AAA Paper on Disaster, Climate Reslience, and Rural Livelihoods

I will be presenting my paper “What happens when your farm slides into the sea? Reconstituting local resilience amidst growing global realities of risk” at the upcoming American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN as part of the panel “Farming the Island: agriculture, islands, and global environmental change”.

Date/Time: Thursday, November 17, 2016 | 1:45 PM – 3:30 PM

Paper Abstract: Dominica is a rural island nation in the Eastern Caribbean. It has been classified as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to a complex mixture of factors stemming from its geographic location, mountainous topography, and socio-economic settlement patterns. In recent years, the growing frequency of water-based hazards (torrential rains, floods, and hurricanes) has severely impacted many farming communities around the island. Smallholders in these communities supply a vibrant local food economy, which has proved quite resilient despite increasing global economic and environmental challenges to agriculture. Yet recent weather events have begun to bump up against the limits of this local resilience. In the summer of 2015 Tropical Storm Erika dumped massive amounts of rain on the island, which resulted in catastrophic mudslides and flooding. Many villages lost their connecting bridges and roads, while several coastal communities were decimated by landslides. These acute disaster events resulted in the mass displacement and relocation of households from established farming communities. This paper will explore how the island farm is being recreated under growing global realities of climate-based risk. Specifically, it will examine how new geographies of farming generated by weather related destruction and relocation present both challenges and opportunities for farmers and farming communities. When resilience thresholds are crossed, how are local farming livelihoods reconstituted?