Selected Publications and Films


Standing in the Need: Culture, Comfort, and Coming Home After Katrina. University of Texas Press. Browne’s new book is based on 8 years of ethnographic research with an African American family of 150 members. The book documents the struggles to remake life on the bayou outside New Orleans after family members returned to their ruined communities. The story reveals the unnecessary difficulties produced by a cultural gap between local residents and the outsider recovery groups who controlled the recovery process. The result of this gap left people with no way to help themselves or feel a sense of control. Published in association with the Social Science Research Council’s “Katrina Bookshelf,” a series of seven books devoted to investigating the human impacts of Katrina. Research funded by grants from National Science Foundation and Colorado State University. Already in second printing (April 2015)

Economics and Morality: Anthropological Approaches. 2009. AltaMira Press, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. Conceived and edited by Katherine Browne and Lynne Milgram. Includes extensive 40-page introduction by Browne reviewing ideas of the “moral economy” and how moral frameworks guide differently configured economic systems including Islamic-run economic states, reciprocity-based small-scale societies, newly commodifying societies, societies practicing welfare state capitalism and those moving to American and British-style neoliberal capitalism. Contributors connect their original data from around the world to these ideas in 11 additional chapters.

Creole Economics: Caribbean Cunning Under the French Flag. 2004. University of Texas Press. Browne draws on a decade of ethnographic fieldwork and interview data from all socioeconomic sectors in Martinique (French Caribbean) to question the common understanding of informal economies as culture-free, survival strategies of the poor. She suggests that residents’ choice to decline sovereignty from France reflects the same clear-headed and morally-legitimated opportunism that defines successful, crafty, and illicit entrepreneurs who work off the books today. Research funded by National Science Foundation.

Palm Tree


Lifting the Weight of History: Women Entrepreneurs in Martinique/Au Tournant de l’Histoire: Les Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises en Martinique. 2010. Documentary film release of two DVD set, one in French, one with English subtitles and narration. Produced, researched, and written by Katherine Browne. Filmed, directed, and edited by Ginny Martin, independent filmmaker (30 minute versions of each). Funded by National Science Foundation. Lifting the Weight of History tells the story of how entrepreneurial women who are descended from slaves are confronting the difficult legacies of their Creole history, a history that has tainted islanders’ perception of the private sector. Afro-Caribbean majorities (90%) of Martinique have been the laborers for a tiny minority of whites (1%). The film focuses on five women and their families to show how, in the midst of global challenges, French Caribbean female business owners are helping their societies lift that weight of history by bringing new management styles and people-centered approaches to doing business.

Still Waiting: Life After Katrina. 2007. One-hour documentary film broadcast on PBS stations in the US and Canada. Conceived and organized by Kate Browne, Afro-Creole specialist, and developed in creative collaboration with two-time Emmy winning filmmaker Ginny Martin. The film tracks the experiences of a family of 150 African-Americans from St. Bernard Parish for 18 months following Hurricane Katrina. Still Waiting was first broadcast in 2007 and successively rebroadcast on many of these stations near the anniversary date of Katrina (August 29). Funded by National Science Foundation, Colorado State University and Women in Film. Still Waiting documents the remarkable story of resilience, family, and attachment to place. Issues of race, gender, family, food and faith are integral to the content. For reviews and to order a DVD, see



Beyond the IRB: An Ethical Toolkit for Long-term Disaster Research. 2014. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. Co-author, Lori Peek. 32(1): 82-120. In this 18,000 word article, Browne and Peek lay out the ethical blindspots of conducting longterm disaster work. They discuss the philosophical groundings that inform human subjects protocols and how common ethical dilemmas occur outside the usual IRB concerns. They show how W.D. Ross’ pluralist approach can help researchers increase their ethical awareness and actions in the field, and use six examples from their respective research to demonstrate its value.

Standing in the Need: Communication Failures that Increased Suffering After Katrina. 2013. Anthropology Now, a new, peer-reviewed public anthropology journal, print and online. Featured article. Spring 2013. Article offers the voices of family members who needed help but (see book description) who, in various ways, were silenced by the recovery orthodoxy of outsiders.            

Other peer-reviewed journal articles have appeared in such journals as Gender & Society, Human Organization, Ethnohistory, Research in Economic Anthropology. For further information, see Browne’s CV.