The Graduate Student Association of the Department of Geography and Urban Studies invites you to the first installment of the Fall 2021 Speaker Series.
Dr. Kevon Rhiney
Department of Geography
"Cultivating Crisis: Coffee Leaf Rust and the Co-production of Smallholder Vulnerability in the Jamaican Blue Mountains"
Since September 2012, the Jamaican coffee industry has been grappling with the coffee leaf rust (CLR) epidemic caused by the fungal pathogen Hemileia vastarix. The first widespread outbreak affected more than one-third of coffee plants across the island, resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenues for the sector. The emergence and spread of the disease have been linked to a confluence of factors ranging from changing climatic conditions, impacts from extreme weather events, improper farm management practices and bounded knowledge systems, and institutional and market constraints that restrict measures aimed at controlling the disease. In this talk, I use the case of the CLR epidemic to illustrate the systemic, relational and multi-scalar ways socio-ecological shocks are often disproportionately experienced by smallholders, and how these shocks in turn map onto and are routinely mediated through everyday human-environment interactions.