Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Raja H. Swamy

Committee Members

De Ann Pendry, Tamar Sharinian


This project addresses how neoliberal expansion complicates disaster recovery for queer communities in an urban context looking specifically at how disasters, disease, and marginalization operate as interlocking systems of oppression for queer people in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. This research draws upon anthropological studies of disasters, urban studies, critical medical anthropology, and queer theory to employ a queer political ecology that combines understandings of disasters and diseases as socio-political and ecological phenomena with queerness as a set of culturally constructed vulnerabilities that carry embodied effects. Starting from the understanding that disasters more heavily impact groups that already face some form of social or economic marginalization, this project focuses on the Montrose, Houston’s most prominent queer neighborhood, as a community that has struggled with gentrification prior to Harvey as well as the impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In this context, this project explores how interrelated structural and environmental crises are exacerbated not only by Hurricane Harvey but by neoliberal social and economic policies during the disaster recovery process.

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