Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series: Precarious Ecologies

"Global Guyana: Shaping Race, Gender, and Environment in the Caribbean and Beyond"

A conversation with: Dr. Oneka LaBennett, American Studies and Ethnicity, USC Dr. Julie Livingston, Silver Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University Dr. Shanya D. Cordis, African American & African Diaspora Studies Department, Columbia University

Scholars and activists from various fields contend that in ecologically and economically precarious Global South regions, the frenzied drive for participation in the global economy supports a perfect storm of climate catastrophe, environmental devastation, and violence against women and children. The Caribbean is a key site in that it bears the brunt of climate change—the Council on Foreign Relations has identified it as one of the world’s most vulnerable regions in terms of climate change. Attention to risk factors such as rising sea levels, increasing frequency of extreme weather events, dangerously high temperatures, and coastal erosion reveals the Caribbean as “ground zero” in the global climate emergency. In her new book, LaBennett uncovers how ecological erosion and gendered violence are entrenched in extractive industries emanating from this often-effaced but pivotal country. LaBennett illuminates how both oil extraction and sand export are implicated in a well-established practice of pillaging the Caribbean’s natural resources while masking the ecological consequences that disproportionately affect women and children. Sounding the alarm on the portentous repercussions that ambitious development spells out for the nation’s people and its geographical terrain, LaBennett issues a warning for all of us about the looming threat of global environmental calamity.

This event is co-sponsored by the USC Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life, the USC Center for Latinx and Latin American Studies, Levan Institute for the Humanities and Africana Research Cluster (ARC) with support from the Mellon Foundation's Sawyer Seminar Program.

April 24, 2024 2:00pm - 4:00pm Ronald Tutor Campus Center (TCC), 227