Areas of Expertise
Natalie Bump Vena received her J.D./Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and Department of Anthropology in June 2016. Her research and teaching interests concern the social production of environmental law and policy in the United States. As the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Anthropology & Environmental Studies, she designed and taught two new writing-intensive courses at Williams College: “Governing Nature” (2015) and “Environmental Justice” (2016).
Vena is committed to publicly engaged research, and the urban political landscape has always fascinated her. In her dissertation, “The Nature of Bureaucracy in the Cook County Forest Preserves” (2016), she uses archival and ethnographic methods to analyze the history of natural resources preservation in the county that encompasses Chicago, Illinois. Specifically, she explores the role of statutory language, volunteerism, and intergovernmental partnerships in creating the forest preserves over the past one hundred years. In addition to expanding her dissertation research, Vena is developing a creative project about Mayor Harold Washington, who led the City of Chicago from 1983 to 1987. She has also studied and written about an anti-gun violence campaign located in that city.