Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Duke University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Cultural Anthropology, Duke University
Wild Relations: Producing Socionatural Value in the Scottish Highlands

This research explores how land use shapes social relations in the western Highlands of Scotland, a sparsely populated and largely treeless area officially designated as 'wild land.' While the emptiness of this landscape nurtures apparently incompatible visions of conservation and rural development, resource management in wild areas necessitates frequent collaboration between conservationists and local inhabitants. Critical studies of nature have largely dismissed the wild as ideology and have primarily theorized wilderness areas in terms of capitalist value production. Departing from these trends, this research seeks to take wildness seriously as an emergent property of land and to remain curious about value production that exceeds the rational and the economic. In particular, it asks how actors' laboring engagement with Highland landscapes generates particular forms of human-nonhuman relationality, or 'socionatural value'. Focusing on the laboring practices that bring humans and nonhumans into relation, this research will contribute to scholarship on more-than-human sociality and the production of landscape.