Cultural and Environmental History of Bonaire

01e3a32845d9f77dbf854cad92d2e51b640e9be244This optional course seeks to introduce students to the variety of cultures and languages of Bonaire and to understand what it means to be Bonairean. Bonaire’s multicultural heritage and history are explored from prehistory through the present. The early part of the course focuses on learning Papiamentu, an endangered language, and studying the origin(s) and current status of the language. Speaking Papiamentu shows respect for the culture and opens doors to exploration of culture and environment on Bonaire that are incomparable to readings, movies and other forms of pedagogy. The interplay between language and culture is examined; followed by the environmental and cultural changes in Bonaire from pre-history through the present, including an examination of Bonaire’s indigenous roots, the impacts of colonization, slavery, the salt industry, and post-colonial identity. A strong conservation ethic has been developed on the island of Bonaire, yet present day environmental and cultural challenges are pervasive. Bonaire’s ongoing social, political and environmental issues will be examined to deepen insights into the interplay between culture and environment. Topics include: the island’s geological origin, slavery, cultural identity, politics, music, and natural resources. By the end of this course, students will gain a greater appreciation for and knowledge of Bonaire’s diverse history, people, religion, culture, and environment. Contact hours: 30. Recommended Credit: 2 semester/3 quarter hours. Instructor: Astrid Verstappen - de Jager, ma

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