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PhD, 2005, University of California, Santa Cruz
Teaching and Research Vision
As an environmental social scientist, I am interested in deepening and diversifying a dialogue about interdependent society-nature relationships. This work is informed by formal training in environmental studies, the wisdom of practical teachers, insight from marginal communities, student curiosity, and concepts from geography, economics, sociology and agroecology.
Several ongoing collaborations with colleagues contribute to an evolving participatory action research agenda that addresses issues of agricultural and environmental governance, sustainability, and social equity. Much of my research compares alternative and conventional food systems, using coffee as an extended case study. A trio of evaluative concepts, including livelihood vulnerabilities (especially hunger and food insecurity), agro-biodiversity conservation and gendered empowerment are useful for interpreting the field research results. These outcomes connect to global food regulation through recent work studying value chain governance, certifications, and the standards setting processes. Future research projects will address environmental and food justice in California.
In our courses, we will listen to diverse voices, consider contemporary case studies, and review relevant theories. These courses often take a political economic approach to study the root and proximate causes that frame pressing environmental problems and potential solutions. Learners will develop research, collaboration and analytic skills.