The AES Editorial Intern Team debuted at the AES spring meeting in 2016. The team works with AES Digital Content Editors Carole McGranahan and Katie Kilroy-Marac to introduce new features and conversations to our website and social media. We welcome your ideas, and each year will invite applications for other graduate students to join us.
Brittany Birberick is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research, in Johannesburg, South Africa, examines the temporality of urban transformation through close attention to declining industry in Jeppestown, one of the earliest developed areas of the city. The project draws on historical and ethnographic methods to examine how key sites in the area have transformed or failed to transform according to narratives of development, dilapidation, and rejuvenation. At a time when local and global social, economic, and political forces are influencing a re-imaging of the remaining colonial and apartheid structure of the city, she is interested in the way expectations for the future, work, housing, and kinship are being reconfigured. She has also collaborated with a South African art photographer who grew up in one of the informal buildings in Jeppestown to examine ways of seeing urban space, and she is interested more broadly in the way image making and artistic practice intersects with anthropological research.
Gabrielle Cabrera is a first-year PhD student in Anthropology at Rutgers University. Gabrielle completed her BA at University of California, Merced where she was surrounded by a community of activists and scholars who encouraged her to think deeply and critically about teaching for justice, politics of (mis)recognition, and diversity discourse. Her work examines citizenship, the political economy of diversity discourse, questions of solidarity, and the neoliberalization of universities. Specifically, she aims to center the “Dreamer” narrative by interrogating how universities deploy and commodify the undocumented experience. Gabrielle grounds analysis in critical feminist and decolonizing methodologies and hope that such approaches provide alternative ways for researchers interested in migrant “illegality,” specifically, those who fit the “Dreamer” criteria, a guideline to shift away from reinforcing the “good immigrant” or “model minority” narrative.
Chelsey Carter is a third-year doctoral student in anthropology and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to the onset of her doctoral studies, Chelsey worked with various non-profit and for profit organizations around the United States. Her background includes a demonstrated interest in healthcare services, human resources, employee benefits, healthcare reform, youth leadership education, high human touch services and applied medical anthropology. She has employed these interests and skills in her various positions with Global Youth Leadership Institute, Muscular Dystrophy Association, CARE USA, HisGrip Home Care, Northwestern Mutual, and Washington University School of Medicine. Her research examines the intersections of race, class, gender, and chronic illness in the U.S. Her forthcoming project will examine how black people with neuromuscular diseases (like ALS) navigate healthcare spaces and experience care by healthcare institutions in St. Louis. Her work also considers how anti-black racism stifles health and further promotes health inequities for black people. She is a chief advocate for the use of ethnographic tools and methodologies to solve many of society’s most vexing concerns. She received her Bachelor’s in Anthropology with high honors and a minor in Spanish from Emory University, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. She also earned her Master’s in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. When not pursuing academic interests, she enjoys cooking, reading, working out and traveling internationally.
Kaito Campos de Novais is a Brazilian illustrator, a first-year PhD student in Cultural Anthropology, and a Fulbright-CAPES Scholar at the University of Oregon. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Communication/Journalism and a master’s in Social Anthropology from the Universidade Federal de Goiás. Before starting his doctorate, he worked as a teacher of Journalism at Faculdade Sul-Americana, in his hometown Goiânia. His artistic and academic works focus on LGBTQ+ activism, decoloniality, visual anthropology, gender, sexuality, and race. Since 2015, he investigates social movements of mothers of LGTBQ+ people who denounce human rights violations in Brazil. Kaito is an activist-engaged researcher committed to fight for social justice and to embrace saberes from historically marginalized contexts.
