Dana Burton

Dana Burton
[email protected]


Program: Anthropology Ph.D. 

Year of Entry: Fall 2017

Advisor: Ilana Feldman

Current Research

Dana Burton's research interests sit at the intersection of anthropology of outer space, science and technology studies, history of the American space sector, and multispecies scholarship. Her fieldwork follows scientists, documents, microbes, and machines across Earth and beyond. Her dissertation, "Evidencing Life: Thresholds of Biology and Scientific Operations Beyond Earth" analyzes the strategies scientists utilize in their interplanetary search for indicators of biological organisms and how this may impact our understanding of processes of scientific formations. Dana’s work was funded by Wenner-Gren Foundation, NSF, and Society for the History of Technology. She is currently at the University of Pennsylvania writing her dissertation with an Excellence through Diversity Fellowship.



M.Phil (Anthropology), 2019, The George Washington University

M.A. (Anthropology), The George Washington University

B.A. (Political Science and Spanish), Tufts University


Selected Publications

2021 Article. Burton, Dana, Sarah E. Raskin, Leyla Safta-Zecheria, and Paul Stubbs. “Anti-Racism for an Anthropology of Policy Otherwise.” Anthropology News website, November 16, 2021.

2021 Essay. “Is there life in outer space?: The Antaeus Report and sample return in the 1970s.” AHA Perspectives Daily website. February 18, 2021. www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/...

2020 White Paper. “Ethical Exploration and the Role of Planetary Protection in Disrupting Colonial Practices.” arVix website, October 15, 2020. Tavares, Frank et al. arXiv:2010.08344

2019 Essay. “Encounters with Lunar Dust.” Anthropology News website, July 12, 2019.


2020, Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society