Dr Erin Taylor
Room 234, RC Mills Building A26
+612 9114 1293
My current research on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti examines the role of materiality and mobility in the persistence of social stratification along national lines, despite a long history of trade and socialization between border towns. In particular, I am interested in how the values and meanings of objects and bodies change as they move through different physical and social spaces. As part of this research, I am collaborating with Dr. Heather Horst on a project called Mobiles, Migrants and Money: A Study of Mobility on the Dominican-Haitian Border, which has a US$49,000 grant from the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI) at the University of California, Irvine.
My doctoral research in a Santo Domingo squatter settlement utilised a framework of production and consumption to elucidate how squatter residents' status as informal workers in a global marketplace articulates with their material culture to frame their experiences of poverty and localization. While the middle class experience increasing mobility resulting from skill demands and capital flows, the poor remain bound to their social position and locality. Although the city offers greater mobility for the poor than the countryside, it is also the site at which socioeconomic stratification is most profoundly experienced. I examine how residents who have limited material and symbolic resources invest value in place to survive in the urban milieu and attain a measure of socioeconomic mobility. I argue that control over space and the ability to invest it with value is essential to the poor in their attempts to contest a stratified global order as well as find a place within it.
I have produced three articles and one book chapter from my doctoral dissertation.
Poverty as Danger: Fear of Crime in Santo Domingo (2009, International Journal of Cultural Studies) discusses how the material appearance of Santo Domingo's squatter settlements contributes to their criminalization, and how residents respond to this discourse of fear. A second article, From el campo to el barrio: Memory and Social Imaginaries in Santo Domingo, analyses how rural to urban migrants draw upon their former identities as rural dwellers to construct a place of belonging in the city. My forthcoming book chapter, "A Reluctant Locality: The Politics of Place and Progress in Santo Domingo", will appear in Local Lives: Migration and the Politics of Place (Trundle and Bönisch-Brednich 2011, Ashgate). It explores what happens to the politics of place when people have little loyalty to the community they live in, but invest a great deal of time and effort into its material environment. I am currently working on an ethnographic monologue entitled Under the Bridge: Place and the Politics of Progress in Santo Domingo.
Additionally, my edited book, Fieldwork Identities in the Caribbean (2010, Caribbean Studies Press), addresses how identity affects research in the contemporary world, where field sites are no longer static. Each chapter describes how the author negotiated aspects of identity in the field, including race, nationality, class, gender, religion, and sexuality. The authors are all early-career researchers who have conducted fieldwork in different Caribbean nations, including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Belize.
- The Caribbean and Latin America, especially the Dominican Republic and Haiti
- Material culture, trade and technology
- Poverty and social stratification
- Mobility, localization and globalization
- Urban studies and social imaginaries of place
- Taylor, Erin B. (Ed.) Fieldwork Identities in the Caribbean. Caribbean Studies Press.
- 2010. Class, Race, and the Logics of Misrecognition. In E.B. Taylor (Ed.). Fieldwork
Identities in the Caribbean. Florida: Caribbean Studies Press.
- 2010. Foreword. In E.B. Taylor (Ed.). Fieldwork Identities in the Caribbean. Coconut
Creek, FL: Caribbean Studies Press.
- Forthcoming January 2011. A Reluctant Locality: The Politics of Place and Progress. In C. Trundle and B. Boenisch-Brednich (Eds.). Making Locals: Migration and the Micropolitics of Place. Ashgate http://ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=420&sort=pubdate&forthcoming=1&pagecount=3&title_id=9980&edition_id=12839&lang=cy-GB
- Poverty as Danger: Fear of Crime in Santo Domingo. In Heather Horst and Anna Pertierra (Eds.). Media Worlds in International Journal of Cultural Studies 12(2):35-52.
- From el Campo to el barrio: Memory and social imaginaries in Santo Domingo. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 16:1-22.
- Modern Dominicanidad: Nation-Building and Politics of Exclusion in Santo Domingo Since the 1880s. Dialectical Anthropology 33(2):209-217.
- Review of Waves of Decolonization by David Luis-Brown. Wadabagei: A Journal of the
Caribbean and its Diasporas, 13(1):110-114.
- Review of Cuba: Religion, Social Capital, and Development by Adrian Hearn. The
Australian Journal of Anthropology, 20(3):393-395.
- Creolization. In Global Studies Encyclopaedia. Sage (accepted 4 September 2010)
- Under the Bridge: Poverty and the Politics of Place in the Dominican Republic
- ¡Crisis is Coming! Material Manifestations of Immaterial Ends. Reviewed conference
proceedings from Ends of Worlds, The University of Sydney. Submitted July 2010
- South America. In Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste. Sage (under contract, to besubmitted on 1st November 2010)