Caribbean Studies

The department of Romance Studies has a particular strength in the study of the culture, history, literature, and theoretical traditions of the Caribbean. Our focus is at once regional and global, appreciating the Caribbean’s long entanglements as a region is of interest precisely because of it’s long entanglements with other areas throughout the world. We conceive of the region broadly as the “Greater Caribbean,” including the insular or island Caribbean as well as continental regions connected to it, stretching from Charleston to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, and from New Orleans to Veracruz and Cartagena. We also include the region’s large diaspora in Miami, New York, Montreal, Paris, London and other cities. Our research and teaching ranges broadly from the analysis of Caribbean writers, artists and theorists – such as Marie-Vieux Chauvet, Junot Diaz, Frantz Fanon, Edouard Glissant, Wilfredo Lam, José Marti, Pepón Osorio, Mayra Santos, and– to the study of political history and discourse, the history of tourism, and traditions of popular poetry, song and theatre.

We study the Caribbean in order to interpret and challenge broader categories of analysis and theoretical traditions, seeking to re-think the relationship between colonialism and discourse, between the vernacular and the literary, and between politics and art. In so doing we draw on a wide range of approaches, including literary criticism, political philosophy, art history, cultural and performance studies, history and anthropology. We also emphasize the complexities of Caribbean linguistic space, seeking to connect and bridge instruction and scholarship in Spanish, French and Portuguese. We offer three semesters of instruction in Haitian Creole, and the opportunity to work in and on the language at the advanced level in a wide range of courses.

We welcome applications for PhD students interested in working in these areas. Students focusing on Caribbean Studies in the Department of Romance Studies will also be able to draw on the expertise of colleagues in other departments at Duke, including African and African-American Studies, Art History, History, and Sociology, as well as on the activities and resources of the Center for Latin American Studies and the tight connections we have with scholars working on the Caribbean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition, graduate students working on Caribbean Studies will be able to participate in the activities of the Haiti Laboratory of the Franklin Humanities Institute and other ongoing cross-disciplinary initiatives on campus.

Laurent Dubois

Laurent Dubois, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 213 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3112

I am a specialist on the history and culture of the Atlantic world, with a focus on the Caribbean and particularly Haiti. I am the faculty director of the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University, and write for magazines including the New Republic, Sports Illustrated, and the New Yorker. I... Full Profile »

Esther Leah Gabara

Esther Leah Gabara, Associate Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 212 Language Center, Department of Romance Studies, Durham, NC 27708-0257

Phone: (919) 660-3100

Esther Gabara works with art, literature, and visual culture from modern and contemporary Latin America. Central issues in her research are the relationship between ethics and aesthetics, theories and practices of non-mainstream modernisms, and representations of race and gender. Her teaching... Full Profile »

Deborah Jenson

Deborah Jenson, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 112 Language Center, Box 90257, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3122

A scholar of "long 19th century" French and Caribbean literature and culture, I also work in the fields of cognitive literary studies and health humanities. Monographs, edited volumes, editions, and translations include: Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian... Full Profile »

Walter Mignolo

Walter Mignolo, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 125B Friedl Building, Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 668-1949


Mignolo’s research and teaching have been devoted, in the past 30 years, to understanding and unraveling the historical foundation of the modern/colonial world system and imaginary since 1500. In his research, modern/...

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Claudia Milian

Claudia Milian, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 217C Language Ctr, Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3127

Claudia Milian, a scholar of Latino/a Studies, works in comparative and interdisciplinary studies and forges intersections among the vast intellectual traditions of Latina/o Studies, Latin American Studies, African American Studies, southern studies, and hemispheric American Studies. Her areas of... Full Profile »

Richard Rosa

Richard Rosa, Associate Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 205 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3100

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Antonio Viego

Antonio Viego, Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Studies

Office: Program in Literature/101 Ernestine Friedl Building, East Campus/Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0670

Phone: (919) 668-2687

Latino Studies; Ethnic Studies; Queer/Lesbian/Gay Studies; Twentieth Century American Literatures; Critical Race Theory; Chicana Feminist Theory; Comparative Ethnicities; Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory Full Profile »

Jacques Pierre

Jacques Pierre, Lecturing Fellow of Romance Studies

Office: 08 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 660-3132

Jacques Pierre was born in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. He studied Haitian Creole and French Applied Linguistics at the State University of Haiti. He is currently a Lecturing Fellow in French, Haitian Creole, and Culture in the Department of... Full Profile »