Placemaking In Robinson Crusoe

1733 Words7 Pages
Can Placemaking Be Used As A Manipulative Device Of Power? Negative placemaking keeps secrets. Throughout history, placemaking has assumed a significant role in colonialism. The way in which a place is perceived by others relies almost entirely on placemaking. Placemaking gives land cultural depth and significance. While this power is often utilized in ways that are positive, placemaking can definitely be negative. Can this depth and significance be removed? Who has the agency to assign significance, and who removes it? Individuals that wish to manipulate land and belittle its inhabitants are who make placemaking detrimental. White supremacy has been a recurring theme in colonialism, especially in the 1700-1900s. The redefinition of land that…show more content…
In this novel, which is set in the 1700s, Robinson Crusoe, an Englishman from the town of York, embarks on a slave-gathering voyage with the anticipation that it will be economically advantageous. He is traveling to West Africa but is later shipwrecked off of the coast of Trinidad. Robinson Crusoe records his experiences on the island, “I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, being shipwrecked during a dreadful storm in the offing, came on shore on this dismal, unfortunate island, which I called ‘The Island of Despair’; all the rest of the ship’s company being drowned, and myself almost dead” (Defoe, 2). Robinson Crusoe already develops a mindset that this island is “unfortunate”, and his experiences on it will be extremely dreadful, even though he later dominates everyone else on the island with his white supremacist ideals. The Europeans use the notion of a “civilizing mission” as a mean of justifying whatever horrifying act they decide to commit for their economic or egotistical benefits. When Robinson Crusoe encounters another man (which he later saves from cannibals) on the island, he describes him, “He was a comely, handsome fellow, perfectly well made, with straight, strong limbs, not too large; tall, and very well-shaped; and,…show more content…
Robinson Crusoe considers his makeshift house to be a “castle”, implying that he is some form of royalty, or at least sees himself as such in comparison to everyone else on the island (Defoe, 8). Towards the end of the book, Crusoe refers to Trinidad as his own island, “My island was now peopled, and I thought myself very rich in subjects; and it was a merry reflection, which I frequently made, how like a king I looked” (Defoe, 12). This is such a twisted, egotistical way of reflecting on this experience. He calls the island “unfortunate”, he dehumanizes its inhabitants, claims it as his own, and even has the audacity to say that he was the king of the island. He seems to be thanking himself for fixing the island as if it was in dire conditions previous to his shipwreck. The irony of this book is almost unbelievable. This was considered to be a heroic, action-packed piece of literature. However, it is actually the result of imposing white supremacist ideals onto land, which in this case, is

More about Placemaking In Robinson Crusoe

Open Document