Guilberly Louissaint

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10431

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Louissaint, Guilberly (California, Irvine, U. of) "Transfusing Life: The State, Disasters, Development, and the Body Politics of Safe Blood in Haiti."

This project examines the political economy of blood in Haiti through an ethnographic study of Haitian blood banks and the social life of blood in health care. Haiti’s National Blood Transfusion Center in Port-au-Prince and three other blood banks were destroyed by the 2010 Earthquake. According to the Red Cross, ten injured people died per day as a direct result of the decimation of the country’s national blood supply network. After the earthquake, although rates of effective testing, collection, and distribution have increased due to the building up of the blood-banking infrastructure outside the capital, the links between blood supply and the politics of hygiene, development, and disaster relief remain a matter of life and death, and require further inquiry. Existing scholarship on blood banking in Haiti has been carried out in the areas of efficient distribution, safety, and capacity. Yet there exists little to no research on the collective role of the Haitian government, individual actors, external institutions, and socialities in the life-sustaining provision of blood. The project seeks to answer the question: What do the structure and socialities of the bio-economy of blood, and the complexities of Haitian sovereignty, reveal about the politics of development and disaster relief?