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Jessica Cattelino

Associate Professor

Contact Information

Email    jesscatt@anthro.ucla.edu
Office  397 Haines
Phone  310-825-4400
I study and teach about sociocultural life in the contemporary United States.

My research focuses on economy, nature, indigeneity, and settler colonialism. My book, High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty (Duke University Press, 2008; winner of the Delmos Jones and Jagna Sharff Memorial Book Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of North America), examines the cultural, political, and economic stakes of tribal casinos for Florida Seminoles. Currently, I’m writing an ethnography about the cultural value of water in the Florida Everglades, with focus on the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation and the nearby agricultural town of Clewiston. This project tells the human story of Everglades restoration and theorizes the co-production of nature and indigeneity in settler societies like the United States. Additionally, I write about indigeneity and money, the anthropology of the United States, and indigenous sovereignty, and I am collaborating with photographer Adam Nadel on a museum exhibition about the inextricability of people and nature in the Everglades.

My work is influenced by scholarship in American Indian Studies and Gender Studies, and I hold faculty affiliations in both programs at UCLA. My current research is funded by the National Science Foundation (Law and Social Sciences), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. Additionally, I am funded through participation in a National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Network on the Florida Coastal Everglades, for which I am undertaking wildly interdisciplinary collaboration as a co-author of a paper on phosphorus and will conduct ethnographic research on the social life of a stormwater treatment area. Recently I was a Visiting Associate Professor of American Studies at Yale University.


Ph.D., New York University (2004)


Cultural Horizons Prize (best article in Cultural Anthropology during 2010, for “The Double Bind of American Indian Need-Based Sovereignty”), Society for Cultural Anthropology (2011)

Delmos Jones and Jagna Sharff Memorial Book Prize (best book published in previous two years), Society for the Anthropology of North America (2010)

Honorable Mention, Gregory Bateson Book Prize, Society for Cultural Anthropology (2009)

Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Chicago (2008)

Western History Assn. Arrell M. Gibson Award for year’s best essay on Native American history (2005)


National Science Foundation Funded Senior Personnel on Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program grant, 2016

Howard Foundation Fellowship, 2015

National Science Foundation research grant, funded by the program in Law and Social Sciences, 2011-14

Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Post-Ph.D. Research Grant, 2011-12

Faculty Research Grant, UCLA, 2009-10

Institute for Advanced Study Membership, Princeton, NJ, 2008-09

Center for Gaming Research Residency Fellowship, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2008

School of American Research (SAR) Weatherhead Fellowship, 2003

Selected Publications

2011 “One Hamburger at a Time”: Revisiting the State-Society Divide with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock international: with CA comments by Thabo Mokgatlha and Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi. Current Anthropology 52(S3): S138-149. Supplementary issue: Corporate Lives: New Perspectives on the Social Life of the Corporate Form. D.J. Partridge, M. Welker, and R. Hardin, eds. PDF

2011 Thoughts on the U.S. as a Settler Society (Plenary Remarks, 2010 SANA Conference). North American Dialogue: Newsletter of the Society for the Anthropology of North America 14(1):1-6. PDF

2010 Anthropologies of the United States. Annual Review of Anthropology 39:275-292. LINK

2010 The Double Bind of American Indian Need-Based Sovereignty. Cultural Anthropology 25(2):235-62. PDF

2010 Termination Redux? Seminole Citizenship and Economy from Truman to Gaming. In B. Hosmer, ed. Native Americans and the Legacy of Harry Truman. Pp. 122-135. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press. PDF

2009 Fungibility: Florida Seminole Casino Dividends and the Fiscal Politics of Indigeneity. American Anthropologist 111(2):190-200. PDF

2008 High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty. Duke University Press. 2008 Gaming. In Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 2, Indians in Contemporary Society, Garrick A. Bailey, vol. ed., William C. Sturtevant, general editor. Pp. 148-156. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. PDF

2007 Florida Seminole Gaming and Local Sovereign Interdependency. In D. Cobb and L. Fowler, eds. Beyond Red Power: Rethinking Twentieth-Century American Indian Politics. Pp. 262-79. Santa Fe, NM: SAR Press. PDF

2006 Florida Seminole Housing and the Social Meanings of Sovereignty. Comparative Studies in Society and History 48(3):699-726. PDF

2005 Tribal Gaming and Indigenous Sovereignty, with Notes from Seminole Country. American Studies (Special issue on Indigenous People of the United States) 46:(3/4): 187-204; co-published in Indigenous Studies Today 1 (Fall 2005/Spring 2006). PDF

2004 Casino Roots: The Cultural Production of Twentieth-Century Seminole Economic Development. In Hosmer, B. and O’Neill, C., eds. Native Pathways: Economic Development and American Indian Culture in the Twentieth Century. Pp. 66-90. Boulder: University of Colorado Press. PDF Winner of the Western History Association Arrell M. Gibson Award

2004 (with William Sturtevant) Florida Seminole and Miccosukee. In Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 14, Southeast, Raymond D. Fogelson, vol. ed., William C. Sturtevant, general editor. Pp. 429-449. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. PDF

2004 The Difference that Citizenship Makes: Civilian Crime Prevention on the Lower East Side. PoLAR (Political and Legal Anthropology Review) 27(1):114-137. PDF


Sociocultural anthropology, citizenship and sovereignty, indigeneity and settler colonialism, economy and value, gender, environment, American public culture, Indian gaming; United States, Native North America