Presentation Title

Free Port: A New Perspective on the Colonial Narrative

Faculty Mentor

Corey Tazzara

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

198

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

With an economic lens on history, the relationship between early modern free ports and special economic zones is apparent. Free ports are commercial zones with few or no customs regulations, thus facilitating international commerce in the context of mercantilism. The more modern relatives of free ports, special economic zones, can be described as areas within a nation endowed with different administrative and economic conditions than those of their encompassing nation. Our research is part of a larger goal to understand the development of special economic zones given their prominence in global economics today. Examination of The New York Times archives from 1850 to 1915 and 1965 to 2015 reveals a larger colonial narrative in which free ports are both a tool and legacy of colonialism. In the mid nineteenth century, many of the non-European free ports established by the Europeans were an extension of the Western colonial project. The status of free port euphemizes the colonial narrative, which while the ports are not colonies in name, their function is very similar if not identical to a formal colony. Even after decolonization, the need to create economic stability leads nations to maintain profitable free ports that attract foreign capital and tourism, which is especially clear in the Caribbean. While incomplete, our research provides a re-examination of the perceptions of free ports.

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Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

Free Port: A New Perspective on the Colonial Narrative

198

With an economic lens on history, the relationship between early modern free ports and special economic zones is apparent. Free ports are commercial zones with few or no customs regulations, thus facilitating international commerce in the context of mercantilism. The more modern relatives of free ports, special economic zones, can be described as areas within a nation endowed with different administrative and economic conditions than those of their encompassing nation. Our research is part of a larger goal to understand the development of special economic zones given their prominence in global economics today. Examination of The New York Times archives from 1850 to 1915 and 1965 to 2015 reveals a larger colonial narrative in which free ports are both a tool and legacy of colonialism. In the mid nineteenth century, many of the non-European free ports established by the Europeans were an extension of the Western colonial project. The status of free port euphemizes the colonial narrative, which while the ports are not colonies in name, their function is very similar if not identical to a formal colony. Even after decolonization, the need to create economic stability leads nations to maintain profitable free ports that attract foreign capital and tourism, which is especially clear in the Caribbean. While incomplete, our research provides a re-examination of the perceptions of free ports.