Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Miriam Rothenberg

Deans Faculty Fellow 2021-2022


Miriam is a historical and contemporary archaeologist studying the effects of natural disasters—especially destructive volcanism—on human settlements and communities. Her dissertation investigated how communities on the Caribbean island of Montserrat have responded to 25 years of volcanic eruptions, and how these responses relate to the island's enduring legacies of slavery and colonialism. Her current project continues to examine disasters in the historical Caribbean within the twin frameworks of settler colonialism and environmental justice, by exploring the material dimensions of a series of natural disasters that impacted the region between the late 17th century and the present. Miriam's interdisciplinary research integrates the use of scientific methods (such as sedimentology, GIS and spatial analysis, and physical volcanology) with ethnographic research about ruination, political ecology, traumatic temporalities, and resilience.