Current Student Research

Tyler Adkins

Tyler Adkins— B.A. Duke University, Slavic and Eurasian Studies, MSC The London School of Economics, Social Anthropology

I am a PhD student in Princeton’s department of Anthropology, where I study southern Siberia (specifically Altai Krai and Altai Republic) as well as the anthropology of food and eating, kinship, and anthropological theory. At this juncture in my research, I’m interested in how people in southern Siberia experience and respond to the unpredictable, recalcitrant nature of the material “stuff” in their lives, especially the ever-changing organic matter of food and drink. Along these lines, I am curious about the ways in which people respond to the material qualities of food by storing, fermenting, drying, smoking, salting, freezing, selling, sharing, discarding, and—of course—eating it. Relatedly I am also interested in the anthropology of the senses, especially questions of how such intimately private, subjective experiences as taste, touch, and smell affect human sociality. On a theoretical level, I am interested in contemporary materialist and realist philosophical projects, as well as early twentieth century materialisms, especially those articulated by Soviet and French avant-garde movements. I am similarly intrigued by the imbrications between psychoanalysis (particularly in the object-relations tradition), continental philosophy, and ethnographic theory in thinking about—as well as actually carrying out— the ethnographic process.

Celeste Alexander

Celeste Alexander works at the intersection of political anthropology, the anthropology of development, and environmental anthropology. Her fieldwork concerns political possibilities and limitations presented by community conservation and related development projects in north-western Tanzania. Working with institutional actors who mediate engagements between, on the one hand, peoples living outside of protected areas, and on the other, a diverse set of regulatory actors, development practitioners, and private investors, her research explores competing notions of community and democratic governance in a context of increasing calls for decentralization. In particular, she is interested in processes by which claims to authority, to land, to livelihoods, and to development in various capacities are asserted, assumed, or subdued.

Kessie Alexandre

Kessie Alexandre is a third year student whose research is concerned with water contamination and environmental exposure resulting from aging and failing infrastructures in the United States. In her fieldwork, she explores how inadequate water systems are locally experienced and follows various efforts to address these water issues through a combination of technoscience, environmentalism, and community engagement in Newark. Broadly, she is interested in what can be gleaned about embodied exposure, social justice work, and political imaginaries of public works and public space from the current state of American water infrastructures and its confluences with social movements. Prior to coming to Princeton, she received a B.A. in Public Health Studies and Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University.

Quincy Amoah

Quincy is concerned with questions of cosmology and ontology and with interpretative approaches in medical anthropology and political ecology. Quincy plans to study the anthropology of gastrointestinal infections, excreta and dirt. He is interested in notions of dirt and their corresponding relations to order, space and politics, particularly in pastoral Nilotic communities in Kenya.

Nicole Berger

Nicole Berger is interested in human rights discourse, nationalism(s), and international migration. She plans to explore these issues in fieldwork with the Sri Lankan Tamil community in Paris, France. She holds a graduate certificate in International Cultural Studies and an MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Hannah Bradley

I am interested broadly in anthropologies of knowledge, science, and religion. I am interested in the role of religion in scientific knowledge production: both in scientific epistemology as well as socially/politically in scientific communities. I am also interested in conceptions of “indigenous” anthropology and “Islamic” anthropology. Geographically, I am interested in MENA, specifically Morocco, and plan to explore fieldsites there to pursue my main interests. I was also born and raised in Alaska, and have continued interest in Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in public policy and in community museums there. 

Grace Carey

Grace Carey is interested in the convergences of space, corporeality, and spirituality. While her interests sometimes appear divergent - from emphases on politics of space and racial dynamics in post-industrial Rust Belt cities to the emergence of charismatic Catholicism as a political movement - she in entrenched in the multitudinous connections between these points of experience and is interested in pursuing questions of religious community building in the United States.

Jessica Cooper

Jessica Cooper is a fifth year graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. Her dissertation examines the systems of evidence and ethics practiced in two mental health courts in Northern California. Mental health courts are novel criminal courtrooms that aspire to move criminal offenders with psychiatric diagnoses out of jails and into community mental health programs that are provided and overseen by the courtroom. In ethnographically documenting the practices of everyday life in two mental health courts and the clinics with which they collaborate, the dissertation explores how social relationships oriented around care between courtroom professionals and offenders both are influenced by and direct criminal justice reform. Jessica holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.A. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.  She is a recipient of the 2016-17 University’s Center for Human Values Fellowship.

