Kyrstin Mallon Andrews

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9611

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Mallon Andrews, Kyrstin, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Crosscurrents of Health: Understandings of Risk, Environment, and Identity in the Dominican Republic,' supervised by Dr. Leo Chavez

Preliminary abstract: This project explores notions and practices of health in human-environment relations through research with diver fishermen and their experiences with the bends in changing marine environments of the Dominican Republic. Diver fishermen have a unique relationship with underwater spaces that are rapidly changing as a result of river runoff, coastal pollution, and overfishing. They spend upwards of six hours a day submerged in coastal waters that have in recent years drawn the attention of multiple state and regional conservation organizations that seek to preserve marine health. While conservation attempts do not address human health, for the fishing community of Monte Cristi, the bends and their own health is highly relational in that it depends equally on the individual bodies of diver fishermen, as it does on the conditions of the sea, including weather, presence of sea life, and water quality. The bends is a risk that fishermen take, towing the line of their body’s saturation as they struggle to fish a region where the saturation of fish has declined significantly. Through interviews and participant observation with fishermen and conservation officials, this project uses the bends as a lens through which to analyze notions and practices of health in human-environment relations. To explore shifting perceptions of health, risk, and environment in changing seas, I ask: 1) How do fishermen perceive of health, risk, and injury as they work in increasingly risky environments? And 2) How do fishing communities negotiate their health and identity – both entangled in sea-bound livelihoods – amidst state and regional conservation efforts that depict fishing as a prime cause of marine degradation?