Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Anthropology and Environment Society
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Environment and Environmental Inequality
Secondary Theme: Resilience
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 amplified the political will for innovation in resilience and adaptation planning as to avoid being left to pick up the pieces post-disaster. Philanthropic-public partnerships, design competitions, green infrastructure, and relocation have all been at the center of conversations aimed at reimagining urbanized and industrialized coastal space. This panel explores how we might apply the analysis of Neil Smith (1996) and other critics of uneven development and gentrification as we understand the social relations, political processes, and cultural expressions implicated within resilience planning in coastal regions. Empirical studies of how official resilience and adaptation planning might reproduce racialization and oppression are beginning to emerge. In his review of resilience, Roberto Barrios (2016) likens the use of the term with the apolitical logics that have driven development, dispossession, and structural violence around the globe for over half a century. Melissa Checker (2011) examined processes of environmental gentrification in New York City, while others have demonstrated the long history of indigenous adaptation to environmental change which has been continuously encumbered by colonial projects of erasure and containment (Maldonado et al. 2015, Whyte 2016). Hardy et al. (2017) advance a notion of "colorblind adaptation" whereby risk reduction professionals ignore the ways that race, and racism, is literally built into the landscapes within which they work, and Elizabeth Marino (2018) points to the problematic realities of ethnocentrism in adaptation policy and programs, using "adaptation oppression" and "adaptation privilege," as heuristics to encourage future work on ideologies of adaptation. This panel builds on these critiques to examine the classed, racialized, gendered, and colonial politics of climate adaptation and resilience planning and policy in coastal contexts of New York City and Louisiana—two places where there has been an enormous amount of experimentation in resilience planning over the last ten years. We ask the following questions: What particular processes related to the institutionalization of resilience or environmental adaptation enable the expansion of racial capitalism and patriarchal heteronormative white supremacy? How do these moments differ from other manifestations of disaster capitalism, and how do these processes affect different people and communities differently? Where is there hope of promoting and producing more egalitarian social relations and a more just adaptation to the environmental changes of our time? And what is the role of anthropology moving forward?