Last week Leiden University Press celebrated the publication of Caribbean Cultural Heritage and the Nation. During this festive and well-attended occasion, editors Alex van Stipriaan, Luc Alofs and Francio Guadeloupe presented their book about cultural heritage and answered the many engaging questions from the audience. They presented the first copy to former member of Parliament and prominent Caribbean cultural adviser John Leerdam.
This volume queries how cultural heritage on the Dutch Caribbean islands relates to the work of nation-building and nation-branding. Centuries of intense migrations have deeply impacted expressions of cultural heritage on the ABC islands: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. How does the imagining of a shared political “we” relate to images deliberately produced to market these islands to a world of capital? The contributing authors in this volume address this leading question in their essays that describe and analyze the expressions of the ABC islands. In doing so, they compare and contrast nation-building and branding on the ABC islands to similar practices taking place in the wider Caribbean. The expressions of cultural heritage discussed range from the importance of sports, music, literature, and visual arts to those related to the political economy of tourism, the work of museums, the question of reparations, and the politics and policies affecting the Caribbean Diasporas in the North Atlantic. This volume adds to the understanding of the dynamics of nation, culture, and economy in the Caribbean.
Alex van Stipriaan is a historian and was, until his retirement in 2020, Professor of Caribbean History and Culture at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Luc Alofs is a historical anthropologist at the University of Aruba. He is senior research lecturer at the Faculty of Arts & Science and senior researcher at the Aruba Institute for Good Governance & Leadership.
Francio Guadeloupe is a senior researcher at KITLV-KNAW and an Associated Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.