Bruno Seraphin

Bruno Seraphin

Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

Bruno Seraphin is also a graduate minor in American Indian and Indigenous studies. His research focuses on environmental and climate justice movements in the U.S. northwest, imperialism and militarism, and film methodologies. His dissertation examines the politics of wildfire and prescribed burning in Karuk aboriginal territory in the unsettled colonial present.

As wildfires throughout the U.S. west intensify, Indigenous fire practitioners fight for sovereignty and survivance while navigating between, on one side, a militarized firefighting apparatus premised on the settler state’s entitlement to environmental authority, and on the other side, a broad-based colonial impulse to appropriate and commodify Indigenous knowledge. Through participant observation, collaborative filmmaking, and interviews, Bruno’s dissertation tracks how settler colonial relations of power and property can be reaffirmed or disrupted by the increasing frequency of environmental crises. A committee of Karuk cultural practitioners advises on the work.

A settler raised on occupied Nipmuc land in Massachusetts, Bruno is an award-winning filmmaker with a BFA in film from New York University and an MA in folklore from the University of Oregon. Bruno’s project has received support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and Cornell’s Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

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