Decolonizing Development investigates the ways colonialism shaped the modern world by analyzing the relationship between colonialism and development. Through close readings of archival texts, maps, and development practices, Joel Wainwright unearths the roots of centuries of struggle over the representation of the Maya and their lands. He traces the shifts in discourses on this pre–Columbian civilization and documents indigenous resistance to the British colonial state.
The politics of state–led development projects since the 1950s are explored through three case studies: the works of a soil scientist who served the British colonial state in Belize; two agricultural development projects that intended to settle Maya agriculture by improving mechanized rice production; and a ′counter–mapping′ project that offers an indigenous view of the geography of southern Belize. Wainwright demonstrates how development a stage upon which colonial struggles are replayed sustains the very power inequalities it aims to resolve.
Part I: Colonizing the Maya.
1. The territorialization of southern Belize.
2. The matter of the Maya farm system.
3. An archaeology of Mayanism.
Part II: Aporias of development.
4. From colonial to development knowledge.
5. Settling: fieldwork in the ruins of development.
6. Finishing the critique of cultural ecology.