Anna Banchik


PhD Candidate, University of Texas, Austin

PRC Graduate Research Trainee
Anna Banchik

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Biography


Anna Veronica Banchik is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin conducting interdisciplinary research at the intersections of science and technology studies (STS), visual media, and human rights. More specifically, Anna is interested in how images are interpreted, deployed, and contested as "evidence" within public and legal domains. 

Comprising a year-long ethnography at the Human Rights Investigations Lab at the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, Anna's dissertation traces the emergence and enactment of open source investigations and their applications to human rights fact-finding, advocacy, and litigation. This project builds on Anna's previous work exploring how images are construed, and their harms and probative value legally contested, in the context of disputes over classified content. She explores these themes in a forthcoming manuscript, "Too Dangerous to Disclose? Courtroom 'Visual Theory', FOIA, and the Legal Battle over Detainee Abuse Photographs," to be published in a symposium on Visual Data in Law & Social Inquiry, the journal of the American Bar Foundation. The article analyzes how, in an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union and Department of Defense differently assess the national security risks, privacy harms, and contributions to public knowledge entailed in the public release of 1,800 still-classified images of detainee abuse and torture committed by U.S. personnel in the wake of September 11, 2001. 

Anna is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Fulbright scholar. She received a M.A. in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in Economics at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. An updated CV can be attained upon request.

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