Artifact Title: Island Futures
Author: Mimi Sheller
Publisher: Duke University Press
Book Title: Island Futures: Caribbean Survival in the Anthropocene
Pages in Image: 1, 17-18
Image Credit: Mikayla Collins
TERA Curator: Hillary Kaell
Mimi Sheller is a sociologist who, in this book, emphasizes the injustices of mobility after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Development workers fly in and out of Haiti. They have access to passports, to gas, and to jeeps. By contrast, local people have very little mobility. When scholars, like Sheller, say there are no “natural” disasters, they mean that human-created injustices keep certain people poor and thus prone to feel the full effects of ‘disaster’ in ways that wealthy people do not. In making the argument, Sheller wants to make sure that people— particularly development workers, including her colleagues—are held accountable for their actions. That is laudable. And it also prompts a question. In making her argument, Sheller ends up stripping away any non-human agency or contingency. What about human immobility in face of other mobilities, such as the mobility of wind, spirits, or migratory birds? Or will we fail to adequately address human inequality if we make the leap to other actors in the world? How do we balance these realities?