Ayah Abo-Basha received an MA in anthropology from the American University in Cairo and a BA in anthropology with honors from Washington University in St. Louis. She was awarded a post-MA Mellon fellowship by the Humanities and Social Sciences Lab at the American University in Cairo and spent two months as a visiting fellow at the University of Witwatersrand’s City Institute. Ayah is interested in the enmeshments of individuals and collectives within urban landscapes, and the experiments in caregiving and homemaking amidst conditions of precarity produced and co-produced by the carceral state. Her research traces how the presence of prisons in people’s relationships reconfigures sociality in ways that involve neoliberal adjustment programs, moralizing discourses around security, and a structure of feeling defined by political depression following a transnational moment of uprisings. Ayah’s thinking and writing has moved between different “post” cities of the Global South (post- Oslo, post-apartheid, post-colonial), and extends from previous research on the genealogy of individual and collective hunger-strikes in Israel-Palestine.
Current Student Research
Tyler Adkins' dissertation project ethnographically examines the temporalities and materialities of forms of life in Russia’s Altai republic. Based on his long-term participant observation of farmers from the Altai national group in rural areas of Siberia’s Altai Mountains, Adkins' dissertation asks how the material forms of Soviet and post-Soviet history are entangled with the historical consciousness and everyday life of Altai people. While previous studies of the material legacies of Soviet socialism have emphasized rupture, discontinuity, and a present nostalgia for an irretrievable past, this project examines the changes in post-Soviet Altai everyday life not as radical breaks, but rather as situational changes and redeployments of a repertoire of long-standing material forms and practices. Adkins' research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Cohen-Tucker Dissertation Research Fellowship, and most recently a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.
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.
Mai K. Alkhamissi is a second-year PhD student with an MA in Anthropology and Cultural Politics from Goldsmiths and a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from the American University in Cairo. Mai has done fieldwork in Cairo from 2011 to 2013 on a project called the Imagination of the Political researching independent trade unions and artists who chose to display their art in public spaces. She taught introduction to Sociology at the American University in Cairo this past academic year. She did her MA fieldwork in 2013-2014 with craftsmen in Darb el Ahmar area of Cairo where she looked at how their methods of organizing impacts her understanding of what democracy is and different definitions of the political.
Lucas E. Allegretti Prates received his LL.B. from the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil, and his LL.M. with Distinction in Human Rights from Birkbeck, University of London. His main research interests are related to legal and political anthropology, especially regarding the use of law (and its inherent violence) as a weapon to persecute opponents due to political, social and/or economic reasons (‘lawfare’). In the past decade Lucas has worked in the Brazilian civil society, researching and advocating for human rights at local, national and international levels. He has experience with issues ranging from urban planning to food policies, having worked alongside indigenous peoples, landless workers and traditional communities. In addition to that, Lucas has served as a National Counselor for the Brazilian Council of Food Security and Nutrition (CONSEA). He is also a lawyer registered in the Brazilian Bar Association and a Lassen Fellow at the Program of Latin American Studies (2019-2020).
Hannah Bradley is a PhD candidate in Anthropology, interested broadly in anthropologies of knowledge production, landscape, and material history. Her current research involves multiplicities of understanding of place and natural rhythms in rural Alaska, looking at how field biologists, cowboys, and other locals embody knowledges about annual and generational changes in light, tide, and climate. Her other interests attend to the contested borders of cultural, biological, and archaeological anthropology, centering around engagements with animal bodies in natural history museum collections. Hannah holds a B.A. in Human Biology from Scripps College
Max A. Cohen is a PhD candidate in Anthropology who studies technological and economic cultures in the contemporary United States. His dissertation is an ethnographic study of the U.S. startup economy. Max’s research with its participants, especially San Francisco Bay Area venture capital investors and tech workers, engages themes such as value and values, technology and time, autonomy and automation, speculation and optimization.
In 2012, he received his bachelor’s in Business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he minored in Urban Studies. Assisting Caitlin Zaloom’s research for her book, Indebted (Princeton UP, 2019), from 2014-15 Max recruited, conducted, and analyzed seventy-five in-depth interviews on personal finance among families in the U.S. He received his MA in Social & Cultural Analysis in 2017 from New York University in the American Studies Program, where he co-organized the conferences Security & Freedom and Ecologies of the Future Present. He received an MA in Anthropology from Princeton in 2020.
