From Katrina to Michael: Disaster in the 21st-century Circum-Caribbean
20-21 February 2020, Florida State University
Yarimar Bonilla (Rutgers University), Laura Wagner (freelance anthropologist), Mark Schuller (Northern Illinois University and Faculté d’Ethnologie – Université d’Etat d’Haïti),
Conference artist: Édouard Duval Carrié
To mark the 10-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake, this conference proposes a regional approach to disaster that seeks to draw connections between 21st-century experiences of catastrophe in the circum-Caribbean, including the south-east U.S. and North Florida post-Michael.
This comparative, regional perspective will allow us to consider, for example, how different forms of disaster capitalism encourage replacement of populations, displacing people who have longer histories in place with others who will have temporary and surface relationships to that place, transforming them into sites of skimming visitation. Such population replacement has taken place in New Orleans after Katrina, is being put into place bureaucratically in Puerto Rico after María, and is a major concern for the small coastal communities in the Florida panhandle after Michael. Likewise, mega-disasters open new opportunities for political experimentations such as the complete wipeout of public education in New Orleans or the possibility of a permanent federal shutdown in Puerto Rico.