When Hurricanes Irma and María made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017, their destructive force further devastated an archipelago already pommeled by economic austerity, political upheaval, and environmental calamities. To navigate these ongoing multiple crises, Afro-Puerto Rican women have drawn from their cultural knowledge to engage in daily improvisations that enable their communities to survive and thrive. Their life-affirming practices, developed and passed down through generations, offer powerful modes of resistance to gendered and racialized exploitation, ecological ruination, and deepening capitalist extraction. Through solidarity, reciprocity, and an ethics of care, these women create restorative alternatives to dispossession to produce good, meaningful lives for their communities.

Making Livable Worlds: Afro-Puerto Rican Women Building Environmental Justice (University of Washington Press, 2021) weaves together autobiography, ethnography, interviews, memories, and fieldwork to recast narratives that continuously erase Black Puerto Rican women as agents of social change. In doing so, Lloréns serves as an “ethnographer of home” as she brings to life the powerful histories and testimonies of a marginalized, disavowed community that has been treated as disposable.

Interviewer BylineAdam Bobeck is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. His PhD is entitled “Object-Oriented Azadari: Shi’i Muslim Rituals and Ontology”. For more about his work, see www.adambobeck.com.

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