The AES Editorial Intern Team debuted at the AES spring meeting in 2016. The team works with AES Section Editor Carole McGranahan 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.
Monica Patrice Barra is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. program in Cultural Anthropology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research focuses on environmental change, the politics of racial difference and their relationship to technoscientific innovation. Monica's dissertation ethnographically examines the impacts of coastal land loss and restoration projects in southeastern Louisiana from the perspectives of communities of color living along the last 100 miles of the Mississippi River and the scientists and engineers attempting to restore disappearing coastal lands. Theoretically, her work asks how meanings of racial difference and racial geographies are constituted through the technoscientific and political management of deltaic lands and waters. In addition to her research among coastal communities and scientists, she teaches in the environmental studies program at Tulane University and regularly collaborates with arts and humanities groups on projects that investigate the relationships between people and transforming urban and rural environments.
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.
Amiel Bize is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Columbia University, where she also completed her undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature. Her dissertation research focuses on “black spots”—stretches of road where accidents happen frequently—along rural highways in Kenya. The project uses roads and road danger as a lens onto shifting rural landscapes in Kenya, where ideas of kinship, temporality, and morality are being reconfigured to accommodate the risks and opportunities of the post-austerity economy. The project proposes that, as infrastructure construction comes to stand in for development, roads are a key site for understanding the mix of state withdrawal and investment that characterizes contemporary Kenya, as well as the ways in which rural populations are affected by and responding to these shifts. She is also interested in venues for presenting her work beyond academia, and in past has created documentary films and radio essays.
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.
Grace Carey is originally from Flint, MI and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Michigan-Flint in 2014. She is currently pursuing graduate studies in Anthropology and is a PhD candidate at Princeton University. Grace's work focuses on the dynamics of movement, law, and placemaking amongst Charismatic Catholic intentional communities in Southeastern Michigan and a privately owned Catholic town in Southwest Florida. She is interested in how these religious communities both create place that is mobile and how these particular forms of placemaking shape their experience and engagement with larger US legal systems. Ultimately her work speaks to issues of mobility, placemaking, utopia, and democracy in the US context. She will be doing fieldwork in Florida during 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tara Joly recently completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, and she is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests include environmental management, indigenous rights, history of science, and industrial landscapes in subarctic Canada. Based on archival research and fieldwork in Fort McMurray, Canada with the McMurray Métis community and peatland scientists, Tara’s research addresses oil sands wetland reclamation as an emergent form of cultural encounter between divergent epistemologies. Using muskeg as an analytical tool in her doctoral thesis, she traces definitions of landscape utility held by Métis community members, scientists, government agents, and industry representatives. Drawing on environmental anthropology and critical geography literature, she argues that Métis community members are actively and creatively asserting their sovereignty in their homeland that is often conceived as an extractive zone. This research is also informed by Tara’s parallel work as an applied anthropologist in the region, in which she assists with a number of Métis Land-Use studies, technical document reviews, and oral history projects in Fort McMurray. Tara is excited to be part of the AES intern team and explore how social media might be a platform through which to foster respectful and accountable research dialogues between academic, community, and public spaces.
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, post referenda, and the emergence of a pro-European civic nationalism. The project intends to re-imagine Scottish national identity in a more civic, fluid and global way. Her fieldwork will take part in 2018 and will focus on this identity re-negotiation within the major Scottish political parties. She is committed to social justice and has worked for Amnesty International UK, setting up and overseeing various national campaigns around racial violence and hate crime post-Brexit. Her research interests include identity, time and temporality, masculinity, AI and new technologies, and visual anthropology.
Maria Menegaki is a PhD student in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and is excited to be part of the AES Editorial Intern team. She received a BA in Geography and an MA in Social and Historical Anthropology at the University of the Agean. Religion, Education, Sacred Geography, Tourism and Popular Culture have been among her basic research interests so far. In terms of her MA thesis, she conducted a research related to Death and Cremation in Greece. She highlighted social change and power relations as they are revealed by the study of cremation and discussed how the body as an object of power is transformed into an active subject of cultural resistance. Her current project explores the movement of free, libertarian education in Catalonia and her aim is to better understand such socio-political movements,` contribute to the related literature by inquiring an understanding from below and offer a rich empirical analysis which could later be applied.
