From Hell’s Gate to the Promised Land
- Ryan Espersen
- 15 November 2017
- Van Steenis Building
Perspectives on Poverty in Saba, Dutch Caribbean, 1780 to mid 20th-Century
Archaeological research concerning poverty has grown during the twenty-first century. Finding poverty in material things has become a challenge, and consequently research has reoriented itself to understanding the social processes which produce and sustain poverty.
Poverty is understood differently according to class, and experienced differently across scale, localities, race, and gender. By taking a whole-society approach to the small island of Saba, Dutch Caribbean, the materiality of Saba’s classes can be made visible if the social processes behind them can be revealed.
Designating groups, individuals, and landscapes as poor, however, homogenizes these material vectors for projecting class. This gives poverty an ephemeral nature relative those designating poverty to people and spaces. Therefore, poverty is best understood reflexively through powered perspectives and powered landscapes rather than through a static pile of representative material objects.