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 is a PhD student in Princeton’s department of Anthropology, where he studies 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 his research, he is 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, Tyler is 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 he is 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, Tyler is 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. He 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 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’s research engages built and natural environments, embodiment, memory, and critical race and gender studies in the United States and the Caribbean. Her current research examines the challenges of inadequate water systems in a postindustrial American city and follows various efforts to address these water issues through a combination of technoscience, environmentalisms, and urban design. Broadly she is interested in relations between the body, the state, and the cityscape as they are illuminated by infrastructure decay and governance. Kessie holds a B.A. in Public Health Studies and Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University. Previously she has conducted research on water access, risk, and contagion in northwestern Haiti.
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).
Quincy is interested in ethics and morality, sacrifice, divination, aesthetics, linguistic relativism, and iconicity and did fieldwork among Karimojong and other Ateker (agro-) pastoralists in north-eastern Uganda. His prospective dissertation seeks to give an ethnographic account about his Karimojong interlocutor’s pursuits of flourishing in relation to seemingly discordant imperatives such as the obligation to rustle their enemies’ cattle. In other words, it attempts to probe what ‘good (ejok)’ means when, apparently, often brutal plunder of others is considered by the said raiders and their kin as being virtuous. Previous ethnographers who have engaged this rather obscure controversy are either: astutely ambiguous; or argue that Karimojong moral judgements are founded on utility; or have inferred that Karimojong and other Ateker of concern act with expediency. However, it appears that critical Karimojong maxims like ‘dazzling God is most necessary for flourishing’ contest such inferences. Using phenomenology of language and conceptual analysis that are grounded in ethnographic participant observation, Quincy’s study is geared towards an understanding of his Karimojong interlocutors’ interpretations of a good life, an exposition of the enigmatic Nilotic category of ‘–jok,’ and, hopefully, a contribution to the interdisciplinary conversation on “apparently irrational beliefs.”
Hannah 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
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.
Max Cohen is a second-year Anthropology PhD student who studies economic life in the contemporary US. His current research is on labor, culture, and value in Silicon Valley. This ethnographic research engages questions of work and finance, welfare and wellness, technology and subjectivity, and the spacing and timing of the home, workplace, and city – themes also explored in his previous work. Max studied Business as an undergraduate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he also minored in Urban Studies. He holds an MA in Social & Cultural Analysis from New York University. Since 2014, Max has assisted Caitlin Zaloom’s research on family finance in the contemporary US, including himself interviewing scores of college students and their parents across the country.
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.
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 fourth-year student interested in affective wellbeing, mental health, and chemical-material therapeutics. Her dissertation fieldwork in Cameroon asks if and how biomedical psychiatric treatment and psychoeducation, in a context of robust therapeutic pluralism and against the backdrop of Global Mental Health, shape how former patients and their families delineate and pursue a post-asylum "good life." Her research is supported by a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship and a Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant.
Before coming to Princeton, Elizabeth received her MPhil in anthropology (2015) from the University of Oxford, where she was awarded a Clarendon Scholarship; and her BA in anthropology (2012) from Carleton College. She also held a Fulbright IIE Research Grant to Cameroon from 2012 to 2013.
Wei 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 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’s dissertation explores the gastrological dimensions of racial fetishism in Paris, France. More specifically, Luke studies the relationship between foreign food and foreign flesh as perceived by white French subjects. More broadly, his research interests include psychological and linguistic anthropology, psychoanalysis, materiality, 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’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 received her BA in geography from University of Delhi and MA in sociology from Delhi School of Economics. Kaur is interested in the many lives of money post the event of demonetization in India. How does a form of money lend itself to be semanticized weaving a complex web of social, moral economies around itself is the focus of her research. These shifting semantics coupled with an affective vocabulary lend to emergent fiscal subjectivities in India. Kaur has also worked with phulkari embroiderers in Punjab, to understand the work ethic of people labelled as craftsmen.
Aleksandar 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 forth-year student working at the interface of medical anthropology, neuroscience, disability studies, embodiment, feminist studies of science, and technology, anthropology of the body, sensory ethnography, and experimentality. She is currently conducting fieldwork in Gothenburg, Sweden, examining these themes as they relate to the development of brain-machine-interface prosthetic devices with sensory feedback and the use of virtual reality-guided motor execution in treating phantom limb pain (PLP). Alexandra is interested in questions of subjectivity, patienthood, care, pain and sensation, iterativity, the moral economy of hope in experimental science, and how spaces outside of the lab and clinic (i.e. the home) become sites of science-in-the-making.
Alexandra holds a BA in cultural anthropology with a minor in neuroscience from Duke University, where she followed pre-medical training. She has also conducted research in Togo and Brazil. Alexandra is also a documentary photographer and plans to incorporate visual methodology (photography and ethnographic film) into her dissertation work.
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.
