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Book Launch

Book Launch | Island People: The Caribbean and the World

12/12 Monday | 6pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join us for a conversation with Joshua Jelly-SchapiroGarnette Cadogan, and Ifeona Fulani to mark the release of Jelly-Schapiro’s Island People: The Caribbean and the World.

A masterwork of travel literature and of history: voyaging from Cuba to Jamaica, Puerto Rico to Trinidad, Haiti to Barbados, and islands in between, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of each society, its culture and politics, connecting this region’s common heritage to its fierce grip on the world’s imagination. From the moment Columbus gazed out from the Santa María‘s deck in 1492 at what he mistook for an island off Asia, the Caribbean has been subjected to the misunderstandings and fantasies of outsiders. Running roughshod over the place, they have viewed these islands and their inhabitants as exotic allure to be consumed or conquered. The Caribbean stood at the center of the transatlantic slave trade for more than three hundred years, with societies shaped by mass migrations and forced labor. But its people, scattered across a vast archipelago and separated by the languages of their colonizers, have nonetheless together helped make the modern world—its politics, religion, economics, music, and culture. Jelly-Schapiro gives a sweeping account of how these islands’ inhabitants have searched and fought for better lives. With wit and erudition, he chronicles this “place where globalization began,” and introduces us to its forty million people who continue to decisively shape our world.


Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer whose work has appeared in The New York Review of BooksNew YorkHarper’s, the BelieverArtforum, and The Nation, among many other publications. Educated at Yale and Berkeley, he is the co-editor, with Rebecca Solnit, of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, and a visiting scholar at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge. This is his first book.

Garnette Cadogan is an essayist and journalist who focuses on history, culture, and the arts. He is editor-at-large for Non-Stop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas (edited by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro) and is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of the Harlem Renaissance (with Shirley E. Thompson; forthcoming). Currently a visiting scholar at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge and the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, he is writing a book on walking.

Ifeona Fulani teaches in the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University. Her research interests include Caribbean, African and Black British literatures and cultures and her recent publications include an edited volume of essays, Archipelagos of Sound: Transnational Caribbeanities, Women and Music (University of West Indies Press, 2012). She is also a creative writer and author of a collection of short stories titled Ten Days in Jamaica (2012), and a novel, Seasons of Dust (1997), among other works.

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