Research Strengths

Climate, Carbon, and Energy
As issues of climate change, carbon governance, and energy supplies become increasingly intertwined, we are faced with new challenges for effectively mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, while also meeting the growing energy needs of society. Through interdisciplinary research, we draw on a variety of methodologies to first: unravel the complex relationships between energy production/consumption, GHG emissions/offsetting, and climate change mitigation/adaption that are emerging in a post-Kyoto world; and second: explore and define new policy tools and energy technologies for effectively and equitability responding to climate change. Our aim is to provide more comprehensive and holistic examinations of energy and climate that take into account the social inequalities, scientific uncertainties, and emerging technologies that underlie all efforts to manage carbon emissions and utilize energy resources.

As the world’s population continues to urbanize, new efforts to understand and engage the new challenges and opportunities that continue to emerge between cities, their hinterlands, and their citizens are paramount. We seek to bring together efforts at understanding, and acting on, (ex)Urbanization and the political ecological changes that will result into the 21st Century and beyond. While work central to the NSF funded Coweeta Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project serves a foundational role in this research, we are simultaneously working to integrate lessons from the Southern Appalachians to better understand similar processes that bind nature and society more globally, in places like Central America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. (ex)Urbanization research is currently most visible through the rapidly developing Coweeta Listening Project.

Food, Agriculture, and the Future
Issues of food politics – whether centered around environmental concerns, poverty and hunger, or corporate influence – are growing increasingly visible and potent at multiple scales and in diverse places. Research  into Food, Agriculture, and the Future brings together a wide range of scholars and research methods in order to address the complexity of current issues surrounding food and power. Through both intellectual work and community engagement we hope to contribute to efforts aimed at creating a more democratic and sustainable food system.
Translational Methodologies
Through Translational Methodologies research we seek to develop approaches to the study of conservation and sustainability that simultaneously address academic research priorities and engage with the community of practice. Translational methodologies involve the application of ethnographic research modified to reflect the untraditional nature of some of our contemporary field sites, such as international meetings. These methodologies are based on the premise that working collaboratively allows researchers to better capture key themes and dynamics. Key examples include Collaborative Event Ethnography and Collaborative Institutional Ethnography. Collaborative Event Ethnographies have been carried out at the 4th World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in 2008 and at the 10th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010, and we are currently planning ethnographies of future events. Collaborative Institutional Ethnographies are being carried out with WWF International and Wildlife Conservation Society.