Peter Soles Muirhead, a PhD student in anthropology and diaspora studies at the University of Toronto, received cultural psychiatry training at McGill, an MSc in anthropology at Toronto, and an Honours BA in anthropology and linguistics at Simon Fraser University. He is interested in the global networks, history, politics, and variation of mental health knowledge and practice. He is also committed to the ethnography and history of psychiatric consumer-survivors in Europe and North America. At the AES, Peter hopes to meaningfully expand and deepen the inclusivity, reflexivity, and genres of dissemination that link anthropology to the broader world. His dissertation research approaches French ethnopsychiatry and its relationship to the longstanding Franco-Turc diaspora in neighborhood and clinical settings. This work addresses transnational medical politics, ethno-religious hierarchies, and secularisms, as well as ethics, recognition, and imperial durabilities in the absence of an ex-colonial relationship. Originally from the British Columbia interior, Peter has also conducted mental health archival research and worked as a consulting medical anthropologist in Toronto.
Sarah Riccardi-Swartz is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at New York University, where she also completed the graduate certificate program in Culture and Media. Her dissertation research in the Appalachian Mountains is with a community of Russian Orthodox Christians. Her work primarily looks at the politics of the digital in religious places and spaces, and how religious media play roles in shaping the social imaginaries and transnational ideologies of practitioners, paying close attention to the effect media have on the local political economies and what that might say about the relationship between Russia and the United States. She is committed to scholarship inside and outside of the academy that emphasizes engaged work on the ever-expanding relationships between religion and media, political radicalism, regionalism, and gender and class inequalities. A longtime resident of the Midwest, Sarah received a M.A. and Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Missouri State University.
José A. Romero is a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. His research interests include political ecology, securitization, and mobilities across the Americas. His current project explores the eco-poetics of both community-organized, volunteer, armed self-defense groups (autodefensas) in Mexico and the economic diversification of drug cartels into illegal mining and logging. This project primarily works with agricultural laborers in the US, autodefensa and broader community members in Michoacán, Latinx deportees and their transnational families, and will involve facing corporate officials from mining and other relevant industries. The child of immigrant agricultural laborers, José is indebted to critiques of human borders drawing on the Black Radical Tradition, Native Feminisms, and Queer studies. José is elated to join the internship team and the wider American Ethnological Society community.
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.
Sonja Trifuljesko is a third-year Doctoral Candidate in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She obtained her previous degrees in Ethnology and Anthropology, as well as in Art History from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Sonja’s research interests are rather diverse. Initially, she was primarily engaging with anthropological theories of body and anthropology of policy. Her MA thesis investigated the manner in which disability was socially constructed in Serbia and the manner in which it was lived – through the ‘bodies with disability’. Towards the end of her master’s studies, Sonja has started developing a strong interest in migration theories. In 2011, she conducted a brief study on the values of young adults of Serbian origin in Vienna, Austria. Her doctoral project, however, attempts to make a contribution to anthropological discussions on the contemporary university reform. She has just completed her long-term ethnographic fieldwork and expects to defend her thesis in 2018. By capturing different forms that the popular concept of ‘internationalization’ take within the University of Helsinki, Sonja’s study aims to understand and explain present-day transformation of Finnish universities, as well as to interpret its social, cultural and political implications.
Namgyal Tsepak is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University, with a Minor in American Indian Studies. Originally from northeastern Tibet, Namgyal graduated from Duke University (Durham, NC) with a B.A. in Anthropology. He spent a research and service-learning year at Seva Foundation (Berkeley, CA) as a Research Associate through Duke University’s Hart Fellows Program. Namgyal had managed community development grants including from the Canada Fund, the Davis Projects for Peace, and DukeEngage to implement solar energy projects in Tibetan and other ethnic minority areas in Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu provinces in western China. For his dissertation research, Namgyal works with the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation (Bowler, Wisconsin) to investigate the ways in which the Mohican people today reconnect with their ancestral homelands in the Northeast, and explore how lands/places intersect with Native identity, sociocultural (re)production and political belonging within the context of settler colonialism. In addition to his dissertation research, Namgyal periodically translates writings by prominent Tibetan writers and social activists. He shares some of these translations and his own writing excerpts on at his Nomadic Borders blog. He has contributed articles to journals such as Central Asiatic Journal, Cultural Survival Quarterly, and Asian Highlands Perspectives.
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.
Eda Pepi, PhD Stanford University (2017), currently Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University