Kristin Gupta is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University, where she specializes in death and dying, multispecies ethnography, and queer theory. Her dissertation project focuses on alternative funeral practices such as human composting and natural burial that grapple with anthropogenic climate change in the United States. Interested in affective experiences of ecological grief and the material pollution caused by conventional corpse disposal methods, her research critically examines emergent earth-based ethics of death that reconfigure bodily decomposition as an imperative of environmental responsibility to nonhuman others. Drawing together the anthropology of the ends of life into dialogue with the ways boundaries of life and death are asserted and negotiated in the Anthropocene, it aims to generate a framework for understanding how those who choose to be composted or buried naturally understand their deaths as opportunities to “give back” to nature and disentangle themselves from systems of human mastery in contemporary American social life.
At Rice, Kristin is a co-coordinator of The Ethnography Studio and graduate certificate student at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. More broadly, she is affiliated with the Queer Death Studies Network, Disaster STS Network, and Center of Ethnography at UCI.
Before attending Rice, Kristin earned an M.A. in South Asian Studies from the University of Washington and a B.A. in International Political Economy from the University of Puget Sound. Her master’s thesis explored themes of gender, species, and violence expressed by mob violence against Muslim women who protested Eid slaughter practices within their communities in Bhopal, India.