As a human geographer, I have a broad interest in nature-society relations. My research is situated at the nexus of critical development studies, human-environment geography and political economy, with a focus on the Caribbean. My focus is largely developmental, and so most of my research to date have centered on the economic and social implications of wider-scale global market and environmental change on the Caribbean. I am also a strong believer in interdisciplinary research, evident in the range of topics I have investigated over the past few years, using a range of research methods, and my collaboration with colleagues from diverse academic backgrounds — cutting across the humanities, social and natural sciences. While I have a fairly wide academic interest and have worked on a range of topics related to sustainable development, global change, rural agriculture and food (in)security, my core research principles and epistemological underpinnings are rooted in the discipline of human geography.
Current research centers on the socioeconomic, environmental, and justice implications of global change for small and developing states and territories in the Caribbean. A major thrust of this research is to expand and enhance the literature on climate change for the Caribbean, highlighting the shifting and highly uneven nature of the region’s vulnerability within the context of its longstanding and continued exposure to forces of global economic and environmental change. While it is generally recognized that climate change poses a serious threat for the Caribbean as a whole, it is becoming more and more evident that the impacts of climate change will not be uniformly felt across the region. This is demonstrated in my peer-reviewed article in Geography Compass (Rhiney 2015) that provides a critical review of the existing climate change impacts literature for the Caribbean. By drawing on, and taking stock of this growing body of impact studies, the paper sheds light on the differential and multi-scalar drivers of social and economic vulnerabilities to climate variability and change in the Caribbean as well as highlight some of the existing knowledge gaps that need to be addressed. Particular attention is paid to both the practical and discursive dimensions of vulnerability, and the specific ways the term has been understood and framed in relation to other crosscutting themes such as adaptation and resilience in the broader academic literature.
I have sought to expand this line of research by focusing on potential response pathways to climate change impacts amongst Caribbean farmers through science-based and community level research (see, for example, Rhiney et al. 2016; Guido et al. 2018). This is part of a conscious and deliberate attempt to broaden the discourse on Caribbean vulnerability to include overlapping and cross-cutting issues of adaptation, resilience and transformation. The main aim of this strand of research is to help decision makers throughout the Caribbean to define feasible intervention programs for the region's agriculture sector (including the identification of resistant crop varieties and enhancing the application of climate services), paying particular attention to small and medium scale farmers, who are deemed to be amongst the most vulnerable in the region. A key aspect of this research has been its interdisciplinary and collaborative focus. And almost all of these initiatives have involved scientific research that has been funded by external grants.
I am an editorial board member for the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers Wiley Book Series and serve on the editorial advisory committee for the Caribbean Geography Journal. I am also serving as a contributing author for the IPCC Special Report on 1.5C.
- Lester, S. & Rhiney, K. 2018. Going beyond basic access to improved water sources: Towards deriving a water accessibility index, Habitat International HAB1852
- Tomlinson, J. & Rhiney, K. 2018. Experiential learning as a tool for farmer engagement and empowerment in a changing regional climate, Caribbean Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1080/00086495.2018.1435342
- Tomlinson, J. & Rhiney, K. 2018. Assessing the Role of Farmer Field Schools in Promoting Pro-Adaptive Behavior and Attitude Toward Climate Change in Jamaica, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 8(1): 86-98.
- Guido, Z., Finan, T., Rhiney, K., Roundtree, V., Johnson, E. & McCook, G. 2017. The stresses and dynamics of smallholder coffee systems in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains: A case for the potential role of climate services, Climatic Change, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2125-7
- Rhiney, K., Eitzinger, A., Farrell, A.D. & Taylor, M.A. 2017. Assessing the vulnerability of Caribbean farmers to climate change impacts: a comparative study of cocoa farmers in Jamaica and Trinidad. In E. Thomas-Hope (Ed.) Climate Change and Food Security: Africa and the Caribbean. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 59-69.
- Barker, D., McGregor, D., Rhiney, K. & T. Edwards. 2016. Global Change and the Caribbean: Adaptation and Resilience. Kingston: The University of the West Indies Press
- Beckford, C. & Rhiney, K. 2016. Globalization, Agriculture and Food in the Caribbean: Climate Change, Gender and Geography. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
- Rhiney, K., Campbell, D. & Barker, D. 2016. Geographies of Vulnerability and Resilience of Rural Farming Communities in Jamaica to Climate Variability and Change: A Comparative Analysis. In D. Barker, D. McGregor, K. Rhiney & T. Edwards (Eds.), Global Change and the Caribbean: Adaptation and Resilience. Kingston: The University of the West Indies Press, pp. 89-114.
- Baptiste, A.K. & Rhiney, K. 2016. Climate justice and the Caribbean: An introduction, Geoforum 73 (1), pp. 17-21
- Rhiney, K. 2016. From Plantations to Services: A Historical and Theoretical Assessment of the Transition from Agrarian to Service-based Industries in the Caribbean. In C. Beckford and K. Rhiney (Eds.) Globalization, Agriculture and Food in the Caribbean: Climate Change, Gender and Geography. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, pp. 23-50.
- Beckford, C & Rhiney, K. 2016. Geographies of Globalization, Climate Change, Food and Agriculture in the Caribbean. In C. Beckford and K. Rhiney (Eds.) Globalization, Agriculture and Food in the Caribbean: Climate Change, Gender and Geography. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, pp. 3-22
- Beckford, C & Rhiney, K. 2016. Future of Food and Agriculture in the Caribbean in the Context of Climate Change and Globalization: Where Do We Go from Here? In C. Beckford and K. Rhiney (Eds.) Globalization, Agriculture and Food in the Caribbean: Climate Change, Gender and Geography. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, pp. 267-295
- Smith, R. & Rhiney, K. 2015. Climate Change, Vulnerability, Land and Livelihoods: The case of the Black Caribs in Northeastern St. Vincent, Geoforum 73 (1), pp. 22-31
- Rhiney, K. 2015. Geographies of Vulnerability in a Changing Climate: Lessons from the Caribbean, Geography Compass, 9(3), pp. 97-114.
** My publications can be accessed via ResearchGate. See my CV for full list of publications.
381:101 Introduction to Environmental Studies
450:311 Natural Hazards and Disasters
450:335 Caribbean Borderlands
450:602 Research Design (Graduate Seminar)
Zoe Alexander, MA (current, co-advising with Richard Schroeder)
Tashanna Walker, Ph.D. (current)