Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures
Climate change; Colonialism; Puerto Rico; Inequality; Hurricanes; Natural disasters; Resilience; Community organization; Oral history
The hurricane season of 2017 was a historic one, with mammoth storms making landfall one after another, in what seemed like an unrelenting assault on our coastal cities and communities. Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, Irma plowed through Florida, and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, but one of these storms was unlike the others. Why is it that the American citizens of our southern states were able to recover so much more quickly than our citizens in Puerto Rico? In the era of climate change, we will be forced to reckon with the modern legacy of colonialism, as vulnerable communities must face the brunt of brutal environmental challenges, including more frequent and stronger storm events, increased flooding, and higher ocean and air temperatures. The events that unfolded following Hurricane Maria’s landfall allow us to examine the histories that led us to where we now stand politically, economically, and culturally with Puerto Rico, and provides an opportunity to reflect on how we may move forward in the face of an ever changing environment.
Caribbean Languages and Societies Commons, Emergency and Disaster Management Commons, Inequality and Stratification Commons, Other Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Public Policy Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons