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Jessica Cattelino

Dept. of Anthropology | University of California - Los Angeles
Passions for Interests: Water and Rural Political Belonging in America

I study and teach about sociocultural life in the contemporary United States.

My research focuses on economy, nature, indigeneity, and settler colonialism. My book, High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty (Duke University Press, 2008; winner of the Delmos Jones and Jagna Sharff Memorial Book Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of North America), examines the cultural, political, and economic stakes of tribal casinos for Florida Seminoles. Currently, I’m writing an ethnography about the cultural value of water in the Florida Everglades, with focus on the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation and the nearby agricultural town of Clewiston. This project tells the human story of Everglades restoration and theorizes the co-production of nature and indigeneity in settler societies like the United States. Additionally, I write about indigeneity and money, the anthropology of the United States, and indigenous sovereignty, and I am collaborating with photographer Adam Nadel on a museum exhibition about the inextricability of people and nature in the Everglades.

My work is influenced by scholarship in American Indian Studies and Gender Studies, and I hold faculty affiliations in both programs at UCLA. My current research is funded by the National Science Foundation (Law and Social Sciences), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. Additionally, I am funded through participation in a National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Network on the Florida Coastal Everglades, for which I am undertaking wildly interdisciplinary collaboration as a co-author of a paper on phosphorus and will conduct ethnographic research on the social life of a stormwater treatment area. Recently I was a Visiting Associate Professor of American Studies at Yale University.