Ipsita Dey received her BS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2017. While an undergraduate, Dey also minored in Anthropology and conducted extensive ethnographic work for her Departmental Honors thesis. She studied the post-traumatic process of psychological recovery and identity reconstruction among South Asian domestic violence survivors in Manchester, UK. Dey hopes to continue her studies on South Asian diasporic communities in her future work in Uganda, where she will research generational narratives of political trauma and transnational expressions of identity within Ugandan-Indian communities. Broadly, Dey is interested in psychoanalysis and anthropology, cultural phenomenology, and intersubjectivity. She is looking forward to incorporating visual and audio media in her anthropological research and outreach.
Elizabeth Durham is a sixth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her academic interests include but are not limited to the social life of medicine, the politics of responsibility, affective and material agencies, and the ethics of social science research and collaboration in clinical and humanitarian settings. Her dissertation, “The Post-Asylum Good Life: Keeping Time with Psychiatry, Pentecostalism, and Political Mobilization in Yaoundé, Cameroon," examines how psychiatric patients in Yaoundé learn to relate the management of time to the pursuit of mental health, and to navigate upon discharge competing frameworks of time and wellbeing in clinical, religious, and political venues across the city. Her dissertation research was supported by a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship and a Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant; and her current dissertation writing, by a Laurance S. Rockefeller Graduate Prize Fellowship.
Before coming to Princeton, she received an M.Phil. in Anthropology from the University of Oxford (2015), where she was awarded a Clarendon Scholarship; and a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology and French/Francophone Studies from Carleton College (2012). She also held a Fulbright IIE Research Grant to Cameroon from 2012 to 2013.
Wei Gan comes to Princeton with a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Duke University, for which she completed an ethnography of conspiracy theorists in Texas. After spending some years bartending and running a vegan ice cream company in New York City, she is now a second-year PhD student working on a project related to Chinese and Chinese-American philanthropy. Her research explores the interpenetrating fields of philanthropy, charity, nonprofits, and NGOs, and the ways in which these sectors emerge at the borders of the social and operate in relation to state and global ideologies. Of particular interest are the circuitries of sociopolitical visions, moral and ethical economies, and humanitarian reason woven through public interest projects, and the underlying hope of practitioners to recapture the political and bring into being their dreams of something more meaningful.
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.
Max Horder is currently working on populism in the United Kingdom. His ethnographic research engages questions of political affiliation, subjectivity and the nation. Broadly, he is interested by the ways in which Brexit is reshaping British citizenship and the change in party affiliation that this monumental process brings with it. Previously, he completed his MPhil at the University of Cambridge and his BSc at the London School of Economics.
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.
Hazal Hürman received her BA in Political Science and International Relations from Marmara University, Istanbul. She earned her MA in Political Science from Central European University, Budapest and MS in Sociology from Texas A&M University. Hazal’s research interests are situated at the crossroads of legal anthropology, political violence, post-coloniality and anthropology of children and youth. Broadly, she is interested in the ways in which penal and spatial configurations of state power affect the children of subaltern communities in internal colonies. Focusing on the disproportionate penalization of Kurdish children in the context of the re-intensification of state violence towards Kurds in Turkey, Hazal hopes to explore the ways in which state sovereignty is re/produced and challenged by meaning-making practices and counter actions of the children navigating between penal discipline and necro-politics.
Luke Johnson is a PhD student in cultural anthropology at Princeton University. His dissertation explores the alimentary dimensions of racial fetishism in Paris, France. The project explores the relationship between foreign food and foreign flesh as perceived by white French subjects. More broadly, Luke's research interests include psychological and linguistic anthropology, psychoanalysis, fantasy, race, and cannibalism. Luke graduated from Yale in 2016 with a BA in cultural anthropology.
Monica Joyce received her BA in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from Barnard College and her MA in Latin American Studies and Museum Studies from NYU. She is interested in the intersections of globalization, tourism, urban development, memory, and heritage studies. Her current research focuses on the art world within the port of Rio de Janeiro and how museums are engaging with the colonial histories and racial politics of this region, especially as it relates to narratives of modernization and Brazilian nationhood. In addition to her work in Rio, she has also worked with museums in NYC, specifically in the education and public program sectors.
