Sarah Besky

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Sarah Besky

Assistant Professor, Anthropology; Michigan Society of Fellows

101 West Hall, 1085 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1107

Office Location(s): 230-D West Hall
Phone: 734.615.3367
Fax: 734.763.6077
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Affiliation(s)
    • School of Natural Resources and Environment
    • Michigan Society of Fellows
    • Center for South Asian Studies
  • About

    I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.  

    As a cultural anthropologist, I study the intersection of labor, environment, and gender.  I do this through ethnographic research in the Indian tea industry. I study how legacies of colonialism intersect with contemporary market reforms to reconfigure notions of value -- of labor, of place, and of tea itself.  Specifically, I ask how non-governmental forms of regulation – or “soft laws” – such as fair trade and WTO Geographical Indication, disrupt state-led efforts to integrate laborers and landscapes into global capitalism.  


  • Education
    • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012
    • M.A., Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
    • B.A., Asian Studies and Anthropology, Connecticut College (New London, CT), 2003
  • Awards
    • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Completion Fellowship
    • Dor Bahadur Bista Prize, Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies
    • University Housing Honored Instructor Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Roy A. Rappaport Prize, Anthropology and the Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association
    • American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Fellowship
    • Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Labor
    • Social Justice
    • Environment
    • Value
    • Food and Agriculture
    • Taste and Sensation