I completed my PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at University of California, Santa Barbara in September 2018. My dissertation explored how fungi become meaningful and valuable to a community of amateur applied mycologists. Themes include the ascendant ecological paradigm, popular understandings of science, popular engagements with technology (as both users and “misusers“), emergent forms of applied mycology (high and low tech), and the mycophilia generated by this unique interspecies relationship. I’ve published one chapter in an anthology; you can watch me present on the topic at the 2017 Psychedelic Science conference (below).
Before pursuing a PhD, I completed an MA in Cultural Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I wrote my thesis on a mystical religious revival among North American ex-pats, drawing on two years of field work (2004-2006) in Neo-Hasidic yeshivot in and around Jerusalem. You can read an article I published on this research in the journal Nova Religio here.
I approach anthropology as a method of inquiry and a system of knowledge that looks at meaning as process: a constant making and remaking of our worlds. In my research, I trace these processes through personal and historical arcs. I’m perennially curious about how people understand, experience, and interact with the world (natural, supernatural, and artificial), and with life in its many forms, as being and beings. Are these boundaries being rewritten or dissolved, as proposed by contemporary anthropological theory? In my writing, I try to bring these arcs into focus through stories, observation, and clear exposition. I’m especially interested in making anthropological knowledge accessible to a general audience.