Dr Stephanie Postar

Dr Stephanie Postar

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Anthropology

Languages
English, Swahili
Key Expertise
Tanzania

About me

Stephanie is an environmental anthropologist specializing in energy and natural resources in the Global South. Her research engages with the politics and practices that shape decisions about and attitudes toward natural resource use and management in sub-Saharan Africa. Stephanie holds a doctorate in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford. 

Stephanie’s doctoral research examined the multiple and dynamic values of natural resources in rural Tanzania at the intersection of mining, development, and wildlife conservation. Her research asked a series of questions about the micropolitics of land and resource management emerging in the context of a “paused” industrial uranium mining project, ranging from oral histories of landscape change to the legitimate use of power and rural authority. Bringing the insights of feminist political ecology to this study of rural agrarian change, this project investigated the values and power of seemingly conflicting regimes of natural resource management: mining and wildlife conservation. Additionally, when existing or proposed extractive projects threaten an estimated 25% of UNESCO natural world heritage sites, this research highlighted how natural heritage conservation is deeply political. Stephanie is developing this research as a book. Inspired by this research, she is also co-editing an interdisciplinary collection on resource extraction and exclusion, bringing together scholars working on extractive issues around the world. 

From 2019-2021, Stephanie was a Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow in Natural Resource Economics and Political Economy in the Geography Department at the University of California, Berkeley. At UCB, she led an interdisciplinary MATRIX Prospecting Team investigating social, political, and economic impacts of COVID-19 on natural resource extracting communities. The team published their findings in 2021

At LSE, Stephanie is beginning a new research project, which turns attention to refined uranium products in Tanzania and their domestic regulation. Inspired by decolonial feminist science studies, this research challenges framings of science and technology as passively imported into Africa and instead focuses on Tanzanian scientists who choose and change the technologies they employ. This project takes an STS approach to investigating questions of trust and translation of knowledge about atomic energy. This research is funded by the British Academy.

Expertise Details

Tanzania; environment; natural resources; energy; social studies of science in Africa; precarity and uncertainty; gender

Selected publications

Selected Publications

 2017. “The Half-Lives of African Uranium: A Historical Review.” The Extractive Industries and Society, 4(2): 398-409.        

Book Projects

(Planned for publication in 2022).Extraction/Exclusion: Beyond Binaries in Resource

Knowledge and Practice. (with Negar Behzadi and Nina Döring). Rowman & Littlefield.

(Manuscript in Preparation). The Wild and the Radiant: Expectations of Development and Histories of Extraction in Tanzania.

Essays

2021. “How COVID is Reconfiguring Labor in Extractive Industries.” (with: Brian Ikaika Klein, Laura Dev, Hilary Faxon, and Matthew Libassi). Edge Effects. 

2020. “Crackles of Science and other Signs of the Unseen in East Africa.” Platypus, The Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing Blog.