Mascha Gugganig is interested in visual methods (filmmaking, photography, multimedia), particularly as tools used by children and youth. Thematically, she focuses on knowledge students are exposed to at schools, which follow a culturally-embedded curriculum, and ways this knowledge is communicated to their adult social worlds. Her PhD research deals with competing discourses on genetically engineered taro in Hawai‘i. In the kumulipo, the creation story of Native Hawaiians, the first taro, Hâloa, is the elder brother of all human beings. Genetic engineering raises issues concerning human-biased notions of kinship, and how this influences relating to food. The interest in children’s and youths’ visual expression of food ties local eating practices to wider, global issues of industrialized food production and consumption.
Her first film hidden practices (2011) was screened at the Regard Bleu Festival for ethnographic student film and media at the University of Zurich in October 2011, and was featured in the October (2011) issue of the Anthropology News.
Mascha is a member of the center of excellence and networking office for culture and social anthropological projects MASN Austria in Vienna, which promotes anthropology as more accessible to the public. It grew out of the open Moving Anthropology Student Network, which has organized several student-led conferences across Europe ever since 2005.
She completed her Magister (Master) in social and cultural anthropology at the University of Vienna in 2009 with her thesis based on field research in Honolulu at different Hawaiian charter schools. In 2006/07, she was a visiting student at the Center for Child-focused Anthropological Research at Brunel University in London, and currently she is a PhD student of anthropology at UBC.
Her PhD committee members are Dr. John Barker and Dr. Felice Wyndham from the Department of Anthropology, and Dr. Candis Callison from the Department of Journalism.