Christine Wilson 2020 Graduate Award Winner

SAFN is happy to announce that the 2020 winner of the Christine Wilson Award for a graduate student is Terese Gagnon, of Syracuse University, for her essay, “’There are No Seeds Here’: Severing Seed and Political Sovereignty in Mae La Camp”. The judges commented that this paper was very well written, argued, and organized, and found that the author did an excellent job of bringing their research to life on the page through the incorporation of participant details and dialogue, as well as descriptions of place/setting. Please see below for more information about Terese and her work. Note that the next deadline for the Christine Wilson Awards is June 15, 2021. Follow the link above for all the details you need to apply!

Terese Gagnon is writing her dissertation, “Seeding Sovereignty: Sensory Politics and Biodiversity in the Karen Diaspora,” at Syracuse University. In dialogue with Karen refugees from Myanmar (Burma), her dissertation investigates transnational relationships between people, plants, seeds, and memory in the context of forced migration and exile. She is interested in the political and affective dimensions of peoples’ engagement with plants, especially in relation to foraging, gardening, and cooking. She combines poetry with her work in anthropology.

Terese interviews a Karen young woman in her garden plot in Mae La refugee camp, Thailand. Photo by Naw Tha Shee.

Her writing has appeared in EthnographyAnthropology and Humanism, Ethnobiology Letters, Asian Journal of Peacebuilding and other journals. She is co-editor of the volume Movable Gardens: Itineraries and Sanctuaries of Memory, forthcoming in spring of 2021 from the University of Arizona Press. Her ethnographic poetry has been recognized with a prize from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology (2013). In addition to her experience teaching and mentoring undergraduate students at Syracuse University, during her dissertation fieldwork Terese served as a college instructor in Mae La refugee camp in Thailand, and in a Karen Indigenous autonomous zone inside Myanmar. She has been awarded the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from Syracuse University as recognition of her commitment to teaching

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