From roughly 500 years of dominant European colonialism grew a philosophy and a worldview that still live on today. We can find them, says Tao Leigh Goffe, assistant professor in Africana Studies and in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, in the way we categorize people by race, in our emphasis on monocrop agriculture, even in the way we define the geographic borders of America. Working at the intersection of environmental humanities, science, and technology, Goffe is especially interested in histories of imperialism, migration, and globalization. Her current research, described in in this Cornell Research profile, focuses on the story of colonialism, especially as it manifests in the Caribbean islands.
“The Caribbean is the perfect laboratory to understand the various entanglements of multiple colonialisms,” Goffe says in the piece. “I am looking at questions of Dutch, Spanish, French, and English empire within the Caribbean and how we can use them to learn about the Americas more broadly—especially through the plantation, which was a truly violent structure, not only against people, but also in the violence against the natural environment.”