Katie Ulrich

I am a PhD Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Rice University. My work is at the intersection of environmental anthropology, feminist science and technology studies, political economy, and energy humanities. My current research examines contemporary convergences of resource extraction and science in the making of renewable materials to address climate change. This research is based in Brazil and the US.

In particular, I study the production of sugarcane-based bioproducts, such as biofuels and bioplastics. I’m interested in this because plant-based renewables relate to cultural conceptions of energy transition and social change in general: the way we make our stuff is also the way we make ourselves, and the way we change how we make our stuff is also the way we change how we make ourselves. If one of the ways petro-extractivist capitalism reproduces itself is by naturalizing the way we think material change happens, then my research aims to provide tools for unsettling this idea of change in realms of energy transition so we can better conceive just, sustainable futures.

My research is supported by the National Science Foundation. I have a MA in Anthropology from Rice University and a BA in Anthropology and Biology from Haverford College. Prior to starting my doctoral studies, I worked as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab at the University of California San Francisco.