“COVID-19 Epidemic: The Caribbean Charting a Response Strategy”
AN ACADEMIC JOURNAL FOR CSA AT 48: A SCHOLARLY EXCHANGE SPACE
FOR THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY OF CARIBBEANISTS
Opal Palmer ADISA
Caribbean Conjunctures: The Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) Journal is marking the association’s 48th anniversary in 2022. Since its founding, CSA has established a strong tradition of annual academic conferences that showcase Caribbean scholarship and diverse membership. This long-anticipated, peer-reviewed academic journal has been launched to carry on that tradition and expand the association in terms of membership, visibility, and reach.
The journal’s mission is to promote the field of Caribbean Studies from multilingual, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multicultural perspectives. It seeks to disseminate the works of scholars and practitioners that reflect the Greater Caribbean region—including Central America and the Caribbean coasts of Mexico and South America and extending to Northeast Brazil. In addition, the publication is intending to collaborate and support research and analysis which document the importance of the Caribbean’s connection to the African continent and the links to the Caribbean people throughout the Diaspora, especially in United States, Canada, and Europe.
The journal aspires to appeal to the interest of the global scholarly communities in understanding the breadth of the dynamics political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of the Greater Caribbean region by providing research articles, books reviews, arts reviews, scholarly commentaries, and visual arts that present original, relevant, broad-based insightful analysis and perspectives. Research articles have been double-blind peer reviewed, and the other contributions went through a single-blind peer review.
In this inaugural issue of the journal, which revolves primarily around the grand theme of the Caribbean and COVID-19, selected texts and images strive to contextualize and enhance the understanding of COVID-19-related challenges and responses, as well as other impactful historical and contemporary affairs in the region. Caribbean realities are interrogated through the lens of the Social Sciences, the Humanities, and/or the Visual Arts in nine research articles, thirteen book reviews, six arts reviews, five scholarly commentaries, and multiple images of work by Caribbean artists. The essays are presented in one of five languages—Papiamento, Dutch, French, Spanish, or English. In addition to this editorial note, other two are included to collectively present three important knowledge exchange channels within CSA: the journal, a book award process, and a mentoring program.
Caribbean Conjunctures was pursued as a flagship initiative under the presidency of Tavis Jules (2019-2021 CSA President). The founding team led by Jules (USA / Guyana) was constituted in the summer of 2020 by key collaborators Meagan Sylvester (Trinidad & Tobago) and Chenzira Davis-Kahina (Virgin Islands) and the rest of the former CSA Journal Taskforce: Andrea Baldwin (USA / Barbados), Keisha Wiel (USA / Aruba), Natasha Mortley (Jamaica), Antonio Carmona (Sint Maarten / Puerto Rico), and Raymond Laureano-Ortiz (Puerto Rico). By December 2020, the Editor in Chief (Jamaica) and the Managing Editor (Puerto Rico) roles (exercised by the writers of this note) were recruited to lead what gradually has become a dynamic, multilingual, global, and multidisciplinary team of about thirty (30) editors, thirty-five (35) advisers, and over one hundred (100) peer reviewers. This Caribbeanist community of scholars from the various subdisciplines within the humanities and social sciences is geographically distributed across five continents. Other strategic partners include The UWI Press as publisher and the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center (VICCC) at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) as pioneering and generous sponsor of the CSA Journal Fund and this inaugural issue.
The creation and the sustainment of this space for scholarly exchange have been an enriching and intense journey. The contributions of all those involved in facilitating the journal’s daily operations are most appreciated. These operations were enabled through the management of four strategic areas: the technology infrastructure, the review processes, the expert human resources, and the communications among the participating parties. The essays submitted by all authors (including those not selected for immediate publication) are a valued core element of this initiative as they sparked the scholarly exchange being pursued for knowledge creation. As much constructive feedback as possible was sought for all authors to assist in strengthening the contents and the eventual, effective dissemination of research and scholarship. Lessons learned from this first editorial round will inform future journal issues in continuing the path towards the more agile, inclusive, and accessible space envisioned by the general CSA membership and, especially, the journal founders.
Caribbean Conjunctures joins other editorial efforts aimed at the Caribbeanist scholarly domain: e.g., Caribbean Studies and Sargasso (Puerto Rico), the New West Indian Guide (Netherlands), Études caribéennes (Martinique), Revista Mexicana del Caribe and CariCen (Mexico), Small Axe and Anthurium (USA), Anales del Caribe (Cuba), and Karib (Sweden). In this shared editorial space, Conjunctures will be striving to significantly expand the conversations and exchanges by leveraging the longstanding trajectory of the CSA as a premier annual convergence point and think tank for the global Caribbean Studies community of scholars. To push the breadth and the reach of the efforts to concretize Caribbean intellectual scholarship, Caribbean Conjunctures will therefore utilize the association’s significant potential as a knowledge producer and as a permanent scholarly repository.
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