Jeanne X. Kasperson Research Library

Jeanne X. Kasperson

Jeanne X. Kasperson earned a master's degree in English from The University of Chicago in 1962 and a master's degree in library science from Simmons College in 1967. After working in academic libraries at The University of Chicago, the University of Connecticut, and Michigan State University, she joined Clark in 1977 as a Research Librarian for the Hazard Assessment Group and subsequently served as Research Librarian for the University's Center for Technology, Environment, and Development, and later the George Perkins Marsh Library. For the years 2000-2002, Professor Kasperson was on leave from Clark with her husband and Clark Professor Roger Kasperson, conducting research at the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden.

Throughout her career, Professor Kasperson was also an active researcher, pursuing scholarly interests in the general areas of risk analysis and global environmental change. In 1993, she was promoted to research associate professor in Clark's George Perkins Marsh Institute. She was the author of more than 80 articles, books and technical reports, editor of several journals and recipient of many research grants. She is also recognized by her colleagues as a key contributor to much of the research undertaken by the George Perkins Marsh Institute. She was co-editor of the Nature and Society section of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers with Roger Kasperson. Professor Kasperson was particularly fond of words and tracking down information that others believed could not be found, leading some colleagues to believe that when she walked through the library "books talked to her."

Jeanne X. Kasperson was a key member of a highly productive research group at Clark University, first at the Center for Technology, Environment, and Development (CENTED) and later in its successor the George Perkins Marsh Institute. This group worked primarily on risk and hazard issues and later on global environmental change. Jeanne's role was a combination of researcher, bibliographer, and repository of deep knowledge on the relevant literature, and writer and editor.

Her publications have a prominent place in risk/hazards and global change research. Her early research with other group members focused on hazards theory and methodology, substantially extending the earlier natural hazards paradigm. Perilous Progress: Managing the Hazards of Technology, published in 1985, summarized theoretical work and case study applications. Subsequent assessments with Robert Kates profiled the state of hazards research in the mid-1980s. In the latter part of the same decade, she co-authored a series of works addressing the "social amplification of risk," an integrated analytic approach addressing how society processes and responds to the flow of hazards and hazard events. During the 1990s, she collaborated with Roger Kasperson and Bill Turner on a comparative study of nine environmentally endangered regions around the world, resulting in Regions at Risk: Comparisons of Threatened Environments published in 1995 and a series of related regional monographs published over the next five years. In 2001, she and Roger Kasperson published Global Environmental Risk, a work exploring the use of risk analysis to understand global environmental change. A work is currently in preparation collecting significant work of Jeanne and her husband Roger, which will be published in 2003 by Earthscan Press.