Jeremy Trombley

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Cortland, State U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9688

Approve Date

October 4, 2018

Project Title

Trombley, Dr. Jeremy, State U. of New York, Cortland, NY - To aid research and writing on 'Watershed: Ethnography at the Confluence of Modeling and Management' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Preliminary abstract: Anthropology has a long history of examining the relationship between human social organizations and the ecological systems in which they develop. This book, titled Watershed: Ethnography at the Confluence of Modeling and Management, examines the development of a complex social organization structured around the management of nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and he role of computational modeling in the management process. It seeks to answer two important questions. First, how do Western social organizations take shape around ecological systems despite the constraints of geopolitical boundaries and political controversy? Second, what is the role of scientific knowledge production practices in the formation and maintenance of social relationships that make large-scale ecological management possible?The Chesapeake Bay has been the subject of a 35-year effort to reduce nutrient pollution flowing into its waters from its enormous watershed. In this book, I develop a conceptual and methodological approach that I refer to as watershed ethnography, focusing on sites of confluence where different actors and material resources converge to produce new social relationships. Drawing upon ethnographic research with computational modelers, scientists and environmental management staff throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the book discusses the ways in which modelers hack institutional structures in the process of building a computatioanl model, the model’s role as simulational infrastructure for channeling and directing the activities of management staff in the watershed, and the effect that neoliberal management has on the model and on people’s conceptions of the landscape.