Elizabeth Krause

Elizabeth Krause
Research Interests: 
Sociocultural anthropology: population politics, especially reproduction and migration; medical anthropology; political economy and economic anthropology; historical anthropology and social memory; globalization and global families; fast fashion; food and culture; transregional connections and place-based practices; ethnography & writing; digital storytelling; Italy and United States.

I conduct immersive, collaborative, and participatory research to de-essentialize capitalism and illuminate local-global dynamics in terms of how ordinary people live with contradictions of power in an absurdly unequal yet extraordinary world. I ground my work in relation to population politics, production, and reproduction, such as the biopolitics of lowest-low fertility among Italians, migration of overseas Chinese in Italy, and parenting young Latinas in Massachusetts. I work on global households, transregional connections, place-based economies (Made In Italy), fashion and, most recently, figs. As an ethnographer, I am passionate about how to represent social worlds. I push the boundaries of genre in my writing, teaching, and mentoring. I have published numerous peer-review and popular articles as well as three books, including A Crisis of Births: Population Politics and Family-Making in Italy (2005, Wadsworth), Unraveled: A Weaver’s Tale of Life Gone Modern (2009, University of California Press) and Tight Knit: Global Families and the Social Life of Fast Fashion (2018, University of Chicago Press). My new project, “The Pedagogy of Figs: Uncommon Lessons for a Sweet Life,” exposes how multispecies worlds, relations, and memories underwrite value. Protagonists inspire blending historical anthropology, narrative ethnography, and memoir to trace the cultural and historical significance of figs ultimately to confront economic crises and nurture well-being.