Dissertation Title: Heaven on Earth in America
Briel is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology. Her research examines the role of affect and feeling in the production of historical legacies in rural US communities. Her dissertation, “Heaven on Earth in America," is based on seventeen months of ethnographic and archival fieldwork in New Harmony, Indiana, a small town that has hosted three utopian experiments over the past two centuries. It explores white identity through repression, nostalgia, and the author’s own disorientation throughout the ethnographic process.