Michael H Feinberg, University of Wisconsin, US
The LRG funding of this project will allow Michael to develop his research for part of his PhD dissertation which focuses on Isaac Taylor’s landscape engravings that accompany Edward Long’s book The History of Jamaica (1774). He will specifically be considering historian Vincent Brown’s reading of Long’s attention to obeah-men to read the illustrated text from the vantage point of the Maroons who resided in the terrains that Taylor depicted. Michael intends to show how Long’s understanding of the white European planter cannot be divorced from those who revolted against empire, including Jamaican-bord Dutty Boukman, whose ceremony in the woods allegedly started the Haitian Revolution. The landscapes depicted in Taylor’s engravings enables us to interpret the spectacle of colonial loss that was not represented directly.
The research will explore how landscape imagery in illustrated works of natural history and history complicate art historical understandings of landscape. While consolidating imperial sovereignty and white dominion by eliciting British readers’ sense of familiarity or ownership over disparate parts of the world, landscape imagery also attests to the Black and vegetal forces that resisted the Empire’s establishment.