Alexandra Dantzer is a second year PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Alexandra Dantzer’s dissertation research is an ethnographic study of insomnia in Belgrade, Serbia. She is particularly interested in the ways in which diverse encounters with sleeplessness map onto the broader experience of temporality of the late-capitalism changes in Serbia. In her research the changing politics of sleep, and the experience of people caught amid these shifts serve as a prism for investigating the connection between the macro-processes of economic and ethical change and subjectivity. Before starting her PhD Alexandra was engaged in Visual Anthropology as a film-maker, but also writing theoretically about film in general. In addition to that she is fascinated with sound studies, soundscapes and the diverse ways in which people interact and shape their sonic environments. In her research she is using diverse methods, such as sleep diaries, vlogs, graphic time-mapping etc. Her broader interests revolve around questions of subjectivity and selfhood, temporality, political anthropology, phenomenology, experimental methods in anthropology.
Ipsita Dey is a third year Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Princeton University, where she is also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Studies. For her dissertation research, Dey is studying how Indo-Fijian sugarcane farmers theologically construct, colloquially articulate, and politically narrativize their cosmological and spiritual relationship with the Fijian landscape. Her interdisciplinary research project is informed by her studies in: diaspora studies (Indian Yoga Philosophy and Practice Fellow at the Office of Religious Life at Princeton University); Hindu theology (Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for Study of Religion at Princeton University); digital humanities methods (Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University); and visual anthropology/documentary filmmaking (Graduate Research Fellow at the Visual Ethnography Lab at Princeton University). In addition to her dissertation research, Ipsita has been funded by the Humanities Council at Princeton University to study how religious chaplaincy has transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the era of Zoom sermons/ministries. Prior to graduate school, Ipsita earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (College Honors) at UCLA, where she also minored in Anthropology and was a Lemelson Anthropological Honors Scholar. In her free time, Ipsita enjoys surfing, MMA-style boxing, and playing the piano.
Bryan Dougan is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His ethnographic work considers the ways in which humanitarian and global health knowledge and standards shape the practices surrounding psychiatric care in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Taking the urban as the site of psychiatric practice, his project seeks to examine how patients, families, doctors, and global health researchers grapple with providing care and conducting research in a rapidly developing African city. Originally from Baltimore, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College and a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University.
Calynn Dowler is a doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology at Boston University. Her research is based on an island in the Indian Sundarbans delta. Today, the island faces dwindling groundwater reserves, salinization, and episodes of catastrophic flooding. Against the backdrop of globally circulating discourses about climate change and sustainable development, both the Indian state and NGOs have become increasingly involved in water management schemes in the area. Calynn’s project employs historical and ethnographic methods to understand the changing meanings invested in the local waterscape by Hindus, Muslims, Christians and tribal groups, with particular focus on narrative and ritual practice. More broadly, her work speaks to anthropological literature on placemaking, environment, and development. Originally from rural Pennsylvania, Calynn holds a BA in Political Science and German from Gettysburg College and an MA in Migration Studies from Sussex University.
Paige Edmiston is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research focuses on how digital technologies are impacting the U.S. medical system and the implications of this “digital health transformation” for access and equity. She is currently working on a project about the first patient-led, open-source nonprofit to seek the Food and Drug Administration’s clearance for a medical device. Prior to graduate school, Paige worked with startup companies developing new medical devices and digital health technologies. Originally from Seattle, she received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington.
Melanie Ford Lemus is a PhD Candidate in the department of anthropology at Rice University. Her dissertation examines the territorial politics of urban conservation initiatives for a landform that expands nearly half of the city’s terrain known as los barrancos (ravines) in Guatemala City. During her fieldwork, she worked alongside private and municipal architects as they constructed ecological parks as well as documented community mapping and water projects by settlement communities in ravines. Broadly, Mel’s dissertation traces the inequalities in the design and presentation of public space and goods as they are conditioned by a ravine’s earthly geometry and by administrative neglect that results from the instability, marginality, and violence of the 20th century. Mel enjoys writing for public and open-source outlets and creative projects that translate and share ethnographic insight.
