School of Humanities and Sciences
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Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Archaeology
BioMaureece Levin is an archaeologist and paleoethnobotanist with interests in prehistoric and historic food production systems, historical ecology, and social change. Her research methods focus on phytolith and plant macroremain analysis, especially concerning the application of phytoliths to interpretation of the archaeological record. She completed her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Oregon in 2015. In her dissertation, entitled “Food Production, Environment, and Culture in the Tropical Pacific: Evidence for Prehistoric and Historic Plant Cultivation in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia,” she uses archaeological landscape survey, along with ancient and modern botanical data, to examine managed agroforests in the Pacific. At the Stanford Archaeology Center, she is working primarily on projects in China and in Micronesia, while continuing to use phytolith, plant macroremain, and starch analysis to study ancient plant cultivation systems.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, East Asian Studies
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research lies at the intersections of the environmental humanities, political ecology, and science and technology studies. I am currently revising a book manuscript, titled “Turning Trash into Treasure: Shadow Economies and Toxic Ecologies in Kunming, China.” The book ethnographically examines tensions between state-entrepreneurial projects that seek to bring western-style recycling systems, aesthetics, and ethics to China, and rural migrants who make a living collecting, processing, and trading scrap in informal economies. This tension illustrates two ways that Chinese waste politics engages with “recycling:” as a necessary element of urban environmental modernity, and as a polluting globalized industry reliant on cheap labor and inadequate environmental governance. The book will highlight how Kunming’s waste and the people who live off this waste do more than simply protect or threaten the environment. Together they form unruly collaborators that generate value, release toxicity, fuel differentiating forms of sociality, and challenge western notions of recycling.