Schuller, Mark and Nandini Gunewardena, Eds. (2008). Capitalizing on Catastrophe: Neoliberal Strategies in Disaster Reconstruction. United Kingdom, Altamira Press.
The book discussed the politics involved in providing humanitarian aid and intervention to countries after large disasters. Through compiling multiple case studies of disasters in the global south, Schuller and Gunewardena explore the impacts of neoliberal globalization in disaster reconstruction. Schuller defines disaster capitalism as
“National and transnational governmental institutions’ instrumental use of catastrophe (both so-called natural and human-mediated disasters, including post-conflict situations) to promote and empower a range of private, neoliberal capitalist interests” (Sculler 2008: 20).
Schuller uses this framework of disaster capitalism to explain how Haiti’s infrastructure was predisposed and vulnerable to the market-driven strategies of private organizations, and ultimately worsened the situation in Haiti.
Schuller, Mark, and Pablo Morales, Eds. (2012). Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake. Virginia, Kumarian Press.
Schuller and Morales explore the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. Through the lens of structural violence, these editors analyze power structures, economic policies, and humanitarian aid interventions that have attempted, but often failed, to rebuild Haiti. A main focus of Tectonic Shifts is the vulnerability of Haiti’s infrastructure as a result of neoliberal globalization. Schuller explains the disconnect between NGOs, the Haitian government, and international actors, which he believes is why so little aid has reached the most vulnerable. Schuller specifically analyzes the human rights violations of internally displaced peoples (IDP) living in camps. He explains the false hope and unsustainable interventions that NGOs create in the camps by providing Haitian perspectives on the deplorable living conditions.
Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy. Mark Schuller and Renée Bergan. Tét Ansanm Productions.
As co-producer and co-director of the film, Schuller considers this as one of his most inspirational works yet. The film follows the lives of five Haitian women to share their stories on the effects of neoliberal globalization. The medium of film allows for the voices of Haitian women to reach the greater public, which challenges the perceptions that the rest of the world may hold of Haiti. By engaging with the poor and vulnerable of Haiti, this film serves as vehicle for self-empowerment and future action.
Articles and Blogs
Schuller, Mark 2010. “Haiti’s Disaster after the Disaster: The IDP Camps and Cholera.” Journal of Humanitarian Assistance.: 1-28.
Published in the Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, this article presents the failures in rebuilding Haiti after the earthquake. Schuller analyzes how the poorest civilians who live in the IDP camps do not receive aid, which exacerbates the terrible living conditions and violates human rights. To gather data, Schuller sent assistants into the field with surveys to garner quantifiable data. He then followed up with at least one site visit. Through his research he discovered that unlivable physical conditions of the camps. The lack of toilets, in which 30% of camps did not have toilets at all, increased issues of sanitation and drainage. Moreover, the 41% of camps did not have a water supply and over 70% of Haitian people did not have regular access to treatable water. These are the prime conditions in which cholera brews, making the “disaster after the disaster” predictable and concerning.
Schuller, Mark 2011. “Met Ko Veye Ko: Foreign Responsibility in the failure to protect against cholera and other man-made disasters.” New York, York College.
As a follow-up to the report “Unstable Foundations”, Schuller produced this report as a call to the international community on how they are contributing to the proliferation of the cholera disaster – and how they could potentially halt it. With a list of policy recommendations, Schuller explains how structural issues of Haiti had been worsened by the earthquake. In addition to framing the cholera conditions in the IDP camps, Schuller focuses on the lack of communication between NGO organizations, international humanitarian organizations, and the Haitian government.
Shuller, Mark 2011. “The Shell Game of Haiti’s Reconstruction” Counterpunch, Retrieved March 16, 2012 from the World Wide Web: http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/02/11/the-shell-game-of-haiti-s-reconstruction/.
This Huffington Post article highlights the key points of Schuller’s report “Mey Kot Veye Ko”. He begins the post by comparing how the international community is taking advantage of the Haitian poor, just as con-artists choose the most vulnerable targets on the streets of New York. Schuller expresses the pertinent need of aid delivery in coordination with NGOS and the Haitian government. While NGOs are recorded for donating, the lack of coordination and transparency has prevented the aid from reaching the people who need it most.