Global Development Environmental Portraits

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 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 with collaborators in community organizations and local and state governments, our team is examining how responses to flood risk emerge at the intersection of social disparities, collective action, and policy interventions.

Some recent publications:

Different Hazards, Different Responses: Assessments of Flooding and COVID-19 Risks among Upstate New York Residents, Socius
Flood Risk Perception and Responses among Urban Residents in the Northeastern United States, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Explaining Heterogeneous Afforestation Outcomes: How Community Officials and Households Mediate Tree Cover Change in China, World Development
Ecological Civilization in the Mountains: How Walnuts Boomed and Busted in Southwest China, Journal of Peasant Studies

For an overview, you can view my curriculum vitae.

On this website, you can learn more about my research and teaching, find a list of current and pending publications, and view some photographs from my research.