Alyssa A.L. James

Alyssa A.L. James

Research Sub-interest

Political Ecology, Landscape History, Critical Agrarian Studies, Commodities and Trade, Cultural Memory


Caribbean; Martinique


Originally from Toronto, Canada, Alyssa completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. Prior to earning her master’s in Social Anthropology at York University, she lived abroad in Martinique and London. Her proposed research follows the progress of Martinique’s nascent Legacy Coffee Project, which she situates within broader historical and contemporary cultural narratives and economic and political relationships. She asks, what emerges and what is covered over when global forces plant themselves—literally and figuratively—into local landscapes? What is at stake in looking to a colonial past to create a future that is imagined as sustainable, prosperous, and autonomous? This research will address how the re-emergence of this agricultural commodity has sparked a reckoning with a colonial past, the transformation of forms of collective memory, and how these changes articulate to shape Martinique’s imagined social, political, and economic future. Prior to beginning at Columbia University, Alyssa was a freelance journalist and content marketing writer living between Lausanne and Barcelona.


York University, MA in Social Anthropology, 2017
University of Toronto, BS in Psychology and Equity Studies, 2011

2018. "Racism in Switzerland: ‘People of colour are automatically perceived as foreigners.’" The Local.

2012. "Breaking All the Rules." Teaching Education 23, no. 1: 1-8.