Hannah Eisler Burnett @ US Locations

“Biomineralization & Maintaining the Oyster Reefs of Southeast Louisiana ”

Hannah Eisler Burnett | PhD Candidate, Anthropology

Discussant: J.T. Roane | Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Friday, February 26th, 12:00-1:20pm

 for zoom password and paper email pask@uchicago.edu

Paper Abstract: This chapter draft introduces the oyster reef as an analytic through which to understand how material changes in the landscape of coastal Louisiana manifest in relation to racialized systems of power and value. I provisionally call this process “biomineralization,” after the technical term for the formation of a bivalve’s shell. The physical contours of an oyster reef are co-created by fishermen, whose practices of maintenance and intervention are shaped by social hierarchies and exclusionary attitudes and regulations. At the same time, oyster reefs afford grounds for solidarity and the endurance of social worlds. The excerpt I will share at US Locations considers two particular practices/forms: spreading cultch (the material on which young oysters attach) and dredging oysters (a method of harvest that is often mechanized).

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