I am an assistant professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University. As an environmental sociologist, I study and teach about how people make and respond to environmental change and how groups of people do or do not work out concerns about the material world. Much of my research focuses on the transformations that accompany efforts to change rural livelihoods and conserve natural resources in China. Drawing from scholarship in environmental sociology, political ecology, and coupled natural and human systems, I join social and biophysical data to understand how changing livelihoods and state-society relationships articulate with dynamic ecologies in the context of major environmental protection efforts.
Currently, I am working with an ecologist to account for the differing experiences of twelve adjacent communities in planting new forests, changing their farming practices, migrating for off-farm work, and accomplishing community development. I am also involved in a project examining community responses to flood risk in New York’s Hudson River estuary, and I am working with a group of conservation biologists to analyze relationships between biodiversity and socioeconomic status in urban areas.
Three recent publications: in The China Quarterly, Stabilizing Forests and Communities: Accommodative Buffering within China’s Collective Forest Tenure Reform; in the Spring 2018 issue of Rural Sociology, Land Tenure Legacies, Household Life Cycles, and Livelihood Strategies in Upland China; and in Current Sociology, China’s Summons for Environmental Sociology, co-authored with Yifei Li and John Liu.