Counterpoints to Cultural Colonialism
Alfred, Sheldon Miguel
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CitationAlfred, Sheldon Miguel. 2021. Counterpoints to Cultural Colonialism. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractCounterpoints to Cultural Colonialism
Formal notions of religion, education, and health were weapons against indigenous populations. The church, school, and hospital, as mechanisms of institutional control, place architecture at the forefront of cultural imperialism.
Indigenous Kalinago people on the Eastern Caribbean Island of Dominica put up great physical and cultural resistance against dominant settlers for over four centuries. In 1903, in an effort to isolate the Kalinago people, their colonizers proposed to them their own reserve with clearly defined boundaries. As a result of this rigid delineation of space, approximately 3000 Kalinago descendants now settle on communally owned land in a remote and mountainous area on the island’s Atlantic coast – the Caribbean’s only remaining designated indigenous territory – where they practice Western constructed forms of Christianity, formal education, and health.
This thesis questions architecture’s role in the portrayal of power by proposing counterpoints to the institutional frameworks that yield cultural colonialism of the Kalinago people. Kiosks dispersed in the Territory will perform as antagonists to the church, school and health center and serve as symbols of cultural reclamation. This confrontation emerges through the double-sidedness of culture - its materiality and non-materiality – as a coalesced form of storytelling. How does architecture define the non-materiality of the performing arts as a catalyst for physical form, while presenting and representing the Pre-Columbian material technique of basket weaving through varying tectonic relationships between structure and membrane? The coalescence of material and non-material culture produces the space to perform the story but also the space that performs the story.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37371294