Britt Dawson

Research interests: 

Geographic Areas of Interest: Caribbean (St. Kitts), United States, Eastern Europe (Romania, Russia, Ukraine)

Research Areas of Interest: Anthropology of science and race, multi-species ethnography, post-colonial Caribbean studies, human/animal divide, human non-human primate interface, critical disability studies and activism, animal rights and welfare, queer feminist approaches to anthropology

About: The green monkeys (Chlorocebus Sabaeus) are considered invasive pests on the island of St. Kitts, introduced as a by-product of trans-Atlantic slave trade, and now differently valued in scientific research, tourism, and conservationism. The increasing frequency of encounters between humans and monkeys, and related food insecurity for both humans and monkeys, combine to create what is known locally on St. Kitts as “the monkey problem”. My multi-species ethnographic research will investigate this “problem” from the perspective of the unevenness of experiences of captive and free-ranging monkeys, and the role of race in shaping human experiences of the monkey problem. Tracing the relationships with monkeys among scientists, farmers, trappers, and representatives from animal rights organizations, environmental conservation agencies, and the tourism industry, I will explore what anthropologists have argued is a fragile divide between humans and animals. As such, my research offers novel theorization of multi-species justice in relation to the real world of advocacy for both humans and animals struggling against growing social and ecological precarity. My research will contribute to anthropological understanding of human power structures and hierarchies in relation to constructions of race(-ism) and species(-ism) on St. Kitts, in the Caribbean, and potentially beyond.