Science, Power and Environmental Justice

Through multiple disciplines, I have explored questions of conservation, development and environmental justice. As an undergraduate biology major at Cornell University, I worked as a biological research assistant on projects ranging from analyzing bird and bowhead whale song variation to documenting rhesus macaques’ and redwing blackbird mate choice. After conducting an oral history project on Aboriginal Australian elders’ “traditional” environmental knowledge during a School for International Training study abroad program, I began exploring the social dimensions of environmental change. My senior undergraduate thesis analyzed American Indian religious and resource use rights in U.S. national parks and forests, and my first master’s thesis entailed extensive field research on women’s microenterprises in rural Zimbabwe. My second master’s thesis, encompassed a spatial and econometric analysis of deforestation in Madagascar. My PhD, published as a monograph with Yale University Press in 2016, Corridors of Power: The Politics of U.S. Environmental Aid to Madagascar explores the forty-year transformation of neoliberalism and environmental governance, and their relationship to shifting resource rights and access in the Global South. Using multi-sited institutional ethnography, I analyze the history and politics of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) environmental program in Madagascar.