On November 4, 2019, literature scholar Kimberly Takahata gave a guest lecture at Wagner College about the famous eighteenth-century Irish scientist, medical doctor, and philosopher Hans Sloane whose book about his travels to Jamaica influenced the development of science and taxonomy. Takahata is currently finishing her PhD in the English department at Columbia University. Her presentation was attended by students from Dr. Steven Thomas’s American literature class, Dr. Rita Reynold’s senior RFT for history majors, Dr. Ann Hurley’s world literature class, and Dr. Brian Palestis’s biology class as well as some members of the Wagner faculty.
The title of Takahata’s lecture was "'All but the Bones': Reading Taíno Remains in Hans Sloane's A Voyage to Jamaica.” She demonstrated Sloane’s use of natural history conventions in Jamaica categorize the remains of indigenous Taíno peoples as observable artifacts that supposedly prove their extermination. In her analysis of Sloane's interest in the physical preservation of these remains, Takahata aims to demonstrate how Sloane’s narrative is actually dependent on the care of the living for their dead to provide a model for resisting settler colonial narratives of removal. Concluding her lecture by juxtaposing Sloane’s troubled colonialist discourse with the voices of modern-day Taino writers, still very much alive and writing about their heritage, Takahata shed light on the complicated literary history of the Taino people.