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Rethinking Global and Area Studies: Insights from Caribbeanist Anthropology

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Abstract

Recently, there has been an upsurge in the critical attention directed toward the area studies research paradigms that were institutionalized after World War II. This upsurge comes at a time when anthropologists are also developing increasingly sophisticated accounts of the intersections of global and local processes. Yet there has been less engaged consideration of the agendas propelling global studies over area studies curricula. In this essay, we argue that an analysis of the Caribbean and Caribbeanist anthropology allows us to trace the global in the local, thus illustrating the benefits of local area analyses for understanding global dynamics. We draw on theoretical assertions regarding global–local interactions in order to assess the relation of anthropology to Caribbean studies and to explore the implications of analytical trajectories and theoretical developments within Caribbeanist anthropology for social and cultural processes on a global level. [Keywords: area studies, anthropological theory, the Caribbean, transnationalism]

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