Catalina M. de Onís

Jul 7, 2021

Energy Islands

Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico

Univ of California Press 2021

Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2021) provides an urgent and nuanced portrait of collective action that resists racial capitalism, colonialism, and climate disruption. Weaving together historical and ethnographic research, this story challenges the master narratives of Puerto Rico as a tourist destination and site of "natural" disasters to demonstrate how fossil fuel economies are inextricably entwined with colonial practices and how local community groups in Puerto Rico have struggled against energy coloniality to mobilize and transform power from the ground up. Catalina M. de Onís documents how these groups work to decenter continental contexts and deconstruct damaging hierarchies that devalue and exploit rural coastal communities. She highlights and collaborates with individuals who refuse the cruel logics of empire by imagining and implementing energy justice and other interconnected radical power transformations. Diving deeply into energy, islands, and power, this book engages various metaphors for alternative world-making.

In our conversation, Dr. de Onís mentions her recent article in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, which can be read here.

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