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This essay uses the case of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to discuss “the coloniality of disaster”: how catastrophic events like hurricanes, earthquakes, but also other forms political and economic crisis deepen the fault lines of long-existing racial and colonial histories. It argues that disaster capitalism needs to be understood as a form of racio-colonial capitalism and that this in turn requires us to question our understandings of both “resilience” and “recovery.” The article focuses on the “wait of disaster” as a temporal logic of state subjugation and on how Puerto Ricans responded to state abandonment through modes of autogesti� on, or autonomous organizing. It concludes that while resiliency can be coopted in service of a neoliberal recovery, it can also be the site for gestating new forms of sovereignty and new visions of postcolonial recovery.


This work was originally published in Political Geography.


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