Visiting PhD student

MA, University of Chicago



Joshua David Babcock is a Ph.D. student in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of Chicago. His dissertation research focuses broadly on historical and present-day planning in Singapore. This work examines the Singapore “nation brand”—a corporate-style regime of reputation- and image-management applied to the nation-state—and the ways that state-led branding efforts interact with other domains of planning and policy, especially language-and urban planning. Through this research, Josh seeks to engage scholarship on aesthetics and media; space, place, and landscape; environment and ecology; semiotic theory and methods; language and nationalism; statecraft and governance; perception and the sensorium; and the history of cartography.

Joshua received both his MA (2017) and BA (2013) in anthropology with general and departmental honors from the University of Chicago. Prior to beginning his Ph.D. studies, he worked in marketing, communications, and graphic design roles in arts and culture institutions throughout the City of Chicago, part of a team that launched the interdisciplinary Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (2012), Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (2013), and Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition (2017) at the University of Chicago and developed communications strategy and visual identity for the award-winning Envisioning China: A Festival of Arts and Culture (2014) and Ear Taxi: Chicago Festival of New Music (2016).

Before beginning his undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago Joshua spent two years living and working in Southeast Asia, first as a Rotary Exchange Student in Naga City, Philippines and subsequently as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as a regional co-coordinator for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.


  • MA Social Sciences Division, Anthropology (2017)
  • BA in anthropology with general and departmental honors, University of Chicago(2013)