Jessica Bray

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I am a PhD candidate in the anthropology department at Rice University. My research focuses on the role of surveillance and policing technologies in livable futures. As a legal and political anthropologist, I am fundamentally interested in personhood and illegality within ethical and technical entanglements. These interests are rooted in my ethnographic fieldwork with organizers and police officers. My dissertation traces how technolegal devices embody moral distinctions, pose questions about race and colonialism, help people imagine liveable futures, and addresses questions of secrecy and intimacy in contemporary United States.

My previous research focused on responses to the rise in biometric and camera surveillance in India. Through fieldwork in Mumbai, I explored how the 2017 ruling and the discourse surrounding it affects the lived experiences of privacy advocates, lawyers, and the communities they defend.

Prior to joining the department, my previous training at Brandeis University (joint MA Anthropology & Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies) and UC Davis (BA in Middle East/South Asia Studies & Religious Studies with a minor in Sexualities) have been instrumental to the development of this project, both theoretically and methodologically.

At Rice, courses under the umbrella of the Graduate Certificate Program at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, as well as at the Rice Center for Critical and Cultural Theory have been fundamental for broadening the significance of this work by putting it in conversation with contemporary feminist and other critical debates.


Online Published Work:

Bray, Jessica and Tim Quinn. “Optics and Fluidity: Evading Surveillance in Hong Kong.” Platypus: The CASTAC Blog Online, October.

Bray, Jessica and Lindsay Vogt. 2016. "Introduction: The Future is There Looking Back at Us.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review Online, September.

Research Areas

police surveillance; livable futures; race; feminist surveillance studies; science and technology studies; anthropology of secrecy and intimacy


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