Kamal Kariem’s primary research interests lie at the intersections of indigeneity, protected areas, Russia, and post-Socialism. He investigates environmental governance through the lens of conservation projects in the Russian Far East (RFE) particularly in Primorskii Krai. In this vein, Kamal grapples with the ways that conservation projects do more that protect biodiversity but also reconfigure social relations, notions of self and tradition, and expand per se beyond conservation. Working with the myriad of actors in conservation projects local and international NGOs, the state (both federal and local manifestations), community organizations, and individuals, he also grapples with how conservation is constitutive of and constituted in fields of power and how these fields of power through conservation projects impact locals—both indigenous and otherwise. Broadly, Kamal’s research interrogates the meaning of environmental governance in Russia in relation to changing forms of subjectification in the Anthropocene.
Navjit Kaur is a doctoral candidate in socio-cultural anthropology and Inter Disciplinary Program in the Humanities. Her dissertation research examines the forms and futures of savings that co-exist- often in contradiction- with the contemporary forms of banking and financial practices in India. Foregrounding, the ‘womanly face of savings’ the dissertation research explores the concept of futurity as it is imagined, speculated and transformed through the myriad forms of savings. These forms- technological, material, cultural- perforce a tenuous relationship between finance and narration as observed through futurity. The dissertation research is an attempt to to pay attention to the futures that could have been and could still be, otherwise, in an increasingly violent techno-political imaginary. As narratability and possibility to narrate ground this dissertation project, Navjit has been learning Persian and Mughal Persian for her upcoming dissertation fieldwork research along with her fluency in Urdu and Punjabi. She is also pursuing Interdepartmental Graduate Certificate Program in History of Science. Prior to joining Princeton, Navjit was a Visiting Professor at the Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, Ambedkar University, Delhi. She also holds a Masters and M.Phil in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.
Aleksandar Kostić studies environmentalist activism and the state in Kyrgyzstan. He is looking at a network of environmentalist organizations operating in the western part of Kyrgyzstan. On the one hand, Aleksandar hopes to learn more about how these activists became interested in trying to end certain practices that some of them used to engage in themselves, and about the role of their interactions with the environment (especially deer) and the concepts of Kyrgyzness in this transformation. On the other hand, he hopes to see how the ideas about and the effects of the Kyrgyz state are produced in the triangle between the local environmentalists, international NGOs, and the state officials. Aleksandar’s other research interests include migrations, time, infrastructure, education, kinship, postsocialist postcolonialism, and the postsocialist Europe and Eurasia more generally, especially the Balkans. 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 studies the turn to international criminal prosecution for violations of specific human rights violations and the bureaucratic transnational forms this new field of practice has produced, from courts and tribunals, NGOs and civil society organizations to independent evidence collectors and forensic training institutes. Sarah-Jane spent over two years conducting ethnographic research with lawyers and practitioners in the international justice community in The Hague, New York, Arusha, Sarajevo and Kosovo. Centrally, she is interested in the effort to mobilize the logic of criminal law and individual criminal prosecutions as a form of humanitarian intervention for mass conflict. Sarah-Jane holds an LL.M. in Human Rights from SOAS, University of London. At Princeton, she is a PIIRS fellow and a Teaching Fellow at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. She also serves as a commissioner on the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO.
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.
Alexandra Middleton is a sixth-year PhD candidate working at the interface of medical anthropology, feminist studies of science and technology, neuroscience, disability studies, embodiment, and sensory studies. Her dissertation, “Designing the Sensory: Neuroprosthetic Relations In-the-Making of Laboratory and Domestic Life,” examines the translation of embodied sensory knowledge into technology and analyzes the role of the home as a key site of science-in-the-making. Alexandra’s ethnographic fieldwork examined two clinical trials in Sweden—one developing brain-controlled prosthetic limbs with sensory feedback and another testing a therapeutic technology to treat phantom limb pain. For two years, she followed patients, engineers, clinicians and devices along the trajectory of translational medicine—laboratory, clinic, industry, and patients’ homes—to understand how humans and machines live with/among/against one another.
Alexandra’s dissertation research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the American-Scandinavian Foundation. She was awarded the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship for 2020-2021, Princeton’s top graduate student honor.
