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Ashley Carse

Assistant Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development

Research:  Professor Carse is a cultural anthropologist who conducts research on the global dimensions of community development, environmental politics and sustainability, and the social dimensions of science and technology. He uses qualitative and historical methods to understand how large infrastructure projects shape and are shaped by communities and ecologies. In addition to long-term field research in rural and urban Panama, he has worked in Ecuador and the southeastern United States. He is currently focusing on three projects: 1) a study of global infrastructure development, communities, and democracy in Latin America and the United States; 2) a multi-sited ethnography of the global shipping industry linking the Panama Canal expansion to development and environmental change in the southeastern United States; and 3) a history and ethnography of water politics in Panama.

Teaching: Professor Carse teaches Global Dimensions of Community Development at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This course provides students with an opportunity to explore international development in theory and practice, focusing on debates around efforts to expand opportunities, raise living standards, and improve well-being. He also teaches Global Dimensions of Sustainable Development at the undergraduate level. In this course, students analyze society-environment relations across spatial scales (from local to global) using approaches from multiple academic disciplines and professional fields. He also teaches Ethnographic Research Methods in Communities at the graduate level. Ethnography is a fieldwork-based, qualitative research process employed by social scientists, non-profit organizations, businesses, and community groups seeking to understand (and, in some cases, transform) sociocultural phenomena.

Service:  Professor Carse has reviewed research proposals for the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Program, book manuscripts for Indiana University Press and MIT Press, and manuscripts for journals in anthropology, geography, history, and science and technology studies. At Vanderbilt, he has served on the steering committee of the Center for Latin American Studies and on various committees in the Department of Human and Organizational Development.

Community Engagement:  Professor Carse is committed to community-based research. In Panama, he has facilitated community workshops to foster dialogue around contentious environment and development issues. He also seeks to advance more inclusive policy and planning dialogues on infrastructure and democracy by writing for interdisciplinary audiences and communicating findings to the broader public.