Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Kessie Alexandre

Assistant Professor, Geography
University of Washington


CSDE Research Areas:

  • Environments and Populations
  • Health of People and Populations

Kessie Alexandre’s research organizes around questions of public health risk and ethics; environmental racism; climate justice and the social implications of climate change adaptation; Black geographies and diaspora; and the politics and ethics of infrastructure. Alexandre’s research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Princeton Environmental Institute and Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. She published recent work in Geoforum and Current Anthropology.

Her first book project, “Floods and Fountains,” is an ethnographic study of water insecurity and civic participation in Newark, New Jersey, which uncovers concurrent processes of racialization and toxification in a period of industrial waterway pollution, climate change vulnerability, and tap water contamination. Looking beyond the Newark Lead Crisis, the project examines how residents have mobilized around unsafe water flows since the Black Power Movement and how water insecurity continues to shape political subjectivities and social relations in the moment of ongoing crisis.

Her other research projects include a long-term study of water and sanitation access in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and cholera outbreak. This second project reframes water and land access for Haitians from disaster response to legacies of dispossession and ongoing infrastructural development. Lastly, she is writing on the figure of the “climate refugee” in contemporary discourse and its convergence with racialization at borders in various parts of the Americas.

Originally from Miami, Florida, Professor Alexandre attended Johns Hopkins University and completed her PhD at Princeton University. Beyond her academic life, she enjoys nature walks, herbalism, and listening to soul music and its derivatives.