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Project Objectives

NEXUS1492 investigates the impacts of colonial encounters in the Caribbean, the nexus of the first interactions between the New and the Old World. NEXUS1492 will address intercultural Amerindian-European-African dynamics at multiple temporal and spatial scales across the historical divide of 1492. 

This trans-disciplinary synergy project develops new analytical tools, applies mutli-disciplinary cutting-edge techniques, evaluates theoretical frameworks and transfers skill sets to provide a novel perspective on New World encounters in a globalizing world. Cooperating with local experts we will develop sustainable heritage management strategies, creating a future for the past. A past which is under threat from looting, illegal trade, construction development, and natural disasters (e.g., climate change, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions). Placing the Caribbean’s indigenous past within a contemporary heritage agenda will increase the awareness and protection of heritage resources. The research proposal can be found here. Two principal objectives frame NEXUS1492:

Objective 1: Provide a new perspective on the first encounters

Provide a new perspective on the first encounters between the New World and the Old World by focusing on the histories and legacies of the indigenous Caribbean across the historical divide and by addressing the complex intercultural interactions over the ensuing centuries.

The first objective will be addressed by creating (1) a multi-scalar temporal (AD 1000-1800) and regional (pan-Caribbean) approach to Amerindian archaeology, specifically addressing the historical divide and thereby bridging the gap between pre-colonial and colonial histories, (2) A trans-disciplinary research design targeting the intercultural nexus of colonial encounters and Amerindian-African-European dynamics, and (3) a systematic approach to apply and develop cutting-edge multi-disciplinary methods and techniques.

Objective 2: Raise awareness of Caribbean histories and legacies

Raise awareness of Caribbean histories and legacies, striving for practical outcomes in future heritage management efforts with implications for local communities, island nations, the pan-Caribbean region, and globally.

The second objective will be reinforced by the involvement of Caribbean scholars and local communities in the proposed research agenda, enhancing international cooperation and a sense of ownership. Furthermore, a joint heritage agenda will be designed to mitigate loss of indigenous cultural remains caused by natural and human forces, and to raise historical awareness on local, regional, and global scales.

Two central questions shape NEXUS1492

  1. What are the immediate and lasting effects of the colonial encounters on indigenous Caribbean cultures and societies and what were the intercultural dynamics that took place during the colonisation processes?
  2. How can the study of indigenous Caribbean histories contribute to a more sophisticated awareness and to the design of a heritage programme that will speak to multiple and perhaps competing stakeholders at local, regional, pan-regional, and global scales.
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