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Volume 53 / Social Sciences


DAMIAN FERNANDEZ, Associate Professor of International Relations, Florida International University

SCHOLARSHIP ON THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS of the Caribbean continues to flourish in quantity and, surprisingly, in quality as well. Around 200 items (monographs, articles, and reports) were considered for inclusion, and this reviewer was hard pressed to eliminate as great a percentage as in the past. Whether this is an emerging pattern indicating higher standards for publications or whether this is an unusual bumper crop of scholarly work remains to be seen. The tendency towards polemical and facile ideological/theoretical discourse disguised as scholarship has declined somewhat during this biennium. The dramatic changes in the world, including the end of the Cold War and the transformation of most communist countries, has dealt a blow to ideological romanticism, ushering in a period of more balanced analysis. No one work can be singled out as a potential classic in the field, but a number of studies deserve special recognition for thorough and thoughtful treatment of their subject matter. Among these are Garavini di Turno's book on Guyanese foreign policy (item bi 91009736) and Fernández's The disenchanted island: Puerto Rico and the United States in the twentieth century (item bi 92013264).

During recent years the principal topics of study include: 1) Caribbean integration; 2) the impact on the region of global changes such as the European Economic Community, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the end of the Cold War, the demise of the USSR, etc.; and 3) US-Caribbean relations. Among the latter category, attention to US-Cuban relations is still disproportionate; except for a few works covering the recent disclosures on the Cuban Missile Crisis (e.g., items bi 89004090 and bi 90010077), most of the contributions on this topic are old wine in new bottles. Issues of political economy and South-South cooperation - particularly South American-Caribbean relations - have captured a share of attention, as has the impact of the collapse of the Soviet aid regime on Cuba.

With the exception of a few items such as Biddle and Stephens' noteworthy article on dependency and Jamaican foreign policy (item bi 90012987) there has been little foreign policy analysis of individual countries, especially from a comparative perspective. Regime theory and critical theory are conspicuously absent, following a common pattern in the study of Latin American international relations, which usually lags behind cutting edge research in the discipline.

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