Bridget Guarasci is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Franklin & Marshall College and a 2021-2022 Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Scholar. She is an environmental anthropologist whose work examines how war and conflict create ecological life in the Arab majority world. At first blush, nature and war might appear to be oxymoronic. People commonly think of nature as teeming with life. Wetlands are seen as transitional spaces between land and sea where migrating birds alight unifying biodiversity hotspots across the globe during seasonal migrations. Nature in this sense conveys an image of peace and tranquility. War is conceptualized as almost its exact opposite. Rife with bombs, artillery, pain, and suffering, war tears through the social fabric to destroy life and livelihood. Guarasci’s work demonstrates that contrary to popular thinking nature and war are not paradoxical, but entangled processes of making and harnessing the biosphere. Her scholarship analyzes how the material effects of emplacing water ecologies is a form of political violence.
Her first book Ecology of War: Iraq's Marshes on the Battlegrounds of War examines how biodiversity conservation of Iraq's historic marshlands during the era of US occupation and UN reconstruction facilitated multinational extraction of water and oil within its geological field. Her second book project Adrift: Voyages of Discovery and Survival in the Mediterranean puts her great-grandfather's journey from the sulfur mines of Sicily to the limestone quarries of Bizerte, Tunisia and subsequent transoceanic voyage to New York City at the beginning of the twentieth century in dialectical relationship with North African migrants who are immobilized by Italy's exclusionist policies on their sea-faring voyages today. Her work has been supported by foundations including the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities - American Center of Research, Amman.
For more information about ongoing research and curatorial projects head to: www.bridgetguarasci.com