S2 E3: How We Tell the Story of Disaster

Natural hazards are among the biggest threats climate change poses to cultural heritage. In this episode, Dr. Crystal Felima talks to host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo about her path from academia to FEMA and how her identity informs her work as a disaster anthropologist and emergency manager. Tune in to hear about Crystal’s work in Haiti and Puerto Rico, and her thoughts on the relationship between culture and resilience, models of collaboration, and why it matters how we tell the story of disaster.  

Link to transcript

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Crystal Felima in this interview are hers alone and do not necessarily represent those of FEMA.

Nicole Ferraiolo

Nicole Kang Ferraiolo

Show Host

Nicole Kang Ferraiolo is CLIR’s director of global strategic initiatives. She was previously a program officer for CLIR’s regranting and fellowship programs. Prior to that, Nicole worked at Columbia University where she oversaw several projects including an interdisciplinary research program on global governance that focused in turn on nuclear proliferation, pandemics, religious conflict, and climate change. 

Crystal Felima

Crystal Felima


 Crystal Felima is a cultural anthropologist working at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and an adjunct professor at Trinity Washington University. She holds a Master’s in Africana Studies from Cornell University and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida, with Graduate Certificates in Disaster and Emergency Management and Latin American Studies. Themes of her research include decolonization, governance, structural inequalities and agency in the Caribbean. Dr. Felima surveys anthropological approaches and social science concepts to consider topics in disaster studies. She is particularly interested in ethnographic descriptions of environmental crises via narrative research.

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