This essay serves as an introduction to the special section “States of Crisis.” Principally a meditation on political and ecological crisis in the Caribbean, this introduction revisits two concurrent events—the devastation of The Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian, and the arrival of the first oil production vessel in Guyanese territorial waters—and probes the contradictions between the extractive imperative of economic nationalism and the existential threat of Caribbean extinction. Engaging “flags of convenience” as a practice of merchant ship registration and a metaphor for the ideal of postcolonial sovereignty, this essay considers how climate crisis demands a refusal of the state form as the limit to a regional political horizon and a rejection of nationalist historiography as a basis for the project of Caribbean criticism.
States of Crisis, Flags of Convenience: An Introduction
Ryan Cecil Jobson is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. His research engages issues of energy and extractive resource development, technology and infrastructure, states and sovereignty, and histories of race and capitalism in the Americas. His scholarship is featured in American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology, and the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.
Ryan Cecil Jobson; States of Crisis, Flags of Convenience: An Introduction. Small Axe 1 July 2020; 24 (2 (62)): 67–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8604490
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