Serena Stein

2019 Graduate Fellow

Serena Stein
  • MA Anthropology, Princeton University
  • MPhil Development Studies, University of Oxford
  • BA Comparative Literature and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

Serena Stein is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her scholarly interests draw together cultural anthropology, agrarian studies, environmental history of Africa, and Lusophone film, literature, and digital media. Her dissertation is an ethnography of social and ecological change along a savanna landscape of northern Mozambique, examining international aid and investment in agribusiness and rural development, in everyday encounters of people, plants, spirits, and capital. Complementary work has taken her to the mountain rainforests and farming communities of Mozambique's northern inselberg 'sky islands' to understand dynamics of indigeneity, memory, conservation, and decolonization amid rapid deforestation and extinction of species. In her time as a CDH Fellow, Serena studied and experimented with techniques of visualizing land use change over time, integrated with archival documents such as policy schemes and photographs, in the search for interactive depictions of the layered histories of African landscapes. She was generously funded to attend DReAM Lab weeklong DH bootcamp at Penn, and enjoyed learning about her graduate cohort's DH projects and methods to better grasp the breadth of possibilities for future environmental humanities projects. In 2019-2020 Serena is a visiting fellow at Yale's Agrarian Studies Program while completing her dissertation on a Mellon-ACLS Doctoral Fellowship. Her research has been supported by Princeton University, National Science Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, Fulbright-Hays Programs, and the National Geographic Society.