Abstract:

This paper considers the significance of the sea, the connective tissue of the Antilles, in relation to the hurricane, a meteorological phenomenon (that begins as far away as East Africa). The hurricane possess the power to radically reorder, destroy and unite life; the sea gives energy to, provides water for, swells and surges with - the hurricane. Yet, it also gives floodwaters their outlet, it feeds human and aquatic life, its currents connect the archipelago, enabling kinship and exchange.

Through a series of short ethnographic encounters in Dominica after Hurricane Maria, and some brief historic sketches of earlier storms, the paper asks how patterns of inter-island movement, shifting coastlines, grief and repair can open us to thinking the Caribbean Sea as an ambivalent, ebbing and swelling, agent that informs the possibilities of black and indigenous survival amidst racial capitalist ecology (otherwise the ‘Anthropocene’/North Atlantic modernity).