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States of Crisis: Disaster, Recovery, and Possibility in the Caribbean

General Programming

  • Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
  • David Scott
  • Free and open to the public
  • No registration necessary
  • First come, first seated

The Caribbean is often described as a region in crisis. In the aftermath of recent natural disasters in the region, the Caribbean is understood to be uniquely imperiled by climate change and is subjected to various forms of political and fiscal intervention. In September 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the region and elevated questions surrounding climate change and its impacts on the Caribbean to the forefront of political discourse. The hurricanes of 2017 marked the latest in a series of environmental crises in the region, which include the volcanic disasters of 1995 and 1997 in Montserrat, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and an increasing quantity and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms. Meanwhile, Caribbean states and territories are afflicted by crises in governing legitimacy, as sovereign debt, multinational disinvestment, and heightened rates of violent crime threaten political order. The aims of this conference are both empirical and theoretical. First, this conference features ethnographic research on the impacts of natural disaster and political crisis throughout the Caribbean. Secondly, this conference considers how empirical perspectives from the Caribbean inform approaches to political anthropology in an epoch of anthropogenic climate change.

Tweet with us at #StatesOfCrisis and watch the livestream at

Friday, May 3
9:30am - Breakfast
10:00am - Opening Remarks: David Scott & Ryan Cecil Jobson
10:30am - Session 1: “(States of) Infrastructure” Leniqueca Welcome & Christien Tompkins (Discussant: Mark Raymond)
12:00pm - Lunch
1:00pm - Session 2: “(States of) Vulnerability” Vanessa Agard-Jones & Sarah Vaughn (Discussant: Hilda Lloréns)
2:30pm - Coffee Break
3:00pm - Session 3: “(States of) Crisis” Yarimar Bonilla & Greg Beckett (Discussant: Chris Loperena)
5:00pm – Public Reception

Saturday, May 4

9:30am - Breakfast
10:00am - Session 4: “(States of) Dispossession” Shanya Cordis & Natasha Lightfoot (Discussant: Charles V. Carnegie)
11:30am - Session 5: (States of) Futurity” Mimi Sheller & Adriana Garriga-Lopez (Discussant: Deborah Thomas)