Office: Art Building 105
Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Michigan
M.A. in Anthropology, University of Michigan
B.A. in Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Spanish, University of Michigan
Dr. Fultz’s research examines the legal and communicative strategies people use to engage in political-environmental conflicts. In her dissertation, she focused on debates over transnational mining projects in Guatemala. The ways people engage in conflicts raise questions about what information they produce or have access to, how they determine what is true or false, who they share their opinions with, why and how they share those opinions, and who listens to them. Dr. Fultz spent 26 months conducting ethnographic fieldwork in the Western highlands and capital city of Guatemala in order to answer these questions. She attended countless community meetings, public protests, grassroots referendums, and courtroom hearings about mining. She also interviewed community members, government officials, and mining company representatives. She has amassed a library of newspaper clippings, documentary videos, photo essays, print and radio advertisements, emails, blog and social media posts, science reports, and legal affidavits, which people use to circulate and promote differing opinions about mining. Examining how people draw on different media, contexts, or discourses provides insight into how the conflict in question developed, how it affects the people involved, and the wider impacts it has on society. Dr. Fultz noted that anti-mining activists in Guatemala trace conflicts over transnational mining projects to historical disenfranchisement of indigenous populations. She therefore argues that engaging in debates over mining is a way for indigenous communities to reimagine and restructure their relationship with the Guatemalan state and other publics in the post-civil war period.
Prior to her research on mining, Dr. Fultz taught visual anthropology and photography workshops in rural Maya communities in Guatemala. Students in these workshops produced photo essays that countered the more common touristic narratives about their towns and presented an emic perspective of life in their communities. She also researched the spread of grassroots, community referendums throughout Latin America as a strategy for protesting mining projects. As part of this research, she worked as an election observer in 10 community referendums, providing written and photographic documentation of the voting process for community records.
Dr. Fultz’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the University of Michigan.
Fultz, Katherine. 2010. “Collaborative Media Production and Antropología Comprometida.” Collaborative Anthropologies. November 2010.