Office: HSSB 2073
Lab: HSSB 2075
Winter '24: ANTH 2 & ANTH 205
I am an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I am also affiliate faculty in the Environmental Studies Program, Geography, and Latin American and Iberian Studies at UCSB. My research focuses broadly on understanding the role of cultural beliefs and practices in human-environment relations, and particularly in practices that result in negative environmental outcomes.
I conduct research in the Amazon, primarily in the state of Acre, Brazil. In my first book, Rainforest Cowboys, I examined the logic of cattle raising among different groups in western Amazonia. My current work aims to expand the scope of explanations of environmental destruction through ethnographic research and collaborative projects. I am working on a second book based on practices and aesthetics of cultivation along the Amazonian frontier. This project draws on my research in settled or anthropogenic places that were once forested, from rural pastures, fields, and homesteads to landscaped lawns in the city and public parks. I am also working with colleagues in other disciplines to integrate social and cultural factors into theories and explanations of deforestation and land use-land cover change. I have also worked on collaborative research on gold mining, frontier governance, and indigenous land struggles.
At UCSB, I teach a Intro to Cultural Anthropology as well as specialized courses, such as "Environmental Anthropology" and "Amazonia." I also work closely with undergraduate students through the IV (Isla Vista) Ethnobotany Project. The Project aims to engage students with the local environment through mapping and documentation of useful and edible plants and the cultural landscape around the UCSB campus. We go on foraging walks and get together to share food and knowledge about plants. If interested in joining us, the easiest way is to follow our instragram.
I am currently the co-lead scholar of the Fulbright Amazonia program. The program brings together sixteen researchers from the US and Amazon nations to work together on policy-relevant research.