Recognizing the growing importance of research and teaching on the Caribbean at UCLA, the Program will build upon the activities of the Working Group on Cuba and the Caribbean, which has also been housed in the Latin American Institute under the leadership of Director Kevin Terraciano. The Program will promote studies of the greater Caribbean, rather than restricting its focus to the Spanish-‐speaking nations, given that nations such as Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have much in common, in many ways, despite their language differences.
The faculty director Robin Derby is an associate professor of History. Her area of research includes the French and Spanish Caribbean, especially the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Her work has focused on everyday life under regimes of state terror, the long durée social history of the Haitian and Dominican borderlands, and how notions of race, national identity and witchcraft have been articulated in popular media such as rumor, food and animals. Among her many honors and awards, her book The Dictator’s Seduction was awarded the Bolton-‐Johnson Prize from the Council on Latin American History, American Historical Association, co-‐won the Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis award from the Caribbean Studies Association, and received honorable mention for the Bryce Wood Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association. Robin is Senior Caribbean editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History, serves on the Executive Committee of the Latin American Studies Association, and is a Senior Foreign Corresponding Member of the Academy of History of the Dominican Republic. She is affiliated with the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, as well as the Food Studies minor, the Food and Social Justice Working Group, UC-‐Cuba and UC-‐Haiti at UCLA. We also note that Robin has recently been leading a highly successful UCLA travel study program to Cuba.