Article | Renegotiating and theorizing heritage in the context of “disaster” in the Caribbean

Article by Sony Jean et al. in the Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage, ‘Renegotiating and theorizing heritage in the context of “disaster” in the Caribbean: The entanglement of Haitian disaster-related histories.

This article examines how cultural heritage is negotiated in disaster contexts. One month after the earthquake on August 14, 2021 in Haiti, we surveyed damaged heritage sites and spoke with residents in the South and Grande-Anse departments about their experiences and perceptions. Via this research, we found a lack of disaster preparedness and few existing response mechanisms for managing cultural heritage amidst disaster.

This article argues for more attention to heritage theory and practice in relation to disaster. It also shares concrete information about our research and its outcomes to create a dialogue between research needs and actual research results. Local voices are fundamental to the planning and decision-making necessary to sustain the future of Haiti’s cultural heritage. Heritage studies in the Caribbean need to formulate and theorize more cogent critical questions about heritage – in particular, about how it is envisioned in urgent times.

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