Research Interests

Climate change is arguably the greatest threat to civilization as we know it, and human societies must adapt to an unpredictable environmental future. In the broadest sense, I study how we make choices about these adaptations, what stimulates adaptation, and how the costs and benefits of adaptation to climate change are distributed through society, particularly along axes of social difference. To structure my research and analyze my data, I employ my training as a political ecologist, an approach which uses a synthetic and interdisciplinary framework combining insights from political economy, cultural anthropology, sociology, and critical theory.

My current investigations focus on two particular areas, and aim to make an intervention in both the current literature and attendant policy debates:

  1. What role does community-based resource management play in adaptation to climate change? How can governments support and not impede adaptation practices on the local level? What lessons about community-based resource management can be applied to other communities to build resilience? How do issues of local resource management and social justice intersect?
  2. How can disasters – both the immediate response and their long-term aftermath – give us a more comprehensive understanding of adaptation to climate change? What do disasters tell us about the abilities of a social group to adapt to changes in their climate? Finally, how can we utilize disasters as opportunities to build resilience and create more socially just and equitable adaptation futures?

My work on the first area is currently based in field work and empirical observation, and my work on the second is predominantly theoretical (with an eye on policy debates around disaster management).

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