As Puerto Rico faces hurricane-induced devastation, the “Just Environments” series publishes an essay by Alexa Dietrich, Adriana María Garriga-López, and Claudia Sofía Garriga-López situating the current catastrophe within a broader historical context. Viewing it as an unnatural disaster, the authors point to a confluence of postcolonial industrialization, lax environmental regulation, and the privatization of utilities, which have all contributed to the island’s deteriorating infrastructure. Moving forward, they advocate for sustainable economic development and reliable public services as means of strengthening already-existing resilient and adaptive capacities.
Adriana María Garriga-López
Adriana María Garriga-López is associate professor of anthropology at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. Her research focuses on epidemics as events that make visible the workings of colonial power, race, gender, and sexuality in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Garriga-López holds a PhD in anthropology (2010), as well as master of arts (2003) and master of philosophy (2006) degrees in anthropology from Columbia University in New York. She holds a BA in cultural anthropology and comparative literature from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (2001), where she cofounded LLEGO! (The Queer People of Color Union of Rutgers University.) She is currently editing a book manuscript on the coloniality of health in Puerto Rico, which is based in part on ethnographic research on HIV/AIDS. She has a chapter, coauthored with Lisa Uperesa, called “Puerto Rico and American Samoa: Contested Sovereignties” in an anthology edited by Frances Negrón-Muntaner that is soon (2017) to be published by Arizona University Press. Adriana is also a poet, performance artist, muralist, and soprano. Her creative work has appeared in The New Engagement, Cruce, 80 Grados, Sargasso, Ad Hoc, African Writing, The Columbia Review, Beyond Polarities, and Piso 13.