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Matthew Plishka

Matthew Plishka (email)

Dr. Matthew Plishka is a Collaborative Humanities Postdoctoral Program Fellow (Environmental Track; 2022-2025) at Vanderbilt University. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Pittsburgh with specializations in Environmental and Latin American/Caribbean History along with the Digital Humanities. Dr. Plishka works at the intersection of social and environmental history to examine how marginalized communities navigate ecological crises. His book project, “Cycles of Crisis and Adaptation: A Multispecies Political Ecology of Late-Colonial Jamaica, 1870-1960,” explores how Afro-Jamaican smallholders navigated a series of economic and ecological crises, particularly the banana-crop killing fungus known as Panama Disease.

He uses the framework of multispecies political ecology to examine the spread of Panama Disease on the island and the ways that smallholders, planters, and colonial officials responded to the disease. His teaching interests include Environmental History, Latin American and Caribbean History, World History, and Environmental Justice.