Christine Folch

Christine Folch

Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology

Internal office address: 
201 G Friedl Building, Campus Box 90091, Durham, NC 27708
Office Hours: 

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I work on water and energy politics amidst the constraints of the Anthropocene. 

My first book Hydropolitics: The Itaipu Dam, Sovereignty, and the Engineering of Modern South America (Princeton University Press, 2019) is an in-depth look at the people and institutions connected with the Itaipu Dam, the world’s biggest producer of renewable energy. In it, I argue that the dam converts water into electricity and money to produce hydropolitics through its physical infrastructure, the financial liquidity of energy monies, and the international legal agreements managing transboundary water resources between Brazil and Paraguay, and their neighbors Argentina, Bolivia, and Uruguay.

My larger research agenda is on environmental ethics and how groups conceptualize and politicize their relationships to nature. As a cultural anthropologist, I am particularly interested in how energy and environmental impacts disproportionately negatively affect marginalized communities.  

I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Science and Policy (Nicholas School of the Environment) at Duke University.

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., City University of New York 2012

Folch, C. “Ciudad del Este and the common market: A tale of two economic integrations.” Big Water: The Making of the Borderlands Between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, 2018, pp. 267–84.

Folch, C. “The nature of sovereignty in the anthropocene: Hydroelectric lessons of struggle, otherness, and economics from paraguay.” Current Anthropology, vol. 57, no. 5, Oct. 2016, pp. 565–85. Scopus, doi:10.1086/688580. Full Text

Folch, C. “The Cause of All Paraguayans? Defining and Defending Hydroelectric Sovereignty.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, vol. 20, no. 2, Jan. 2015, pp. 242–63. Scopus, doi:10.1111/jlca.12147. Full Text

Folch, C. “The Paraguay Reader: History, Culture, Politics.” Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 94, no. 2, Duke University Press, Jan. 2014, pp. 306–07. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00182168-2641316. Full Text

Folch, C. “Surveillance and state violence in stroessner's paraguay: Itaipú hydroelectric dam, archive of terror.” American Anthropologist, vol. 115, no. 1, Mar. 2013, pp. 44–57. Scopus, doi:10.1111/j.1548-1433.2012.01534.x. Full Text

Folch, C. “Stimulating consumption: Yerba mate myths, markets, and meanings from conquest to present.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 52, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 6–36. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0010417509990314. Full Text

Folch, C. “Fine dining: Race in prerevolution Cuban cookbooks.” Latin American Research Review, vol. 43, no. 2, Jan. 2008, pp. 205–23.