We're back for 2018 with our eighth episode, recorded at the 2017 American Anthropological Association meeting in Washington, DC. Amidst the academics scrambling between seminars, our very own David Giles tracked down fellow anthropologists Elana Resnick (UC Santa Barbara) and Chloe Ahmann (George Washington University) for a conversation about their work, the social dimensions of waste, the value of theory, and much else besides!
Dr Elana Resnick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests include environmental justice, materiality, waste management, racialization, nuclear energy, informal economies, urban infrastructure, postsocialism, EU integration, the Romani diaspora, and humor. Based on over three consecutive years of fieldwork in Bulgaria conducted on city streets, in landfills, Roma neighborhoods, executive offices, and at the Ministry of the Environment, her current book manuscript examines the juncture of material waste management and racialisation, specifically highlighting the intersection between physical garbage and the Roma minority, often considered “social trash” throughout Europe.
Dr Chloe Ahmann is a graduate of George Washington University. Her work takes up the future as a political object, and it considers what state efforts to think and enact the future look like from the sedimented space of late industrialism. Many of her research sites materialize the tension between past and future – and more specifically between decline and desire – that weights the late-industrial experience. Her current project, Cumulative Effects: Reckoning Risk on Baltimore's Toxic Periphery, explores the historical and embodied dimensions of risk from the perspective of a community in south Baltimore over a 200-year period, querying how residents' past experiences with risk inform their present-day opposition to a proposed incinerator. This project takes anticipatory interventions that are typically theorized as issues of futurity and considers their multiple temporal inflections.