Vinicius de Aguiar Furuie

Vinicius de Aguiar Furuie is currently studying river trade in the Xingu river, in the Brazilian Amazonia.  A reader of economic and political anthropology, he is interested in debates about value, exchange, contract, credit, barter, commodity and kinship. He is also fascinated by the history of Amazonia and how it is felt in river life. In previous projects, Vinicius has done ethnographies of antinuclear social movements in Tokyo and media reception in a favela in São Paulo.

Elizabeth Durham

Elizabeth Durham is a second year student whose work examines intersections of affect and materialism in psychopharmaceutical technologies of governance and liberation. Her ethnographic focus is on tensions surrounding the pathologization and pharmaceuticalization of anxiety in Cameroon, West Africa, a target country for recent "Global Mental Health" development initiatives. She received an MPhil in anthropology from the University of Oxford, where she was awarded a Clarendon Scholarship (2015); and was a Fulbright Research Grantee to Cameroon (2012-2013).

Benjamin Fogarty (also known as Benjamin Fogarty-Valenzuela)

Benjamin’s dissertation research focuses on drug consumption and identity-making practices of urban youths who recently ascended to the new middle class in Rio de Janeiro. My project examines the social and political effects of drugs (and their perceived risk), and asks how middle class identity and consumption patterns are being remade through educational interventions and discourses on risk. I aim to explore how new middle class “future of Brazil” youth, articulate their understandings of drugs, “middle classness” and citizenship in relation to drug prevention and discourses on risk, against the backdrop of the ascent of 40 million citizens into Brazil’s new middle class, intergenerational change and the prohibitionist policies of the “War on Drugs.” He has continued to be interested in photographic visual work from earlier research on Christian drug rehabilitation in Guatemala and crack harm reduction in Brazil.

Thalia Gigerenzer

Thalia Gigerenzer is interested in the anthropology of anxiety, moods, wonder, embodiment and intimacy. Her research focuses on changing idioms of stress and well-being in India. Specifically, she is interested in how working-class residents of Delhi articulate their interior lives and re-imagine intimate relations in times of economic and social flux. Before coming to Princeton, Thalia worked as a sound artist and journalist. She is interested in using sound and other media to experiment with ethnographic forms.

Onur Günay

Onur Günay is a post fieldwork student is specializing in cultural, political and economic anthropology with a focus on the Middle East, political Islam, Turkey and Kurds. Based on two years of fieldwork with Kurdish migrant workers in the service and construction sectors of Istanbul’s economy, his dissertation examines the processes by which displaced Kurdish migrants become urban laborers in Istanbul. His writing foregrounds how Kurdish migrant workers articulate their understandings of self, community, and rights in relation to their struggles for economic survival and social mobility—all this in the context of dramatic economic restructuring and the rise of political Islam in Turkey. The ways ethnicity intersects with religion, urban class identities and gender constitute a central concern in his work. Onur is currently writing up and dealing with questions of labor, body, violence, care, desire, masculinity, affect, and political economy.

Onur’s work as a filmmaker is integral to his work as anthropologist and storyteller of the lives of his informants. His last documentary Garod (“Longing” in Armenian) – with ethnomusicologist Burcu Yıldız- portrays the lives and the musical stories of two Armenian American musicians—Onnik and Ara Dinkjian, a father and his son—using their trip to Diyarbekir, the family’s lost hometown as the central narrative arc. Garod focuses on the remaking of a musical tradition and explores the ways in which the Armenian community in the United States coped with pain and loss through music and art. In 2015, Garod became one of the films through which Armenian, Turkish, and Kurdish communities from Turkey, Armenia, Europe, Canada, and the United States commemorated the Armenian Genocide on its centenary, owing to its strong emphasis on hope and the life-making capacities of people in the wake of violent catastrophe.

Eva Harman

Eva Harman's dissertation is a study of the effects of a fourteen-year civil war and post-war social life in Liberia. Her sixteen months of fieldwork in Liberia were supported by the Wenner Gren Foundation. In the field, she moved between households and schools, younger and older generations, market stands and kickball games, palm plantations and movie clubs, school assemblies and story-exchanging sessions, and rural and urban areas. She received support for writing her dissertation from the Fellowship of Woodrow Wilson Scholars and has been an invited guest at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.

Janet Hine

Janet's work is in the anthropology of science. She is particularly interested in ethics, governance and language in relation to biomedicine and biotechnology and in conceptual and cultural issues in the life sciences. She is currently writing her dissertation on the regulation of stem cell research in Canada, focusing on the intersection of institutional research services and scientists' professional practices.

