Current Student Research

Tyler Adkins

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

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’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

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.

Quincy Amoah

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.”

Nicole Berger

Nicole Berger is currently writing her dissertation on how transnational, national, and local-urban identities are being actively forged by members of the Tamil diaspora within the urban space of Paris, France.  Her research explores the tensions between cosmopolitanism and nationalism(s) in contemporary urban spaces shaped by transnational migration.  Her scholarship spans both French studies and Tamil studies, and explores the intersections between the two.  Her research has been supported by the Georges Lurcy Fellowship for Study in France, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies.  Prior to attending Princeton University, Nicole earned an MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where her fieldwork-based thesis examined the localization of an Indian-origin transnational religious organization in Hawai’i.  Her interests include migration, nationalism, transnationalism, and urban ethnography.

Hannah Bradley

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

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 A. Cohen

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

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

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

Elizabeth Durham is a third-year student interested in wellbeing, affective health, and material technologies of affective care, both in and out of medicalized and/or commodified settings; and in broader questions of what constitutes a well-lived life, and of the place of health therein. Her current research examines these themes in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, particularly in light of the country's ongoing socioeconomic and sociopolitical issues, and of recent "Global Mental Health" transnational development influences. 

Prior to 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 Student Research Grant to Cameroon from 2012 to 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.

Wei Natalie Gan

Wei Gan is a first-year PhD student. She received her Bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Duke University in 2009. Graduating with distinction and the top departmental award, she completed a thesis based on extensive fieldwork with conspiracy theorists in Texas. Prior to coming to Princeton, she set up her own vegan ice cream company and worked as a bartender in New York City. Broadly, Wei is interested in the ethics and ethical projects of upper-class, urban Chinese of the post-80s generation. She is fascinated by questions of ontology, memory, time and narratives-as-myth, particularly in the contexts of post-socialist governmentality and (a)historical (re)construction. She explores projects of self and becoming in relation to fluctuating topologies of power and modes of meaning-making. She is working on incorporating visual and media anthropology as well as personal connections to Ireland into her research on contemporary China. Lastly, Wei hopes to unpack and disrupt the linear and universalizing discourses of American liberalism and what it means to be a (good) human being.

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.

Max Horder

Max Horder is a first-year PhD student interested in the interaction between state and non-state actors in Brazil. His current research is on the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital), a prison gang which has come to organize and regulate security in both the prisons and favelas of the state of São Paulo. He is also interested in the relationships between violence, law and sovereignty in the context of the war on drugs in Latin America. He received his MPhil from the University of Cambridge, where he wrote a dissertation on the rise of influential hip-hop groups in peripheral urban areas of Brazil. He obtained his BSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics.

 

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.

Luke Johnson

Luke Forrester Johnson graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 2016 with a degree in cultural anthropology. His work focuses on the gastrological dimensions of racial fetishism in France. Specifically, Johnson considers the gustatory and digestive systems as privileged sites for understanding the nexuses of disgust and desire that have long played a central role in (post) colonial bodily encounters. He hopes to explore the cannibalistic underpinnings of racial melancholia, thinking through incorporation and identification not merely as “discursive” or “psychic” mechanisms, but rather as enfleshed, somatic processes rooted in the mouth and the gut. Before coming to Princeton, Johnson worked at the anthropological consulting firm ReD Associates. He also completed a yearlong applied ethnographic research project on a non-profit that supports LGBT asylum seekers in Paris.

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.

Navjit Kaur

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 Kostić

Aleksandar is looking into the ways physical and symbolic space are organized in postsocialist Kyrgyzstan, as well as in the ways various people – artists, migrants, bureaucrats – orient themselves in such spaces. This is coming from a broader interest in the intersections of postsocialism, postcolonialism, and postimperialism; and the intersections of the concepts of Europe and Asia. Aleksandar’s research will look at the ways various types of Kyrgyz nationalism inform different actors’ understandings of space and orientation in it, but also in the ways those nationalisms are informed by various understandings of spatial and temporal borders, kinship, modernity, and materiality. Aleksandar’s other research interests include migrations, time, infrastructure, education, 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

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 McKowen is a post-field doctoral student. His dissertation project, The Employment Ethic: Rethinking the Moral Economy of the Nordic Model, is an ethnographic study of the social and active labor market policies that shape the everyday lives and ethical commitments of the unemployed in contemporary Norway. Kelly's doctoral research in Oslo has been supported by the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Einar and Eva Lund Haugen Scholarship, and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education. He is also a former graduate fellow with Princeton's Fellowship of Woodrow Wilson Scholars, as well as a U.S.-Norway Fulbright grantee. His most recent publication, "A Welfare 'Regime of Goodness'? Material Self-interest, Reciprocity, and the Moral Sustainability of the Nordic Model", is featured inSustainable Modernity: The Nordic Model and Beyond (Routledge, 2018).

Alexandra Middleton

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.