Saudi Garcia is a third year doctoral student in the programs in Anthropology and Culture and Media at New York University. She is interested in the anthropology of telecommunications and digital media, the anthropology of race and the anthropology of capitalism. Her dissertation project frames Dominican women’s engagement with the natural hair movement as a site of emergent logics of racialized embodiment, transnational black feminist politics, informal entrepreneurship and ethnic media production. She is interested in the ways that entrepreneurs, micro-bloggers, marketers and artists construct and disseminate images of the black body in the Dominican Republic. Saudi is a documentary filmmaker and organizer with the La Sala Collective, a group dedicated to dismantling anti-black racism in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean community in New York City.
Huatse Gyal grew up in a nomadic pastoral community in the Amdo region of Tibet. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork research conducted with Tibetan pastoralists in eastern Tibet (2017-2019), his dissertation broadly explores how indigenous notions of place and legal languages of property interact, clash, and dovetail in the everyday cultural politics of land use. Applied to the case of Tibetan pastoralists in Dzorge in eastern Tibet, he specifically studies the impact of the large-scale rangeland fencing and resettlement policies on Tibetan pastoralists’ changing relationships to and experiences of land, home, and community. His fieldwork research was funded by the Social Science Research Council; Rackham International Research Award; and Lieberthal Rogel Center for Chinese Studies Academic-Year Fellowship at the University of Michigan. He served as an Undergraduate Student Thesis Mentor for anthropology honor thesis majors at the University of Michigan in 2016. He also served on the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s 2019 Cultural Horizons Prize jury. He has contributed peer-reviewed journal articles to international journals such as Critical Asian Studies, Ateliers d’anthropologie; and Nomadic Peoples. He is the coeditor of the most comprehensive set of academic papers on resettlement among Tibetan nomads in China available to date in English (Bauer and Gyal 2015). He is a member of an international research team on Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience: Global Lessons from the Margins (PASTRES), a research project which aims to learn from the ways that pastoralists respond to uncertainty, applying such ‘lessons from the margins’ to global challenges.
Alison Hanson is a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her interests include gender, social movements, justice, sexual violence, embodiment, and intimacy in South Asia and the United States. Alison’s current research examines how Indian feminist projects against sexual violence enact visions of gender justice both within and beyond the law. Specifically, she has conducted preliminary fieldwork with NGOs, lawyers, scholars, and student activists in New Delhi to explore how feminist politics manifest in different social spheres. She investigates the creative forms of action and solidarity building that undergird Indian women’s politics through a transnational and intersectional feminist lens. She comes to these research interests after working for women’s empowerment with fair trade artisans in India and through her own personal involvement in social justice advocacy. Alison is committed to engaged scholarship and producing knowledge that can be useful for multiple publics both in and outside the academy. She received an MA in Anthropology and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a BA in Business Economics from UCLA.
Christina Kefala is a PhD student at the University of Amsterdam (Department of Anthropology) under the ChinaWhite project. Her research focuses on whiteness in China’s transnational and entrepreneurship sector. Her project focuses on different aspects of entrepreneurship and whiteness in China such as female entrepreneurs, sustainable start-ups, tech start-ups and creative businesses. The study area of her research consists of Shanghai city, a familiar place to her as she obtained her master’s degree in Sociology from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Originally from Greece she holds a bachelor's degree in Social Anthropology from Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. Christina’s other interests include photography, ethnographic filmmaking and travelling
Adam Kersch is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of California, Davis. His dissertation explores transformations in the relationship between race and biopolitics, focusing on infectious disease outbreaks and vaccinations over the past 200 years in Sheet'ká Ḵwáan (Sitka, Alaska). He suggests that politicized whiteness has shifted during the course of Russian and US colonialism – from that which sought biopolitical control through infectious disease prevention to a political matrix that undermines community cohesion and denies the pandemic’s existence. Working with approval from Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s Tribal Council, Adam’s research aims to remain academically and publicly engaged.
