My research is broadly concerned with political ecology and alternative economic networks in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Eastern Caribbean. Dominica is a mountainous island in the Eastern Caribbean that has an extensive history of smallholding, a common pattern of household-based agricultural production. Since the late 1990s, smallholders there have encountered increasingly challenging economic and environmental conditions that have precipitated the decline of export agriculture. These conditions reflect larger global trends that have had serious negative impacts on smallholder communities in the region and around the world. Yet as the viability of export production declined in Dominica, many households and communities responded by building alternative agricultural livelihoods in diverse forms of local food production. Today, these transitions are associated with positive outcomes including high levels of food security and recent economic growth.
My research investigates the ways in which farmers, families, and communities seek out and continually reconfigure alternative economic spaces through the production and exchange of food. Investigating how rural households in Dominica continue to cultivate sustainable agricultural livelihoods will provide a model for understanding patterns of agricultural response to contemporary environmental and economic change; one that can be generalized to other contexts facing similar global dynamics. Understanding these dynamics will enhance anthropological knowledge of the human-environment relationship in ways that are directly relevant to work on rural development and the sustainability of agriculture and food systems across the social sciences.
Other projects include…
I am also interested in visual ethnography. I have worked on several projects, including a photo essay of homelessness in Eugene as well as a multilingual documentary film exploring the Latino experience in Oregon.
As an undergraduate, I conducted research in hexagonal France on heritage, identity, and the modernization of produits de terroir (France’s regional-specific food products).