Anna Nuttle

student, Columbia University
  • Columbia University
  • People
  • United States of America

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Humanities Languages Law Politics

Research Topic

Anthropology Ethics History Law Linguistics Politics

University

Columbia University

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Columbia University

Recent Comments

Aug 06, 2022
Replying to Anna Nuttle

Week Two:

Does your research incorporate any outside participation, such as interviews or ethnographic observation? If so, how do you plan on approaching research participants or spaces in an effective and, most importantly, ethical manner?  If you are not conducting ethnographic research, what communities do you engage in your research, and how have they informed your project?

A topic that I have been reading alot about is Marshallese diaspora and have been reading interviews from Marshallese elders and also trying to find Marshallese music as an additional source for my project. 

How do you find your own self coming through in your research, if it all? Is your project more suited towards the invisibility of the researcher, or is it a project that would benefit from the researcher being more present (whatever ‘present’ means)?

I would say invisibility of the researcher is better in my case since I am not a member of the community which I am researching. As I have been reading about in the book How to Hide an Empire: History of the Greater United States, racism deeply influenced the U.S.'s relationship with its "overseas territories" which it treated as colonies through exploiting the local resources and geography of small, isolated regions. This was definitely the case in the Marshall Islands as the U.S. established military presence and segregated the island, causing deep community harm even before irrevocably decimating and then contaminating the region through nuclear testing. 

It was really interesting for me to read more about the history of the colonization of the Marshall Islands, which interestingly started with German colonization then Japanese and then American after Japan was defeated in WW2.  

If you are doing a leadership-in-action or community engagement project, how do you interact with community members, and what kind of conversations are you having? How do you connect with this community of people, and what common cause do you find?

The last part of my project is going to be more community-oriented. I will be helping create an exhibit about the Marshallese diaspora. I have been trying to look for advice/read about how to sensitively learn about/discuss experiences of a different community. Ultimately, I try to rely on the perspective of the Marshallese community throughout my research. I've also been brainstorming ways to acknowledge the impact of racism in my study and inform myself on Marshallese local community practices/philosophies etc. 

There's still a lot of work for my project and I'm excited to continue learning. 

Hey Jacqueline! 

Thanks so much for the curation advice! I notice your page says you have an interest in museum curation. I would love to connect with you to get some advice on my work with the Marshallese exhibit. Would it be ok if I messaged you here or emailed you? 

Thank you!

Anna 

Aug 06, 2022

Week Four:
What challenges and/or difficulties have you encountered and how did you go about resolving them? Speak to a specific challenge you have encountered and some of the ways that you tackled the problem.

Navigating Problematic Sources: 

One specific challenge I have been facing is contextualizing the sources I am reading with the background of the author, especially when the author is not a member of the Marshallese and/or lived in the Marshall Islands for reasons connected to the US government. An example of this was a detailed book about Marshallese culture written by a Peace Corps volunteer who was later expulsed from the Marshall Island community which he had joined. The book provided some useful information for me about community structures in parts of the Marshall Islands, but ultimately understanding the background of the source helped me realize that I don't want to use the source as a significant part of my research. 

My mentor has been helping me identify problematic sources and understand larger arguments in discussions of reparations for the Marshallese and different perspectives at play in understanding the historical and current situation. 

Has your research or work in a community to this point introduced you to any new fields or topics that are of interest to you?   How, if at all, has your work narrowed since the beginning of the project?

My project so far has touched on VERRY big topics such as the Pacific War, history of the US Military-Industrial Complex, tribally-organized communities, nuclear testing/disasters specifically in the Pacific islands, and the Marshallese resistance/independence movement. I have learned so much from this project already, and I am currently deciding to zoom in on one of these topics: gender dynamics and women's rights in the Marshall Islands, Marshallese resistance/independence movements (music, political organizing), or the history/arguments surrounding the movement for reparations for the Marshallese. 

Jun 03, 2022
Replying to Jeffrey Xiong

Week 1:

As you set out on your research or community engagement project, do you find yourself experiencing any worries or insecurities about saying something that’s already been said? How do we as researchers and/or volunteers learn to address or set aside those insecurities or, better yet, to use them to our advantage?

If your project this summer differs from your project last summer, has last summer’s project influenced your project this year, and if so how?  If your project is different, what tools have you developed to help you work on this project?

In an unexpected turn of events my work with Laidlaw began early! This summer I am working in conjunction with the MetaConscious Lab at MIT and Queer in AI to develop a set of standards of use for Artificial Neural Networks, a particular subdivision of biologically-inspired Artificial Intelligence. Although the field itself diverges greatly from my previous summer's work with trans and nonbinary Chinese-American oral histories, the methods, approaches, and considerations I am using on the day-to-day are heavily inspired by my experiences from the previous summer. This summer's work builds upon models of intersectionality I explored last summer and analyzing how emerging models of artificial intelligence can induce harm through examples from oral histories. I also hope to get back into more oral histories this summer to build better resistance models!

Ironically, in some sense, this week I focused almost entirely on what has already been said. I don't have much familiarity with Artificial Neural Networks so this week was a lot of practicing, listening, and learning how they work and talking to people at Queer in AI to learn about their own experiences with them. From here, I anticipate using this as a launching point to get into the more grounded sociological work analyzing particular models that are common and how queer resistance can foment against them.

Hey Jeffrey! 

What an amazing project. I'm really interested to learn more about the connection between gender biases and AI and about how you and others are brainstorming for AI models that don't perpetuate/lead to gender/ethnicity/sexuality discrimination/categorization. Keep up the good work!

Jun 03, 2022

Week Three:
What does a typical day of your research/community engagement look like? Aside from a narrative description, upload a photo, video and/or other media submission!

