Distraction Free Reading

Platypus in 2022

A person taking picture with their phone in a dark room with blue digital art projected on the walls

Photo by the author.

As the new year and the new semester have been off to (hopefully) a good start, Platypus is coming back to work too. Building on a decade of work (this year Platypus turns 10!), in 2022, we will continue our commitment to providing a platform for diverse voices and critical scholarship at the intersection of anthropology and STS. We have a new team, new projects, and a great deal of enthusiasm, as always. We can’t wait to offer our readers more experimental and multimodal content (powered by Platypus’s biggest team of talented multimodal contributing editors to date!), increase the linguistic accessibility of Platypus’s materials (possible with the support of invaluable multilingual volunteers!), and widen the spectrum of genres and means of academic expression (supported by our brilliant web producer and contributing editors). Stay tuned!

Meet the 2022 Team

The new team is big and diverse, working from across many countries, languages, and time zones. If you have ideas about a post and would like to have your piece appear on Platypus, don’t hesitate to reach out to a contributing editor with similar interests. You may find their contact information if you click on their names.

Ana Carolina de Assis Nunes, Contributing Editor

Ana Carolina is a Ph.D. student in Applied Anthropology at Oregon State University. She has a background in social sciences and is currently researching populism and digital technologies in Brazil, her home country.

Ashley Thuthao Keng Dam, Contributing Editor

Ashley “Thao” Dam is a medical anthropologist, budding ethnobotanist, and final year PhD candidate in ecogastronomy, education, and society at Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo, Italy. Thao’s research is focused on Khmer folk food-medicine use and consumption during times of ecological instability in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia.

Angela Vandenbroek, Web Producer

Angela is an assistant professor of anthropology at Texas State University. Her Ph.D. is in sociocultural anthropology from Binghamton University in the department of anthropology. She has additionally worked as an applied anthropologist in design, branding, and information technologies since 2008. Broadly speaking, her work sits at the intersection of business and design anthropology and science and technology studies and focuses on how ambitions for better futures by states, citizens, and entrepreneurs are coopted and reformed by innovation culture and its infrastructures. She has conducted research in Stockholm Sweden’s startup and innovation ecosystem and will be starting research in Austin, Texas starting Fall 2021.

Chun-Yu (JoAnn) Wang, Contributing Editor

Chun-Yu (Jo Ann) Wang is a dissertation writer from the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. Informed by political anthropology and science and technology studies, her dissertation research project investigates the process of state and ethnic-class formation in Malaysia by examining the material, technological, and infrastructural developments and controversies in the national oil and gas sector.

Gebhard Keny, Multimodal Contributing Editor

Gebby is a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology at Rice University. His research focuses on the politics of “data-driven” approaches to environmental governance and agricultural production in Lake Erie.

Jaime Landinez, Contributing Editor

Jaime is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. His dissertation explores how scientists, rural residents, and government officials produce, circulate, and use knowledge about biodiversity in regions impacted by the civil war in Colombia.

Katie Ulrich, Contributing Editor

Katie Ulrich is a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology at Rice University. Her research focuses on petrochemical replacements made from sugarcane, including not only biofuels but sugar-based plastics, synthetic fabrics, solvents, specialty chemicals, and more. Her project follows the technical practices of scientists, industry actors, and funding agents in São Paulo, Brazil within and beyond the lab as they reconfigure sugarcane molecularly, socially, and politically—asking to what extent these practices ultimately transform sugarcane from a crop with a dark history into a newly extractable feedstock for environmental and industrial futures. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, she worked as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab at the University of California, San Francisco.

Kim Fernandes, Contributing Editor

Kim is a joint PhD candidate in Education and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Their doctoral research focuses on how disabled bodies are made legible to the state in India, through processes of enumeration and identification for paper-based and digital ID documents.