Brandon Hunter

Brandon Hunter is interested in the use of ethnography to explore issues of labor and law in a number of contexts. In the United States, Brandon’s research looks at the development of laws designed to protect individuals from discrimination based on their criminal record and how such laws are situated within larger political movements aimed at reforming prisoner reintegration policy. In Latin America, Brandon’s research examines the role played by organized labor in tourism zones, and explores the way worker organizations shape the lives of the workers they represent. Brandon is broadly focused on the role of work in economic development schemes both in the United States and abroad, paying close attention to the complex ways such schemes use law to create and regulate market conditions.

Kamal Kariem

Kamal’s primary research interests lie at the intersections of indigeneity, Russia, and post-socialism.  Focusing on the Russian Far East (especially Primorsky Krai and the Kamchatka Peninsula), Kamal would like to investigate how official recognition or lack thereof for indigenous populations impacts both the self-construction of their identity and the constructions of these identities produced by ethnic Russians and the state. This interest led Kamal to also investigate the importance of specific others (such as indigenous populations) in creating specific Russian identities. Museum representation is central to this creating these identities, and Kamal's secondary interests include museum representation, the narratives that these representations produce, and the negotiations of these narratives by Russian museum visitors.

Aleksandar Kostić

Aleksandar is interested in migrations, postsocialism, and Central Asia. His dissertation research will be on labor migrations from Kyrgyzstan to Russia, and possibly also on migrations within Kyrgyzstan. He is especially concerned with transformations of family relations in the migratory processes, but also with transformations of the very notions of family, tradition, support. Aleksandar’s other research interests include time, space, border areas between continents, infrastructure, education. He holds an undergraduate degree in sociology from University of Belgrade, Serbia, and an MA in anthropology from University of Sussex, UK. As part of the latter, he conducted ethnographic fieldwork with Serbian migrants in Switzerland, focusing on the infrastructural aspects of building and maintaining transnational social networks

Sarah-Jane Koulen

Sarah-Jane Koulen is a third year student  interested in the development of international criminal jurisdiction, and in particular the establishment of international criminal courts and tribunals with jurisdiction over 'the worst crimes of concern to the international community' (Rome Statute). Her work will be geographically situated in The Hague (The Netherlands) and Arusha (Tanzania), and will attend to the ways in which the practice of international criminal law extends beyond as well as connects institutional and national boundaries. By following and learning from the transnational community of experts who work in the field of international criminal justice, she hopes to contribute to an understanding of how the field works, how experts in the field experience their work, and how transnational legal knowledge and expertise is produced and perpetuated through human labor and commitments. Sarah-Jane holds an LL.M. in Human Rights from SOAS, University of London. 

Karolina Koziol

Karolina Koziol’s research focuses on the development and transformation of border towns and their importance for trade and tourism in the Russian-Chinese borderlands. Her planned fieldsite is the town of Manzhouli in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia and the bordering Zabaykalsk in Russia.  Before coming to Princeton, Karolina lived and studied in Berlin, Germany and Beijing, China.

Karolina received her bachelor’s degree in Asian and African Studies with a minor in gender studies from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany and was a visiting student at the Peking University in Beijing, China in 2012/13.

Kelly McKowen

Kelly is currently conducting fieldwork in Oslo, Norway. His research explores critical economic, demographic, and administrative transformations in the social democratic welfare regime, primarily through the experiences of unemployed users of the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration. Through his research, Kelly aims to not only capture the Norwegian model as a presence rooted in everyday life and shifting beliefs related to work, welfare, the state, dependency, and reciprocity, but also to contribute to the broader development of a distinctive role for anthropology in the interdisciplinary social science of social policy and welfare state studies.

Alexandra Middleton

Alexandra Middleton second year student research interests are situated at the intersections of medical anthropology, mind-body medicine, STS, neuroscience, embodiment, proprioception, and cyborg theory. She studies emerging prosthetic technologies and brain-machine interfaces, exploring how the adoption of nonhuman devices into the human body influences subjectivity, personhood and embodiment. Alexandra is also interested in the moral and political economy of hope and futurity in highly experimental science. Her current work is situated in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Shinjung Nam

Shinny is currently looking at, on the one hand, the revival of humanities scholarship outside the mainstream higher educational institutions in S. Korea and, on the other, its participants' relation to other social movements. She is also interested in the historical comparison of urban space and night-time wherein people in Korea have sought and developed alternative modes of socialization and political subjectivation. Her other interests include study of intellectuals in anthropology, social recognition of crisis or critical events and invention of sacrifice.