When I first started my project, I definitely focused most of my time on updating myself on current research in general, but I have now expanded my project to meeting with people with scholarly or personal background in the Marshall Islands. In the latter part of the summer, I will be helping my mentor go through a collection of items from the Marshall Islands to help create a community exhibit. 

May 27, 2022
Replying to Rizwan Kazi

Week 1:

I wanted to start off with a reflection of the few hours I've been here. I landed in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, 24 hours ago and already there's been so much to see. As soon as you leave the airport, you are blown away by the size of the massive planned extension to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. As you get on the highway out, you are struck by the fly-over and train line projects that dot the city. The sheer amount of infrastructure construction going on very clearly shows how Bangladesh is developing full steam ahead.

However, there are several notes to make. These construction projects, as beneficial as they are in accelerating Bangladesh's economy, are a facet of China's Belt and Road Initiative (the very one Hassan researched last summer), thought by many to be neocolonial. The portraits of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (the founding father of the country) and his daughter Sheikh Hasina (the incumbent prime minister) are ubiquitous, casting an eerie feel of a cult of personality. Corruption is rampant, so much so that the car that took me from the airport to where I'm staying has the names of the police sergeants in charge of major intersections memorized, as to say "this car is this sergeant's and is free to go." Every month, those sergeants receive a bribe so that the car does not get repossessed, a normal occurrence.

So far, even though it's only been a day, Bangladesh has been an incredible learning experience. I've been looking out the window in awe of what's to come and in disappointment of the status quo.

My research deals with institutional questions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since it's been a universal experience, it feels moot to come all the way here to answer questions that people all around the world have been asking; this summer might just serve as a confirmation of the research going on elsewhere. However, the fact of the matter is this project, by merit of being in the field, takes into account everything going on here (like what I wrote above). I've already looked through so many of the papers we'll engage with, to use their lessons and to build on them.

This year's project is quite different, starting from the fact that rather than working from Broadway Hall at 114th and Broadway, I'll be working out of the Brac Institute of Governance and Development in Mohakhali, Dhaka. Nevertheless, there are many lessons from last summer that have come in handy this summer. Policy questions comes up with both projects, so I'll be able to use the same resources I relied upon last year this year as well. Additionally, I have an incredible amount of support this year in the field, from BIGD to American graduate students and my PI.

Hi Rizwan! 

Wow! Your project is so cool! 

I really enjoyed your discussion of infrastructure in Bangladesh. I feel like someone can learn alot about a city by considering the existing and in-progress infrastructure about wealth inequality etc. 

Looking forward to hearing more about your work! 

May 27, 2022

Week Two:

Does your research incorporate any outside participation, such as interviews or ethnographic observation? If so, how do you plan on approaching research participants or spaces in an effective and, most importantly, ethical manner?  If you are not conducting ethnographic research, what communities do you engage in your research, and how have they informed your project?

A topic that I have been reading alot about is Marshallese diaspora and have been reading interviews from Marshallese elders and also trying to find Marshallese music as an additional source for my project. 

How do you find your own self coming through in your research, if it all? Is your project more suited towards the invisibility of the researcher, or is it a project that would benefit from the researcher being more present (whatever ‘present’ means)?

I would say invisibility of the researcher is better in my case since I am not a member of the community which I am researching. As I have been reading about in the book How to Hide an Empire: History of the Greater United States, racism deeply influenced the U.S.'s relationship with its "overseas territories" which it treated as colonies through exploiting the local resources and geography of small, isolated regions. This was definitely the case in the Marshall Islands as the U.S. established military presence and segregated the island, causing deep community harm even before irrevocably decimating and then contaminating the region through nuclear testing. 

It was really interesting for me to read more about the history of the colonization of the Marshall Islands, which interestingly started with German colonization then Japanese and then American after Japan was defeated in WW2.  

If you are doing a leadership-in-action or community engagement project, how do you interact with community members, and what kind of conversations are you having? How do you connect with this community of people, and what common cause do you find?

The last part of my project is going to be more community-oriented. I will be helping create an exhibit about the Marshallese diaspora. I have been trying to look for advice/read about how to sensitively learn about/discuss experiences of a different community. Ultimately, I try to rely on the perspective of the Marshallese community throughout my research. I've also been brainstorming ways to acknowledge the impact of racism in my study and inform myself on Marshallese local community practices/philosophies etc. 

There's still a lot of work for my project and I'm excited to continue learning. 

May 19, 2022

Week One:
As you set out on your research or community engagement project, do you find yourself experiencing any worries or insecurities about saying something that’s already been said? How do we as researchers and/or volunteers learn to address or set aside those insecurities or, better yet, to use them to our advantage?

Hi everyone! 

My name is Anna and my topic for this summer is Nuclear Colonialism in the Marshall Islands. 

Because of the nature of my topic (Nuclear Colonialism in the Marshall Islands) and the difficulty of finding sources in the topic, I have found the challenge to be less about saying something that has already been said and more about recognizing what Lauren Hirshberg author of Suburban Empire describes as "academic imperialism" (18). Because of the monopolization of information about Marshall Islanders from the perspective of the US military which occupied the islands for nuclear testing and then missile testing from the 60's to 80's, my project has involved trying to weave together different perspectives, sociological, geographical, medical, and historical to honor the under-represented experiences of the Marshall islanders. 

In terms of historical perspective, I am thinking of approaching it in 4 different levels : impact of Pacific War on the region, Cold-war containment and nuclear strategy being used to justify exploitation of the region, US occupation, and Marshallese de-colonialization. 

One difficulty in the project is the various layers involved (political, philosophical, geographical, scientific) require reading in different fields in order to understand. While this is challenging, it is something that I am enjoying about my topic selection. 

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