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Katherine E. Browne’s academic research and engaged anthropology have energized the fields of economic anthropology, disaster studies, and visual ethnography. She is currently a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Colorado State University.
In her first book, Creole Economics: Caribbean Cunning under the French Flag (2004), Browne investigated the informal economy among Afro-Creole people in Martinique. Continuing her interest in the relationship between community and economic values, Browne shifted her research focus to New Orleans to address the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast. Her NSF-funded documentary film on this work, Still Waiting: Life after Katrina, was broadcast on more than 300 PBS stations and was followed by her 2015 monograph, Standing in the Need: Culture, Comfort and Coming Home After Katrina. Subsequently, Browne presented a co-authored document to a House committee considering senior appointments to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Browne’s research and engaged anthropology extend to the classroom. She has earned Colorado State University’s two most prestigious teaching awards and is widely praised by her students.
As president of the Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA), Browne lead others in reimagining the association. By joining the SEA with the AAA as a new section—and recreating the SEA’s online visual and publication presence—Browne built new audiences for the field.
With tireless compassion, Browne has pursued a rigorous anthropological understanding of the lives people make under vulnerable circumstances. She is a powerful model for what can happen when imagination and commitment inform the heart of anthropology.
Learn more about the inner workings of the AAA in the Association Business section of Anthropology News.