By Sarah Bibeau
In the first blog post that I made for this class, I said that my favourite space was in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I previously said that I felt like my body was connected to the nature in that particular space. This is why I would like to make a connection with the concept of cartesianism, since it is concerned with separating the mind from the body, and the body from nature.
After learning about this concept in class, I believe that this form of thinking – dualism – can be problematic for many reasons. First, it forces us to think about our bodies as being detached from any form of thinking/reasoning therefore, detached from its richness. Moreover, as it was mentioned in class, a living thing (or, a human being) is constantly being influenced and transformed by the environment around, therefore, following the concept of phenomenology, “the mind and body cannot be split and consciousness cannot be separated from nature/environment” (Week 2- Notes). Next time I’ll be over there, I will try to think about the connection that exists within my own body, and how it relates to the environment around.
I would also like to address the concept of derive because when I am over there, I don’t always know where I am going; I often go for walks without any particular goal/purpose. Plus, I don’t really know all the areas of this island so I often feel like I am lost, until I encounter a path that looks familiar.
To continue, the concepts of mapping and power must also be considered in this particular space. The Caribbean has a history based on oppression, slavery and struggle for human rights. Today, many hotel resorts have been built alongside Grace Bay, one of the longest beach on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Instead of remaining public, this beach is now privately owned by foreign hotel owners, thus reinforcing the public/private division of particular spaces on the island. These owners also hired police officers – or beach officers – in order to make sure that the beach is reserved for the people staying at their hotel. You cannot decide to borrow a chair or a towel made available for the hotel guests because you will be stopped by the “beach authorities”; everything is controlled and regulated in order to exclude anyone who did not pay the “full price” in order to access this part of the beach. I have joined a picture of the main resorts on Grace Bay beach as a way to show how limited the accessibility is to the beach for local people, and for people who are not staying at these hotels. (You can still access amazing parts of the sea shore although you are not staying at a resort- the island is big enough for that – but it is a little more complicated when you are not a hotel client.)
Picture from: http://www.turksandcaicostourism.com/Beaches.html
This also leads us to the concept of whiteness, in order to talk about the power relationships at stake. I might be generalizing here, but I have a strong feeling that the people owning these resorts are white people from the Western hemisphere of the globe. Or, if it is not the case, white people are still the most affluent on the island, although they might not all be born on the Island. White people are the ones owning small businesses over there, hiring local people to work for them, and most of them are paid the minimum wage. Whites are the ones with money, owning the most beautiful houses of the island. Thus, I realized that whiteness on the island really “orientates bodies in specific directions” and is affecting how people can take part of the “picture” of a particular place, and what they can do within these spaces. (Ahmed 149).