The Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies aims to foster multi-disciplinary research about the Caribbean to allow a better understanding of the region and its people from a variety of perspectives. Affiliates conduct research on such diverse areas as diaspora and transnational studies, migration and immigration, literary, visual, sound and performance studies, cultural studies, black aesthetics, critical race theory, gender and sexuality studies, psychoanalysis, black Marxism, black internationalism, subaltern studies, critical feminist discourses, colonial and postcolonial studies, decoloniality, development and political economy, political theory, critical epistemology, intellectual history, history of New World slavery, social movements and revolution, eighteenth century studies, the urban Atlantic, contemporary urbanization, environmental studies, insularity, and the archipelagic Americas.
A variety of methodologies and techniques are employed by affiliates to conduct their research, including qualitative, quantitative, mixed and participatory methods. The Initiative is an outgrowth of the Caribbean Studies Hiring Initiative, which encourages and supports the hiring of scholars specializing in the Caribbean across the linguistic areas of the region and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives in the arts, humanities and social sciences. With seven appointments across History, Comparative Literature, English, Anthropology, Geography, Women and Gender Studies, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies, and Africana Studies since 2008, the hiring initiative has already been very robust. Dispersed across different departments, there is now a critical mass of faculty interested in coming together to constitute a trans-disciplinary field of study in Caribbean Studies at Rutgers.
In the summer of 2011, Nelson Maldonado-Torres and Michelle Stephens applied to the President’s Office for a grant to initiate a programming phase for the Caribbean Studies Initiative. In the summer of 2012, Critical Caribbean Studies also became an affiliated group of the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rugers University. Critical Caribbean Studies is the name for the projects sponsored by that grant, awarded in 2011 to cover two academic years, and organized around four clusters of concerns: