My name is Nick Kawa and I am an environmental anthropologist. My research centers on questions of human-environmental interaction, with specific focus on human relationships to plants and soils. I have studied the contemporary management of Amazonian Dark Earth, a fertile “anthropogenic” soil associated with Pre-Columbian Amerindian settlements, examining how human activity has shaped the contemporary botanical diversity found in association with it. I have also investigated the role that religious affiliation and social networks play in the maintenance and distribution of botanical species and crop varieties found in rural Amazonian communities.
Currently, I am developing a new project that investigates the use and management of human excrement in American agriculture. Human “waste” has been used for millennia as an agricultural amendment, but its application is rather limited in many industrial and postindustrial societies today. This project examines how cultural taboos, sanitation infrastructure, and legal regulation both shape and limit the use of “biosolids” (i.e. treated sanitation sludge) for agricultural production in the contemporary United States.
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Ohio State University and the President of the Culture and Agriculture Section of the American Anthropological Association. You can contact me at: email@example.com. You can also visit my pages at Ohio State and Academia.edu.