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Rita Bouwens

Profile picture for Rita Bouwens

Contact Information

Davenport Hall, room 384

Office Hours

Fall 2023: T 3:30-5:30
Sociocultural Anthropology


Rita is a PhD student in sociocultural anthropology with a focus on environmental anthropology and human-animal relationships. Her MA thesis focused on how accredited US zoos aim to support wildlife conservation and create a conservation-minded community by curating immersive multispecies experiences. Rita had examined how zoos may practice conservation through the frameworks of biopolitics and managed care, spectacle and nonhuman animal display, affect generation, and mainstream neoliberal conservation paradigms. Prior to beginning graduate study, Rita taught English in Henan Province, China, from 2016-2018.

Rita's advisor is Dr. Jane Desmond.


Research Interests

Human-animal relations; multispecies ethnography; multispecies futures and coexistence; political ecology; neoliberalized wildlife conservation and governance; companion animals; biopolitics; alternative futures and ontologies; modernity and the nature/culture divide; postcapitalism.


B.A. (2016) Beloit College, Anthropology, Modern Languages and Literatures (Spanish and French)

M.A. (2021) Mississippi State University, Applied Anthropology


Courses Taught

Grader for ANTH 101

Grader for ANTH 103

TA for ANTH 230

Additional Campus Affiliations

HRI Animal Turn Research Cluster

Highlighted Publications

Bouwens, Rita. 2021. "A Zoological Spectacular: Conservation in an American Zoo." Order No. 28648990, Mississippi State University.…;