Professor Paulette A. Ramsay holds the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from The UWI, Mona Campus. She has a record of distinguished pioneering research and publication for which she has gained wide recognition as an interdisciplinary scholar and researcher, both in the region and internationally, for her work in the broad fields of Modern Languages and Literatures, and Writing/Language Pedagogy. She is recognized for her contribution to the growth of the field of Afro-Hispanic Studies, and for her impressive contribution to the creation and expansion of knowledge about Afro-derived peoples and their literary and cultural production. Indeed, her work has brought the history, racial and cultural dynamics related to various diasporic communities in Latin America and the Hispanic Caribbean to centre stage.
Professor Ramsay’s doctoral work highlighted the history and migration of Jamaican descendants in Costa Rica, their contribution to Costa Rican nation and critically studied the literary production of the senior Afro-Costa Rican writer Quince Duncan. Her post-doctoral work gives attention to black communities and black writers in Cuba, Ecuador, Columbia and Mexico and has also been ground-breaking, with her book entitled Afro-Mexican Constructions of Diaspora, Gender, Identity and Nation (2016) being the first to interrogate issues related to the literary and cultural production of the Afro-Mexican people of the Costa Chica and Oaxaca. Her research in general and in this book draws on interdisciplinary analyses underpinned by broad post-colonial criticism/theories and post-modernist theories, gender studies, feminist studies, masculinity studies and cultural studies, as they relate to questions of marginality, statehood, cultural and individual identity, ethnicity, agency and subjectivity. This book has been translated to Spanish and received The UWI Mona Principal’s Award (2016) for Best Research Publication (Book). She is currently conducting research and publishing on writers from Equatorial Guinea in Sub Saharan Africa.
Professor Ramsay’s repertoire of publication also includes a highly celebrated co-edited book, The Afro-Hispanic Reader and Anthology – an indispensable resource for those teaching and studying Afro-Hispanic Literatures and Cultures. Additionally, she published two co-translated books, thirty peer reviewed essays in refereed journals, seven book chapters, thirteen review essays and reviews, a co-edited book for critical thinking, - Blooming with the Pouis: A Rhetorical Reader for Caribbean Tertiary Students – Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing across the Curriculum, Encyclopaedia and Dictionary entries, and many newspaper articles. She has also authored and co-authored numerous textbooks used in Secondary Schools across the Caribbean.
Professor Paulette Ramsay is an accomplished writer of creative works - prose fiction and poetry. Her creative production includes two novels- Aunt Jen (2002) and Letters Home (2021), four collections/anthologies of original poems - Under Basil Leaves (2010), October Afternoon (2012), Star Apple Blue and Avocado Green (2016) and This Thing That is not a Thing (2021). Her novel Aunt Jen has been translated to German and Italian and is widely studied in Caribbean Literature courses in Universities in the UK, North America and the Caribbean. It is also a key literary text on the CAPE (CXC), Literatures in English syllabus and on the CSEC (CXC) general reading list. Star Apple Blue and Avocado Green has been translated to Mandarin and is studied in Universities in China and in North America. Her short stories can also be found in several important international collections.
Service to The UWI
Professor Ramsay served as Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at a time when enrolment in Spanish, and French in particular, were in decline (2011-2018). As Head, she focused on leading the Department into innovative ways of bringing foreign languages to students, to facilitate their acquisition of a global education. A significant contribution led to the development of the Policy to Reposition Foreign Languages in The UWI, which has allowed students across The UWI, Mona to do courses in Foreign Languages. This resulted in the development of new minors (Mandarin and Japanese), as well as a significant increase in the number of students in the Department. She also worked in collaboration with the Embassy of Colombia in Jamaica, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jamaica and The UWI Administration to annually organize a course for the teaching of Spanish to Civil Servants in Jamaica. As recognition of the expansion of numbers in French which had previously been on the decline, and for collaborating with the French Embassy and Alliance Française, she was awarded the National Honour, the Chevalier (Knight in the French Order of Merit) Ordre du Mérite by the Government of France in 2014.
Professor Ramsay served as the first Coordinator of the Writing Centre at The UWI, Mona and developed a programme of operation designed to help students improve their writing skills and communicative competence in English. She developed a system of one-to-one writing coaching which was very helpful to students seeking to improve their writing. In addition to the Curricula Review and Reform undertaken as Head of Department, Professor Ramsay also has an impressive record of postgraduate supervision both within and outside of her Department, in areas such as Language Pedagogy, Language Policy, Gender Studies, Spanish American and Caribbean Literature. She served for many years as a member of The UWI Senate and on other committees of the Faculty and University.
Public Service and Outreach
Her contributions to public service and outreach have also been commendable. She has provided extensive professional and academic advice and technical support in the Modern Languages field to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and has also been a member of the Examining Committees for Spanish in both The Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) and in The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), serving as Assistant Chief Examiner and Chief Examiner and Syllabus Convener respectively, for more than twenty-five (25) years. She has been advisor on the E-Learning Jamaica project that has written and adapted Spanish lessons for online teaching.
Her work in the field of Afro-Hispanic Studies is highly valued and is frequently cited by other researchers. Additionally, she has often been invited by international Journals to serve on their Editorial Boards, as well as to review articles and new books about diasporic and transnational issues related to Hispanic Caribbean and Latin American Studies. She has accepted numerous invitations to be Guest Lecturer or Keynote speaker at Universities in the UK, the USA and China. In 2018, she was invited to represent the Caribbean as a leading scholar and writer in the field of Caribbean literatures at a Conference held in the Faroe Islands, Norwegian Ocean, on Island Literatures under the theme “Memory, Landscape and Language”.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Mexican Government Excellence Award, the Rusea’s High School Distinguished Alumni Award, The Farquharson Institute of Public Affairs (FIPA) Centennial Award for Literary and Language Studies and Creative Writing, (Award of the Century), and the very prestigious Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Performance.
She is an active member of the College Language Association, USA; Afro-Latin American Research Association, Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars and the Association of the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora.