Guilberly Louissaint is an instructor for the Open Seminar River School. He is interested in racialized geographies, and the health impacts of environmental degradations on marginalized communities. His work is based in New York City, Artibonite, and Northwest regions of Haiti. The main interests of this research focus on the intersections between environmental health and body politics.
Racial Capitalocenic Geographies
The Mississippi River, in the United States, and the Artibonite River, in Haiti, are both sites where the ravages of the Anthropocene continues to take place. Cholera emerged out of the belly of the Artibonite that killed thousands in 2010, brought over by U.N troops. It is also home to a Hydro electronic dam that displaced and gutted a local prosperous agricultural community. Health disparities have increased among locals that live near the river, post-dam construction. Anthropologists and scientists argue that the dam may have contributed to the devastating impact of Cholera by redirecting river flow. These rivers are racialized assemblages, stages for Neoliberal politics. From the Negro Speaks of River, by Langston Hughes, to the dwelling of African water spirits in rivers within Voodoo cosmology, I am interested in racialization of these geographies. Both rivers were major geological transport systems essential in the processes of Western expansion, and colonialism. By using these two ecological matrixes, I hope to collect archival histories of the communities that inhabit the peripheries of these rivers, humans, and nonhuman alike. My digital collection seeks to excavate and document the local myths, stories, and their invocation of these sites in local politics, and governance. This field project will help me draw parallels and differences between both rivers entangled in the politics of Racial Capitalism.