Alexandra holds a BA in cultural anthropology with a minor in neuroscience from Duke University, where she followed pre-medical training. She has conducted prior research in Togo and Brazil. Alexandra is also a documentary photographer and plans to incorporate visual methodology (photography and ethnographic film) into her dissertation.
Cate Morley is excited to begin doctoral study at Princeton, where she seeks to examine humanitarian forensic efforts to identify disappeared migrants in Mexico. Cate comes to Princeton by way of Oxford and King's College London, where she pursued MSc degrees in Refugee & Forced Migration Studies, and Global Health & Social Justice, and a Fulbright year in Colombia. Her previous study, which explored how filmmakers and photographers relate to their refugee subjects in the production of humanitarian imagery, revealed to her the intimate materiality of care; her participants demonstrated how ethics and aesthetics coalesce in their work through the technologies they employ. Such revelations bolster her belief that attention to objects and relations can elaborate the circuits of care through which forensic practitioners and families of the disappeared articulate alternative modes of existence, mourning, and politics. Cate maintains a broader interest in literature, film and photography, and hopes to explore, in the coming years, how such practices might help to illuminate unlived experience.
Lindsay Ofrias is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology. Her dissertation examines the political economy of environmental contamination and people’s struggles for conservation and survival in the extractive frontier of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Coupling Medical Anthropology’s concern with theories of violence with Political Ecology and Legal Anthropology’s interest in how profit incentives and liability structures mechanize disaster, Lindsay’s work probes the relationship between violence against environmental defenders and harm to the environment. Her conference presentations, policy papers, academic articles, and multimedia reports are likewise committed to documenting global and grassroots efforts for healing and justice.
Lindsay has been a Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellow (2018), a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow (for Quichua, through the University of Madison, 2018), a Brazil Global Fellow at Princeton University (2015) and a Lassen Fellow at Princeton University (2014). During 2020, Lindsay will be a Graduate Fellow with the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies and the Program in Latin American Studies.
In 2019, Lindsay was a co-organizer of the the Indigenous/Settler conference at Princeton. Prior to coming to Princeton, Lindsay earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and a Master of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was Assistant Instructor in courses at the University of Colorado at Boulder (Frontiers of Cultural Anthropology; Peoples of the South Pacific; and Exploring Culture and Gender through Film), FLACSO-Ecuador (Sociology of Socio-environmental Conflict), and Princeton University (The Ethnographer’s Craft).
Nikhil Pandhi is a doctoral candidate in medical and cultural anthropology at Princeton who broadly researches the entanglements between caste, class, community medicine and healthcare in urban India. His current project tentatively titled How Does Caste Make Us Sick? Chronicles of Injury, Endurance, Chronicity and Health Capital in Contemporary India builds on ethnographic fieldwork in Delhi and northern India (Punjab/NCR) with low-income, lower-caste collaborators battling a range of biomedical and biosocial afflictions ranging from drug addictions, HIV, TB, leprosy, and other mental health conditions. Drawing on Dalit experiences and stories of ‘health’ (swasthya) Nikhil ethnographically investigates how Caste becomes chronic as a determinant of individual and community-wide health disparities in India. Relationally, Nikhil also investigates how upper-caste Indian middle-class aspirations of healthy, meritorious living and well-being (un)ethically implicate lower-caste lifeworlds, labours and livelihoods. Rather than treating caste as a transcendental or static-structural category, Nikhil’s multi-cited ethnography traces concatenations of toxic ecologies, illness exposures, symptoms, and phenomenologies of exclusion that reveal diffused cartographies of caste, gender, class, space and other graded inequalities whilst shoring up distinctive trajectories of vulnerability, injury and health for Dalit bodies. Despite their invisible presence in Indian public and private health systems, Nikhil argues Dalit bodies become crucial to maintaining the upper caste world in a state of health. Aside from ethnography, an equally important aspect of Nikhil’s research interrogates affective archives of Dalit literature, memoirs, poems and short stories while asking how Dalit bodies are, in their own terms, framed and failed by ‘health’.
In his wider doctoral project Nikhil is interested in forging decolonial solidarities with critical race studies, critical global health and critical medical anthropology. Nikhil is also interested in how Caste is being interpellated in the current COVID-19 pandemic in India. Nikhil fluently speaks Hindi, English, Portuguese and Punjabi and also serves as a research assistant in Princeton’s Brazil Lab. Before Princeton Nikhil was a television journalist in India (NDTV Ltd.) and has worked among many of the communities he is now ethnographically collaborating with. Nikhil holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Delhi and an MPhil from the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar (2014-16).
