Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationTexas, Austin, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9631
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleSprings, Lauren C., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Negotiating Identity and Change in Colonial Belize: An Evaluation of Genomic Signatures of British Colonialism,' supervised by Dr. Maria Franklin
LAUREN SPRINGS, then a graduate student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Negotiating Identity and Change in Colonial Belize: An Evaluation of Genomic Signatures of British Colonialism,’ supervised by Dr. Maria Franklin. When European colonization of the Bay of Honduras (in the area now known as Belize) began in the 16th century, local communities were remade as European governments sought to capitalize on the riches of the region. This research explores the impacts of colonization by examining genetic data from an 18th century British colonial site and from contemporary Belizeans whose ancestors lived in the Bay during colonization. Using these new data, this project has brought genetic analysis into conversation with historical and cultural research in Belize to investigate how different types of research recognize identity in the past, and how expressions of identity and genetic relatedness have changed over time. It has shown that archaeological, genetic, and archival research often yield conflicting interpretations of historic identity, and demonstrated that multiple forms of knowledge production are needed to fully understand humanity’s past. This project also shows that different patterns of genetic variation existed in the colonial and contemporary populations, suggesting that they are related but that significant migration has occurred since the 18th century. This is reflected in contemporary research participants’ understandings of their own identities and their ancestors’ heritage, which suggests a disconnect between colonial and contemporary assertions of identity.