Shinjung Nam

Shinjung Nam’s research interests concern colonial and post-colonial histories of intellectual culture and formation of popular social movements, as well as today’s knowledge productions carried on by diverse groups of social agents. She has been tracing recent politicization of education from above and below in South Korea, from state officials to untenured scholars of philosophy in connection to the universities’ elimination of their humanities disciplines and the State promotion of a “Humanities Spirit Culture” outside the higher educational system. She situates participation of the Korean state in what the World Bank has called “Global Knowledge Revolution” and transition to a knowledge-based economy in the dynamics of geopolitics where diverse institutions and discursive regimes compete for the authority to evaluate and govern worldwide knowledge production. She pays close attention to the intersection of South Korean working adults’ pursuit of political theory in the after-work hours and the financially precarious academics’ formation of humanities education for the wider public outside of academe. Her current research examines how these two groups organize their studies, how they experiment with pedagogy and power, and how and why, in particular, the alumni of the 1980s Marxist student activism participate in these grassroots humanities today. By engaging with anthropological studies of initiation rituals and transgression, translation and social change, fetish and recognition, and kinship relations that produce time, she inquires following problems. How do non-academic adult-students imagine nation and transnationalism by reading foreign theory? How do they mediate and give flesh to the doubly foreign literature—Korean academic translations of “western” theory—to critique the state and make sense of their changing self? And how might one theorize about their humanities studies taking place in the dark, if not underground, throughout the participants’ “favorite places to hang out” or in Korean agit, taken from the term agitpunkt meaning underground centers of political propaganda in Russian? Not limited to the South Korean context her inquiries extend to other historical and contemporary examples of collective reading and translation, (trans)formation of political identity, and interactions between the ethical (practice of self) to the political (exercises in power).

Lindsay Ofrias

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

Nikhil Pandhi is interested in longitudinally examining cultures of drugs, addiction and substance use in Punjab and North India while engaging questions of masculinity, gender, caste, class, agrarian decline and narcopolitics. He is also interested in how processes like pharmaceuticalization and addiction-pharmacotherapy produce and are co-produced by state and non-state subjects and subjectivities. With interests in how the addicted body comes to be configured within local moral worlds of families, kin groups, and intergenerational collectivities alongside an everyday ethics of hope, hopelessness, illness, healing, and precarity. Previously, Nikhil was a television journalist and correspondent for NDTV (New Delhi Television Ltd.) in Punjab, and travelled and reported extensively in the state. He holds an MPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar (2014-16), and an undergraduate degree in History from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, India. Alongside anthropology, Nikhil is interested in writing, and exploring how literature, fiction and ethnographic reportage can be used to inform and enhance each other.

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 PhD candidate in the Anthropology Dept. and the Dept. of African American Studies, an affiliate of the American Studies Program, and a Charlotte-Newcombe fellow. His current manuscript, "The Carceral Outside: How Privatized Land Produces Racialized Labor in an American Prison Town," is based on long-term ethnographic and archival research in a rural New Jersey town with many ghosts and many prisons. His most recent academic article, “After the Riot,” explores how police departments use cash to appease activist demands for justice. His most recent collaborative project is with VICE Media: Weediquette, Season 2, Episode 7, 'Search & Seizure. His most recent co-organized (with Nyle Fort) conference was the 1st African American Studies graduate student conference at Princeton University, 'eighteen hundred and more: mourning the needy dead in the chaos of protest.' He is a collective editor for Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics. He also spends a great deal of time listening to music.

Sofia Pinedo-Padoch

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 Poeschl

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.

 

Amanda Rivera

Amanda Marie Rivera received her BA in Cultural Anthropology from Rutgers University. Her research interests converge at the intersection of postcolonialism, neoliberal economics, age, and political participation, and how this intersectionality informs personal identity in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico specifically, as the island rebuilds from Hurricane Maria). Rivera is also a Lassen Fellow and will be collaborating with PLAS to generate anthropological scholarship in and about Latin America.

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

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

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.

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 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

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 second-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 with a Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies; and her BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley. Veronica is concerned with how gender, aging, and health are reconfigured in political, legal, and medical realms. Her current work concerns aging, gender, care, family, and the state in both the Azores Islands and mainland Portugal. She is interested in intimate violence, medicine and psychiatry, affect theory, embodiment, sexuality, race, disability, and inequality in this context. She is also interested in histories of colonialism/imperialism and healthcare in Portugal.

Serena Stein

Serena's research draws together anthropology of development, global health and environment. She focuses on agriculture expansion in emerging geographies of food and energy, seed science and technology, settler solidarities, and ethics of accumulation and extraction. Her dissertation, “Farmer, Donor, Settler, Seed: Conviviality and Extraction on an African Agro-Energy Frontier” is based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, examining transnational encounters - including among Brazilian development workers, agribusiness investors, and small-scale farmers - on a transforming landscape of livelihoods, land use and ecology in northern Mozambique. Serena also works on legacies of civil war and socialism, conservation politics, critical nutrition studies, and theoretical considerations of comparison, transience, and consumption. Serena is a Princeton Climate and Energy Scholar, a research associate with the Brazil LAB, a Lichtenstein Institute Gender & Security Fellow, and Writing Center Graduate Fellow. She also co-convenes the Center for Human Values Reading Group on Ethnography and New Horizons in Ethnography Interdisciplinary Colloquium. Her work has been supported by National Science Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, National Geographic Society, Fulbright Hays, among others. Serena holds a MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and BA from the University of Pennsylvania. 

 

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.

Junbin Tan

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

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.