SfAA Panel on Sustainability and Rural Land Use Change

I will be organizing a panel discussion titled “Households and Landscapes: Exploring the Social and Ecological Dynamics of Agrarian Change” for the upcoming Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting 2021. As a part of the panel, I will present my paper “Plantations and Peasants: How Patterns of Colonial Land Use Structure Possibilities for Sustainable Agriculture in Dominica“. This event will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date/Time: Friday March 26, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:45 PM

Panel Abstract: Over the last several decades, farmers have encountered increasingly unstable dynamics of global economic and environmental change. To understand the impacts of such global challenges on agrarian ecologies, anthropological analyses typically investigate the social and ecological dimensions of households. Yet broader spatial and temporal processes of landscapes are also significant. In an effort to integrate such concerns regarding scale, papers on this panel present innovative ethnographic research that utilizes interdisciplinary perspectives from landscape ecology and geo-computational techniques (such as remote sensing, GIS, and spatial analysis) to enhance our understanding of the complexity of agrarian change.

Paper Abstract: Agrarian change in the Caribbean is often associated with the boom and bust of plantation-based export economies, yet the ecological constraints of more mountainous islands enabled alternative configurations of farming to emerge and (under certain conditions) thrive. Drawing on mixed-methods research conducted in Dominica, this paper integrates geospatial analysis with archival and ethnographic data to explore how spatial and temporal dynamics of landscape change both impel and impede contemporary possibilities for sustainable agricultural livelihoods.

SfAA Roundtable on Methods for Studying Rural Households

I will be organizing a roundtable discussion titled “Inside the Black Box: Considerations and Concerns when Studying Rural Households” for the upcoming Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting 2021. This panel will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date/Time: Friday March 26, 2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Rountable Abstract: Today, the household is widely considered the primary unit of analysis for understanding rural livelihoods, yet it remains a problematic concept in both social theory and empirical research. Intractable assumptions of households as cohesive units of (re)production and consumption often mask the diversity of intrahousehold practices and the social relations that structure rural life. Still, venturing inside this ‘black box’ presents its own set of challenges. This roundtable will offer a venue for discussing the methodological and analytical quandaries that arise when studying rural households. Panelists will raise key issues and discuss techniques they have utilized to address these concerns.

Berks Panel on Sustainability, Gender, and Climate Change

I will be presenting my paper “Historical Exclusions/Sustainable Futures/Enduring Invisibilities: The Gendered Politics of Development and Agrarian Change in Dominica” at the upcoming Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities 2020, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MA as part of the panel “Engendering the Anthropocene: Women, Futurity, and Ecological Change in Postcolonial Societies”.

Date/Time: This conference was ultimately canceled due to COVID19.

Paper Abstract: In recent decades, global economic and environmental changes have induced trends of agricultural decline throughout the rural Caribbean. Yet as conventional development prospects have diminished, many farming women have experienced glimmers agricultural success. This paper draws upon ethnographic and archival fieldwork conducted in Dominica since 2012 to examine this gendered process of agrarian change. It finds that women’s distinct position within rural households and their marginalization within mainstream development spheres have positioned them to pursue alternative production strategies that represent an innovative and sustainable pathway for rural development. However, the informal and gendered nature of women’s innovations has meant that their significance – as well as their potential for generating alternative agricultural futures in Dominica more broadly – often goes unrecognized.

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?

AAA Paper on Sustainability and Local Food Production in Dominica

I will be presenting my paper “When Sustainabilities Collide: Organic vs. Local Agriculture in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Eastern Caribbean” at the upcoming American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Washington, DC as part of the panel “Producing an Anthropology of ‘Sustainability’ Across Subfields”.

Date/Time: Friday, December 5, 2014 | 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM

B-CGIS Paper on Women’s Invisibility in Caribbean Agriculture

I will be presenting my paper “Gender, Food Security, and Agricultural Alternatives in the Commonwealth Caribbean” at the upcoming British-Caribbean Geographer’s International Seminar “The Caribbean Region: Adaptation and Resilience to Global Change” at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica.

Date/Time: June 23 -27, 2014