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Geography Colloquium Series

UK Athletics Association Auditorium, William T. Library
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Crystal Felima, University of Kentucky

Shifting River Geographies in Haiti: Place-Making of Intersectional Vulnerabilities and Flood Risk in Haiti

Urban flooding in Haiti

In Haiti, disasters and ecological crises reveal geographic, socio-economic, and political structures that disrupt community livelihoods, resilience, and cultural landscapes. In Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti, flooding is a significant problem; communities are inundated, livelihoods are endangered, and property and crops are destroyed. This talk focuses on northern Haitian river communities, emblematic of a shifting space and place where opportunities and risks converge. Drawing from anthropological fieldwork in Haiti and Black feminist environmental ethics, I examine narrative experiences, intersectional vulnerabilities, and the impact of flooding. This talk argues for a critical intervention to explore disasters through a multidimensional lens and consider the interconnected challenges that threaten Caribbean ecological futures. By embracing black feminism and tapping into local knowledge, this presentation advocates for an inclusive and multidisciplinary approach to disaster research, environmental studies, and disaster recovery planning.

Dr. Crystal Felima is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African American & Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. She earned her PhD in Anthropology with graduate certifications in Disaster and Emergency Management and Latin American Studies from the University of Florida. Before academia, Felima worked as an emergency management specialist, geospatial analyst, and equity advisor at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, DC. She is working on her first book project, highlighting the local flood experiences of Haitians in northern Haiti. As a transdisciplinary scholar, Felima works collaboratively across disciplines and fields. She is a Co-PI on a recently awarded NIH grant and works with colleagues in the UKY College of Medicine on an environmental health project in eastern Ohio. Felima is a co-series editor for the Berghan Books’ Catastrophes in Context series and a Haitian Studies Association Board Member.