DLF 18/19: Hofman

DLF 18/19: Corinne Hofman

Corinne Hofman is Professor of Caribbean Archaeology at Leiden University. She is awarded the tenth Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship and will hold this position for the academic year 2018/19.

Research Project

Two Worlds: the Interplay of Cultures and Technologies

The two key questions are:

1) What were the immediate, and the lasting, effects of colonial encounters on indigenous cultures and societies across the world, and what were the intercultural dynamics that took place during these infamous colonization processes?

2) How can the study of indigenous histories contribute to a more sophisticated awareness in the present, and how can it speak to multiple and perhaps competing stakeholders at local, regional, pan-regional, and global scales?

The Spanish conquest of the Americas represents a landmark in global history. The indigenous Caribbean, the first that was impacted by this process in 1492, was suddenly and dramatically transformed. The indigenous voice, however, remains marginalised in colonial and post-colonial historiographies and in traditional narratives of colonisation. Following my current research financed by the European Research Council (ERC-synergy project NEXUS1492) on the first inter-cultural encounters in the Caribbean, I propose to expand in space and time as well as in method and technique development. I am particularly thinking of developing a comparative approach by looking at the deep histories of West Africa, and the Pacific where similar processes of exploitation, domination and neglect have taken place as documented for the Caribbean. The archaeological record is perfectly suited to provide completely novel insights into these infamous histories by uncovering the indigenous perspectives hitherto biased by still dominant Eurocentric viewpoints.

This project wants to explore, in a comparative way, the transformations and responses of indigenous societies around the world to changing cultural, social, economic and political environments triggered by colonialism. Archaeological data forms the backbone; the indigenous perspective is the hallmark. The two key questions that will be addressed are: 1) What were the immediate, and the lasting, effects of colonial encounters on indigenous cultures and societies across the world, and what were the intercultural dynamics that took place during these infamous colonization processes? 2) How can the study of indigenous histories contribute to a more sophisticated awareness in the present, and how can it speak to multiple and perhaps competing stakeholders at local, regional, pan-regional, and global scales?

Background

Corinne Hofman is Professor of Caribbean Archaeology at Leiden University and has been Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology since 2013. She recently published The Caribbean before Columbus (Oxford University Press). In 2013 Hofman received the KNAW-Merian prize and in 2014 the Spinoza prize. She is currently working on a major exhibition about the Caribbean in the context of her prestigious NEXUS1492 project, an international and trans-disciplinary research project funded by the European Research Council. The exhibition will be on display on ten different islands in the Caribbean and the Netherlands in 2019.

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