Alexander L. Foster

Anthropology Graduate Student

Degrees prior to starting this degree program:

BA Hons (Geography), University of Oxford, 2017
MPhil (Medical Anthropology), University of Oxford, 2020

Areas of Interest:

Extraction, Environmental Futures, Sovereignty, Materialities, Settler Colonialism, Latin America

Field Research Plans/History:

Alex’s research focuses on the Puna and Quebrada regions of Jujuy, a province in North-West Argentina. In particular, he seeks to sit with the ongoing conflicts over water access between local, predominantly indigenous communities, and state actors (such as the provincial government, provincial police, and national lawmakers) that are seeking to promote the extraction of lithium, demanding vast quantities of water. In doing so, Alex seeks to propose extraction as that which conditions the environment and perceptions of that environment. In turn, this raises questions of how conflicts become evidenced in a field that lacks “objective” forms of evidence, how lithium extraction impacts to local environments in multiple registers, and thus how global-scale conversations of planetary energy security become material and enfold themselves with the histories of settler colonial states, such as Argentina.

In order to carry out this research, Alex seeks to work with a range of different forms of evidence. These include long term ethnographic research in the Puna and Quebrada regions, conversations with local community organizations and conservation ecologists, archival analysis relating to the formation of Argentina, and textual analysis of legal and governance documents seeking to promote lithium mining in the region.

Prior to joining the Princeton’s Department of Anthropology, Alex had worked for an international development consultancy in London (including postings in Kosovo and Sierra Leone), within King’s College London’s Centre for Global Mental Health, and with the World Health Organisation. He achieved his BA (hons) in Geography in 2017 and his MPhil in Medical Anthropology, both at the University of Oxford.

Teaching History

Assistant Instructor | ANT 246 / AMS 246 Critical Native American and Indigenous Studies | Spring 2024

Publications, Multimedia Projects:

Foster A., Cole J., Petrikova I, Farlow A, Frumkin H. (2020). Planetary Health Ethics. Chapter 17 in: Myers S, Frumkin H. (Eds.) Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves. Washington: Island Press.

Taylor Salisbury, T., Kinyanda, E., Levin, J., Foster, A., Mpango, R., Patel, V. & Gadow, K. D. (2020). Clinical correlates and adverse outcomes of ADHD, disruptive behavior disorder and their co-occurrence among children and adolescents with HIV in Uganda. AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV. 32, 11, p. 1429-1437.

Foster A. (2019). Bodies of the Anthropocene: Health, Ontology, Ecology in Zywert K. and Quilley S. (Eds.) Health in the Anthropocene: Living Well on a Finite Planet. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Foster A., Cole J., Farlow A., Petrikova I. (2019) Planetary Health Ethics: Beyond First Principles. Challenges; 10(1):14.

Foster A. (2019). The Transhuman Approach to Planetary Health: Technoscience and Nature in Cole, J.A. (Ed.) Planetary Health: Human Health in an Era of Global Environmental Change. Wallingford UK: CABI.

Critical Atlas for the Green Economy: 

Membership/activities in graduate student events or organizations:

Organizer: IHUM Reading Group: Thalassography