Alexandra Cotofana

Assistant Professor
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Introduction

Alexandra Cotofana's research and teaching explores intersections of environmental anthropology and science and technology studies, with a particular focus on water scarcity and its possible solutions. Alexandra’s current project investigates the ways in which weather scientists create knowledge about the atmosphere in general and cloudseeding in particular. She is interested in all the actors co-creating atmospheric epistemologies, and their everyday lives. The project offers the public an alternative perspective on a topic that is increasingly targeted by conspiracy theories. in doing so, it hopes to curb the drop in science literacy that has recently been of major concern to scientists worldwide.

Alexandra earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Indiana University Bloomington, with a Doctoral Minor in Religious Studies. Prior to joining Zayed University, she held a Lectureship in History and Anthropology at Butler University.

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian

Qualifications:

• 2018, PhD Cultural Anthropology (Indiana University, Bloomington)

• 2016, M.A. Cultural Anthropology (Indiana University Bloomington)

• 2011, M.A. Cultural Anthropology (National School for Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest)

• 2009, B.A. Political Sciences (National School for Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest)

Professional Membership:

• American Ethnological Society, 2015 - present

• American Anthropological Association, 2014 - present

• European Association of Social Anthropologists 2014 – present

Convenor of the Environmental Anthropology Network of EASA (2020-2024)

 

Research and Professional Activities

Alexandra Cotofana's research explores the ways in which people understand the environment, including the atmosphere. She has recently studied how people understand their connection to land and how that connection is marked by nativist and xenophobic understandings of Self and Other. In her most research project, Alexandra is preparing a multi-year ethnographic project meant to give audiences insight into the everyday lives of atmospheric scientists and practitioners involved in cloudseeding.This project aims to demystify the work of scientists and to create an informed venue for people to gain knowledge about the lives of scientists.

Research interests:

Environmental Anthropology

Science and Technology Studies

Epistemology

The Atmosphere

Current Projects:

Political Ecologies in Europe

The Familial Occult

Atmospheric Epistemologies

Keywords:

Cloud Seeding, Science and Technology Studies

Teaching Areas

  • Critical Thinking
  • Special Topics (Science and Technology Studies)
  • Senior Seminar (Water and Modernity)
  • World Regions Europe

 

Recent Publications

Books 

  • Alexandra Coțofană (ed.), The Familial Occult, EASA Series, Oxford: Berghahn Books (2023).
  • Alexandra Coțofană, Xenophobic Mountains. Landscape sentience reconsidered in the Romanian Carpathians, Palgrave Pivot, Cham: Switzerland (2022). Shortlisted for the Turku Book Prize 2023 (European Society for Environmental History)
  • Alexandra Coțofană and Hikmet Kuran (eds.) Sentient Ecologies. Xenophobic Imaginaries of Landscape, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology series, Oxford: Berghahn Books (2022)

Articles

  • “Weaponising the Alliance for the Unity of Romanians (AUR): Novelties and Continuums in Romania’s Far-Right Political Extremism”, in Elisa Orofino and William Allchorn (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Non-Violent Extremism Groups, Perspectives and New Debates, London: Routledge (2023).
  • “Introduction” in Alexandra Coțofană and Hikmet Kuran (eds.) Sentient Ecologies. Xenophobic Imaginaries of Landscape, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology series, Oxford: Berghahn Books (2022)
  • “Ingrained Ontologies. How Romania’s Institutionalized Processes Teach Us to Think with Xenophobic Sentient Landscapes” in Alexandra Coțofană and Hikmet Kuran (eds.) Sentient Ecologies. Xenophobic Imaginaries of Landscape, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology series, Oxford: Berghahn Books (2022)
  •  “The Poetics of Cloud Seeding.” Weather Matters, November 22, 2021. https://www.weathermatters.net/the-poetics-of-cloud-seeding
  • “Contorted Naturalisms. How to think with the concept of Right-wing Populist Mountains” in Eszter Krasznai Kovacs (ed) Political Ecologies of Eastern Europe (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2021) https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0244