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 fourth year. We further routinely offer pre-doctoral fellowships to support early career energy and environmental research in the human sciences at Rice. The 2017-2018 year marks the largest cohort of pre-doctoral fellows in the history of the center. 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.


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.


Mike Dieterich

Mike Dieterich is a LEED Accredited Professional, environmental scientist, best-selling author, and award winning produce. His research focuses on the integration of culture, technology, and policy, as it relates to the future of energy, water, and waste in our built environment. Dieterich has a strong focus on resiliency and sustainability. Exploring and identifying opportunities to instill best practices, achieve goals, and improve profitability. Over the past decade, he has written policies and programs that support sustainable development. His efforts have culminated in the success of passing historic sustainability efforts in Washington DC.

Dieterich has been called upon as an expert for the US Congress, United Nations Climate Action Forum and has led conversations at Georgetown and Carnegie Mellon Universities. His efforts have been featured in The New York Times and various national broadcast outlets. Dieterich brings energy, innovation to the subject making critical issues for the world to solve understandable and interesting. Most recently, Dieterich did a Tedx talk on “A Zero Energy Water Waste Future” discussing the policies and projects that have been driving this future.


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/


Dr. Mark Vardy

Mark Vardy is an interpretive sociologist trained in Canada where he received a MA from the University of Victoria and a PhD from Queen’s University (both funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). He joined CENHS in February 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow to work with Dominic Boyer on the NSF RAPID project, “Recovery, Relocation, and Alluvial Awareness in Post-Harvey Houston.” Prior to moving to Texas, Mark was postdoc at the Climate Futures Initiative at Princeton University with Michael Oppenheimer. At Princeton, Mark conducted an ethnography of the visualization of near-real-time sea ice data at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, a study that provides insight into the infrastructures, everyday work, and social-technical relations necessary to make sense of sea ice data collected from Earth-observation satellites as indicators of climate change. He also began a long-term ethnography of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with PI Jessica O’Reilly, a project that will examine the social processes through which selected chapters of the Sixth Assessment Report are written. As a sociologist of scientific knowledge, Mark is interested in researching the ways that climate change becomes meaningful for people. He draws on idioms and approaches developed in Science and Technology Studies (STS) that open up space for public debate about ethical, political, material and social issues associated with environmental change. For more info, see https://mvardy.com/.




Predoctoral Fellows:

Hannah Biggs (2017-2018)

Hannah M. Biggs is a PhD candidate in English at Rice University. She is also a Civic Humanist Fellow at the Humanities Research Center and a faculty member at The Women’s Institute of Houston where she teaches film courses. Her dissertation, Regional, Agrarian Modernisms: Farming Fiction and Rural Modernity in 20th-century English and American Prose explores the role of agrarian settings in both high modernist and popular modernist-era novels while detailing the complicated relationships between the farmer, Edwardian estate gentleman, and other humans with their farm animals. Hannah wrote the critical introduction to Irvin S. Cobb’s The Abandoned Farmers (Hastings College Press), and her other work has (or will) appear in The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, Amerikastudien / American Studies, Middle West Review, among others.


Joe Carson (2017-2018)

Joe is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at Rice University, and his dissertation, “Savage Arcadia: The American Romance in the Anthropocene,” traces episodes of American Romance novel alongside histories of environmental change. He argues the Anthropocene mirrors the form of the Romance novel, and, as such, the interweaving of human histories and environmental ones are central to understanding the project of the novel and narratives of national development. In turn, by historicizing the literary form of the Anthropocene, “Savage Arcadia” interrogates the limits and possibilities surrounding current ecological conversations. In addition to working on the novel, Joe teaches experimental and modern American drama, and he is currently working on a research project on environmental history in the works of Tennessee Williams.


Mel Ford (2017-2018)

Mel is a PhD student in the department of Anthropology at Rice University. Her dissertation research is centered around landscape changes and challenges after the March 11, 2011 triple disaster in Fukushima, Japan. More specifically, through agriculture, architecture, and design, Mel is interested in how memory is kept and produced through the social and material reconstruction of land throughout Fukushima prefecture. Mel also helps co-facilitate the Ethnography Studio, an experimental center for ethnographic research on Rice’s campus.


D. Andrew Johnson (2017-2018)

Andrew is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Rice University. His research focuses on the creation of enslaved societies in the colonial Atlantic. In particular, Andrew’s dissertation takes one British colony, South Carolina, and interrogates the social and cultural histories of enslaved peoples of African and Native American origin to reconsider the formation of a creole society of enslaved people. He also is the coeditor of a book project under consideration for publication entitled “Atlantic Environments and the American South,” which considers the largely unstudied intersections of Atlantic and environmental history.


Ya-Yun Kao (Sherry) (2017-2018)

Sherry is a PhD candidate in philosophy at Rice University with a specialization in normative ethics and value theory. She is interested in social and political philosophy, history of ethics, applied ethics (esp. biomedical ethics and environmental philosophy), and comparative Western and Chinese ethical theories. Her current project is to propose an account of wellbeing arguing that an individual’s wellbeing consists in attaining values and commitments which survive critical reflection and guide one toward leading a life that is both authentically one’s own and justifiable to others. She won the Course Development Grants in Environmental Philosophy sponsored by the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice in 2016.


Kevin MacDonnell (2016-2018)

Kevin is a PhD student in the Department of English at Rice University. His research interests include the history of science, ecocriticism, science & technology studies, and narrative theory. His research has been focused primarily on 17th and 18th century English literature, and in particular, the ways in which literature and art influenced the development of theories of energy as well as the production of industrial technologies.


magnus.picture2Magnús Örn Sigurðsson (2016-2018)

Magnús 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.


Katie Ulrich (2017-2018)

Katie is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University. Her research explores Brazilian sugar-based bioeconomies and how these are shaping renewable energy futures. She works with sugarcane, yeast, and ethanol scientists in Brazil and is interested in considering the material transformations of energy across different scales and organisms in the realm of Brazilian sugarcane bioethanol and other bio-products. The goal of her research is to expand attention to what becomes energy, when, and for whom, in order to better understand how to study emerging energy regimes in the twenty-first century.


Version 2Clint Wilson III (2016-2018)

Clint 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, Clint’s research explores how networks of race, governmentality, and contamination shape renderings of “toxicity,” particularly in the Modernist and Avant-Garde imaginaries.