What I appreciate most about Global Studies is the commitment to interdisciplinarity. While my formal academic training is in cultural anthropology, my work draws upon and contributes to cross-disciplinary scholarship on environmentalism and development, critical policy studies, and culture and politics in Native North America. The largest corpus of my research examines the contestations over oil development and conservation on iconic Alaskan landscapes. Drawing upon in-depth ethnographic research, I consider the ways Alaskan Native communities must contend with an ever expanding global thirst for oil. Native communities have responded in different ways: some have lent support to development efforts and have profited from them, while others are staunchly opposed to such efforts. But the reasons for this have little do with Western assumptions about Native “cultural authenticity” or “cultural loss.” Rather, they are a product of histories of colonization, land loss and the restructuring of Native polities – the effects of which are exacerbated with the rise of neoliberalism.
In addition to examining the complexities of environmentalism, development and indigeneity, I’m also very interested in matters of race (particularly in North America), media and popular culture, social and economic justice, and the culture and politics of food. More recently, I’ve become interested in education and schooling, the ways in which issues of race, class, gender and globality are presented to young people. I’m glad to work with students on projects related to these and other topics. And I’m glad to chat with students about almost anything. Stop by my office or send me an email.
Outside of my academic work, I really enjoy working with my hands and making things. I like furniture making, generally fixing things (not always successfully though), and “extreme gardening” (i.e. we have a really BIG garden, with 14 chickens and are considering getting a cow…). But mostly, I enjoy spending time with my husband and son, and our geriatric black Labrador.