The History Department is delighted to hold our third HSTEM seminar this Wednesday, April 9, 4:30PM Lowenstein 802, LC with Fordham’s own Dr. Julie Chun Kim (English). Her paper is entitled “Natural Histories of Indigenous Resistance: Alexander Anderson and the Caribs of St. Vincent”. An abstract and a link to the full paper is attached below. Our commentator for this session will be Dr. Steven Stoll (Fordham, History), who works on agrarian societies in 17th and 18th century America. We look forward to see you at the seminar. Please RSVP (to gyshen at fordham dot edu) if you plan to attend, thank you!
This paper examines the manuscript writings of Alexander Anderson, the superintendent or head of the royal botanic garden in St. Vincent from 1785 to 1811. Although Anderson is a relatively unknown figure, his works provide an important account of Britain’s conquest of the island’s indigenous Carib population, which was removed from St. Vincent at the conclusion of the Second Carib War (1795-1796). A paper war was also fought alongside the military war, as colonists crafted narratives about the Caribs that cast them as Africans, versus Amerindians, and hence undercut any claims they had to the island based on first possession. Yet ambiguities in eighteenth-century thought about indigeneity raised questions about the racial classification of the St. Vincent Caribs. In particular, in a natural history of St. Vincent, Anderson challenged the British deportation of the Caribs. As recent scholarship has shown, the genre of natural history was one that blended considerations of science and politics. Anderson’s natural history similarly conflated questions of plant and human origins to suggest both the agency of the Caribs and their rights to the lands of St. Vincent.