Hosting the event at the Ships of the Sea Museum coincided nicely with Dr. Rago’s themes of imperialism, treasure maps, national identity, pirates, and colonial adventures. The lecture took the audience on an eerie trip through the history of the British Empire and colonialism.
Dr. Rago’s captivating talk was eloquently expressed, and her examination and explanations of such a controversial topic were interspersed with witty criticisms of the past and the present. Dr. Ashraf Saad, a professor of the department of Computer Science, said, “Dr. Rago gave an amazing lecture. It was well thought-out research. I’m glad to see such great talent in a small place like Savannah.”
As Dr. Rago delved into colonial conquests of the Global South, she asserted, “Those who know the land are those who have a fundamental right to the land.” She explained how colonists who see “land ready to be plundered” use power and authority to take land. She summarized mapmaking as “fundamental to colonialism.”
Rago quoted classic readings of the Global North, such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and also mentioned the iconic character Allan Quartermain from King Solomon’s Mines. The audience was taken back in time on a colonialist escapade with these novels that were written during the 1800s and depicted colonial destruction as conquest.
The discussion intertwined colonialism with how “imperialism turns into globalization”. She explained how it is “hard to see” the damage caused by multinational corporations when they are so “far away”. These corporations generate “pure profit for the elite” and were built out of colonial political systems such as capitalism. Dr. Rago also spoke about the colonization of Africa and how Africa has become a dumpsite or ‘hell’ as humans and earth are being poisoned.
Rodrika Bailey, a senior of Gender and Women’s Studies, appreciated “the literary sources that Dr. Rago used from the old imperialist stories that depicted a narrative of reality.” Bailey also said, “[Dr. Rago] tied in what happened over a hundred years ago to what’s happening today with capitalism and globalization.”
The entire lecture was a pretty wild journey. At the end of her lecture, Dr. Rago said, “I’m looking at the stories we tell and continue to tell…. This lecture is part of a much larger project.” So, be sure to keep up with Dr. Rago and her work in the hopefully not too far away future.
The third Moveable Feast lecture, “Re-enfranchising the Disenfranchised: Voting Rights in America”, will take place February 5. It will given by professors from the Criminal Justice, Social and Political Science department, including Becky da Cruz, Ned Rinalducci, Maxine Bryant, and George Brown.