For roughly 500 years, European colonialism dominated the globe. From it grew a philosophy and a worldview that still live on today. We can find them in the way we categorize people by race, in our emphasis on monocrop agriculture, even in the way we define the geographic borders of America, says Tao Leigh Goffe, Africana Studies.
Goffe works at the intersection of environmental humanities, science, and technology. As a researcher, writer, and DJ, she is especially interested in histories of imperialism, migration, and globalization. Currently, her research focuses on the story of colonialism, especially as it manifests in the Caribbean islands. “The Caribbean is the perfect laboratory to understand the various entanglements of multiple colonialisms,” she says. “I am looking at questions of Dutch, Spanish, French, and English empire within the Caribbean and how we can use them to learn about the Americas more broadly – especially through the plantation, which was a truly violent structure, not only against people, but also in the violence against the natural environment.”
Jackie Swift is a freelance writer for the office of the vice president for research and innovation.