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. I am an assistant professor in the Department of Global Development (formerly Development Sociology) at Cornell University.
In China, I have worked with ecologists, geographers, anthropologists, and agricultural scientists to understand how people and landscapes respond to efforts at rural development, reforestation, and biodiversity conservation. In a new project, our team is joining sociology, landscape ecology, and genetics to examine patterns of crop disease unfolding in smallholder, cooperative, and corporate apple orchards.
In New York state, I study how people in flood-affected communities confront risk. How do people perceive flood risk when it is not always visible, and how do they respond to it amid other issues they face in their communities? How do people manage fraught choices about buying insurance, protecting homes and neighborhoods, or moving? Working in Hudson River communities, our team is examining how responses to flood risk emerge at the intersection of social disparities, collective action, and policy interventions.
Some recent publications: in World Development, Explaining Heterogeneous Afforestation Outcomes: How Community Officials and Households Mediate Tree Cover Change in China; in the Journal of Peasant Studies, Ecological Civilization in the Mountains: How Walnuts Boomed and Busted in Southwest China; and in The China Quarterly, Stabilizing Forests and Communities: Accommodative Buffering within China’s Collective Forest Tenure Reform.