Gabriela Manley is a PhD student at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, where she also completed her undergraduate studies in Social Anthropology. Her research is focused on the new Scottish nationalism and the emergence of a pro-European civic nationalism. Her project focuses on the way in which during these times of radical change Scottish citizens are being forced to continuously re-consider and re-orientate their futures – both real futures and wishful futures. Following fifteen months of ethnographic research amongst Scottish National Party activists in 2018, the research project focuses on these emerging, multiple and fractal orientations to the multiple and simultaneous futures that emerge in periods of uncertainty, and how pro-independence voters negotiate the present in accordance. Her research interests include time and temporality, anthropology of the future, utopia/dystopia, political anthropology, and conspiracy theories. She is now the American Ethnological Society Web Master.
Victoria (Tori) Sheldon is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. While tourist companies celebrate Kerala as "God's Own Country", citizens are increasingly suspicious of environmental toxins and medical authority in this lush south Indian state, publicly declared as undergoing a “health crisis.” Converging with rapid social-economic development since the 1970s, Kerala's emergent middle-class has witnessed a shocking increase in chronic lifestyle diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and alcoholism. Based upon thirty months of fieldwork and language study, her PhD project analyzes the therapeutic practices and concomitant syncretic religious-scientific worldviews among Gandhian Nature Cure (prakriti jeevanam) healers and patient-cum-activists in the region. Rejecting ‘modern medicine’, practitioners strive to ‘return’ to pre-colonial ecological lifeways through ‘nonviolent’, local health practices. Inspired by volunteer work with the India-based Friends of Tibet organization, Tori’s research is underpinned by a broader commitment to bridging dialogues between academic and public spheres, and looks forward to continuing doing so as part of the AES intern team.
Verónica Sousa is an Azorean-American PhD candidate in Medical Anthropology at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon. She has her BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, her Master's in Anthropology with a certificate in Gender and Women's Studies from The New School for Social Research, and she studied Anthropology at Princeton University prior to her doctoral program in Portugal. Her doctoral research project concerns the negotiations between care and harm with a focus on the politics of touch in elder care during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath in Lisbon nursing homes. She is interested in how age, gender, sexuality, race, disability, and class are entangled in these negotiations, and how institutionalization and medical technologies mediate social relationships therein.
Aaron Su is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University. His research interests center in and around China, and they span from new Chinese medicine-based technologies to urban ecological planning. At the crossroads of medical and environmental anthropology, Aaron’s work explores concerns in the domains of technopolitics, embodiment, urban studies, critical race and ethnic studies, sensory politics, and visual ethnographic methods. With AES, he is particularly excited to be building off of his previous experience in editorial settings. Prior to graduate school, Aaron earned a BA in Anthropology from Columbia University.
Salwa Tareen is a doctoral student in sociocultural anthropology at Boston University. Her dissertation focuses on urban disaster and Islamic charity in Karachi, Pakistan. Specifically, she explores how Karachiites utilize charitable giving to address everyday disasters of infrastructure and governance. In the absence of formal avenues of redress, charitable organizations provide a vital safety net for residents and an outlet for their frustrations. For this reason, she considers the material and ethical dimensions of charity as a means of attending to one another and the city itself. In addition to her academic work, Salwa is an arts organizer, poet, and essayist.
Magdalena Zegarra Chiappori is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Currently, she is in her seventh year and is writing her dissertation on the elderly abandoned in Lima, Peru. Magdalena’s work explores how older adults in the Peruvian capital come up with inventive ways to craft their lives in the midst of family abandonment, a neoliberal global order that renders them as expendable, and structural violence due to the poverty and marginalization these men and women experience. Before being a student at the University of Michigan, she studied Religion at Harvard Divinity School. She also holds a BA in Hispanic Literature from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Perú, in Lima, from where she originally is.
Drew Zackary is a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His research concerns the effects conservation area management has on people living within them. Specifically he is interested in human-wildlife conflict, multispecies interaction, and decentralized governance. Currently his field site is the Kachenjunga Conservation Area in northeast Nepal. Questions concerning land tenure, ethnic identity and perceptions development are of importance at his current field site. Drew has done previous work on biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and livelihood in Uganda and wolf reintroduction in Idaho. He received a M.A. in Anthropology from CU Denver and a Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology from Colorado State University.