Meet the authors of the 63-2 issue, April 2021.
Roberta Biasillo is a Max Weber fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute in Fiesole (Italy) and she is conducting research on the environmental history of Italian colonialism in Libya under fascist rule. Roberta has studied in Italy. where she earned a Ph.D. in European History from the University of Bari in 2016. Her dissertation looks at Italian nation- and state-building processes in the nineteenth century through the lens of forests. She has worked at the Environmental Humanities Laboratory of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the Italian National Institute of Social Security, and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Besides the nexuses of nation-nature and colonialism-agriculture, she is interested in historical theory and environmental humanities research methodologies.
Sarah Besky is Associate Professor in the Departments of International and Comparative Labor and Labor Relations, Law, and History in the ILR School at Cornell University. She is the author of The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (University of California Press, 2014) and Tasting Qualities: The Past and Future of Tea (University of California Press, 2020), as well as the co-editor (with Alex Blanchette) of How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Plane (SAR Press, 2019). Her ongoing research explores questions of land, labor, and tenure through the lens of non-plantation crops in the Himalayan region of Kalimpong, West Bengal.
Claiton Marcio da Silva has been an Associate Professor at the Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul (Brazil) since 2010, and he is currently conducting research on the global environmental history of soybeans during the Great Acceleration. Claiton has studied in Brazil, where he earned a Ph.D. in History of Sciences from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in 2009. His dissertation examines the role of Nelson Rockefeller’s American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA) and its agricultural modernization projects in Brazil (1946–1968). Claiton has been visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was research fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 2017–2018. His main research interests are entanglements between science/technology, agriculture, and environment across the United States and Latin America, as well as authoritarian development and modernization programs.
Christine Folch is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Her first book Hydropolitics:The Itaipú Dam, Sovereignty, and the Engineering of Modern South America(Princeton University Press, 2019) draws on more than a decade of ethnography among energy elites in Paraguay as well as Brazil to show how electricity is tied up with politics and sovereignty. Folch is currently drafting a cultural history of yerba mate, the stimulating beverage popular in southern South America, and its lesser-known but equally delightful caffeinated Ilex/holly-family cousins guayusa (Amazonia) and yaupon (southern North America). CSSH previously published her article “Stimulating Consumption: Yerba Mate Myths, Markets, and Meanings from Conquest to Present” (CSSH 52-1, 2010).
Britt Halvorson is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on issues of religion, race, gender, history/memory, and materiality. Her first book, Conversionary Sites: Transforming Medical Aid and Global Christianity from Madagascar to Minnesota[https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo28267368.html] (University of Chicago Press, 2018), explored how Christians in the United States and Madagascar practice and re-imagine the colonial history of global Christianity through a contemporary medical aid initiative. She has been working on a second, jointly authored book on the longstanding relationship of whiteness, empire, and the Midwest region in the American cultural imagination. She teaches at Colby College in Maine.
Ingie Hovland is a cultural and historical anthropologist of religion. Her first book, Mission Station Christianity: Norwegian Missionaries in Colonial Natal and Zululand, Southern Africa 1850–1890 [https://brill.com/view/title/24338] (Brill, 2013), examined how place-making practices on and around new mission stations in colonial Southern Africa shaped understandings of Christianity, gender, and race. Her current book project explores the often-problematic connection between women and words in Christianity through a case study of the so-called “mission feminists” in early twentieth-century Norway and their new uses of language. She teaches at the University of Georgia.
Krishan Kumar is University Professor and William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. He was previously Professor of Social and Political Thought at the University of Kent at Canterbury. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Bergen, the University of Bristol, the Central European University, the University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Among his publications are 1989: Revolutionary Ideas and Ideals (University of Minnesota Press, 2001); The Making of English National Identity (Cambridge University Press, 2003); From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society: New Theories of the Contemporary World (2d ed., Wiley, 2005); The Idea of Englishness: English Culture, National Identity and Social Thought (Routledge, 2017); and Visions of Empire: How Five Imperial Regimes Shaped the World (Princeton University Press, 2017), which was co-winner of the Barrington Moore Prize of the Comparative-Historical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association, and winner of the Ab Imperio Award for the Best Book on Empires in 2017. His most recent book is Empires: A Historical and Political Sociology (Polity, 2020). He is a frequent contributor to the Times Literary Supplement.
Victor Lieberman is the Raoul Wallenberg Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Asian and Comparative History at the University of Michigan. His books include Burmese Administrative Cycles: Anarchy and Conquest, c. 1580-1760 (Princeton University Press, 1984), which won the Harry J. Benda Prize from the Association for Asian Studies; Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800-1830. Volume 1: Integration on the Mainland (Cambridge University Press, 2009), which won the World History Association Book Prize; and Strange Parallels. Volume 2: Mainland Mirrors: Europe, Japan, China, South Asia, and the Islands(Cambridge University Press, 2012),described in the American Historical Review as “the most important work of history produced so far this century.” His next book, under contract withHarvard University Press, is entitled“Embracing the World, Hating Your Neighbors: Ethnicity and Loyalty in Asia and Europe, c. 1200–1850.”
Matthew Shutzer is currently a Ciriacy-Wantrup Fellow in Natural Resource Economics and Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He completed his Ph.D. in History from New York University.
Thomas R. Trautmann is Emeritus Professor of History and Anthropology of the University of Michigan. He has written on ancient Indian history, environmental history of India, Orientalist scholarship in British India, Dravidian kinship and language, and the works of the pioneer anthropologist, L. H. Morgan. Among his books are Elephants and Kings: An Environmental History (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Languages and Nations: The Dravidian Proof in Colonial Madras (University of California Press, 2006) and Aryans and British India (University of California Press, 1997).