Contemporary U.S. colonialisms: Crises and Politics

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM (MDT)
Room: Balcony K, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Organizers: Sasha Davis, Scott Kirsch
Chairs: Scott Kirsch


Recent hurricane disasters in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the targeting of Guam during disputes between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, have highlighted the dangers and oppressions that accompany contemporary colonial relationships in U.S. territories. Given the continued relevance and impact of colonialism in the current era, this session invites papers that examine the consequences of modern colonialism as well as help develop theories, tactics and strategies – legal and extralegal – for transforming these colonial relationships.

While the political statuses between the U.S. and territorial possessions formalize the second-class citizenship of many territorial residents, the contemporary imposition of colonial processes extends beyond ‘official’ colonies. While there are places with territorial or commonwealth statuses such as Puerto Rico, Guam, The U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands that are clear examples of formally restricted governance, there are other places such as foreign communities hosting U.S. military bases, countries in ‘Free Association’ with the U.S., and culturally distinct spaces within the official boundaries of the U.S. such as Hawai‘i and indigenous lands across North America that are subject to U.S. policies, but which have limited or non-existent formal mechanisms for producing or affecting these policies. We therefore invite papers that focus on any geographical context where U.S. colonial political processes continue to operate.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Scott Kirsch UNC-Chapel Hill 5 2:40 PM
Presenter Sasha Davis*, Keene State College, The islands in between: Assembling Pacific sovereignties. 20 2:45 PM
Presenter Juan Garcia-Ellin*, University of Puerto Rico - Ponce, How Maria created the perfect storm: the effects of disaster, austerity and colonialism in Puerto Rican migration to the US 20 3:05 PM
Presenter Kirk Lange*, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Colonial Circuits: Micronesian sub-citizenship, bioinequalities, and precarity under “Free Association” with the US 20 3:25 PM
Presenter Thomas Weidemeyer*, Florida International University, Puerto Rico: Climate Change, Disaster and Colonial Legacies 20 3:45 PM

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