Ryan Espersen

Ryan Espersen


Position: Marie Curie Fellow

ESR9: Documenting the material legacy of slavery in the Dutch Antilles
Supervision:  Dr. Jay Haviser and Prof. Corinne Hofman
Host Institution:  Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden | SIMARC, Saint Martin

About me:

I am a historical archaeologist, and I study the material remains of past people and their written records, seeing them as complimentary sources of data. I specialize in the development of class systems among human populations – particularly with regards to the history of slavery in the Caribbean – and how they are represented and reflected in archival documents, artifacts, and the remnants of physical structures. Previous to this project, I have been involved in archaeological excavations on the Caribbean islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, as well as in Mexico and Canada. I also conducted research on the writing systems of the Mixtec people of Oaxaca. Currently, I am interested in how concepts of ‘race’ developed in the northern Dutch Caribbean, and its legacies in the present day. Through an archaeological lens I hope my PhD research and participation in EUROTAST will provide insight into the ways race and slavery were historically imprinted onto our social and material environments.