Christine Walley is Professor of Anthropology at MIT. She received a Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University in 1999. Her first book Rough Waters: Nature and Development in an East African Marine Park (Princeton University Press, 2004) was based on field research exploring environmental conflict in rural Tanzania. Her current project Exit Zero uses family stories to examine the long-term impact of deindustrialization in the United States. It includes an award-winning book with University of Chicago Press (2013), as well as a documentary film made with director Chris Boebel. Chris Walley and Chris Boebel are also the co-creators and co-instructors of the documentary film production and theory class DV Lab: Documenting Science Through Video and New Media.
Exit Zero Project
This project has three components, including a book with University of Chicago Press (2013) and a documentary film (2015) made with director Chris Boebel. The book and film use family stories and home movies to explore the long-term impacts of deindustrialization in the former steel mill community of Southeast Chicago and to consider the impact of the loss of industrial jobs on expanding class inequalities in the United States. The third component of this project is an online collaborative documentary mapping project being made in conjunction with the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum. More
|2015||Exit Zero, a documentary film by Chris Boebel and Christine Walley, 2015.|
|2015||Transmedia as experimental ethnography: The Exit Zero Project, deindustrialization, and the politics of nostalgia. American Ethnologist, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 624-639.|
|2013||Exit Zero: Family and Class in Post-Industrial Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2013).|
|2009||Deindustrializing Chicago: A Daughter’s Story. In: The Insecure American, eds. Hugh Gusterson and Catherine Besteman (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009).|
|2004||Rough Waters: Nature and Development in an East African Marine Park (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004).|
|2003||"Our Ancestors Used to Bury Their 'Development' in the Ground": Modernity and the Meaning of Development in Tanzania’s Mafia Island Marine Park. Anthropological Quarterly 76, no. 1 (2003): 33-54.|
|2002||"They Scorn Us Because We are Uneducated": Power and Knowledge in a Tanzanian Marine Park. Ethnography 3, no. 3 (2002): 265-298.|
|1997||Searching for "Voices": Feminism, Anthropology, and the Global Debates over Female Genital Operations. Cultural Anthropology 12, no. 3 (1997): 405-438.|
21A.550J / STS.064
DV Lab: Documenting Science Through Video and New Media
Introductory exploration of documentary film theory and production, focusing on documentaries about science, engineering, and related fields. Students engage in digital video production as well as social and media analysis of science documentaries. Readings drawn from social studies of science as well as from documentary film theory. Uses documentary video making as a tool to explore the worlds of science and engineering, as well as a tool for thinking analytically about media itself and the social worlds in which science is embedded. Class includes a lab component devoted to digital video production in addition to class time.
Video work from this class has been presented at special screenings at the MIT Museum as well as in other venues. Several videos have been posted in the DV Lab video collection on TechTV.
Advanced exploration of documentary film theory and production that offers a social scientific perspective on documentaries about science, engineering, and related fields. Student work focuses on final digital video projects. Discussion and readings tailored to the questions and issues raised by specific student projects; labs focus on the technical skills required to complete more advanced work.
What is Capitalism?
Introduces academic debates on the nature of capitalism, drawing upon the ideas of scholars as diverse as Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Examines anthropological studies of how contemporary capitalism plays out in people's daily lives in a range of geographic and social settings, and implications for how we understand capitalism today. Settings range from Wall Street investment banks to auto assembly plants, from family businesses to consumer shopping malls.
Offers an anthropological perspective on international development. Students consider development, not in policy or technical terms, but through its social and political dynamics and its impacts on daily life. Examines the various histories of, and meanings given to, international development as well as the social organization of aid agencies and projects. Follows examples of specific projects in various parts of the world. Examples: water projects for pastorialists in Africa, factory development in Southeast Asia, and international nature parks in Indonesia.
Offers an international perspective on the environment. Using environmental conflict to consider the stakes that groups in various parts of the world have in nature, while also exploring how ecological and social dynamics interact and change over time, subject considers such controversial environmental issues as: nuclear contamination in Eastern Europe; genetic bioprospecting in Mexico; toxic run-off in the rural US; the Bhopal accident in India; and the impact of population growth in the Third World.
Americans have historically preferred to think of the United States in classless terms, as a land of economic opportunity equally open to all. Yet, social class remains a central fault line in the US. Subject explores the experiences and understandings of class among Americans positioned at different points along the US social spectrum. Considers a variety of classic frameworks for analyzing social class and uses memoirs, novels and ethnographies to gain a sense of how class is experienced in daily life and how it intersects with other forms of social difference such as race and gender.
21A.429J / STS.320J
Environmental Conflict and Social Change
Explores the complex interrelationships among humans and natural environments, focusing on non-western parts of the world in addition to Europe and the United States. Use of environmental conflict to draw attention to competing understandings and uses of "nature" as well as the local, national and transnational power relationships in which environmental interactions are embedded. In addition to utilizing a range of theoretical perspectives, subject draws upon a series of ethnographic case studies of environmental conflicts in various parts of the world.
|2015||Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism from the Working Class Studies Association for the documentary film Exit Zero: An Industrial Family Story (director, Chris Boebel; producer, Chris Walley)|
|2014||CLR James Book Prize from the Working Class Studies Association for Exit Zero: Family and Class in Post-Industrial Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2013)|
|2014||National Endowment for the Humanities Grant (Humanities Collections and References Award) for Exit Zero website project in conjunction with the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum. Role: PI|
|2013||Second Place, Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing (Society for Humanistic Anthropology) for Exit Zero: Family and Class in Post-Industrial Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2013)|
|2012||LEF Moving Image Documentary Grant|