Dr. Elizabeth Kryder-Reid is Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis, where she is the Director of the Cultural Heritage Research Center and former Director of the IUPUI Museum Studies Program. With anthropology degrees from Harvard and Brown, and professional experience in archaeology, art museums, and historic sites, her transdisciplinary research investigates how the tangible and intangible remnants of the past figure in the contestation of social inequalities across gender, race, class, ethnicity, and religion. Her past research on the intersections of landscape and power, including Keywords in American Landscape and California Mission Landscapes: Race, Memory, and the Politics of Heritage. Her current research is on toxic heritage, investigating how places of environmental harm are treated as heritage and examining the ways heritage sites are addressing aspects of their environmental harm, particularly as it intersects with environmental justice issues. As a Fulbright Research Scholar (2022), Dr. Kryder-Reid’s research in France explores the landscapes of ruination associated with military conflict, particularly the ecological and social consequences of munitions in the WWI battlefields in the areas designated as the “Zone Rouge.” While at CY Cergy, she is working with Dr. Anne Hertzog, and also participating in the Ruines de Guerre seminars on Martyred Villages.Research project
This project explores how heritage sites address the aspects of environmental harm in a time when cultural leaders are exploring how to address the central, even existential, issues of our time – climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. My work in France as a Fulbright research scholar focuses on the environmental legacies of WWI created both by their use during the war and the post-war destruction of conventional and chemical weapons across southern Belgium and northern France in the area designated as Le Zone Rouge. I am particularly interested in the physical, ecological, material, and narrative histories of buried ordinance and associated deposits from areas where munitions were not only left in situ as the “déchets de guerre” but also destroyed by burning, exploding, and dumping munitions in bodies of water. As a result, areas such as Verdun and the Somme have issues with contamination from lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals, as well as perchlorate contamination of groundwater. There is also a rich history of formal and informal memory practices related to WWI battlefields, as well as their ongoing management as natural and cultural landscapes. This intersection the toxic legacy of the battlefields and war memory practices offers a lens into the environmental impacts of the world’s first “industrial war” and our reckoning with the heritage of the Anthropocene.