Shinjung Nam has been tracing the recent politicization of education from above and below in South Korea. In addition to the political implications of South Korean state’s transition to a knowledge-based economy post 2000 and shrinking humanities disciplines within the country’s universities, Shinjung looks at the emergence of informal schools for philosophy, organized outside of official academia by financially precarious philosophers for a wider public. In particular, she engages social theories of the state, ritual politics, reading, fetishism, and power to examine how non-traditional adult-students, who attend these schools after work in the evenings, mediate what are doubly foreign textual corpus, namely, the academic Korean-language translations of Western philosophy and their philosopher-lectors, accredited by European higher educational institutions to exercise their authority to read. By attending to the question of the relationship between diverse forms of collective study, imagination of agency, and (trans)formation of national and cosmopolitan subjectivity, Shinjung is also building archives for her future research on studious mothers coalesced against the lack of state measures for so-called "killer dust" contamination in South Korea as well as on the rising phenomenon of “para-academic” kung-fu (i.e., “study”) societies in mainland China that read Western philosophy outside of official education system.
Lindsay Ofrias is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department, a recipient of the Lassen Fellowship in Latin American Studies, and a Social Science Research Council fellow. Her research focuses on environmental justice, petro-politics and social movements in the Amazon rainforest and beyond. Her first peer-reviewed article, "Invisible harms, invisible profits: a theory of the incentive to contaminate" seeks to reframe the industrial contamination problem in order to turn greater attention to the productive work environmental destruction does for the oil industry, beyond saving money. She has also published with Engagement, a blog of the Anthropology and Environment Society, and the Spanish-language La Línea de Fuego blog, exploring the emotional and psychological impacts of oil project negotiations, which are not captured by environmental impact studies. She is currently co-organizing the "Indigenous/Settler" conference to be held in April at Princeton University. 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. Other interests include documentary filmmaking and dance.
Nikhil Pandhi is interested in the anthropological experiences of boredom, loneliness, laziness, exhaustion, wonder, (dis)enchantment, hope, and other such ordinary, affective states that collectively engender everyday life. He is intrigued by how such states claim affective publics, especially in South Asia, and how these gendered, raced, classed and caste-based publics come to be mapped in the absence of medical, psychological, sociological and other categorical ‘evidence’. Nikhil ethnographically works in Punjab (North India) in contexts of drug-addiction and farm-suicides, which tie his interests in affect with granular studies of masculinity, mental health, subjectivity, gender, and disability. Nikhil holds an MPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar (2014-16), and an undergraduate degree from the University of Delhi. He has also been a television journalist and correspondent (NDTV Ltd.) in India (2016-18). Nikhil writes fiction, and speaks English, Hindi, Punjabi and Portuguese.
Emma Patten is currently writing her dissertation, “History is Who We Are”: Discerning Truth and Crafting the Past in York, United Kingdom and Northern California and Nevada, which explores the enmeshed phenomena of knowledge production and moral positions within historical organizations. Having conducted research among historical societies, museums, state agencies, and an Indian colony, she chose York and the “Gold Country” of the American West for her project because each boasts a highly successful heritage sector, and each has been affected by the legacy of a colonial project. Through analysis of what is at stake for her interlocutors in engaging with local history, she explores current events, funding for historical endeavors, narratives, legend, aging, and death within historical organizations in an effort to answer this question: How does a finely-honed understanding of local history color the moral, social, and political worlds of organization members, and how do members’ perceptions of truth mediate their moral positions on history given their positionalities vis-à-vis colonialism?
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.
Kurt’s work explores urban renewal processes based on alliances between politics and art in Valparaiso, Chile. He is interested how local residents' aim for community building relates to the city administration's focus on the process of "beautification," how social actors articulate economic crisis, artwork and spatial change, and how discussions about reclaiming space affect their daily life.
Kurt graduated from Karl Franzens University, Graz, with a B.A. in European Ethnology and a B.A. in Art History. He has worked on Trauma and Memory Studies at Rutgers University, where he received an M.A. in German Language and Literature in 2015. Prior to coming to Princeton, Kurt studied Visual Anthropology at Georg August University, Göttingen, and investigated concepts of solidarity, belonging, and ownership in former Eastern Germany. His major fields of interest include social inequality, urban anthropology, affect theory, and ethnographic film as a way of engaging with people's hopes and expectations on a sensory level.
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.
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.
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 Diyana Sastrawati holds a MA in Sociocultural Anthropology with a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from University of Texas at Austin and a BA (Honors) in Sociology with a certificate in Creative Writing from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. While at University of Texas at Austin, she was a fellow of the Urban Ethnography Lab in the Department of Sociology and an affiliate of Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Social Justice in the School of Law. Her MA research focused specifically on depression as a manifestation and a creative force in queer performance poetry, and how performance poets, while living with stigma of mental illness and queerness in Singapore, build political coalitions out of the affective—and opaque—material of their lives. Prior to starting her graduate studies, Sastrawati was a research executive at a social service organization, and has worked on various research projects at National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. She will be presenting her research at the American Anthropological Association and the Asian American Psychological Association this year. Lately, she is interested in theories of violence, resistance, and worldmaking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.