Lakshita Malik, Contributing Editor

Lakshita Malik is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research centers ideas of (beauty) labor and work in and through digital spaces like social media and app-based gig platforms. She is interested in understanding how labor is mediated through digital spaces and how representations of labor are just as significant in forging class, caste-based, gendered and sexual identities as the acts of laboring and working.

Naomi Zucker, Public Relations Manager

Naomi Zucker is a PhD student in cultural anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, working at the intersection of medical anthropology and STS. Her dissertation project explores the contemporary life of psychopharmaceuticals, with a focus on drug withdrawal, discontinuation, and deprescribing.

Nirupama Jayaraman, Contributing Editor

As a social-cultural anthropologist, Nirupama’s research interests lie at the intersection of political, urban, and economic anthropology. Broadly, she is interested in understanding urban transportation networks in South Asia. She hopes to examine the infrastructures and mobilities that produce and are produced by such networks, specifically at the intersections of gender and class. She aims to understand if and how class mobility and the consumption of automobility are related. Nirupama is also interested in unpacking the complexities of extant and emerging “gig” economies facilitated by digital infrastructures, across the Asiatic region, through questions of labor, evolving digital spatialities, reimagined human relations and legitimacies, etc.

Quinn Georgic, Multimodal Contributing Editor

Quinn Georgic is a graduate student in the Anthropology department at Rice University. Their research interests are broadly focused on the ways in which colonialism has affected access to and knowledge production of endangered species. Furthermore, they are interested in how art installations and non-textocentric forms of ethnography can help think through multispecies relations.

Ramsha Usman, Multimodal Contributing Editor

Ramsha Usman is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests focus on disability, labor, occupational health and risk, care, and South Asia.

Rine Vieth, Multimodal Contributing Editor

Rine is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. They are a scholar of law, asylum, religion, and Islamic jurisprudence. They are curious about intersections between legal processes and religion.

Ritwik Banerji, Multimodal Contributing Editor

Ritwik Banerji is an experimental ethnographer of music. His work focuses on the design of artificially-intelligent virtual performers of free improvisation and subjecting these systems to the critique of the human performers whose practices these systems are built to perform.

Rua Mae Williams, Contributing Editor

Rua M. Williams is an assistant professor at Purdue University where they teach courses in technology design, ethics, and disability. They conduct research in assistive technology design informed by critical participation and disability studies. Their scholarship focuses on sociotechnical critique of interventionist technologies as manifestations of eugenic desires for normalization of deviant bodyminds.

Svetlana Borodina, Managing Editor

Svetlana Borodina is a Mellon Teaching Fellow at the Harriman Institute and Lecturer in Anthropology at Columbia University. She studies cultures and the politics of disability inclusion in Russia. Her ethnographic work explores the technologies through which bodily and mental differences become folded into the production of postsocialist forms of citizenship and relationality for abled and disabled individuals alike.

Tim Quinn, Contributing Editor

Tim Quinn is a PhD Candidate in the Anthropology Department at Rice University. His research focuses on the social lives of HIV prevention drugs in Bangkok, Thailand. He is interested in the anthropology of pharmaceuticals, drugs, and other substances, STS, and queer theory.

Yakup Deniz Kahraman, Contributing Editor

Deniz is a cultural anthropology PhD student at Binghamton University. His research is located at an intersection of anthropology, education, and STS. He conducted ethnographic fieldwork for two years with two different course-based undergraduate research programs (abbreviated as CUREs) in an Upstate New York public university. In his dissertation, based on his fieldwork, he is planning to focus on CUREs, emerging research pedagogies, neoliberalization of/in higher education, and limitations of neoliberal critique.

Zhou Zhou, Multimodal Contributing Editor

Zhou Zhou is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at Rice University. She studies bureaucratic care and technologies in China, especially government prevention of telecommunication scams. Her dissertation project explores how technologies of crime intersect with technologies of governance in telecommunication scams and their prevention, and how these intersections mediate people’s imagination of and interaction with the state in their everyday life.

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