CENHS has fellowship opportunities for both early career and senior scholars in the human sciences undertaking research on energy and environmental issues. Our principal fellowship program is the “Cultures of Energy” Postdoctoral Fellowship, now in its third year. We further routinely offer pre-doctoral fellowships to support early career energy and environmental research in the human sciences at Rice. We are also periodically able to invite distinguished scholars to join CENHS as Visiting Research Fellows for up to a semester. If you are interested in spending sabbatical time at CENHS or in joining our transnational research network, please contact the Director (dcb2@rice.edu) for more information.

Visiting Research Fellows:

Jón Gnarr, Ex Mayor of Reykjavík (CENHS Writer-in-Residence, Spring 2015)

image (2)

Jón Gnarr, the Icelandic comedian, writer and former mayor of Reykjavík, will return to Houston in January as part of a new joint energy and environmental arts residency program established by Rice University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS) and the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

As part of the program, Gnarr will give a series of guest lectures at Rice and teach a screenwriting class at the University of Houston and serve as the showrunner for a new TV series about climate change and Houston. He will also be developing a new TV series project, “Elves,” about the degradation of the Icelandic highlands.

Gnarr (b. 1967) was diagnosed as a child with severe mental retardation due to dyslexia, learning difficulties, and ADHD. He nevertheless overcame these hardships and went on to become one of Iceland’s best-known actors and comedians. In late 2009, in the bitter aftermath of Iceland’s banking crash, Gnarr founded “The Best Party” which sought to bring joy, humility and humanity back to Icelandic politics. Although dismissed as a “joke party” by the Icelandic political mainstream and national and international media, Gnarr’s ability to be equally sincere and satirical about his country’s political situation struck a chord with disillusioned and disoriented voters. The Best Party surprised all observers by winning the 2009 municipal elections in Iceland’s capital and Gnarr served as Mayor from 2010-2014.


Research Fellows:



Dr. Jennifer Carlson (Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin; A.M., The University of Chicago; B.A., Southwestern University)

Jennifer Carlson is an anthropologist who has been associated at CENHS since she completed her doctorate in 2014. Her current project focuses on Germany’s transition from nuclear to renewable energy sources, and particularly on emergent forms of sentiment, class and citizenship in rural communities on the path to carbon neutrality. She is preparing a book manuscript based on her findings, which indicate that aspects of the energy transition circumscribe opportunities for formal participation at the same time that people draw upon renewable technologies in informal but consequential ways, fashioning mundane forms of citizenship in this emerging energy polity.  Jennifer has a decade of field experience in Germany and has also conducted research on wind energy and hydraulic fracturing in south Texas.  Her work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Council for European Studies, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Fulbright Commission.


fullsizerenderLina Dib

Lina Dib is an multidisciplinary artist and anthropologist. Her installations and compositions range from the experimental to the ethnographic and investigate socio-technical and ecological change. Dib is an affiliate artist at the Topological Media Lab at Concordia University in Montreal and research fellow at the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Rice University. Dib also teaches at Rice as part of the Program in Writing and Communication. Her work has been supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council, AMIDA’s European training program, and the Moody Center for the Arts.
Recent publications include Audible Observatories: Notes on Performances; The Forgetting Dis-ease: Making Time Matter (differences), and Of Promises and Prototypes: The Archeology of the Future (LIMN). Her work has been presented internationally including, Hierarchy Gallery, Washington DC; Lawndale Art Center, Houston; Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco; MOP Projects, Sydney; and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston.


Hackbarth-headshot-CENHSDr. Daniel Hackbarth

Daniel Hackbarth is an art historian with degrees from Grinnell College (B.A.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.).  His research focuses on twentieth-century artists and filmmakers, exploring their use of media to conduct, disrupt, and modulate energies ranging from affect to electromagnetic radiation. Daniel’s current projects include essays on the notions of light energy represented in the post-Dada photography of Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, and Raoul Hausmann; on the role of energy and information in the modernist poetry of Ezra Pound and in the experimental films of his student Hollis Frampton; and on German Expressionist woodblock prints as documents of artists’ physical and psychic energy. Daniel’s book project, Media as Medium: Raoul Hausmann 1915-1945, addresses the difficulty art historians have had in understanding Hausmann beyond the watershed years of Berlin Dada (1918-1920) by arguing that his work is best understood through the theories of media it presents. He argues that one decisive moment in Hausmann’s career came during the early 1920s, when the artist reimagined his project in terms of the oscillatory motion responsible for sound, light, and invisible electromagnetic radiation. Daniel moreover contends that Hausmann’s wave-based worldview is only one especially telling articulation of a dialectic between material media and energetic processes that underlies some of the twentieth century’s most significant avant-garde production.


Liffman bioDr. Paul Liffman

Paul Liffman (Chicago, 2002) is a professor of anthropology at the Colegio de Michoacán (Mexico) and has been associated with Rice’s Department of Anthropology since undertaking sabbatical research here in 2012. Previously he worked as a consultant and translator at the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, DC) with Wixarika (Huichol) community elders and museum staff as they designed the Wixarika territory and history exhibit. He has done fieldwork with Huichols since 1990, partly in collaboration with a Mexican NGO as an expert witness on land rights cases. The territorial model that emerged from that multi-sited research is discussed in his book Huichol territory and the Mexican nation (Arizona, 2011) and other publications. His current work addresses the shifting identities and scalar relations to space and climate as Huichols and their allies confront transnational mining projects in their ceremonial territory of Wirikuta in the San Luis Potosí desert.


