Assistant Professor, Geography
I am a human-environment geographer and global political ecologist with a background in the liberal arts and political philosophy, and a PhD in geography from the University of California, Berkeley. My work is driven by a passionate commitment to socio-environmental justice, linking social equity issues experienced in daily life with geopolitical contestations over natural resources and long-term strategies for sustainable development.
Whether through the lens of Chinese investment in Brazilian agribusiness and infrastructure, deforestation and conservation in the Amazon, biofuel production and policies around the world, disruptions to food supply chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or the combination of remote sensing and qualitative methods to examine struggles over water and irrigation in the Cerrado, my constant aim is to critically engage crucial problems of socio-ecological justice and sustainability in a rapidly changing global environment.
I am privileged to contribute to Clark University's world-leading undergraduate and PhD programs in Geography, which address some of the most pressing issues of our times. Prior to joining Clark in 2022, I was assistant professor of global and international studies at the University of California Irvine, visiting assistant professor of economic geography at Peking University, and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Swarthmore College. I am a member of the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network Science Panel for the Amazon.
Political Ecology and Geopolitics of Agribusiness, Infrastructure, and Brazil-China Relations
I have conducted extensive research on the political ecology and geopolitics of agribusiness and agroecology, particularly on land struggles and the transnational soybean sector. I have also published on biofuels, pesticides, and environmental governance in China and Brazil. My long term research program is a critical ethnography of Chinese investments in Brazilian agribusiness, finance, and infrastructure. My book project, entitled Brazil, China, and the Global Land Grab, is under review with Cornell University Press. I am advancing this research into parallel investigations of the Chinese diaspora in Brazil, Chinese investments in Brazilian ports, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Food Supply Chains in the US
I am Co-PI of an interdisciplinary research project examining disruptions to food supply chains in California, Florida, and the Midwest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team has been awarded $1 million from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (USDA) to undertake this project from 2020 to 2023. The project adapted surveys originally developed for climate change-induced disruptions of agricultural production by incorporating greater attention to issues of gender, race, social equity and resilience along the entire food supply chain. We also surveyed consumer behavior change at a national level, and undertook focus groups and interviews with food sector business owners and managers on best practices to improve the resilience of food supply chains.
Irrigation as Climate Change Adaptation in the Brazilian Cerrado
I am Co-PI, with Dr. Gil Pontius from Clark University, of a project awarded $750,000 from NASA to research the political ecology of irrigation in the Cerrado ecosystem of Brazil, where agribusiness has been depleting the Urucuia aquifer and peasant communities have been contesting the expansion of water-intensive soy, corn, and cotton monocultures. The project is being undertaken from 2023 to 2026. Our team is examining political economic data and policy documents, undertaking interviews with key actors on the field, developing new remote sensing and GIS methods and software to analyze land cover and land use change (LCLUC), and creating new models to inform policy concerning agrarian development, water regulations, and climate change adaptation.
Teaching and Mentorship
I welcome new advisees in the geography PhD program working in any area related to my research. If you are a current PhD student at Clark, please email me to set up an appointment for office hours. If you are considering applying to the PhD program in geography at Clark, please include a CV and a draft of your personal statement / statement of purpose with an email inquiry.
I also welcome inquiries about advising and mentorship for the undergraduate majors and honors programs in Geography and Global Environmental Studies. Please send me an email to set up an appointment for office hours.Courses Offered
- GEOG 118: Environment and Development in the Global South
- GEOG 155: Geopolitics, Climate Change, and Current Affairs
- GEOG 255/355: Critical Geopolitics and the Environment
- GEOG 350: Global Political Ecology
- Global Political Ecology (UC Berkeley and UC Irvine)
- Global Political Economy (UC Irvine)
- Globalizing Social Theory (UC Irvine, graduate seminar)
- Food, Development, and the Environment (Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University, China)
- Brazil, China, and the Global Food Environment (Swarthmore College)
- Capstone Seminar in Environmental Studies: Political Ecology (Swarthmore College)
- Ph.D. in Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 2017
- M.A. in Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2009
- B.A. in Philosophy and Religion (dual major), New College of Florida, 2006
Scholarly and Creative WorksScroll to top.
New actors in China–Brazil financial geography: commercial banks and currency exchange against the ‘resource-seeking consensus’
Published in The Professional Geographer
Pandemic produce: Impacts of COVID-19 on Florida’s fruit and vegetable industries.
Published in Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization
Impacts of COVID-19 on US agri-food supply chain businesses: Regional survey results.
Published in Plos One
The Tropical Silk Road: The Future of China in South America
Chapter: The refraction of Chinese capital in Amazonian entrepôts, and the infrastructure of a global sacrifice zone
Published by Stanford University Press
Awards & Grants
Irrigation as climate-change adaptation in the Cerrado biome of Brazil evaluated with new quantitative methods, socio- economic analysis, and scenario models
May. 15, 2023 - May. 14, 2026