Pastoral scene


Program Fellows 2014-15

Guntra Aistara holds a PhD from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at the Central European University in Budapest. During her fellowship she will be working on her book manuscript, provisionally entitled “Struggles for Organic Sovereignty.” Through multi-sited ethnography in two field sites located on the margins of global powers, this book analyzes the intersection of place-making efforts of organic farmers with the political processes of region-making by government institutions. Specifically, it follows how organic farmers in Latvia and Costa Rica create their farms as distinct “places,” and how organic movements negotiated pressures of entry into the regional free trade blocs of the European Union (EU) and the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), respectively. It shows how farmers and their movements are torn between contradictory pressures to simultaneously diversify and conventionalize their farms, landscapes, markets, and governance structures. In response, they defend their farmscapes and movements in struggles for “organic sovereignty,” complementing a range of global movements for food sovereignty. 

Julie Gibbings received her Ph. D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012 and is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Manitoba (Canada). As a fellow, Dr. Gibbings will be completing a book based on her dissertation entitled, Visions of True Peace: History and Modernity in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, 1860-1954. Her book is an analysis of how Guatemalans and German settlers living in Alta Verapaz experienced history and modernity during the transformative nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Renowned as the region of “true peace” for its unique history of “peaceful” conquest, Alta Verapaz was the site of the rapid expansion of coffee production and European settlement during the late nineteenth century. As such, it was a showcase for capitalist expansion, modernizing experiments and state-building projects. Drawing on oral histories and in-depth research in archives in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala City, and the United States, Gibbings describes how Altaverapances, both elites and commoners, Guatemalan nationals and settler immigrants, crafted and manipulated ideas and practices of history and modernity as they fought over the meaning of liberalism, forced wage labor, and the boundaries of Guatemalan and German citizenship, while also seeking to forge a space for the region within the nation and the “civilized” world at large.

Jennifer Lee Johnson received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2014. By foregrounding women’s work with diverse species and forms of fish – both indigenous and introduced – Dr. Johnson’s research retheorizes the intersection of gender, history, and sustainability around Africa’s largest body of water. Her dissertation, Fishwork in Uganda: A Multispecies Ethnohistory about Fish, People, and Ideas about Fish and People is a study about a lake long considered one thing – Lake Victoria. By focusing on fisheries – as material things, practices, and concepts that straddle the artificial divide between nature and culture – it demonstrates that there are multiple ontologically different bodies of water historically and contemporaneously in play there. These bodies of water are brought into existence (and some into extinction) over time through the different work that fish, people, and ideas about fish and people do. She has also worked professionally on fisheries issues for the Marine Fish Conservation Network, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Blue Ocean Institute.


Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows 2014-15

Alba Díaz Geada received her PhD in Contemporary History from the  University of Santiago de Compostela in 2013. She studied the changes  in rural Galiza since the sixties and until its enter in the UE, trying to shed light on the action of the historical subjects and, at the same time, on the change of this subjects (the lose of peasantcommunity) by exploring from below reasons and ways of changes in productive and domestic sphere, rural exodus and collective action (DÍAZ-GEADA, A.: Change in common. Economic, social and cultural change in rural Galiza during Francoism and the political Transition (1959-1982), 2013). She did the Master in Contemporary History (2009) with a final investigation: DÍAZ-GEADA, A.: The countryside in movement: the role of country unions in the rural Galician area during the last times of the Franco dictatorship and the first period of the new democracy, 1964-1986, which has been published (2011). Her fields of interest are rural history, social movements, social, cultural and political change in the countryside. She has currently a postdoctoral contract to develop a research program about sociocultural change and collective action in rural areas in comparative perspective at the Laboratory of Rural Studies (University Lyon 2, France) and the
Program of Agrarian Studies (Yale University).

Daniel Tubb will defend his PhD in anthropology specializing in political economy at Carleton University in September 2014. He will be a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow at the program. His research draws on two-years fieldwork in Colombia’s northwest department of the Chocó with Afro-descendant communities on artisanal and small-scale gold mining. As a fellow, Daniel will revise his dissertation for publication. He shows gold’s role in Afro-descendent miners’ rural livelihood strategies that include subsistence agriculture, hunting, fishing, logging, and migration. He connect gold’s material extraction to the changing landscape, political processes, the regional underground economy, and Colombia’s fifty-year conflict. At Yale, he will also pursue his current research that explores palm oil and resource extraction in Colombia’s Pacific lowlands. His work focuses on Colombia and Latin America to explore resource economies and gold mining; economic anthropology and political economy; ethnicity, Afro-Colombian communities, and whiteness; citizenship and violence; money and speculation in rural frontiers; practice theory and ethnography.


Visiting Fellow 2014-15

José Martinez-Reyes is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Martinez-Reyes received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Massachsttes-Amherst in 2004. As a fellow, Dr. Martinez-Reyes will be completing a book based on a Wenner-Gren Foundation funded research in Fiji and Mexico tentatively titled: Mahogany Ecopolitics: Between the Maya Forest, Fiji, and the Gibson Les Paul. The planned book is a global ethnography that engages both the material culture and materiality of Honduran mahogany (swietenia macrophylla) and the global political ecology of forest conservation. It seeks to understand the complex dynamics between people and forests, producers and consumers, by tracing human-nature relations through the mahogany global commodity network by focusing on one particular artifact, the Gibson Les Paul, an iconic electric guitar primarily made of mahogany.


Affiliate Fellow 2014-15

Graeme Auld received his PhD from Yale University in 2009. He is currently an Associate Professor at Carleton University, Canada, in the School of Public Policy and Administration, and the Canadian Bicentennial Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science at Yale University. With broad interests in comparative environmental policy and global environmental governance, his research examines the emergence, evolution, and impacts of non-state and hybrid forms of global governance across economic sectors, particularly natural resource and agricultural sectors. Secondary interests include the design and efficacy of information disclosure and transparency policies and climate change policy. He is co-author (with Benjamin Cashore and Deanna Newsom) of “Governing Through Markets: Forest Certification and the Emergence of Non-state Authority” (Yale University Press, 2004), and the author of “Constructing Private Governance: The Rise and Evolution of Forest, Coffee, and Fisheries Certification” (Yale University Press, Forthcoming 2014). During his fellowship, he will advance work on a comparative study of mining and forestry governance.


Visiting Assistant in Research 2014-15

Soraya Husain-Talero is an Anthropology PhD Candidate at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. Her research focuses on value transformation of traditional plants produced by Andean peasants in the largest aromatic plant producing region of Colombia. Within this research she is covering topics related sustainable livelihoods, alternative rationalities, the cultural and symbolic meaning of traditional plants and the way in which value has been transformed due to globalisation, economic restructuring and agrarian policies. Prior to her PhD studies, Soraya completed a Master’s degree in Social Research Methods from City University, London and she worked as researcher in the fields of Health Economics and Agricultural Business.