Mason_PhotoDr. Arthur Mason

Arthur Mason holds degrees in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University (BA) and University of California at Berkeley (PhD). He is the recipient of three Fulbright Chair awards for Arctic research (Canada, Norway, Russia) and has published widely on changes to large technical systems and US energy regulation. At CENHS, he is Principal Investigator (Dominic Boyer co-PI) of National Science Foundation research (2014-2018) focused on expert formulations of energy futures. This project follows his earlier NSF Early Grant for Exploratory Research (2010-2013) that examined the role of transnational networks of expertise in communicating economic forecasts of Arctic oil and natural gas developments. Arthur’s forthcoming research focuses on interconnections of The Global Arctic, a proposal that aims to advance system-level understandings about interconnections between the Arctic’s changing natural environment and the global cultural systems of Energy and Infrastructure, Water and Adaptation, and Chemospheric and Toxicological Flows.

Carrie Schneider

Carrie Schneider is an artist interested in collapsing moments across time and the ability of people to reimagine their space. Her projects include Hear Our Houston (2011), a hub of public generated audio walking tours in the world’s largest petrochemical hub, Care House (2012) an installation in the house she grew up in considering the roles of caregiving/caretaking and the bodies of mother/home through cancer and the medical-industrial experience of it, Sunblossom Residency (2009-2015) a skill exchange between artists and middle school students who are refugees resettled in Houston. Informed by a family history that tracks intimately with the oil industry, Schneider’s projects often collage architectural and affectual artifacts of boom and bust cycles.

She is currently a Fellow with Project Row Houses and the University of Houston College of the Arts Center for Art and Social Engagement Fellow. Her work has been featured by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Project Row Houses, Diverseworks, Alabama Song, Labotanica, and many places outside of arts institutions. She has organized and hosted many public conversations including the Art of Equity panel for the Rothko Chapel’s Confronting Inequality Symposium, and dialogues between artists and experts in a range of other disciplines for the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. Her visual work and writing have been featured in Gulf Coast, Temporary Art Review, and Cite Magazine. She earned her BFA in Fine Arts and Culture and Politics from Maryland Institute College of Art and has engaged in a self-constructed MFA program by auditing courses at local universities.  http://www.carriemarieschneider.com/


Postdoctoral Fellows:


img_3974Abby Spinak (2016-2017)

Abby Spinak studies energy history, with a particular interest in the politics of energy ownership and the role of infrastructure in disseminating economic ideas. Her current research ties the history of electrification in the rural United States to the evolution of twentieth-century American capitalism and alternative economic visions. At CENHS, she will be completing a book exploring how a cooperative business model became central to federal electrification policy in the 1930s; how a vast network of community owned and democratically managed utilities arose across the country, quickly and dramatically altering the American landscape; and how these urbanizing communities variously interpreted the political opportunities of community ownership at different moments over the past eighty years. Abby received her PhD in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT (2014) and was recently a Charles Warren Center Fellow in the History of American Capitalism at Harvard University (2015-2016).


Predoctoral Fellows:

Maureen Haver (2015-2017)

Maureen Haver is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University. Through a political anthropology lens, her research focuses on emergent narratives, discourses, and socio-political movements around climate change and energy policy in the United States with a specific focus on Alaska. More specifically, she studies sites of political resistance to climate mitigation/transition policies and a counter-advocacy that favors energy policies that recognize fossil fuels as key instruments for facilitating climate adaptation, addressing energy poverty, and guaranteeing labor. A primary goal of her research is to move past the polarization that characterizes much of the debate surrounding climate change and energy policy in the United States to develop a more nuanced understanding of the political, socio-cultural, and environmental consequences of fossil fuel reliance and the current frictions stressing the fault lines of ideology, economics, and identity in the U.S.



Eliot Storer (2015-2017)

Eliot Storer is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University. His research engages environmental management, planetary thinking, and energy systems. Eliot’s dissertation research is a comparative study of emerging environmental interventions and technologies that attempt to solve global climate challenges, and that do not fit easily in established domains of climate change mitigation or adaptation. Eliot also helps co-facilitate the Ethnography Studio, an experimental, interdisciplinary center for ethnographic research on Rice’s campus.


Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 10.06.11 AM

Kevin MacDonnell (2016-2017)

Kevin MacDonnell is a PhD student in the Department of English at Rice University. His research interests include ecocriticism, history of science, materialisms, narrative theory, theory of the novel, and formalism. His research has been focused primarily on 17th and 18th century English literature, and in particular, the ways in which mechanistic philosophy and materialism shaped the production of early theories of energy and the environment, as well as the emergence and proliferation of new forms; literary, industrial, and otherwise. He recently co-authored a piece on “Ecology in Literature” with Steve Mentz for OUP’s Oxford Bibliographies Online, which can be found at: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199830060/obo-9780199830060-0148.xml



Magnús Örn Sigurðsson (2016-2017)

Magnús Örn Sigurðsson is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology. Broadly, he is interested in practices and discourses of climate change mitigation. More specifically, how nation states produce themselves as ethical subjects in terms of action on climate change, and how their responsibility of reducing emissions is distributed within society. Magnús focuses on Iceland as a nation state that produces renewable energy in abundance.


Version 2

Clint Wilson III (2016-2017)

Clint Wilson III is a PhD student in Rice University’s English Department, having received an MA in literature from West Virginia University and an MSc in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh. He is a Diana Hobby Editorial Fellow for Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 and a teacher for the Houston non-profit, Writers in the Schools. Framed by the contributions of biopolitics and systems theory, Clint’s research explores how networks of race, governmentality, and contamination shape the twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ understanding of “toxicity,” particularly witnessed by Modernist and Avant-Garde imaginaries.