Thank you to all of you who joined us on Zoom on September 7th for “Whiplash: Anthropology in/of Disaster,” featuring Laurence Ralph and Yarimar Bonilla. Although the event took place on Labor Day, about sixty people joined us and stayed until the end. In the beginning, we asked our presenters to say a few words about their work as anthropologists; they each spoke for about fifteen minutes.
Laurence Ralph, introduced himself as doing an “anthropology of injury.” Injury connects his first book project, Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago, with his second project with black Chicagoans, tortured in prisons by police officers.
Yarimar Bonilla described herself as an anthropologist of “sovereignty otherwise.” Spanning her dissertation project on the French Caribbean to articles on #Ferguson to her most recent edited volume on Post-Maria Puerto Rico, Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm, non/sovereign places have long been at the center of her research. Across variously paced writings—from tweets to scholarly articles to books—she has engaged multiple publics through specific events and broader historical reflections. Such publics are formed across the bounds of what are conventionally distinguished as academic and non-academic publics. The introductory remarks were followed by an open dialogue with our two speakers.