Christine J. Walley

Christine
J.
Walley
Professor of Anthropology
Room E35-335U
617-258-7908

Biography

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 ethnographic 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 (2017). Chris Walley and Chris Boebel are currently collaborating with web designer Jeff Soyk and the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum to create an NEH-funded interactive archive/storytelling website that highlights multigenerational storytelling around deindustrialization in the United States. The website will launch in spring of 2020.
 

Research

Exit Zero Project

This project has three components, including a book with University of Chicago Press (2013) and a documentary film (2017) 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 is an NEH-funded interactive archive/storytelling website that offers multi-generational histories of industrialization and deindustrialization in Southeast Chicago being created in collaboration with filmmaker Chris Boebel, the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum, and web designer Jeff Soyk.   

Selected Publications

forthcoming “The “How to” of Working-Class Studies: Self, Stories, and Working Across Media” in The Working Class Studies Handbook, eds. Christie Launius, Tim Strangleman, and Michele Fazio.  Routledge.
2018 “Trump’s Election and the White Working Class: What We Missed,” American Ethnologist 44(2):1-8.
2017 Exit Zero, a documentary film by Chris Boebel and Christine Walley. 90 mins.
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.

Teaching

21A.550J / STS.064
DV Lab: Documenting Science Through Video and New Media

Uses documentary video making as a tool to explore everyday social worlds (including those of science and engineering), and for thinking analytically about media itself. Students make videos and engage in critical analysis. Provides students with instruction on how to communicate effectively and creatively in a visual medium, and how to articulate their own analyses of documentary images in writing and spoken word. Readings drawn from documentary film theory, anthropology, and social studies of science. Students view a wide variety of classic documentaries and explore different styles. Lab component devoted to digital video production. Includes a final video project. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 12.

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.


21A.461
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. Enrollment limited.

21A.400
The Stakes of International Development

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.

21A.410
Environmental Struggles

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.

21A.120
American Dream: Exploring Class in the United States

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

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.

Awards

2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Implementation Grant for interactive website project w/ the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum.
2016 Illinois State Historical Records Grant for archival project w/ Southeast Chicago Historical Museum. 
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