Anna Offit

Anna Offit is a fifth year graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. Her dissertation is the first ethnographic study of lay participation and prosecutorial strategy in the American legal system. Her research draws on participant observation— as a lawyer and researcher— in three federal prosecutors’ offices in the Northeast United States. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Anna received a Fulbright grant to explore the comparative implications of this work in Norway, where the jury system will soon be replaced. Anna holds an A.B. from Princeton University, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Lindsay Ofrias

Lindsay examines conflicts around oil and gas development, particularly in the United States and Ecuador. Over the last nine years she has conducted a number of ethnographic investigations focused on debates about toxicity, liability, and human rights in relation to major oil spills. Her investigative work draws from previous experience as a multi-media correspondent out of Ecuador and from various collaborative relationships with non-profit and community-led organizations concerned with peace and justice. She has published with TeleSUR English,, the United Nations Association, and New York University’s Journal of Global Affairs and has provided documentary post-production translation and editing support for Mangusta Productions. Prior to coming to Princeton, she worked on solar energy policy analysis for the City of Boulder and on a multi-disciplinary initiative to research the effects of hydraulic fracturing on Colorado communities at CU-Boulder’s Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences. She received a MA in anthropology with a certificate in environment, policy & society at CU-Boulder. She is currently a Lassen Fellow in Latin American Studies.

Emma Patten

Emma Patten, third year student, is interested in the production and circulation of historical narratives in York, England.  She focuses on how historical society members, museum volunteers and employees, and cathedral volunteers and employees inherit collective memories propagated by institutions; she is especially interested in how these people often contest and reimagine “official” institutional historical narratives, drawing from longstanding local wisdom in creating their own understandings of the past.  She also hopes to extend the anthropological concept of kinship to relationships between the living and the dead in an attempt to explain strong affinities that her interlocutors have with ancestors and historical figures.  

Heath Pearson

Heath Pearson is a fourth year PhD candidate, and an affiliate of the Dept. of African American Studies and the American Studies Program, and a fellow in The Center for the Study of Religion. Thanks to funding from The Wenner-Gren Foundation, he is currently undertaking long-term, ethnographic fieldwork in a county on the East Coast with many ghosts and many prisons, constructing a history of the land and looking at what happens over time to human flesh and identities, perceptions and memories, and examining the dynamics of local institutions, and the apparatuses of local governance around rural prison facilities. His most recent academic article, “The Prickly Skin of White Supremacy,” explores the co-constitution of race and place in Huntington, Indiana, and the many ways racialized violence lingers in the land, and on the skin, throughout multiple generations. His most recent collaborative project is with VICE Media: Weediquette, Season 2, Episode 7, 'Search & Seizure.' He also spends a great deal of time listening to music.

Sofia Pinedo-Padoch

Sofia Pinedo-Padoch is a third year student whose work explores the ethnographic spaces that open up through legal and bureaucratic processes. She is interested in cities, time, death, and the craft of writing ethnography. Sofia is currently conducting fieldwork in New York City, following what happens when individuals pass away without a will or apparent family. 

Sebastian Ramirez

Sebastian Ramirez is interested in the conflation of urban transformation, state intervention, displacement and citizenship. Specifically, I am interested in the ways in which internally displaced persons in Colombia come to occupy and transform spaces in the country's major cities and how their presence dovetails and/or distorts public discourses of violence and reconciliation. Furthermore, I want to explore the ways in which current displacements bring previous histories of forced movement to the fore and how the articulation of these histories can be wielded to produce new claims to citizenship and belonging.

Joel Rozen

Joel Rozen, post-fieldwork student, is a former journalist whose research considers entrepreneurship and matters of neoliberalism, hybridity, and development in Tunisia and around the Mediterranean. More peripherally, his interests include parallel markets, visual media, "crisis" contexts, historiography, and French colonialism. He has published on martyrdom and the informal telling of history following the Tunisian revolution, and on new political leadership after the uprising.

Igor Rubinov

Igor’s research engages environmental anthropology, development studies, migration and silviculture. During 15 months of fieldwork in Tajikistan, he explored how pilot efforts to promote climate change adaptation influenced international development and resource governance. This inquiry led him to investigate the relationship between state and non-state actors and the arts of living that residents employed in the face of institutional shortcomings and widespread transnational migration. This research was funded by the NSF, IREX, SSRC, and the Princeton Environmental Institute. Igor has also conducted research in Kyrgyzstan on the social ramifications of remittances for an MA in International Development and Social Change at Clark University.

Jesse Rumsey-Merlan

Jesse Rumsey-Merlan works on the body, gender relations, class and consumption in India. His current research is on expressions of masculinity in urban India, and the growth of the gym and fitness industry. Previously he has conducted research on popular yoga movements in India and the role of television and new media in these movements. He is also interested in comparative theories of the self across anthropology, psychoanalysis, psychology and religious and gender studies.

