Flashcards in Unit 1: African Americans and Hurricane Katrina Deck (39):
site and situation
site: environmental qualities of an area
situation: relative socioeconomic qualities as perceived by a particular culture relative to other places
Ari Kelman: "New Orleans, with access to the river and the gulf, enjoys a near-perfect situation. But it has an equally horrid site."
Geographer Peirce Lewis: "New Orleans is “impossible” yet “inevitable.”" He means that if a city’s situation is good enough, people will improve its site–no matter the costs. New Orleanians historically have done this by segregating spaces: at first not socioeconomically or racially but environmentally. In New Orleans there are spaces for nature: outside the levees or within the canals leading from the city. And there are spaces for human endeavors: within town. People here, nature there. The idea is simple, its execution impossible.
Southeastern Louisiana wetlands
Wetlands have fine soil that is deposited annually/periodically by larger floods. Wetlands serve as natural sinks that can be regenerated by annual floods that deposit soil. This helps protect against storm surges/flooding. For every two miles of wetland, one foot of storm surge is absorbed. This was overlooked by city planners.
Wetlands also provide a resource for fisheries.
A levee is a large earthen embankment that is used to contain the Mississippi River. They are largely just mounds of dirt covered in sod.
The development of sugar plantations along Mississippi river provided natural/earthen levees. Levees were initially built to protect crops from floods and to control water flow for irrigation.
Historical geography of New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana
• Segregation = loss of wetlands + infrastructure
• Residential areas in low-land/backswamp areas (except Lakeview) mainly African-American
• Landscape of racially differentiated risk
• Driven by processes that drive segregation everywhere
• Proximity of low-income communities of color to toxins, flood risks, etc.
• Whites drive AA from high ground to low —> NO city is developing, value of real estate increases, increased rent, Jim Crow laws
• Restrictions: title to land/house has stipulation that you can’t sell/rent to non-white person
Environmental impact of Hurricane Katrina
• Storm surge up to 20 feet coming into city through GO canal
• 53 levee breaks
• Wetland inundation
Causes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster
Historical amnesia: people forget about previous disasters.
- Politicians, investing in real estate, etc = beneficial to ignore risk
- Use funds from gov’t after flood to increase real estate/tourism development
Technocratic hubris/decision making
- Trained experts, knowledge of science/engineering
- Institutionally situated decision making capacity
- Resource management agency
- Army Corps of Engineers
- Insulated decisions, undemocratic
- Weren’t listening to people, not mitigating loss of wetlands
- privatizing /contracting out services for construction of levees = lack of regulatory oversight, incentive to cut corners (tax breaks), generate profit
- Not really maximizing risk mitigation
- Not a lot of quality control —> pumps throughout city failing
- Charged with building dams/levees, not saving wetlands
- Cut off from academics, ecologists, community non-profits
- Minimizing role of govt in providing services
- Gutting FEMA
- Bush administration focused on war
- Climate change
- People living in neighborhoods that are segregated, deprived of opportunities, didn’t have resources to get out
Rebuilding and Recovery: Infrastructure
Rebuilding and Recovery: Market & Community-based Approaches
Rebuilding and Recovery: Music and Culture
Worster's analytical framework
Modes of production
Intersubjective vs. instrumental perspectives on nature
"Segregation - environmental, socioeconomic, and racial"
Omi and Winant: Racial Formation
Omi and Winant: Racial Projects
Omi and Winant: Hegemonic Narratives
Representation of race in New Orleans by the media, including black "looters" and white "finders"
Race, class, and marginality in New Orleans
Property as a bundle of rights
Private property rights
State property rights
Control property rights
Use property rights
Usufruct property rights
Locke's Theory of Private Property: first rights
Locke's Theory of Private Property: accumulation
Property as a Social Process: collective claims
Property as a Social Process: overlapping claims
Property as a Social Process: de facto vs. de jure claims
Lockean social contract
Possessive Individualist interpretation of Locke's social contract
Populist Agrarian interpretation of Locke's social contract
Assimilation as a model of social incorporation into American society