Program Fellows 2022-23
Shozab Raza (Anthropology, University of Toronto)
Agrarian Studies Program Fellow
Shozab Raza is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University. He received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Toronto in 2022, an MPhil from the University of Oxford, and a BA from the University of Toronto. His research broadly focuses on imperialism, agrarian change, and radical politics in the global South, especially Pakistan. His current book project, Theory from the Trenches, explores insurgent, subterranean theorizing and practice on Pakistan’s colonial-fortified landed estates (jagirs). Shozab’s research has been published in Comparative Studies in Society and History, the Journal of Agrarian Change, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and Ethnography, while his public writing has appeared in Counterpunch, Rabble, and the Cultural Anthropology blog. He is also a founding editor of Jamhoor, a critical left magazine on South Asia.
Courtney T. Wittekind (Social Anthropology, Harvard University)
Agrarian Studies Program Fellow
Courtney T. Wittekind is a Postdoctoral Associate in Yale’s Program in Agrarian Studies. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology with a secondary field in Critical Media Practice from Harvard University in 2022. Courtney’s current research lies at the intersection of work on political instability, speculative real estate investment, and agrarian change. Her book project, “’Time to Change:’ Speculating on ‘Transition’ in Yangon’s New City,” describes the unequal burdens facing residents of Southwest Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), an agricultural region set to be transformed into a sprawling “New Yangon City.” Through in-situ and digital ethnography conducted over 18 months, “Time to Change” follows residents of the 20,000-acre project area as they exchange not only plots of agricultural land but also visions of the radically new futures they will build in the coming “new city.” This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, and Harvard’s Committee on General Scholarships. While at Yale, Courtney will continue to develop a second project exploring the role of social media in chains of speculation unfolding across Southeast Asia, developed with support from the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative and the Digital Transformations in Property and Development Matrix at the University of California, Berkeley.
In addition to her dissertation research, Courtney is completing her first documentary film in connection with Harvard’s Critical Media Practice program and Sensory Ethnography Lab. She also serves as a co-founder and editor of Tea Circle, a forum for new perspectives from Burma/Myanmar.
Before beginning her PhD, she completed an MPhil in Anthropology at the University of Oxford as a 2014 Rhodes Scholar and member of St Antony’s Programme on Modern Burma Studies. She holds an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in anthropology and fine art from Carnegie Mellon University.
Affiliate Fellows 2022-23
Irina Aguiari (Political Science and Sociology, SNS Pisa)
Agrarian Studies Exchange Scholar (Spring 2023)
Irina Aguiari is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social and Political Science of Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy. She is also a member of COSMOS – Centre on Social Movement Studies in Florence (IT). Her doctoral research focuses on community agriculture in Italy, that is, processes of food commonification on shared lands and open fields. She focuses on the political dimensions and transformative potential of these experiences to redesign proximal food systems from below. Her methodologies are inspired by Participatory Action Research and involve the co-creation of empirical results together and for local farmers’ communities. Other academic interests cover political ecology and environmental history, processual analysis, qualitative and innovative techniques of social research. She has published on feminist activism within neoliberal academia, migrant farmworkers in tomato supply chains, and ecoprecarity at the intersection of ecological and work struggles.
Attilio Bernasconi (Anthropology, University of Lausanne)
Agrarian Studies Affiliate Fellow
Attilio Bernasconi is a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) postdoctoral fellow. He received his Ph.D. in Social Sciences (anthropology) in June 2022 at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. His thesis, titled “Thinking-Feeling the Margins: An Intersectional ethnography of the Conflict Within the Colombian Pacific Rainforest” brings on the complex dynamics that characterize the relationships between the ELN (National Liberation Army) guerrilla movement and the Colombian Pacific inhabitants. Attilio’s field of expertise includes the anthropology of the state and governance, with an emphasis on borderland areas where information, commodities, and people circulate – often illegally – at the margins of the state. After completing two Masters degrees, one in social anthropology and one in human geography, Attilio was PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the University of Lausanne from 2015 to February 2022. From August 2018 to October 2020, he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, while during the Spring semester 2022, he held a Lecturer position at the University of Bern, where his class — “Ethnographies of Struggle” — focused on inequalities related to the historical spatially uneven development of the capitalist mode of production, environmental racism, structural violence, and the construction of gender in armed groups. His teaching links these social struggles to the ones an anthropologist is confronted in her/his fieldwork, and which are related to questions of access, positionality, engagement, race, and gender.
Dolly Kikon (Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Melbourne)
Henry Hart Rice Visiting Associate Professor in South Asian Studies and Agrarian Studies (Spring 2023)
Thomas Monaghan (History, Yale University)
Agrarian Studies Graduate Affiliate Fellow
Huiying Ng (Anthropology, LMU Munich)
Agrarian Studies Visiting Assistant in Research (Spring 2023)
Huiying Ng is a scholar-practitioner exploring rural-urban agricultural learning networks, agroecology, and community resilience. As a doctoral student of anthropology at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany, she works with the project team Environing Infrastructures, supported by the Volkswagen Foundation’s freigeist research grants. Her research project, Infra-structural remediations: Agroecological futures as prospective ethnographies of hope, extends work from her Master’s thesis at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Geography: Re-earthing: A Social Semiotics of Agroecological Futures.
She is developing knowledge exchange and action research methodologies with the Soil Regeneration Project (Singapore), and through her doctoral research. Her research has appeared in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s (Germany) Technosphere magazine and Anthropocene Curriculum, as a zine publication in the exhibition IN THE FOREST, EVEN THE AIR BREATHES curated by Abhijan Toto for the GAMeC in Bergamo, Italy. Her academic work has appeared in Urban Studies, the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, Psychology & Health, Geography Compass; and Hard State, Soft City and Emerging Civic Urbanisms in Asia (Amsterdam University Press), and the Routledge Handbook of Urbanisation in Southeast Asia.
George Remisovsky (History, Yale University)
Agrarian Studies Graduate Affiliate Fellow
George Remisovsky is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Yale, where his work focuses on the economic, social, and legal histories of modern China and Japan. His dissertation examines the introduction of Western-style civil law to the Japanese and Qing empires beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In particular, it focuses on how the transnational sharing of conceptions of local custom ultimately led both polities to eschew the use of local power brokers as dispute mediators. With this choice, it argues, policymakers diverged from the Western legal systems that they largely emulated, excluded figures who played a key role in implementing other areas of central government policy, and eliminated the customs they purportedly wished to preserve. Prior to arriving at Yale, George received an Hon. B.A. in History and International Relations from Trinity College, University of Toronto and an M.A. in Chinese Philosophy from Fudan University as a Shanghai Government Scholar.
Student Coordinator 2022-23
Agrarian Studies Graduate Student Coordinator
Joy Wang is the Agrarian Studies Program Coordinator for the 2022-23 academic year and a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Yale, specializing in political theory. Working at the intersection of postcolonial theory, the history of political thought, and the critical history of the social sciences, her dissertation research tracks the emergence of political theories of the developmental state in the middle decades of the twentieth century, both in anticolonial movements across the British Empire and the Anglophone social sciences.
Before coming to Yale, she earned an MPhil in history from the University of Cambridge and an undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics from Harvard College. Please direct inquiries about the Program in Agrarian Studies to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.