Elizabeth (EB) Saldaña

Elizabeth (EB) Saldaña is a first year student whose research interests include restorative approaches in caregiving, state violence and control, youth citizenship and advocacy, and economic transitions in Kentucky. She studies surveillance and youth recidivism in the Kentucky child welfare system, focusing particularly on psychiatric residential treatment facilities. EB uses ethnography to explore affective responses to institutionalization, displacement, and trauma, and narratives of community and recovery among youth with multiple placements. 

Fatima Siwaju

Fatima Siwaju’s research engages with the intersections of religion, race and identity, particularly as they relate to Afro-descendant Muslim communities in the Caribbean. Her theoretical interests include the anthropology of religion, Caribbean intellectual traditions, modern Islamic thought, and postcolonial and diaspora studies.

Fatima holds a BA(Hons) in Modern and Medieval Languages and an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge. She recently completed an MA in Religion (2016) at Syracuse University.

Jagat Sohail

Jagat Sohail is a PhD student at the department of Anthropology. His current research work is on Syrian Refugees in Germany, and is concerned with the way in which political categories of nation, religion, class and gender are mobilized in the constructions of narratives about displacement and xenophobia in Germany. He completed his masters in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics and his previous research includes work on Stand-Up comedy in Delhi and diasporic cultures of Sikh bodybuilders.

Veronica Sousa

Veronica Sousa is a first year PhD student in the Anthropology department at Princeton University. She received her MA in the Anthropology department at The New School for Social Research, and her BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley. Veronica’s current work concerns post-menopausal women in both the Azores Islands and mainland Portugal, and how the economic crisis and unstable state of Portugal have affected their access to healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and social services, such as services for domestic violence survivors, for which elderly women make up the largest demographic. She is interested in how the bodies of elderly women are de-gendered by medicine and by the state, and how compounded forms of marginalization - of violence, poverty, and poor healthcare - are worsened because of this gendering/degendering tension, while also being rendered visible. She is concerned with how gender, aging, and health are reconfigured in political, legal, and medical realms. She is also interested in sexuality, race, migrants, intimacy and affect, and medico-legal histories in this context, as well as kinship and secrecy.

Serena Stein

Serena Stein’s scholarly interests include technologies of care in contexts of global health and humanitarian aid; epistemic communities that shape international development; and politics of commensuration across the ‘Global South.’ Her current research explores the future of food systems, health, and agriculture, drawing particularly from medical anthropology, political ecology, science and technology studies, and critical theory. Serena is conducting field research in Brazil, Mozambique, and the United States on edible oil seeds. Her dissertation traces globalizing food commodities and large-scale infrastructure projects in Northern Mozambique, where international donors and private-public partnerships seek to create an agro-development corridor. Serena holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Phil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford. At Princeton, she has been a fellow in the Systemic Risk and Global Brazil research programs. She also received an advanced certificate in Health and Health Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School.

Shreya Subramani

Shreya works at the intersection of visual anthropology, political anthropology and STS. Shreya is pursuing research interested in the relationships between urban infrastructure and the criminal justice system, specifically within the contexts of water management and reentry labor. Her ethnographic research explores how data logics are experienced as modes of urban governance. She focuses on the concepts of risks and resilience that characterize municipal initiatives in the city of New Orleans and traces the emergent dynamics between design practices and surveillance technologies.

William Vega

William Vega works on handicap accessibility and caretaking in France, where he explores the relationships that develop between the handicapped and their at-home caretakers. A central concern of the work is asking what happens when care and empathy are envisioned as a service and how these feed into larger debates in France and beyond about notions of autonomy, care, and advocacy. France’s commitment to social care has created the possibility for access to at-home care in ways unimaginable in the US, except among the especially wealthy; yet this very commitment leads to fraught and contradictory relationships when liberal individuality is brought into question by the necessity for dependence on another, whether that other is envisioned as a caretaker or the state itself. In light of the post-colonial context in which largely West and North African immigrants migrate in order to care for French nationals, notions of dependence and vulnerability also demand special attention. Other interests include phenomenology, ethics, and fieldwork methods.

Alexander Wamboldt

Alexander Wamboldt (post-fieldwork) works on law, kinship, and ritual in Israel. He examines the confluence of neoliberal lifestyles and romantic ideals with legal and religious regimes upon the lived experiences of individuals and families. He is interested in how people navigate their personal trajectories through these institutions throughout their lifetimes, and how these choices affect the nation-state, governance, Judaism as a religion and as a culture, gender, ritual meaning, and the assemblage of the social.