Sofia Pinedo-Padoch is a fourth-year student currently completing her dissertation fieldwork. In 2017, she was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation for her dissertation project, “Processes of State Administration in Caring for the Isolated Deceased.” Her research looks at how the state and its network of public and private actors care for individuals who die intestate and without apparent family in New York City.
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.
Darius Sadighi earned his BA in music composition and sound studies from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an MA in anthropology from the University of Chicago. He is interested primarily in healthcare, the startup sector, computational capitalism, and media. Currently, he is researching the emergent digital healthcare industry in Vietnam (particularly Saigon) and the ways in which biocapital, technology, and health intersect in a postcolonial, late socialist, and neoliberal setting. In doing so, he wishes to examine health and technics in relation to notions of value and alienation under regimes of increasing privatization. In addition to medical anthropology, he is interested in science and technology studies, postcolonial studies, and media studies.
EB’s research interests include the politics and practices of mental health care, American health and insurance policy, adolescence, archives and paperwork, experts and expertise, privatization, and emotional labor. Her current work investigates the rising rate of young people in out-of-home care in Kentucky from the perspectives of young people who have been identified as requiring the highest levels of specialized care by the Kentucky foster care system. Working in residential and therapeutic settings, she highlights the voices of young people in the care of the state, along with the staff who work with them, agency managers, families, and policymakers to explore the ambiguities, ambivalences, and moments of hope in encounters with the state.
Before coming to Princeton, EB earned a B.A. in Ethnicity, Race, & Migration from Yale, after which she worked in various youth-oriented nonprofit organizations. Prior research examined social media, social movements, impunity and accountability, and South Asia.
Aderayo Sanusi is a first-year PhD student. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lived there for ten years before immigrating to the United States with her family. She graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 2012 from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Anthropology and English Writing. She subsequently received an LL.M. with Merit in International Economic Law from SOAS, University of London in 2015 and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2016. While conducting research in Lagos for her LL.M. thesis on how Nigeria regulates the domestic activities of multinational corporations, she observed various cultural norms shaping the legal system. During graduate school, Aderayo aspires to develop an ethnographic study of how flawed legal processes and political structures in Nigeria define the rights of marginalized groups.
Alexandra D Sastrawati is a doctoral student in cultural anthropology who broadly researches global mental health and arts activism in the Asia Pacific region (particularly Singapore and Japan). Prior to starting her graduate studies, she was a research executive at a non-profit organization and has worked on various government-funded research projects at National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Alexandra holds a MA in Anthropology, with a graduate certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies, from the University of Texas at Austin (2017-2019) and a BA in Sociology, with a minor in Creative Writing, from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2016).
Fatima Siwaju’s research engages with the intersections of religion, race and identity, particularly as they relate to Afro-descendant Muslim communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. She has previously conducted ethnographic research in Trinidad, and will undertake her dissertation fieldwork in the Pacific region of Colombia. Her theoretical interests include the anthropology of religion and Islam, African diaspora studies, postcolonial theory and Afro-American intellectual traditions.
Fatima holds a BA(Hons) in French and Spanish and an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge, in addition to an MA in Religion from Syracuse University.
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.
Alisa’s research interests focus on the production of resilience in the civilian communities in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine. She seeks to investigate the specifics of everyday life in the environment of military conflict and adjustments and coping mechanisms employed by its residents in order to recreate the normality of their livelihoods. Born and raised in the region, Alisa worked as a journalist and a news editor for the largest local newspaper, Donbass. When the war broke out, she was faced with the challenge of reporting on violence in her own city. With the local journalism collapsing, she began working for international media, including The New York Times and Time magazine where her coverage focused on the war and its humanitarian impact. Alisa is an author and co-founder of a #5Kfromthefrontline project (https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/5kfromthefrontline/) that aims to bring to light everyday experiences of civilian life at the frontlines. Alisa holds a BA in journalism from Moscow State University and an MA in Regional Studies from Harvard University.
