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Natalie Camille Morningstar (2015)

Natalie Camille Morningstar (2015)

Research Title: The Effort of Doubt: Critiquing the Liberal Subject in Post-Recession Ireland

Supervisor: Prof Harri Englund


My doctoral research deals with the relationship between uncertainty and political critique in the context of contemporary liberal democracy. I conducted fieldwork with anarchist artist-activists in Dublin, Ireland involved in a number of recent waves of leftist political activism in reproductive and housing rights, but who also engage in situationist ‘art acts’ they describe as a different form of absurdist public interruption. The dissertation focuses on the distinction they draw between art and activism; I argue that this distinction can primarily be understood in terms of the space made for moral-ethical doubt, though both practices are considered crucial in the work of becoming a critical political subject.

My PhD research is an extension of previous ethnographic research in the Republic of Ireland. In 2014-2015, I undertook the MPhil in Social Anthropology at Cambridge, where I produced a dissertation on minority language politics and the aesthetics of traditional (sean-nós) singing in the west of Ireland and in the Irish diaspora in London. Prior to my Social Anthropology degrees, I completed my liberal arts B.A. with a major in Anthropology at Yale University, and a focus in linguistic and
biological anthropology. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the evolutionary genetics of color vision in primates and conducted research on the impact of taxonomic designations of biodiversity among treeshrews (Scandentia) in the Malay Peninsula. The results of both of these projects have been published in Frontiers in Zoology, the Journal of Mammalogy, and the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Research Interests

Politics, aesthetics and ethics; activism; (neo)liberal restructuring; liberalism, illiberalism and imperialism; ethno-nationalism; secularism and the anthropology of critique; socialism and democracy.