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Platypus in 2023

Welcome to Platypus in 2023! We’re excited for another year of anthropological and social thinking around science and technology. Last year we had over forty-five posts on topics ranging from photoshopping desire to monstrous matter to human-tree relationships to anti-racism in anthropology, as well as several Platypod episodes on disability and toxicity, ableism in higher ed, and more. The blog had over seventy-six thousand visits in 2022 and maintains a readership from 187 different countries. We’re looking forward to another engaging year. We feel such gratitude to you, our readers; thanks for stopping by every week. And thank you to our authors and contributors. If you’re interested in writing or creating for Platypus this year, read on.

Meet the 2023 team

We have a wonderful group of Contributing Editors and Multimodal Contributing Editors, working across many regions, languages, and areas of interest. 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. Unsure of who to reach out to? Email the Managing Editor, Katie Ulrich, at editor@castac.org.

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.

Katie Ulrich, Managing Editor

Katie Ulrich is a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology at Rice University. Katie researches petrochemical replacements made from sugarcane in Brazil, like biofuels and bioplastics, working at the intersection of the anthropology of science, feminist science and technology studies, environmental anthropology, and political ecology.

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.

Contributing Editors

Alice Riddell

Alice Riddell is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL). Her research examines Citizen app, a live crime and safety tracking app in New York City, that functions as both a form of social media and a peer-to-peer surveillance app. Through this lens, Alice’s research investigates the impact of the digitization of crime and how this affects community relationships in increasingly gentrified neighbourhoods in Brooklyn. She is further interested in the delicate balance between care and surveillance, and the ways in which urban communities foster a sense of safety and security in the digital age.

Amy Kuritzky

Amy is a PhD student in the department of anthropology at the University of Michigan. Her interests are at the intersection of environmental justice, medical anthropology, and the critical study of public health science in the U.S. and Latin America. She is also interested in multidisciplinary collaboration and how ethnographic data can be put in conversation with other knowledge practices.

Ana Carolina de Assis Nunes

Ana is a doctoral student in anthropology at Oregon State University, working with cultures of computing and producing knowledge at the intersection of anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS). Her research interests include artificial intelligence; digital and data-driving technologies.

Benjamin Rubin

Benjamin is an early career biologist interested in plant and microbial life. He has previously carried out socio-political research on CRISPR/Cas9 gene drives. In his open time he enjoys hiking, surfing, playing music, and meditation.

Cydney Seigerman

Cydney K. Seigerman is a PhD candidate in Anthropology and Integrative Conservation at the University of Georgia (Athens). Cydney’s research incorporates methods from the critical social sciences, natural sciences, and theatre/performance studies to explore human-technology-environment relations. They are currently conducting their dissertation fieldwork on the lived experience of water (in)security in the rural area of Ceará, Northeast Brazil, and how embodied experiences of water (in)security are recursively formed through unequal socionatural power relations.

Deniz Kahraman

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.

Jaime Landinez

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.

Jessica Bray

Jessica is a PhD candidate in the anthropology department at Rice University. Her research focuses on the role of surveillance and policing technologies in livable futures. As a legal and political anthropologist, she is fundamentally interested in personhood and illegality within ethical and technical entanglements. These interests are rooted in her ethnographic fieldwork with organizers and police officers in Houston, Texas. Her research traces how technolegal devices embody moral distinctions, pose questions about race and colonialism, help people imagine liveable futures, and addresses questions of secrecy and intimacy in the contemporary United States.

Kim Fernandes

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.

Lucas Nishida

Lucas is a PhD candidate in the department of science and technology policy at the University of Campinas, Brazil. He is an interdisciplinary scientist with degrees in the biological, health, and social sciences and is currently conducting research on public participation on health technology assessment for rare diseases drugs. His current research interests are in anthropology of science and health, STS, scientific policies, decolonial studies, democracy, public participation, and engagement. He has worked with science communication and public engagement in a range of health research topics: tropical neglected diseases, rare diseases, disabilities, and public health.

Nishanth Kunnukattil Shaji

Nishanth is a graduate student at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at RPI. His area of focus falls broadly within the realms of biomedicine, technologies of care, governance, and social movements. His first published paper is titled “Grappling with Morphine: A Local History of Painkiller Use in Kerala, India” (Canadian Bulletin of Medical History).

Spencer Kaplan

Spencer Kaplan is a PhD Student in the Department of Anthropology at Yale University. He studies information technologies and their powerful makers in North America and Europe. His research examines the AI community’s so-called “human-centered” turn, asking how the human is refigured through the concepts and models of computation. He is also interested in the role played by technology in the fashioning of queer life.

Tayeba Batool

Tayeba is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation looks at the politics and urban ecologies of transnational greening practices and urban forestry in Pakistan. She is also broadly interested in post-colonial cities, environmental justice, and multimodal ethnography.

Thao Dam

Ashley “Thao” Dam is a medical anthropologist, budding ethnobotanist, and lecturer in the Department of Health, Ethics, and Society at Maastricht University in The Netherlands. Thao is currently an Explorer for the National Geographic Society researching indigenous Cambodian flora. Thao also writes, draws, photographs and speaks about food under the name @ThaoEatWorld.

Ziya Kaya

Ziya Kaya is a Ph.D. candidate in sociocultural anthropology with a minor in geography at the University of Arizona. Currently, he is conducting his doctoral dissertation research on digital, biotechnological, and financial interventions in Turkey’s agroecologies.

Multimodal Contributing Editors

Maythe Han

Maythe is an anthrozoologist of more-than-human kinship who received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Her research and art practices are primarily concerned with the question of ‘how can we live a good life together?’, and she explores the ways in which dogs and their humans co-produce and reproduce systems, structures, and emotions involved in shared multispecies experiences and environments through creative methods, including visual and textile arts and music. She lives with her border collie, Frank, who is her research associate, her child, her whole world.

Pablo Aguilera Del Castillo

Pablo is a Mexico City native and a Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Pablo’s research is situated at the interface of Science and Technology Studies (STS), Environmental Anthropology, Multimodal Ethnography, and Latin American studies. His doctoral research interrogates the Yucatec Karst Aquifer System in Mexico, analyzing the emergence of new forms of environmentalism around subterranean spaces such as cenotes, caves, wells, groundwater, etc. In his research, he focuses on environmental expertise and the work between various types of experts and the local communities. He is currently a graduate fellow at the Penn Program for Environmental Humanities (PPEH) and a founding member of Penn’s EnviroLab.

Rebecca Carlson

Rebecca Carlson is an associate professor of media anthropology at Toyo University. Her research is focused broadly on the production of subjectivities, knowledge and power in the transnational circulation of technology and digital media. She is currently studying bioscientific laboratory research and bioinformatics in Japan.

Rine Vieth

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.

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