Serena’s research draws together environmental anthropology; global and feminist science studies; history of capitalism in Africa; gender and queer theory in Africa, and critical studies of global health and development. Her dissertation, tentatively entitled Kindred Frontiers: South-South Experiments in Aid, Agribusiness, and Conviviality, is an ethnography of social and ecological change along a savanna landscape of northern Mozambique, examining international aid, investment, and technology transfer in agriculture and resource extraction. It explores the rise and fall of Brazilian South-South Cooperation in Mozambique over the past decade, as well as aftermaths of a soy boom, abandoned plantations, ongoing conflict, and failed rural development schemes. The project involved 2 years of fieldwork following farmers and settlers, seeds, spirits, and capital. Complementary work has taken Serena to the mountain forests and farming communities of Mozambique's inselberg 'sky islands’ to study how agriculture commercialization reworks notions of indigeneity, intergenerational environmental ethics, and futurity amid rapid deforestation and extinction of species. At Princeton, Serena has belonged to various communities, including Global Brazil Fellows, PIIRS Dissertation Fellowship, Energy and Climate Scholars, and Center for Digital Humanities Fellows. She has co-organized the Interdisciplinary Ethnography Series and worked as a Graduate Fellow at the Writing Center. In 2019-2020 Serena is a visiting fellow at Yale's Agrarian Studies Program while writing her dissertation on a Mellon-ACLS Completion Fellowship. Previously she has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, Fulbright-Hays Program, and National Geographic Society.
Aaron is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology. His research interests materialize at the nexus of political, medical, and environmental anthropology, and they include: urban studies, feminist studies of science and technology, smart cities, Chinese medicine, technopolitics, embodiment, race and racialization, critical theory, visual ethnography; East Asia, China. Prior to his doctoral work, Aaron earned a BA in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2019.
Junbin Tan received his BA and MA and worked at the Sociology Department at the National University of Singapore before coming to Princeton. His MA thesis, on the ethics and politics of dementia care work in Singapore, provided an analysis of “care” and “labor” that seeks to disrupt homogenizing narratives on medicalization. Junbin’s current research concerns Jinmen, two Taiwanese islands located along the southern Chinese coastline, which was part of Cold War politics and continues to be shaped by China-Taiwan tensions and broader political events. Through fieldwork at these water-scarce islands that also suffer from post-war economic decline, he seeks to understand how water-related processes that relate to locals’ livelihood are remade alongside shifting political economic terrains in the region and beyond. In attending to livelihood and material encounters, he hopes to think about politics, economies, borders, and social change in ways that keep geopolitics and other grand perspectives at critical distance.
Ayluonne is interested in the nexus of temporality, political emotions, and the urban material landscape, as components of city planning. She is a first-year PhD student and comes to Princeton by way of Columbia University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology in 2017. She is energized by the challenge of researching urban built environments and urban redevelopment as an assemblage of emotional and intellectual forms, bodies, and materials, which exert force onto one another and form complex political dynamics. Her current research highlights San Francisco’s large-scale redevelopment of public housing into mixed-income housing, and asks: In cities known for progressive politics, how do mixed-income redevelopment strategies become flashpoints for contesting the “post-race” and “post-class” imaginations of urban futures?
Brian Yuan received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College, with concentrations in Cultural Anthropology and Early Modern History. His research interests sit at the point where governing, design, embodiment, aesthetics, and the senses meet in everyday technology and technological practices. He hopes to explore the fractures between designer and vernacular forms of expertise and sensing in informally learned infrastructural technologies, such as databases. Previously, Brian worked as an analyst for Isles, a non-profit in Trenton, New Jersey
Christopher explores the long-term trajectory of HIV. For his work, he conducted fieldwork in New York City, researching how contemporary public health approaches to HIV care and prevention relate to, and are in tension with prevalent memory narratives about the earlier days of the virus. He is particularly interested in ethnographic moments when his interlocutors – long-term survivors either infected or otherwise affected by HIV – enact subjectivities which escape hegemonic discourses of HIV-pasts characterized by crisis, trauma and activist heroism, and/or a public-health present in which HIV is imagined to be “irrelevant”. Instead, Christopher focusses on the multiplicity and indeterminateness of human-viral becomings.
Before coming to Princeton, he has worked for the Amsterdam University Medical Center on a research project about dementia, which increased his interest in the topic of un/successful aging. Christopher received a Msc (cum laude) and BA (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam.