observe wildlife at the internationally renowned Asa Wright Bird Reserve. We will reflect on how cultural practices and identities shape the way in which people experience the environment, and how these environmental features are embedded in the nationalist discourses manifested within Carnival arts. Additionally, we will complete a service-learning project with the Patna Police Youth Group, a non-profit founded by 2012 Calypso Monarch Duane O’Connor which uses carnival arts to reach youth at risk of gang violence.
Dates: March 2-10, 2019
Program Fee: TBD
Application Deadline: Nov. 15, 2018
Course: HON-394: Trinidad & Tobago - Carnival, Culture and Conservation (3 credits) Spring 2019-Session C
Eligibility: Must be a Barrett Honors student