Dr. Patrick Gallagher
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Texas at San Antonio

This talk explores the social and ecological relationships by which the idea of a valuable nature comes into being in coastal Belize.

This talk explores the social and ecological relationships by which the idea of a valuable nature comes into being in coastal Belize. Moving from a tourist’s observations of the shades of blue in the cerulean Caribbean to Franz Boas’ foundational claims about the relational nature of the material world, the talk explores how new ideas about nature and value come to circulate through the practice a value-oriented conservation. The talk will consider the way in which the nature of value in Belize is made through a racialized colonial landscape and traces these relationships of production between the increasingly wealthy, historically Mestizo tourist center of Ambergris Caye and the economically struggling mainland former capital of historically Creole Belize City. Nature’s economic value, I argue, is not a quality waiting to be revealed, but a relationship that must be made through naturalization of Belize’s colonial history of landscape and race.