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GSSC Seminar Series
20 December 2022


Leftovers in the system: hope and death in the Haitian charcoal economy

Dr. Rodrigo C. Bulamah (Federal University of São Paulo )



Wood charcoal represents the basis of the Haitian energy system. It is estimated that 70% of the energy demand in the country is supplied by this fuel, used mainly in urban and peri-urban kitchens. On this topic, charcoal production is portrayed by elite national groups and global humanitarian agencies as irrational and responsible for a supposedly uncontrolled deforestation in the country. However, the charcoal chain is mediated by techniques and affects that involve vital processes, different regimes of property and inheritance, economic and ecological calculations in addition to the agency of spirits that inhabit trees and other elements of the landscape. Focusing on the leftovers of charcoal economy and its connections to local concepts of life and death, I wish to discuss how hope is locally cultivated and how new agrarian futures are envisioned.


Rodrigo C. Bulamah earned his doctorate in Social Anthropology from a dual-degree program between École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). He is currently a São Paulo Foundation (FAPESP) postdoctoral fellow at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and his work is focused on the Caribbean. His actual research explores the technopolitical and affective life of wood charcoal in Haiti and its connections to regenerative ecological practices. He is also interested in the following themes: anthropology of history, mobility,  slavery and emancipation, ruins, and revolution.