Joanne Randa Nucho is an anthropologist and filmmaker. Her research interests include critical infrastructure studies, urban studies, middle eastern studies as well as non-fiction film and video and visual ethnography.
Her most recent work focuses on the relationship between infrastructures, urban development projects and the ways in which people begin to imagine themselves as part of a “public.” Her book Everyday Sectarianism in Urban Lebanon: Infrastructures, Public Services and Power (2016), part of the Princeton University Press series on culture and technology, is based on 16 months of ethnographic research in a neighborhood widely known as Beirut’s Armenian quarter. In it, she looks at urban infrastructures, services and utilities like electricity provision, bridges and roads as critical sites for political mobilization in order to reorient conversations about sovereignty and citizenship in conflict states and across broader contexts as well. The materiality of these infrastructures as socio-technical channels and what they mean to the subjects who navigate and experience them in everyday life are critical to the project of producing ideas about community and notions of the public good.
Nucho’s non-fiction film work has screened in various contexts, including the London International Documentary Film Festival in 2008 and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 2017.
- Visual Anthropology
- Film and Video
- Urban Studies
- Critical Infrastructure Studies
“Post-grid Imaginaries: Electricity, Generators, and the Future of Energy.” Public Culture 1 May 2022; 34 (2 (97)): 265–290.
"Garbage Infrastructure, Sanitation, and New Meanings of Citizenship in Lebanon." Postmodern Culture, vol. 30 no. 1, 2019.
"Pandemics in the Post-Grid Imaginary" for The Immanent Frame, Social Science Research Council
"Thinking Infrastructures." Research in the Sociology of Organizations Ser, V. 62. Co-edited with Kornberger, Martin, Geoffrey C Bowker, Julia Elyachar, Andrea Mennicken, Peter Miller, Joanne Randa Nucho, and Neil Pollock. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. 2019.
"Failed Infrastructure is Failed Politics" Public Books, September 2018
"Essential Readings: Infrastructure" Jadaliyya, Aug 2018
"Collaborative Visual Methods: Parent Activism, Educational Justice and Photography in a Los Angeles Elementary School," co-authored with Sheena Nahm. Human Organization Vol. 77, No. 3, Fall 2018.
“Bourj Hammoud: Seeing the City’s Urban Textures and Layered Pasts,” Jadaliyya, March 2014.
“Becoming Armenian in Lebanon.” Middle East Report, MER 265 Spring 2013.
“Observational Cinema: Anthropology, Film, and the Exploration of Social Life by Anna Grimshaw and Amanda Ravetz.” Book Review, American Ethnologist 38, no. 2 (2011): 394-395.
“The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud,” nonfiction film, HDV, 72 min.
Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
M.A., Islamic Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
B.F.A., Film and Television Production, New York University
Awards & Honors
Awards & Honors
Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (2011)
Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award (2010-2011)