Sarah Vaughn

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies

Sarah Vaughn is a sociocultural anthropologist whose focus is the critical study of climate change and its expertise in the present.  This concern informs her recent articles and book in-progress entitled Engineering Vulnerability: An Ethnography of Climate Change and Expertise.  The book develops a case study of coastal flooding in Guyana as a site to think with and through how people learn to pay attention to hydraulic modeling operations across forms of expert labor.  In privileging hydraulic models, she seeks to analyze the ways scientific narrative devices are enacted and become related to everyday experiences of climate change.  In doing so, the book re-conceptualizes data in ethnography as less a problem of representation than encounters with an unruly world.  It dovetails into a broader set of themes related to expertise including technology and nature, race and liberalism, as well as (post)coloniality and science.

These themes inform her other ethnographic interests in how climate change may be rematerializing ideas about politics and regionality. One project tracks various instances of mine exploration with the emergence of global low-carbon economies in the Guiana Shield.  More broadly, this project asks what it means to think regionality and scalar transformations in the mapping of territory.  Another project considers the (re)-migration of Caribbean technocrats and their efforts to construct region-based climate modeling centers and projects out of Belize.

last updated: February 28th, 2018