As a political ecologist, my scholarship focuses on social and environmental justice including conservation and development politics, biodiversity, and climate resiliency.
My first book, Governing the Rainforest: Sustainable Development in the Brazilian Amazon, was awarded the Lynton Keith Caldwell prize in 2020, recognizing it as the best book in environmental politics or policy in the past three years from the American Political Science Association. The book reveals the complex nature of sustainable development efforts in Brazil. Based on over a decade of fieldwork and deploying ethnography and storytelling, the book explains how sustainable development programs may aim at marrying environmental protection, economic wellbeing and justice for all Brazilians but actually create social frictions, uneven geographies, and political struggles as they get instituted on the ground.
My research since completing Governing the Rainforest focuses on the story of declining pollinator populations around the world. In my next book, Pollen Nation, bees provide the lens through which to view the silent crisis of terrestrial insect losses, which scientists tell us are happening at alarming and possibly catastrophic rates. Industrious and crucial to planetary balance, the bee has come to signify the crux of human environmental impacts, but our focus on “saving the bees” leaves a lot to be desired. My work highlights some of the shortcomings and frictions of contemporary interpretations of sustainability, while taking a provocative look at what might be done to more effectively protect pollinators. I rely heavily on feminist and trans-species scholarship and ethnographic storytelling to unpack the ways that people and policies aim to save bees amidst what entomologists refer to as an insect apocalypse, and amidst what on a broader level is the biodiversity crisis in the age of the Anthropocene.