Member Profile

Jessica Olivares

CASTAC-Net Member

Postdoctoral Fellow, UTMB

Contributing Editor, Platypus, The CASTAC Blog

Research Interests

Applied Anthropology | carcerality | Critical race theory | Ethnographic Theory | Feminist STS | Medical anthropology | Urban ethnography | UX Research |

About Jessica

Jessica L. Olivares is a qualitative researcher and joint Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Bioethics and Health Humanities (IBHH) and the Center for Addiction Sciences and Therapeutics (CAST). Dr. Olivares holds a PhD from Rice University where she honed her approach to researching and teaching questions of anthropology, science and technology studies, medical humanities, and patient- and community-centered, intersectional approaches. As a trained socio-cultural, medical anthropologist, she approaches issues in the world from a feminist and queer perspective, as well as a racial justice one. One of the throughlines throughout her research is a fundamental interest in personhood and illegality within ethical, moral, and technical entanglements. Her first ethnographic book project tracks the relationship between trust, transparency, and technology, particularly around the harms and health effects of policing and surveillance and the unevenness of technological innovations when it comes to race, gender, and sexuality. She is currently researching how substance use disorders (SUDs) care teams engage with ethical conversations around a good life.



Contributions to Platypus, The CASTAC Blog

View all of Jessica's posts on Platypus, The CASTAC Blog.

To Witness: Cell Phone Cameras, Immigrant Communities, and Police Accountability

“There is nothing like an iPhone …to show people the problem…” -Alex Vitale, The End of Policing As I contemplate the momentum of the 2024 presidential election cycle, my focus turns to the potential consequences of a renewed Trump presidency. Drawing on my expertise as an ethnographer, I recall the socio-technological impacts of his initial presidency, which fueled activism and organizing for civil liberties. What follows is a reflection on my fieldwork in Houston, Texas during 2018 and 2019, focusing on how anti-surveillance advocates at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas used cell phones and their cameras as resistance tools. The ACLU has been an active proponent for those in need of protection from government surveillance by educating people in the US on their constitutional rights, advocating for the protection of civil liberties, and taking legal action to stop violations of those rights and liberties. During my eighteen (read more...)

Optics and Fluidity: Evading Surveillance in Hong Kong

 At the Hong Kong airport, thousands of protesters line the arrivals hall. Creating a corridor for passengers to walk through, they stand silently, using their right hand to cover their right eye. The silence is occasionally perforated by calls of “Hāng Góng Gā Yáu!” and “Xiāng Gang Jīa Yóu 香港加油 – “Hong Kong Add Oil”— expressions of solidarity and encouragement that have become fuel for protests that have been ongoing and lively since March. Jingcha Huan Yan 警察還眼 – or, “police: return the eye” – has become a rallying cry of the movement following a police shooting of a young woman in the eye in Tsim Sha Tsui 尖沙嘴. Protesters ritually cover their right eyes or patch them shut with bloodied bandages. Others change their social media profile picture to an artistic rendering of a woman with an eyepatch. Twitter hashtag campaigns such as #Eye4HK have gained international traction, with (read more...)