Brett Robert

Picture of bearded man at dusk on a patio in Baillif, Guadeloupe.

Ph.D. StudentPerry World House Graduate Associate 2019-2020

20th Century Caribbean and Latin America

My research focuses on a massive hurricane that killed thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, and left hundreds of thousands homeless in September of 1928 as it trailed destruction throughout the Caribbean, from Guadeloupe, to Puerto Rico, and finally Florida. Depicted in novels, songs, and paintings, the storm was known by many names, Cyclone '28, San Felipe, and the Okeechobee Hurricane among them. Alongside these cultural sources my research analyzes scientific papers, government records, relief organization records, and oral histories in French, English, and Spanish to grapple with the legacies of this tempest. 

My interest in transnational histories that link Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States began during my M.A. work at the California State University Northridge. While there I investigated the local impact of the opening of the Panama Canal on the growth of the City of Los Angeles, including its annexation of San Pedro and Wilmington and the creation of a Harbor Department to reshape the city's economy and spur industrial growth.

I have presented at the Latin American Studies Association Congress, Pacific Coast Branch Conference of the American Historical Association, the Whitsett Graduate Seminar, and the Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean conference. 

Advisor: Ann Farnsworth-Alvear

Education

M.A. in History, University of Pennsylvania, 2019.
M.A. in History, California State University Northridge, 2017.
B.A. in History, Sonoma State University, 2012.

Research Interests

Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Florida, 20th Century, Caribbean, Latin America, Environmental History, Disasters, Latin America-United States Relations, Latin American Art History, Decolonization, Oral History

Courses Taught

Teaching Assistant or Grader for: History 070 - Colonial Latin America; History 174 - Capitalism, Socialism, and Crisis in the Twentieth-Century Americas; History 155 - Introduction to Asian American History

Selected Publications

"Home and History: Twentieth-Century Cuba in the Landscapes of Roger Toledo" https://www.soycubapaintings.com/home-and-history-brett-robert

Affiliations

Latin American Studies Association
Caribbean Studies Association
American Historical Association