Hannah Burnett

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9692

Approve Date

October 5, 2018

Project Title

Burnett, Hannah E., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Making the Future Environment: Restoration Science in Southern Louisiana,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco

HANNAH EISLER BURNETT, then a graduate student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in October 2018 to aid research on “Making the Future Environment: Restoration Science in Southern Louisiana,” supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco . Renamed “Making the Future Coast: Ecological Restoration on the Edge of Louisiana,” this project aimed to understand how environmental change is linked to ideas about the passage of time. What should the future environment look like, and when would such a future arrive? How far into the future should people make plans for the landscape, and whose voices are included in those plans? In order to answer these questions, the researcher spent sixteen months investigating the topic in southern Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta. This is a region where environmental change and disaster are unfolding at many different timescales: from the acute impacts of hurricanes and the slow unfolding of toxic contamination to the rapid pace of coastal land loss and the long-term plans to counteract that loss through restoration efforts. The researcher found that people frequently used idioms of claim-making and property to express connections between value, time, and environmental change. Through interviews, participant observation, and archival research, the researcher tracked emergent technologies of claim-making among lawyers, restoration scientists, and oyster fishermen from a variety of backgrounds. Ultimately, the research has the potential to show how those with power seek to stabilize their claims in coastal areas, when the constitution of water and land are both radically changing.