Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies

MALS Graduate Portfolio Plática: Catherine Carter

Wed, April 12, 2017 | Room 2.206 (Multi-Purpose Room), Gordon-White Building (GWB), The University of Texas at Austin

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Join us for our Spring 2017 Graduate Portfolio Plática series!
Join us for our Spring 2017 Graduate Portfolio Plática series!

"DO SOMETHING NOW: sustainable technology humanitarianism on the U.S.-Mexico border" 

This portfolio plática by Catherine Carter responds to two questions: how can we understand the introduction of alternative sustainable technologies in a rural U.S.-Mexico border community and what points of reflection inform future efforts in sustainability, technology, and humanitarianism? How has the border proximity shaped these efforts?

Using ethnographic methods in combination with technological research tools like Actor Network Theory (ANT), Carter studies a bi-national community of experimenters, community workers, and two of their technological innovations – papercrete and biochar – to uncover the social constructions and meanings that influence sustainable technology humanitarianism in this divided land. By living with and volunteering with the group for 10 months as well a conducting 23 life-history interviews, Carter gathered empirical data to convey her research participant’s unique, yet in many ways universal, set of local social constructions. The findings explicate the power of place, how participants construct ideas about needs, particularly the needs of others, participants assumptions about what constitutes action and their humanitarian purpose, on the invisible actors and forces in participant's lives, and on the process of uniting and dividing across borders.

Catherine Carter is a doctoral candidate in the School of Architecture with a Graduate Portfolio in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. Her supervisor is Steven A. Moore, professor in the School of Architecture.

Sponsored by: The Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) and the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies (MALS)

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