Kristin Doughty

Kristin Doughty

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies

PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2011

Office Location
437 Lattimore Hall
(585) 275-5155

Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:30 -3 pm

Research Overview

Prof Doughty’s is pursuing two current research projects at the intersections of legal and environmental anthropology. The first Threats to Power, examines the intersection of energy politics and post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda through a focus on methane extraction in Lake Kivu. This ethnographic research, conducted in a series of fieldwork visits between 2016-2019, was funded by grants from the Wenner Gren foundation and National Science Foundation, and writing will be funded in part by a Wenner Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship. Initial findings have recently been published in Cambridge Journal of Anthropology and African Studies Review. This work builds on Prof Doughty's first book project, Remediation in Rwanda:Grassroots Legal Forums (University of Pennsylvania Press, Ethnography of Political Violence Series, 2016), which was driven by an interest in understanding how the contemporary global preoccupation with law and human rights as universalizing frameworks for post-conflict reconciliation shape people’s own efforts to rebuild their lives in the wake of violence. The book examines the intersection of law, rights, and collective belonging in post-genocide Rwanda. It was based on 18 months of ethnographic research with grassroots legal forums in Rwanda, including genocide courts (gacaca courts) in which suspects from the 1994 genocide were tried among their neighbors before locally elected judges, as well as mediation committees for ordinary disputes (comite y'abunzi) and a legal aid clinic. Prof Doughty has also researched and/or written on memorialization and education in Rwanda, and on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Prof Doughty is also pursuing research on the everyday impacts on mass incarceration in upstate New York. The "Cultural Politics of Prison Towns" is a collaborative ethnographic research project and undergraduate course, co-taught with Prof Joshua Dubler, that seeks to denaturalize Rochester's location in the center of the upstate carceral complex. The project ethnographically examines how high saturation of prisons, jails, and federal immigrant detention facilities in the Rochester area shapes the region, including local notions of justice, citizenship, and punishment. This work has led to a traveling exhibit, "Going Upstate", that has been showin in Rochester (March 2023), Auburn, NY (March 2024) and Brockport, NY (April 2024). This project is supported by a 3-year National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Senior Researcher award (2021-2024). Doughty also teaches college anthropology courses inside correctional facilities as part of the Rochester Education Justice Initiative including at Attica ('21, '23), Groveland ('21), Albion ('19) and Five Points Correctional Facility ('18), and serves as Faculty Director for Campus and Community Outreach for REJI.

Research Interests

  • political and legal anthropology; politics of reconciliation; transitional justice; violence and conflict; memory; politics of energy; Africa; Rwanda

Selected Publications

Book + Journal Articles

  • 2016. Remediation in Rwanda:Grassroots Legal Forums. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • 2023. with Bedell, Precious and N’Gambwa, Amina. “’I really wanna put eyes on these guys’: Caregiving in Prisons, Pandemic, and Protest.” Journal of Feminist Anthropology.
  • 2023. With Dubler, Joshua. "On Prison Towns and Ethnographic Entanglements." Anthropology Now. 14(1-2):39-50.
  • 2021. With Uwizeye, D and Uwimana, E. “Methane Extraction on Lake Kivu: Green Extractive Humanitarianism.” African Studies Review.
  • 2020. “Carceral Repair: Methane Extraction in Lake Kivu, Rwanda.” Cambridge Journal of Anthropology. 38 (2):19-37.
  • 2019. "Cutural Anthropology in 2018: Captivity and its Unruly Failures." American Anthropologist 121 (2):431-446.
  • 2017. "Sociality of Enforced Waiting in Rwanda's Post-genocide Legal Architecture” Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 40 (1): 122-136.
  • 2017." Language and International Criminal Justice in Africa: Interpretation at the ICTR" International Journal of Transitional Justice.
  • 2015. "Law and the Architecture of Social Repair: Gacaca days in post-genocide Rwanda." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.21 (2).
  • 2014. "'Our goal is not to punish but to reconcile:' Mediation in Post-Genocide Rwanda." American Anthropologist. 116 (4).

Chapters in Edited Volumes + Online

  •  2018. "The Banality of Lost Guns: Producing Null Data Sets"  Somatosphere Part of the series Notes on guns and violence.
  • 2017. “Converting Threats to Power: Methane Extraction in Lake Kivu.” In Governance in the Extractive Industries, Lori Leonard and Siva Grovogui, eds. New York: Routledge.
  • 2017. “Grassroots Law in Context: Moving Beyond the Cultural Justification.” In Culture in the Domains of Law, Rene Provost, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2016“Interpreting Justice: The ICTR and Gacaca in Rwanda.”  In Africa and the International Criminal Court: Perceptions of Justice. Kamari Clarke, Abel Knotternus, and Ava J.A. de Volder, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Current and Past

  • Ant 204: Reading Ethnography (Spring 2024)
  • Ant 243: Energy and Power (Spring 2024)
  • Ant 231: Il/Legal Anthropology (Fall 2023)
  • Ant 302: Waste and Wasting (Fall 2023)
  • Ant 233: Cultural Politics of Prison Towns (Next offered Fall '24)
  • Rochester Education Justice Initiative (Attica C. F., Fall 2023, 2021; Groveland C.F. Spring 2021)


  • National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Award (with J. Dubler co-PI), 2021-2024, "Prison Towns and Prison Cultures"
  • Hunt Post Doctoral Fellowship, Wenner Gren Foundation, 2021, "Threats to Power"
  • University Research Award, University of Rochester, 2018-2019, How is Rochester a Prison Town? (with co-PIs)
  • Teaching Innovation Grant, University of Rochester, 2018-2020 (shared)
  • W.E.B. DuBois Award for Educational Excellence during School Year 2018-2019, by U of Rochester Black Students' Union
  • Wenner Gren Post-Ph. D Research Grant, 2016-2017
  • National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Award, 2016-2019
  • Internal Junior Fellow, Humanities Center, University of Rochester, Spring 2016
  • Professor of the Year in the Social Sciences, awarded by University of Rochester Student Association, 2014.