Health and Wellness

Project: Mapping Ourselves

Principal Investigator(s): J.A. English-Lueck (SJSU); Rajiv Mehta (Atlas of Caregiving)

Client/Partner: Atlas of Caregiving

Summary: In partnership with the Atlas of Caregiving students conduct autoethnographic examinations of their ecosystems of care.  Using an expanded practice-based understanding of Care, pioneered by Annemarie Mol, we partnered with the non-profit, the Atlas of Caregiving.  This organization is piloting ways to enhance the effectiveness of communities of care in public and non-profit sectors.  They began by creating an app to help map networks of caregivers beyond the biomedical sector.  The organization came to realize that the exchanges between people in their communities of care practice led to longer term support.  Our efforts at San Jose State University help refine and expand the process.

Funding: N/A, Evaluation funded by We All Care in Michigan

Timeline: 2019-2021

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for individual undergraduate student projects and graduate MA projects.  Contact Jan English-Lueck (

Student Researchers: Anthropology 108, Medical Anthropology students, Steffen Anderson, Lauren Anderson, Angela Ayala, Sean Davis, Calista Dieser, Marley Harr, Andrea Jurado, Jacob Landingin, William Layne, Hannah McCormack, Sana Rahim, Molly Rosenfeld, Alex Su, Mitchell Tran, and Jordan Valenzuela.

Project: Effects of Cumulative Disasters and Practices of Social Support and Mutual Aid Among San Jose State University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic

SJSU Principal Investigator(s): A.J. Faas, Co-PI Melissa Beresford

Client/Partner: [in development]

Summary: This is an ethnographic, descriptive study intended to compare the COVID-19 pandemic experiences and social support and mutual aid practices of SJSU undergraduate students with prior experience of disaster and those without prior experience. Specifically, we are addressing empirical gaps in disaster studies using a research framework organized around the investigation of 1) how changes in awareness are brought about by past disaster experiences; 2) how new awareness may or may not lead to new capacities, strategies, and skills; 3) how these new capacities, strategies, or skills do or do not translate into responses to the COVID-19 pandemic; and 4) the varieties of social support (dyadic) and mutual aid (collective) practices people engage in and how they adapt these practices to the social distancing measures of COVID-19.

Funding: U.S. National Science Foundation, The Natural Hazards Center, and the Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN)

Timeline: Ongoing

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for undergraduate internships and MA projects and theses that use and/or build off of this data set. Please contact Dr. A.J. Faas or Dr. Melissa Beresford.

Student Researchers: ANTH 149 Ethnographic Methods Students, Christina Padilla

Project: Food Paths Project

Principal Investigator(s): J.A. English-Lueck (SJSU); Chiara Cecchini (Food Innovation Program) and Sara Smith (Future Food Lab, Institute for the Future)

Client/Partner: Food Innovation Program, University of Bologna; Future Food Lab, Institute for the Future

Summary: We have engaged in a multiyear project that evolved out of a funded project with the Institute for the Future and the Google Food Lab. The San Francisco Bay Area practices a distinctive food culture that is connected to its agricultural and immigrant past and present.  Culinary fusions, food innovation, urban farming and craft food production flourish in corporate cafes, restaurants, food tech startups, and resident networks.  The legacy of social movements in the region link food production, preparation, consumption and waste management to the notion of “eating for good.”  Such efforts are captured ethnographically, curated and disseminated to our partners.  One partial product of this collaboration has been the documentary, Food Makers, which was recently shown at the film festival, Cinema Italian Style in San Francisco. Students have presented their data at the Southwestern Anthropological Association.

Funding: N/A, Future funding possible

Timeline: 2017-2020

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for individual undergraduate student projects and graduate MA projects. Contact J.A. English-Lueck (

Student Researchers: Anthropology 107, Eating Culture, the Anthropology of Food, undergraduate students from 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.  Additional related work done by Ella Babin, Cheryl Cowan, Clemy Bebb, Tim Rodriquez, Veronica Rodriguez, Ashley Estrada and Milton Canas-Chinchilla.

Project: Reengineering Nature in Silicon Valley

Principal Investigator(s): J.A. English-Lueck (SJSU)

Client/Partner: Silicon Valley Cultures Project

Summary: This project is primarily an academic research project, although it has implications for the forecasters at the Institute for the Future and the Food Innovation program.  Building on more than 25 years of ethnographic inquiry into the cultures of Silicon Valley, the project looks at the lives of workers who participate in the countercultural and artistic life of Silicon Valley, and the research, design and implementation of food, ag, and clean tech endeavors.  Internet of Things and Virtual Reality technologies combine sensors and versions of lived experience.  These researchers are interviewing artists and engineers, community advocates and designers to better understand how they merge their distinct visions of the future with the work they do. What values are these workers bringing to their work? Geography faculty Kerry Rohrmeier is collaborating with English-Lueck to explore the relationship of Silicon Valley to Burning Man.  English-Lueck is also teaming up with interested alumni, undergraduate and graduate researchers, and Mass Communications faculty Tina Korani to document these stories.  The project will result in an academic production such as a book and article, and a co-authored innovative virtual reality installation and proceeding article for the Southwestern Anthropological Association meeting and other venues.

Funding: SJSU RSCA, Carnegie Pending

Timeline: 2018-2021

Student Opportunities: There are opportunities for individual undergraduate student projects and graduate 280 and MA projects. Contact J.A. English-Lueck (

Student Researchers: Ella Babin, Cheryl Cowan, Jillian Ferini, Ian Torres, Andrew Marley, Daniel E. Maldonado, Kevin Kochever, Jasmine Low, Melanie Bailey, and Christophe Gonzales.