This event is supported by the CALS Office for Diversity and Inclusion and is part of the CALS Dean’s Inclusive Excellence Seminar Series, which highlights academic excellence through inclusive science and creates a platform for extended discussions on how our science can and should be transformative in leading to best practices and policies that support social, economic, environmental and climate justice.
The CALS Dean’s Inclusive Excellence Seminar Series and the Department of Global Development present: A conversation with Kevon Rhiney
The continued transformation of tropical ecosystems, an ongoing climate crisis, and growing conflicts over land-based resources are just a few of the many ongoing challenges shaping human-environmental relationships around the globe – often producing uneven and unjust outcomes for already marginalized and vulnerable groups and communities. Tied to these planetary-scale changes is a growing consensus within the global scientific community that urgent and transformative actions are required now if we are to avoid a global environmental catastrophe over the course of this century. The success of these actions will depend in large part on how well we can transform social and natural systems to meet international development goals and climate targets over the coming decades, while taking account of regional and local contexts. Building upon work in critical development studies, agrarian political ecology and postcolonial thought, this talk explores the ways vulnerable communities in the Caribbean are negotiating the intersecting crises of global environmental and economic change. My talk is informed by research conducted in two broad thematic areas. The first explores the political and ecological determinants of the recent coffee leaf rust epidemic in Jamaica, drawing on recent multi-sited interdisciplinary fieldwork conducted as part of a four-year USAID/NOAA funded project in the Jamaican Blue Mountains. The second draws from ethnographic research conducted in the Dutch Caribbean territory of Sint Maarten following the devastating 2017 hurricane season to consider the varied and complex ways post/disaster recovery efforts in the region have become contested post/colonial terrains fueled by underlying issues of uneven development, inequality, non-sovereignty, and politico-economic instabilities. I use these cases to highlight the ways the application of grounded and interdisciplinary scientific research can help inform the formulation of novel and effective solutions to tackling inequality in the face of an uncertain and rapidly changing world.
Kevon Rhiney (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Human-Environment Geography in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Prior to joining Rutgers, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford and taught for several years at the University of the West Indies, based in Kingston, Jamaica. His primary research examines the complex conditions under which rural agrarian landscapes change, and the socio-material implications these changes pose for smallholder livelihoods. More recently, his research has started to explore the biopolitical dimensions of post-hurricane reconstruction efforts across the Caribbean. He is a British Commonwealth Fellow, development section editor for Geography Compass and recently served as a contributing author for the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C.
Date & Time
February 17, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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