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From Hell’s Gate to the Promised Land: Perspectives on Poverty in Saba, Dutch Caribbean, 1780 to the Mid-Twentieth Century

Ryan Espersen published this new article at the end of last year in the journal Historical Archaeology!


Archaeological research concerning poverty has expanded during the 21st century. Finding poverty in material things has become a challenge, and, consequently, research has been reoriented to understanding the social processes that produce and sustain poverty. Poverty is understood differently according to class and experienced differently according to scale, locality, 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 to 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.

To read the article, click the link.

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