Anne Galvin

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

St. John's U.

Grant number

Gr. 9458

Approve Date

April 25, 2017

Project Title

Galvin, Dr. Anne M., St. John's U., Queens, NY - To aid research on 'Industrial Entanglements: The Socio-Ecology of the Black River in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica'

ANNE GALVIN, St. John’s University, Queens, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2017 to aid research on “Industrial Entanglements: The Socio-Ecology of the Black River in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.” This ethnographic project investigates relationships between rural lifeways, economic development, ecological pressures, and environmental regulation surrounding river water use in the agricultural parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. Focusing on an array of groups whose livelihoods rely on proximity to and utilization of the Black River, the research examines competing moral rhetoric, resource claims, and environmental considerations related to rural livelihoods, and economic development. Unequal practices of environmental regulation are considered in relation to national development and sovereignty projects. Participant observation and open-ended interviews with stakeholders including sugarcane workers, aquaculture executives, fisher people, and residents of river-adjacent communities elucidate inequalities and situated strategies employed by different groups claiming river access rights. Strategies include appeals to formal and folk legal frameworks allowing legal land ownership to coexist with informal land and water use in marginal spaces. The work reveals how apparently local legal disputes between international rum production and aquaculture companies, centered around water pollution, uncover social dynamics structured by longer histories of racio-capitalism in the Caribbean. Racio-capitalism shaped domain over waterways during colonization that continues to structure river access in contemporary Jamaica. Modes of social, economic, and legal agency, environmental regulation and enforcement are fashioned unequally within this sociohistorical landscape.


Galvin, Anne M. 2021. Jamaican river waters: Collapsing time and the politics of rural life-making. Water Alternatives 14(1): 32-46