J’Nese Williams Ph.D. candidate, History
J’Nese Williams is a graduate student in the field of modern British history. Her dissertation, “The Texture of Empire: British Botanic Gardens, Science, and Colonial Administration in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries,” uses the local activities of colonial botanic gardens as a window into the operation of empire and government support of science in the British colonies.
Though her current work engages with themes of development and environmental change, J’Nese has been interested in the intersection of consumption choices and environmental issues for many years. As a child in West Germany in the 1980s, she experienced a culture where “junking” (Sperrmüll Wochenende), recycling, and mindful consumption were widely practiced. Upon moving to the United States in 1989, J’Nese became aware of the importance of consumption as an indication of status within American society. In the seminar series “Waste and Want: Understanding Consumption” co-organized with Carolyn Taratko, J’Nese hopes to engage in consciousness raising conversations with the Vanderbilt community about conspicuous consumption and its effect on the environment, with the hope of working toward solutions, together.