Kessie Alexandre

Graduate Prize Fellow
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Kessie Alexandre is a fourth year in the Department of Anthropology with a graduate certificate from the Department of African American Studies. Her interests include risk and ethics, spatial theory, race and environment and embodiment. Her dissertation entitled “Floods and Fountains: Toxicity and Revitalization through Newark’s Waterworks" is an ethnography of urban water insecurity and infrastructure disrepair in the United States, which examines the role of water and contemporary water management in shaping political subjectivities and social relations over time. It explores the production of flood resilience in urban landscapes and in the lives of residents and examines the convergence of climate change adaptation and urban revitalization in a postindustrial context. The project then turns to the tap, probing into the ways in which infrastructure decline and tap water contamination shift people’s understandings of state capacity and social and political belonging. Centered on articulations of trust, estrangement, localism and sovereignty in response to water contamination and potential bodily exposure, she explores various formations of (dis)connectivity in the wake of infrastructure decay and precarity. Before pursuing her Ph.D at Princeton, Alexandre earned a B.A. in public health studies and anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.