Benjamin Kantner is a recipient of the Summer 2017 and Academic Year 2017-2018 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Every year the Center for Global Studies awards between 12-15 fellowships to UW students. Click here to learn more.
I am a Master’s student in the Jackson School of International Studies focused on Political Ecology of the Brazilian Amazon. I received a summer FLAS for 2017 as well as an academic year FLAS for 2017-18. From June to August of 2017 I studied Portuguese in Belém, Brazil. I have an academic as well as professional background in Business which now informs my consideration of market-based conservation measures such as carbon offsets. The FLAS enabled me to enhance my Portuguese skills considerably, leading to ethnographic research with an indigenous community in the Tapajós Basin. Combining perspectives from indigenous rights, environmental anthropology, and economics informs my approach to political ecology, leading to a more nuanced and decolonial approach to conservation priorities. Through the area studies and Portuguese language component of the FLAS, I am learning to frame international solutions within local cultural contexts.