Jen K Hughes

I am a doctoral candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota (Ph.D. expected 2020). My dissertation examines the economic and political effects of settler-colonialism, queerness and utopian capitalism in Iceland, Northern Europe and the U.S. I am particularly interested in storytelling practices during economic and political crises in Iceland that intervene in as well as produce ideas of whiteness, gender and "the future" (time). I incorporate indigenous and local settler-colonial perspectives in tandem with European and Scandinavian accounts of economic practices and theory to decolonize thinking about finance and politics and posit settler-colonialism as ongoing process that manifests in what I call, "viking futures". I also work as a professional video and web producer, museum and archives specialist, and ethnographic filmmaker. I conducted fieldwork in Iceland from June-August 2013 and October 2015-November 2016. I am in production on my first feature-length documentary, Viking Futures, and am a contributing editor for Cultural Anthropology's Visual and New Media Review section. My past research focused on language, history, economy and "kinship" in lesbian bar culture and among queer homeless youth in Portland, Oregon. I previously worked on research, digital media, exhibit and video projects for the Discovery Channel, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, The Smithsonian’s National Zoo, The Film/Video Dept. of The Walker Art Center, The University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Opera, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera Plus, the Eric Carle Museum for Picture Book Art, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR), and Curiosity Retreats, LLC. I received a B.A. in Anthropology and Gender Studies from Mount Holyoke College in 2010.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • B.A.: Anthropology and Gender Studies, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, 2010.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Capitalism, Economic Crisis, Utopia and Economy as concept
  • Iceland, Northern Europe and North America
  • Time, Language, Sovereignty, Translation, Humans/Non-Humans, Ontology and Cosmology
  • Storytelling, Narrative, and Film
  • Feminist, Indigenous and Queer Theory and Methods; Critical Theory
  • Settler Colonialism, Whiteness, Decolonization, Race and Inequality
  • Lesbian and LGTBQ ethnography, film and history
Courses Taught
  • Course Instructor, ANTH 4053: Economic Anthropology (Economy, Culture, Critique): Queering Capitalism
  • Course Instructor, GLBT 1001/GWSS 1007: Introduction to GLBT Studies
  • Teaching Assistant, ANTH 1003, Section 005 & 007, Understanding Cultures (Introduction to Cultural Anthropology), University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Spring 2017
  • Course Instructor, ANTH 3212/GLOS 3212: Globalization, Markets and Inequality, Summer 2018
  • Guest Lecturer (Spring 2013), ANTH 5980/ ANTH 3980 (cross-listed with German Studies): Art, Politics and Diversity - Degenerate Art in Nazi Germany
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Walker Art Center Film/Video Curatorial Oral History Project : Project Coordinator, Video Producer, Interviewer, Historian, Archival Researcher, Content Supervisor for Video Interviews with Former Film/Video Dept. Curators , August 2013 - November 2013
  • Digital Producer,, Discovery Channel: May 2011 - May 2012


  • Co-convener, IAS Collaborative: Moving Image and Media Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Group: February 2018 - Present
  • Contributing Editor: Cultural Anthropology, Visual and New Media Review, Contributing Editors Program, May 2017 - Present
  • Co-president, Anthropology Graduate Student Organization, University of Minnesota: September 2014 - September 2015
  • Dissertation Writing Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship ($25,000), Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, September 2017 - August 2018
  • Course Development Grant ($5000) for "Queering Capitalism", Steven J. Schochet Endowment for GLBT Studies, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, June 2017 - August 2017
  • International Thesis Research Travel Grant ($5,000), Graduate School, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, September 2016 - December 2016
  • Dissertation Fieldwork Grant ($23,000), American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship, Thor Thors Memorial Fund, September 2015 - September 2016
  • Dissertation Fieldwork Grant ($25,000), Leifur Eiriksson Foundation Fellowship, Administered by The Icelandic Government, The Central Bank of Iceland and University of Virginia, August 2015 - August 2016
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship, Intermediate and Advanced Icelandic, U.S. Dept. of Education and University of Minnesota (declined award), May 2015 - August 2015
  • College of Liberal Arts, Video Production & Media Services Fellowship, University of Minnesota, August 2014 - May 2015
  • College of Liberal Arts, Video Production & Media Services Summer Fellowship, University of Minnesota, May 2014 - August 2014
  • College of Liberal Arts, Video Production & Media Services Fellowship, University of Minnesota, August 2013 - May 2014
  • College of Liberal Arts Graduate Fellowship ($22,500), University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, September 2012 - May 2013
  • Mount Holyoke College, Dean of Faculty Fellowship, Jan - Feb 2009
  • Space History Fellowship, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Jan - Feb 2009