Chloe Ahmann

Chloe Ahmann

[email protected]

Anthropology Ph.D. program.   Entered fall 2012.

Advisors: Joel C. Kuipers, Ilana Feldman

Editorial staff member, Anthropological Quarterly


Current Research

Cumulative Effects: Reckoning Risk on Baltimore's Toxic Periphery

My research explores the historical and embodied dimensions of risk from the perspective of a community in south Baltimore that has managed multiple forms of risk since the 19th century (from quarantining smallpox victims during the great wave of immigration to supporting deterrence with its Cold War chemical arsenal). Today, residents are fighting the construction of a trash-burning incinerator because of its "cumulative effects." From a medical perspective, this phrase draws attention to the compounded health impacts that residents — whose bodies already bear the imprints of sustained environmental harm — will suffer as a result of increased toxic emissions. But cumulative effects can also be understood historically: residents situate the imposition of the incinerator against their community's industrial past to draw attention to the human consequences of over a century of exposure.

Many scholars of "risk" insist the topic is predominantly an issue of futurity — it encompasses unknown threats, invites interventions based on indefinite anxieties, and transforms the future into an object of governance. But cumulative effects have multiple temporal inflections. They are rooted in an additive past, implicate the present, and affect the kinds of futures that are possible. Building on this idea, my research uses the fight to stop the incinerator as a prism through which to understand cumulative effects as both a condition of risk experience and a metaphor for the modes of social and historical consciousness that inform collective action.



M.A. (Anthropology) 2015, The George Washington University
M.S. (Education) 2012, Johns Hopkins University
B.A. (Anthropology) 2010, University of Chicago


Selected Publications and Presentations:

2017  Ahmann, C. "The incinerator does not exist: Sensory engagement with toxic potentials." Part of the series “Sensorial Engagements with a Toxic World,” ed. C. Fukuda. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, March 29.

2017  Ahmann, C. "Accountable talk: 'Real' conversations in Baltimore city schools," Anthropology and Education Quarterly 48(1):77-97.

2016  Ahmann, C. “On not being seen.” Part of the series “Ethnographer as Advocate,” H. Bryant and E. Cain, eds. Anthropology News, Feb. 17.

2016  Ahmann, C. “Curtis on the Bay: Failed development and the mythology of Trump.” Part of the series"Crisis of Liberalism," D. Boyer, ed. Cultural Anthropology, Nov. 30.

2016 Ahmann, C. “‘…And that’s why I teach for America’: American education reform and the role of redemptive stories," Text & Talk 36(2):111-131.

2015  Ahmann, C. “Teach for all: Storytelling ‘shared solutions’ and scaling global reform,” Education Policy Analysis Archives 23(45): 1-27.

2015  Grinker, R.R., C. Kang-Yi, C. Ahmann, R. Beidas, A. Lagman, and D. Mandell. “Cultural adaptation and translation of outreach materials on autism spectrum disorder,” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 45(8): 2329-36. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2397-6.

2014  Ahmann, C. “Accountable talk: ‘Real’ conversations in Baltimore City schools.” Presentation at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, December 5.

Classes Taught

Anth 4008: Contemporary Anthropological Theory