Geography Seminar Series


Autonomous solidarity: Collaboratively mapping Oaxacan communities affected by the earthquake

Araby Smyth
PhD candidate
Department of Geography
University of Kentucky

Thursday, October 26, 2017
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
1022 Hunter North

On September 7th an earthquake of 8.1 degrees hit the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas in Mexico. Around 100 deaths were reported, hundreds of people were injured, in some municipalities as much as 80% of buildings were destroyed, and electrical systems and water supplies were damaged. This talk will explain how in the face of insufficient help from the authorities, dozens of independent centers were formed to collect food, water, tents, medications, and more. Using open source software, various collectives initiated projects that map the communities affected, so that autonomous brigades can see where help has been received and where it is still needed.

Araby Smyth is a graduate of Hunter College (MA, geography) and a PhD student/instructor in the geography department at the University of Kentucky. She teaches courses on Latin America and her research interests include feminist theory and methodologies, migration, and solidarity. Her dissertation is about remittances, gender, and transnational families in southwest Mexico. Her work on Mexican hometown associations in New York City was published in the most recent issue of Geoforum.