Kale B Fajardo
I'm an Associate Professor of American Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. (Pronouns: He/Him/His.) I received my PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In graduate school, I focused on visual anthropology, postcolonial studies, gender/sexuality studies, and Asian American Studies. I have a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Development Studies from Cornell University, with concentrations in Southeast Asian Studies and feminist studies. I'm currently working on my second book entitled, _Fish Stories: Photos/Essays from St. Malo to Manila Bay_. In this transnational research project, I engage with the “environmental humanities” and I'm also returning to my past training and passions in visual anthropology. In _Fish Stories_, I photograph, write about and theorize the intimacies and interconnections between “Filipinx, fish, and marine ecologies” (historical and contemporary), while also engaging with anthropological debates about the “border zones between art and anthropology practices” (Schneider and Wright, 2010). My methodological (re-)orientation (that is, moving towards art/photography-as-anthropology) is also informed by Tim Ingold’s notion that “artists and anthropologists come to know…through an art of inquiry that emphasizes thinking through making” (2013) and Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov’s concept of "ethnographic conceptualism," which he defines as “ethnography conducted as conceptual art.” _Fish Stories_ is also a homage to Allan Sekula and his book Fish Story (1995). In _Fish Stories_, I include original photographs and written essays on “siyokoys” (mermen) in Philippine visual media and folklore to theorize human-fish-sea intimacies and queer/trans masculinities. I also analyze and engage with ethno-historical images and photos of "Manila-Men” sailors and fishermen and their descendants in the bayous and coastal areas of Louisiana. These fishing grounds are adjacent to the contemporary “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico (which cannot sustain marine life.) I also analyze and engage with old snapshot photographs of Filipino migrant workers who worked in salmon canneries in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Currently, these are sites where salmon populations have significantly decreased. Lastly, in _Fish Stories_, I return to the Philippines to photograph and write about contemporary fisherfolk in coastal Bulacan Province and the broader Manila Bay Area. Fisherfolk in Manila Bay are stressed by global warming, rising seas, depleted fisheries, urbanization and mega-regionalization, and marine pollution. On campus, I'm active in Asian Studies + Environmental Humanities (ASEH) programming at the Environmental Humanities Initiative.