people in flooding

April 14, 2023
3:35pm - 5pm



Lisa Kelley

Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Science 
University of Colorado, Denver 

Climate-induced displacement is attracting increasing media, state, and scholarly attention, albeit often in a way that situates migration as either an example of climate adaptation or a failure thereof. Whether depicted as success or failure, both framings invisibilize the pre-existing socio-environmental processes that render such migrations necessary—or that can inhibit them entirely. This talk instead argues for the need to understand migration not as climate displacement, but as one among many facets of cumulative socio-naturaldisplacement. I make this case by drawing on large-scale climate data, remotely sensed imagery, and ethnographic work in eastern Sulawesi, Indonesia to situate recent intensifications in extreme flooding and out-migration events in the historical developments and environmental changes that have long separated rivers from floodplains and people from floodplain cultures. Such histories not only set the stage for anomalous rains to beget ‘climate’ disaster. They have also scoured broader landscapes of social reproduction (Katz 2008) in ways that closely shape peoples’ resulting livelihood responses, whether or not these involve out-migration. The result is a much more contested terrain of climate policies and politics than is often recognized. 

Co-Sponsored by the Geography Department. Free and Open to the Public.