Local historian to star in cultural symposium

| 24/05/2021 | 12 Comments
Cayman News Service
Roy Bodden

(CNS): Caymanian historian, educator, author and former education minister, Roy Bodden, will be the star of a planned symposium by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) next month at the Harquail Theatre which will be open to the public and free of charge. “J. A. Roy Bodden: Public Intellectual Interrogating the Caymanian Society” will examine the significant body of work by the former UCCI president and the keeper of Cayman’s history. The event is meant to be the first of a series which brings together thinkers to write and critically examine issues and encourage scholarship centred on the Cayman Islands.

“Taken together, Bodden’s books are a significant body of work on the Cayman Islands, told from the perspective of the Cayman Islands,” said Dr Livingston Smith, Professor at the University College of the Cayman Islands and Chair of the Committee for the Promotion of Research, which is hosting the event in partnership with the CNCF. “It represents an achievement by the Islands’ foremost public Intellectual and is a body of work worthy of celebration and of intense analysis.”

The symposium will take the form of presentations on topics covered in Bodden’s works, either as individual papers, panels or round tables. Organisers have put out a call for papers on topics that are explored in Bodden’s books, and writers will be given the opportunity to present their work at the event and can do so in person or virtually.

Smith explained that several presenters will be advancing their own papers but will use Bodden’s works as points of departures. “This is a discourse that will be of great value to the society,” added Smith.

Bodden’s work includes: The Cayman Islands in Transition: The Politics, History and Sociology of a Changing Society; Patronage, Personalities and Parties: Caymanian Politics from 1950-2000; From Guard House to the Glass House: One Man’s Journey through the Maze of Caymanian Politics; Stories my Grandfather Never Told Me; Reflections from a Broken Mirror: Poems about Caymanian Society; A Gathering of Old Men.

Bodden, who will be star of the show, said the symposium is a watershed event marked by the promise it holds for the scholarly examination of Caymanian society. “It is my hope that the occasion will be the catalyst to motivate others to add to the corpus of knowledge on the Cayman Islands as a developing society. I shall always be grateful to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and my good friend and colleague Dr Livingston Smith for bringing this symposium to fruition.”

The deadline to submit abstracts for paper is Friday, 18 June, and full papers are due on
Monday, 21 June.

For more information about the symposium or to submit a paper for consideration contact
Dr Smith at Livingstonsmith125@gmail.com or call 916-6462.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve known Roy Bodden all 63+ years of my life and he’s a good man, simple. He was a good educator and yes, his achievements as a politician may have left some wanting (his explanation suffices).

    He’s too professional to state it so I will – he was Education Minister in a Cabinet led by megalomaniac McKeeva Bush!! Enough said!!

    • Anonymous says:

      His own stated intention to Caribbeanise the education system is responsible for far more of our societal issues than those in education alone.

      • Anonymous says:

        Our education system was screwed long before Roy Bodden was ExCo Member (Cabinet Minister). Benson Ebanks introduced the first problem – stopping Common Entrance exams and forming a Comprehensive school system, and Truman Bodden finished screwing it up.

        I must admit Roy didn’t do much to improve it!

        • Anonymous says:

          The comprehensive system was designed to reduce the divisions in our society that were exacerbated by streaming students to the then-grammar school or to the other school, which basically labelled students as non-achievers.

          The transition was difficult—the school system was not prepared for the change—but I do not think that intrinsically it was a bad decision. It was likely just poorly implemented, complicated by deficiency in resources to properly meet the needs of all students.

          Growing pains?

  2. Muzaffar says:

    We are honored to have Mr. Bodden amongst us. Such a personality with care and affection for preserving Cayman culture and worry for our youth. We have had a few lengthy discussions about the subject and his devotion was exemplary

  3. bob says:

    Well said Mr Roy!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Roy Bodden is a well-read, well-written, and well-educated man. But. . .looking back at his tenure as an educator and later the Minister of Education and President of UCCI, I wish he would have put forth more effort to activate his words.

    When one is in a position of power and influence much is expected of him or her. It’s a real pity that was not the full reality in this case.

    • J.A.Roy Bodden says:

      It is a departure from my usual behaviour to answer anonymous comments but in this instance I reserve the right to defend myself .

      In the words of the celebrated American President -Harry Truman “it’s easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you -the decision has to be made”.

      In my time as Minister of Education and more recently as President of the University College of the Cayman Islands I gave of my best. Many years prior to these two occasions ,as Principal of the East End Primary School I exhibited similar efforts. As a ” Mico Man ” I try to live up to our motto “Do it with thy might” and to perform creditably.

      Your backhanded compliment is accepted by me and perhaps had you put your name to your compliment I would consider making you privy to my diaries so that you could have an appreciation of the obstacles I faced while trying to carry out policies which I thought were in the best interest of the Caymanian people.

      Finally, I am humbled that the Cultural Foundation and Dr. Livingston Smith has seen fit to recognize my contribution . It is my hope that others will be so inspired as to investigate this great society in which we live and similarly record their findings. As for me , I hope to continue to write and I am currently working on two new projects.

    • Anon says:

      Well, its true saying: “actions speak louder than words.” But writer, who are you to judge? Are you a doer?

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