Heritage Futures: Local and National Making of 'Afro-Panama'
My research draws from critical studies of race, heritage and museology to explore spaces which commemorate racial diversity in Panama, from both ‘local’ and ‘national’ perspectives. Since the 1960s, Panama City has undergone urban renewal projects which resulted in the displacement of working-class Afro-Caribbean communities. Simultaneously, national heritage sites emerged memorializing the landmarks and life-ways that disappeared from those neighborhoods. My project examines how these sites and their materials invoke racialized historical narratives, and simultaneously how alternative spaces, such as local eateries and places of worship, have become significant heritage sites of their own. Ultimately, I consider how these two heritage landscapes engage and shape contemporary discourses of race and identity on the isthmus.