Writing & Research

Recent Work

“When the Soviet Union Freed the Arctic from Capitalist Slavery,” The New Yorker, August 15

“Atoms do not care how humans prevaricate.” The Boston Globe, June 28

“We see ourselves not as we are now but as the ancestors we will become. Such emotion is its own kind of argument, a way of seeing in the dark.” The Chicago Review of Books, June 4  

“Chernobyl is but one aspect of a postwar mode of living indebted to acceleration — in the use of fossil fuels, production of plastics, manufacture of pesticides, consumption of a thousand other chemicals. All that speed has marked our bodies.” LARB, May 12

“The Arctic present, with all its uncanniness, is likely to be the future everywhere." The Boston Globe, April 20

“What remained was coal: decay hardened into an essence, into carbon so pure it burns. The hills to the west, in the direction we are walking, are rich with ancient death.” Past Underfoot in The Point, vol. 18


Current Research

The Yukon River watershed is home to multiple indigenous nations, including the Yup’ik, Gwitch’in, and Denaakk’e, each with distinct ways of mediating relationships with the non-human world. By the 1800s, trade from the British and Russian Empires and eventually their attempts to rule came overland and from the Pacific, bringing European conceptions of rights. In the nineteenth century, imperial methods gave way to nation-state division between the United States and Canada.

Indigenous, imperial, and state polities all had ways of imagining rights, conceptions that layered and contested with each other. Yukon will examine how these intellectual traditions and their practical applications influenced – and were influenced by – the nonhuman context of the Yukon, from salmon to sled dogs. By examining the places and bodies involved in formulating rights claims, I hope to illuminate what it means to give and bear rights beyond the human – and what it means to define something in those terms, rather than other concepts for value, reciprocity, and agency.