What is “bringing your full self to work”? How have we come to see aspects of our identity, particularly those aspects that have been historically marginalized, as sources of human capital? Plenty of research on diversity and inclusion has debated its business value and whether experiences of marginality help employees perform in the workplace. I’m more interested in how the idea of diversity as a source of value makes people understand their identities and cultivate themselves in new ways. My work in this space has focused on LGBTQ-identified employees at some of Wall Street’s biggest banks.
Kaplan, S. (2022), “Bringing Your Full Self to Work”: Fashioning LGBTQ Bankers on Wall Street. Anthropology of Work Review, 43: 5-15. (Available open-access)
I also published a shorter piece on this topic in Anthropology News.
Interfaces of Art Collecting
What does it mean to collect art when today’s art markets are increasingly global, speculative, and technologically mediated? How do individuals use art collecting as a strategy of self fashioning? What kinds of selves do they present when they present their art, and what becomes of art in the process?
I am currently revisiting art collecting in light of surging interest in blockchain and NFTs. I am following NFTs to Berlin, where the city’s thriving culture and technology scenes support a unique community of NFT enthusiasts. This work is still ongoing, but I recently presented on it at the Web3 Workshop. There, I argued for the importance of physical place in the production and experience of virtual phenomena. You can read my talk here.
I first asked these questions as an undergraduate, pursuing them through research in various sites, including East Asia and the Arab Gulf, where entrepreneurs and royals make record-breaking acquisitions of European artworks. They often present their acquisitions alongside work by local artists in museums they’ve built for community members and visitors alike to view. You can find some of my writing on this here.