Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies



Content Description

1 online resource (x, 313 pages) : PDF file, color illustrations, color map

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Glyne Griffith

Committee Members

Yatta Kanu, Edna Acosta-Belén


Caribbean, curriculum, decolonization, postcolonial, State education, West Indians, Education, Secondary

Subject Categories

Caribbean Languages and Societies | Curriculum and Instruction | Latin American Studies


The present study sets out to identify the ideological implications that the current national systems of secondary education have for West Indians who ended up living in the “"buffer zone"” between Latin American and Anglophone Caribbean histories: Raizales in Old Providence Island, Colombia; Afrolimonenses in Limón, Costa Rica, and Creoles in Bluefields, Nicaragua. The axis of examination is the school curriculum both as practice and as a set of pre-determined content and goals that teachers have to follow. It is a critical analysis of the ideologies that inform education, supported by an inquiry into the historical and cultural factors that give shape to the schools, the knowledge and values that are promoted, and the regulatory practices that are enforced by teachers. As a cross-regional, post-colonial comparative study, it offers the opportunity to identify continuities in the history of “"unbroken colonization"” of the aforementioned West Indian groups, and to observe the ways the groups cross epistemological and cultural boundaries to learn from each other. In doing so, the study focuses on the way in which education contributes to the perpetual domination of the cultural ‘`Other.'’ The focus on the curriculum reveals one of the significant means by which the respective nation states manage to keep these groups in a state of liminality. In fact, the research indicates that the examined national school curricula are largely founded on Western epistemologies and knowledge inherited from the colonial past, and that they are not inclusive of the histories, knowledges, wisdom, and/or challenges of the West Indians. The general national goal of forming citizens overrides issues of ethnicity and identity, placing all nationals onto the same path to globalization without giving ethnic groups, such as the ones studied, a firm understanding of their historical and cultural roots. If these West Indian groups were provided the opportunity, through formal education, to enhance their understanding of their respective historical and cultural roots, they would be better able to face social challenges such as the discrimination that several of them endure. Issues of power and knowledge form part of the dynamic hegemonic discourse on nation and belonging that serve to marginalize these West Indian groups and to represent them as the racialized ‘`Other'&rsquo. The study examines this phenomenon and the ways in which it is perpetuated by the school curricula in the three territories. It concludes by offering alternative approaches to the current content and pedagogical models.