Current Institutional Affiliation
NSF-SPRF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2018
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Colorado / Boulder
Negotiating Sovereignties in the Heart of Costa Rica's Climate Frontier

Costa Rica's goal to become the world's first carbon neutral country was one of the most ambitious pledges of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. My project is theoretically grounded in humanities and social science research on space and place focusing on how spaces are embedded with meaning and made into place, while considering how people's everyday lives are disrupted by the processes of globalization. My research will offer an ethnographic study of Térraba peoples' experiences with the proposed Diquis dam in Costa Rica. As Indigenous peoples' diversity of perspectives and imaginaries intersect, challenge, and conflict with hegemonic ideologies and practices of climate governance, Costa Rica illustrates what I term a "climate frontier:" a contact zone of multiple ideologies and epistemologies of climate policy and climate change. My proposed project thus builds on the understanding that climate change is "intimately and ultimately" about culture and ethics, and further argues for a similarly culturally and ethically informed approach to climate governance. The research questions guiding my project are: How do people understand and interpret climate change and climate policy? How do people accept or resist the moralizing logics of climate policies that hold them individually responsible for complex global processes? Within the heterogeneous ideological space of a climate frontier, how do people navigate conflicting narratives of crisis? Through what pathways are Indigenous peoples negotiating climate governance with (and from within) a sovereign state? This research provides an interdisciplinary ethnographic lens into how people's lives are transformed by 21st century climate policy and will contribute to more equitable solutions to climate change.