Jen K. Hughes at Jökulsárlón (Glacial Lagoon) South Iceland, 2016. Photo credit: Holly L. Magner.

About Jen K. Hughes (she/her):

Jen is a doctoral candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Ph.D. expected in 2020). Her book project examines the economic and political effects of (settler)colonialism, queering and utopian capitalism in Iceland, the U.S. and the “New” North Atlantic. She is particularly interested in storytelling practices during economic, political and ecological crises in Iceland that intervene in as well as produce ideas of whiteness, indigeneity, gender and "the future".

Jen also works as a professional video and web producer, financial researcher, museum and archives specialist, and ethnographic filmmaker. For her latest project, Jen conducted fieldwork in Iceland from June-August 2013 and October 2015-November 2016. She is in post-production on her first feature-length documentary, Viking Futures, shot in Iceland, Denmark and the US in 2015-2017 and is a contributing editor for Cultural Anthropology's Visual and New Media Review section. Currently, Jen is a Hella Mears Summer Graduate Disseration Fellow (Center for German and European Studies, University of Minnesota-TC) and does research on sustainable and ESG investing and vales-based business development at Morgan Stanley-Minneapolis.

Jen’s past research focused language, history, economy and "kinship" in lesbian bar culture and among queer youth experiencing homelessness in Portland, Oregon. She previously worked on research, digital media, exhibit and video projects for the Discovery Channel’s Curiosity Project (now Curiosity Stream), The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, The Smithsonian’s National Zoo, The Film/Video Dept. of The Walker Art Center, The University of Minnesota, Minnesota Opera, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera Plus, the Eric Carle Museum for Picture Book Art, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR), and Curiosity Retreats, LLC. Jen graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Anthropology and Gender Studies from Mount Holyoke College in 2010 after almost a decade working at Powell’s Books (Portland, OR) and studied Icelandic and Folklore at the University of Iceland (Háskoli Íslands).

Jen’s interest in economy, history and identity emerges from her own identifications as nonbinary woman, lesbian-feminist and queer. Her ancestors were English, Indigenous-Mexican, French-Canadian, and Southern Colonial Americans who migrated to the Pacific Northwest of the United States where her family remains today. Jen is also a multi-instrumentalist and digital composer. Her experimental and low-fi music projects have been featured on compilations in the US and Sweden.


All photos on site by Jen K. Hughes unless otherwise noted.