A couple of weeks ago, I presented some research on place and space at the Cultural Rhetorics Conference (CRCon). My presentation was on “Whose Voice and Space?: A look at white space and rhetorical sovereignty in St. Kitts memory of colonization.” Specifically, I looked into the massacre of the Kalinago people at Bloody Point and how that relates to the rhetorical sovereignty around the claiming of the land and deaths at the hands of the colonizers of the Island and how it relates to the rhetorical sovereignty of the Islanders.
I am very excited about the work we are starting in relation to mapping because of my interest in Indigenous peoples and People of Color and our emerging voices and the rhetorical sovereignty we claim over our own stories and histories in contrast to the stories told about us. As my cohort learned during this week’s lecture, maps are political and tell a story of power. Who claims that power over the land and place that is mapped, tells their perspective of what is true about that location. In short, the act of claiming the land, naming the places, and presenting a history of that location to fit a narrative are acts of power and colonialism.
I am looking forward to our current assignment of creating an interactive map, as my colleagues and I have chosen to look at Northern Wales. Wales, like other some other Celtic areas, was conquered by the English. However, unlike many places (like St. Kitts) that were colonized many centuries later, they managed to keep their language and culture (while somewhat modified) mostly intact. This caused many of the places and locations to have a Welsh name as well as an Anglicized name and–on occasion—an alternative English name.
Specifically, on our map, we will be looking at the labor produced in the area (specifically the quarries, mines, and woolen mills—including places of strikes and unionization), who benefited from that labor, and the philanthropic results of these acts within the community that created arts communities and arts education outreaches that are results of families that financially benefited from the industrial ages’ slave trade and wanted to benefit from the work produced by Welsh laborers in the 1800s to the 1900s. However, while large estates, gardens, and resorts were built with this money, the locals from the region, experienced hardships. This lead to strikes, work outages, and unionization. This action created a better financial base through the better wages through unionization so the communities of these Welsh laborers and their communities benefited. The philanthropic results of the money placed back into the community by these workers and their families created arts and educational programs that benefited the region.
In short, I am looking forward to exploring this idea in more depth and visually representing this time and location by recognizing some of the history that is overlooked by many.