Hurricanes, fires, a volcano eruption: disasters are political, as Christopher Church argues. His new book, Paradise Destroyed: Catastrophe and Citizenship in the French Caribbean (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), elaborates on the particular politics of catastrophe in the French colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Using an array of methods ranging from close reading of texts to GIS mapping to digital analysis of language, Church tells a compelling story of the relationships between citizenship, race, and natural disasters. The peculiar journey of these colonies as they became departments of France was shaped by responses to devastating events. This book conjured those events in vivid detail and opens up new ways to understand them.
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