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Crystal A. Felima


***Currently on research leave for Fall 2022***

How to pronounce my name.
Preferred Name: Dr. Felima or Professor Felima
PhD in Anthropology, University of Florida (2017)
Graduate Certificates: Disaster and Emergency Management, Latin American Studies
Dissertation: Disaster Narratives of Flooding Experiences in Cap-Haitien, Haiti: An Anthropological Study
MPS in Africana Studies, Cornell University (2010)
Thesis: Multiple Jeopardies of Haitian Vulnerability: How Socio-Economic and Political Factors Exacerbate Environmental Hazards in Haiti
BA in African American Studies, Minor in Political Science, University of South Carolina (2008)
Research Background

In Fall 2021, I joined the University of Kentucky as an assistant professor in Anthropology and African American & Africana Studies. My research interests and areas include ecological crises, governance, and neoliberalism in the Caribbean, specifically in Haiti. As a cultural anthropologist and feminist scholar in disaster studies, I survey the ways humans shape their environment and explore the complexity and dimensions of risk and vulnerability. Essential to my research is highlighting the individual and collective voices of vulnerable populations and communities. I believe it is necessary to promote and advocate for local perspectives and strategies to address ecological issues. As a result, narrative research is an essential component to my research agenda.

My book project highlights disaster narrative experiences to explore discussions on social inequality, vulnerability, and development in Haiti. With my continued research on disasters in Haiti, I consider how Haitians and other groups negotiate and articulate their lives in ecological crises and socio-economic and political conflicts perpetuated by the State and the global capitalist system. I am also a co-series editor for the Berghahn Books’ Catastrophes in Context series. I am a former NSEP Boren Fellow to Haiti, which supported my doctoral research on disaster risk and flooding in Haiti. I am also a former CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Caribbean Data Curation at the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida. I focused on the emerging trends and best practices in digital humanities, critical pedagogies, and e-scholarship in Caribbean Studies.

I am an applied anthropologist. I have experience working as an emergency management specialist, geospatial analyst and equity advisor at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, DC.

Graduate Students and Advanced Undergraduate Students

Are you a prospective gradudate student interested in applying to our applied MA or Ph.D. program and wanting to work with me? I’d love to hear from you and learn more about your research interests! I take students interested in studying disasters, environmental issues, international development, and structural inequalities and racial ecologies. Please get in touch to find out if we might be a good fit.

Teaching at UKY
  • Decolonizing Ecologies (Spring 2023)
  • Debility and After/Alterlives (Spring 2023, co-taught)
  • Culture, Environment and Global Issues 
  • Disasters and Racial Ecologies 
  • Contemporary African Lives