PhD Candidate

Dissertation Title: Whither the Reef? Marine futures and ethical positioning at extinction's edge


I am a cultural anthropologist studying the shifting nature of marine life and its scientific description, along with their implications for the governance of planetary crisis. My dissertation, titled “Whither The Reef? Marine futures and ethical positioning at extinction’s edge,” analyzes the overlapping practical and moral quandaries that arise as the sciences of marine life embark upon large-scale and ostensibly experimental “interventions” in the name of planetary care. It is grounded in 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork and archival research among a variety of groups working to secure Australia’s Great Barrier Reef against its predicted demise due to ocean heating and acidification. I ask: how, why, and with what political consequences have coral reefs gone from broadcasting the perils of human industry to serving as the testbed for planetary engineering? My research interests, more broadly, include the psychosocial dimensions of modernist technoscience, the critical potential of natural history, and the moral status of nonhuman entities.