607 S Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801
Austin is a PhD Candidate in sociocultural anthropology. In the past, his research has focused on political subjectivity, social movements, and the semiotics of protest. His work currently centers on the political ecology between humans, the state, wolves and wolfdog crosses or "hybrids" as it manifests through the contexts of the exotic pet trade, animal sanctuaries, and wildlife management agencies. Austin is interested in how these sites incorporate canids and other nonhumans into settler-colonial and biopolitical projects, and how these formations normalize and perpetuate both racial and anthropocentric violence. His work is also deeply concerned with modes of interspecies care, identity construction, and embodied communication.
Prior to graduate study, Austin was an organizer in the Fight for $15 movement, Food Not Bombs, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), and other grassroots causes. From 2016-2018 he was the Education Coordinator at Mission:Wolf, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary in southern Colorado for rescued wolves, wolfdogs, and horses.
Canid-human relations; animal studies; wildlife management; multispecies ethnography; embodiment and phenomenology; comparative colonialisms; decolonization and the politics of memory; Indigenous studies; biopolitics; abolition; policing.
B.A., Sociology & Philosophy, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2015
M.A., Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2022
Graduate College Dissertation Travel Grant, 2023
Awards and Honors
Department of Anthropology Summer Research Award, UIUC, 2020
Honors Scholar, UMKC, 2015
Selene Scholarship in Philosophy, UMKC, 2014
Additional Campus Affiliations
Teaching & Research Assistant, American Indian Studies Program
Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Graduate Employees' Organization, IFT/AFT Local 6300
Birchmier, Chelsea, Austin D. Hoffman, Logan Middleton, A. Naomi Paik, and Angela Ting “Towards Abolitionist Unionism: Resisting Pandemics, Policing, and Austerity at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.” Journal of Academic Freedom 12, no. 1 (2021): https://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/Birchmier-et-al_.pdf
Hoffman, A.D. "Lupine Sensibilities: Dynamically Embodied Intersubjectivity between Humans and Refugee Wolves." Refract: An Open Access Visual Journal 2, no. 1(2019): 133-164. https://doi.org/10.5070/R72145860