AbstractsGeography &GIS

The panoptic plantation model: geographical analysis and landscape at Betty's Hope Plantation, Antigua, West Indies

by Catherine Davis

Institution: California State University – Chico
Year: 2016
Keywords: Slavery; Sugar plantations; Antigua; Panoptic control
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2066179
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/177953


Archaeologists have applied geographic information systems (GIS) to research questions throughout the Caribbean. One model that utilizes GIS, the panoptic plantation, tests the theory of panoptic control. Some archaeologists propose the systematic plantation layout and use of the plantation landscape was designed to reinforce hierarchical control. Through building placement, and manipulation of vantage points, archaeologists have applied the panoptic design to the plantation layout, stating this system of design acts to reinforce power. Through constant surveillance and a centrally located Great House, plantation owners could observe all activity on the plantation, at once surveying the inhabitants and curtailing subversive behavior. The purpose of this thesis is to test the panoptic plantation model on Betty???s Hope Sugar Plantation, Antigua, West Indies. Betty???s Hope was a large sugar plantation credited with revamping the sugar industry on Antigua. Portions of the records of the plantation through its existence were made available for research, including two maps of the estate. Using archival documents, maps, and field research, a model of the plantation layout was created. This model was then used to test the theory that plantations were designed as panopticon, thus aiding in the control of large slave populations. The information was combined in GIS and tested using viewshed and cumulative viewshed analysis. Observer points were chosen from the Great House and slave village locations to determine if building placement on the plantation coincided with the model of the panoptic plantation. Applying the panoptic model to Betty???s Hope, additionally aided in understanding the plantation layout and use of land at Betty???s Hope. Advisors/Committee Members: Fox, Georgia L (advisor).