Research Programs: Archaeological and Ethnographic Field Research

Period of Performance

7/1/2022 - 8/31/2024

Funding Totals

$105,888.00 (approved)
$105,888.00 (awarded)

The Aesthetics of Corporate Resources: Databases, Climate Change, and Insurance in Bermuda

FAIN: RFW-286695-22

University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)
Sarah Elizabeth Vaughn (Project Director: September 2021 to present)

Ethnographic interviews and participant observation leading to a book on how communities and insurance companies in Bermuda assign value and understand risk caused by changing sea levels and climate change. (26 months)

My research examines how insurance shapes the natural and built environments of Bermuda. I propose an ethnographic study of the ways narratives, figures, and images of climate change become effective tools of place-making for the insurance industry. Phase I analyzes work operations at the firm RenaissanceRe. As the industry’s innovator in risk modeling, I use the firm as a case study to examine the effects of climate change predictions on corporate decision-making related to market expansion. Phase II analyzes local communities’ social perceptions of insurance products and their attempts to negotiate daily life around hurricanes and climate risks. In addition, this project seeks to contribute to Bermudian public science forums, museum collections, and art publications. In doing so, this project drives new research in the humanities by bridging ecocriticism with the sociocultural history of risk while contributing a global South perspective on corporate computing practices.