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My dissertation research examines the disputed ownership, management, and use of public lands in the United States. Focusing on controversial national monuments in southern Utah, I use ethnographic and archival methods to study perceptions of and political actions around these lands. I use interviews, participant observation of public events, participatory mapping exercises with land users, and historical and contemporary media materials to examine how varied stakeholders conceptualize property and make legal, historical, and cultural claims to land. Through analyzing these data, I seek to 1) understand how the different positions people take make sense to them and 2) identify the information, education (formal and informal), and cultural frames behind this sense-making. Located at the intersection of environmental and political anthropology, analysis from this project contributes to anthropological theories of property and land tenure, claims-making, and knowledge production. It also aims to advance understandings of the kinds of education that can help communities navigate political polarization around land management policy, as well as other conflicts.

Timeline of Events Related to Public Lands Issues in Utah / The American West