Katie Ulrich


PhD candidate


I am a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology at Rice University. My research focuses on petrochemical replacements made from sugarcane in Brazil, including not only biofuels but bio-based plastics, synthetic fabrics, solvents, specialty chemicals, and more. My project follows biotech scientists’, industry actors’, and funding agents’ technical practices within and beyond the lab that reconfigure sugarcane molecularly, socially, and politically—and to what extent these practices ultimately transform sugarcane from a crop with a violent history into a feedstock for new environmental and industrial futures. My interests are situated within anthropology of science, feminist STS, and environmental anthropology. I am currently a student representative for the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), and served as a program secretary for the 4S 2019 meeting in New Orleans. I am also a contributing editor for Platypus, the CASTAC blog. Prior to starting my doctoral studies, I worked as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab at the University of California San Francisco.