Member Profile

Hannah Eisler Burnett

PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

Multimodal Contributing Editor, Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

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About Hannah

Hannah Eisler Burnett is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation research examines how plans for ecosystem restoration in the Mississippi River Delta affect coastal communities, and the different histories that inform these projects and how they are understood. She has also collaborated on various art and video projects related to themes of water, toxicity, global trade, and capital.

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Contributions to Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

View all of Hannah's posts on Platypus: The CASTAC Blog.

Cargo Ships and Comrades: On the Occasion of the Beached Ever Given

In 2018, we took a cargo ship from Barcelona to New York City and made a short film called Slop Chest [note id="1" type="mark"] about the blurry distinction between work and leisure when you live where you work—and can’t leave. Here, we describe some of our experiences on board, drawing resonances between the labor practices in international shipping and in Amazon’s warehouses. Writing while the cargo ship Ever Given is blocking all trade through the Suez Canal and while Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama, are preparing to count votes in favor of unionization, we speculate about how these two events resonate. What are contours of this conjuncture? There are three separate crews on board our ship: the officers, the engineers, and the deck crew who are responsible for maintaining the ship and keeping watch. The captain is Polish and the officers are similarly white and eastern European. The engineers are mostly the same, while the deck crew are exclusively Filipino. A deck  crew member tells us that cargo companies put Filipino crews on old, rusty ships like the one we are taking from Barcelona to New York City in order to repair the ship—or at least hold it together—while it is still in motion. The cook and his assistant are Filipino, and each day they prepare three meals for two separate mess halls: the crew’s, with vinegar and shrimp paste on the tables, and the officers’, with tablecloths and a more random assortment of condiments. The captain has his own (more...)