John Foran is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is also involved with the programs in Latin American and Iberian Studies, Global and International Studies, Environmental Studies, and the Bren School. He was visiting professor of sociology and Latin American Studies at Smith College from 2000 to 2002, and Visiting Professor of Sociology at Goldsmith's College, University of London, from 2009 to 2010. His current areas of intense focus and interest include the climate crisis, 21st-century movements for radical social change, and sustainable development or “building better futures.” His books include the multiple award-winning Taking Power: On the Origins of Revolutions in the Third World (Cambridge, 2005), in which he presents a new theory of the causes of revolutions in Latin America, to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, spanning the period from 1910 to the present, and a comprehensive Marxist history of Iran up to the revolution: Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution (Westview, 1993; available as a free pdf). His six edited or co-edited volumes touch on issues of revolution, radical social change, and women, culture and development, and can be found on his cv, along with numerous other publications. He is currently working on a book, Taking Power or (Re)Making Power: Movements for Radical Social Change and Global Justice, which assesses the new forms of such movements as the Zapatista and Kerala experiments, the global justice movement, the Pink Tide in Latin America, the global Occupy movements, the Arab Spring, and his new passion, the global climate justice movement. His reports and essays on the global struggle for climate justice can be found at the websites of the Climate Justice Project and the International Institute of Climate Action and Theory. He is involved in an initiative of activist scholars and others on the UN climate treaty negotiations, which can be found at http://www.parisclimatejustice.org/
I am a critical geographer exploring the intersections of global climate change policy, conservation, markets and justice. My work asks how, and by whom, climate and conservation policies are enacted. Recently I've been studying the climate tech space, particularly as it relates to carbon offsets. I am a Visiting Researcher at the Environmental Justice / Climate Justice Hub of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. I also maintain a research affiliation with CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences at CU Boulder. And I teach about climate change at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Ken Hiltner received his PhD from Harvard University, where he garnered a number of distinctions as a researcher and Teaching Fellow, including the Bowdoin Prize. He has written a number of books and articles, mostly on Renaissance literature, ecocriticism, and the intersection of the two. He has served as Director of the Literature and the Environment Center, Director of the Early Modern Center, and Chair of the Graduate Program. Prior to becoming an English professor, he made his living as a furniture-maker. As a second-generation woodworker, he received commissions from five continents and had collections featured in major metropolitan galleries. More information can be found at hiltner.english.ucsb.edu(link is external)
Professor David N. Pellow is the Dehlsen and Department Chair of Environmental Studies and Director of the Global Environmental Justice Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he teaches courses on environmental and social justice, race/class/gender and environmental conflict, human-animal conflicts, sustainability, and social change movements that confront our socioenvironmental crises and social inequality. He has volunteered for and served on the Boards of Directors of several community-based, national, and international organizations that are dedicated to improving the living and working environments for people of color, immigrants, indigenous peoples, and working class communities, including the Global Action Research Center, the Center for Urban Transformation, the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Safety and Health, Global Response, Greenpeace USA, and International Rivers. Pellow’s research has included: 1. Supervising a group of UCSB students in developing a Green New Deal for California's Central Coast region in collaboration with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network; 2. Leading a collaboration between UCSB and the Central Coast Climate Justice Network to advance our knowledge base concerning fossil fuel development projects in the region and to support campaigns that promote energy and climate justice; 3. A study of how environmental privilege and environmental racism shape the local ecology and life chances of native born and immigrant residents of Aspen and Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley; 4. A study of radical environmental and animal rights movements’ goals, successes and failures, and the impact of government repression on these activists who are frequently labeled “eco-terrorists.” 5. A study on conflicts over the disproportionate location of garbage dumps and incinerators in communities of color in Chicago from the 1880s to the 2000s 6. A study of immigrant and working class laborers and environmental justice activists who pushed Silicon Valley companies to become more attentive to demands for sustainability, environmental justice, and occupational safety and health
Richard Widick is a Faculty Research Fellow at UC Santa Barbara’s Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCSB, where he lectured on theory, culture, media, globalization, social movements and environment before coming to the Orfalea Center. He taught Representations of the Holocaust and courses on Marx, Freud and Nietzsche for the Departments of German and Slavic Studies and Comparative Literature at UCSB. He is the author of Trouble in the Forest: California’s Redwood Timber Wars (2009, University of Minnesota Press) — an ethnography, cultural analysis, and 150 year social history of the colonization and industrialization of California’s northern redwood region by the culture system of modern US capitalism, a history of the so-called 'Indian wars' and labor trouble that set the legal, social and ecological conditions for converging peoples, labor and environmental movements in the present era of globalization. Widick then applied that same framework to the global struggle over emergent global climate governance and the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. During that research, nine years in row (2011 — 2019). Widick represented the University of California as an Official Observer Delegate to the Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COPs) — and plans to do so again at the 2024 UN climate conference. Inside the UN climate talks, Widick conducts conflict-seeking theoretical, historical, visual and participatory ethnographic filmmaking research that documents the ongoing struggle over emergent global climate governance. In December of 2021 he released The Edmund Pettus Bridge to Climate Justice (to watch, use password TheEPBCJ2021)— a full-length documentary film on the making of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the following four years of struggle to implement and complete the so-called Paris Rule Book for implementation. The film concludes that the struggle for just climate governance must now move to the front lines of racial justice in the United States — specifically the struggle to protect and expand voting rights. In 2022-2023 Widick documented this frontline struggle at regional and national actions of the Poor Peoples Campaign and National Call Moral Revival (watch film clips). From Trouble in the Forest to the UN climate talks and the Poor Peoples Campaign, he has been developing a framework for interpreting large scale social change being driven by the colonizing culture system of the modern social imaginary — that often unspoken and increasingly embodied assemblage of value-laden institutions and laws that energizes the emergent empire of unfettered economic globalization now threatening ecological integrity on a world scale. In 2023, Widick is launching the next phase of this integrated research, publication, teaching and filmmaking program aimed at understanding the modern social imaginery: Violence Archive and Memory in the Making of Chile’s New Constitution — A study in media, politics and environment in the era of energy transition.
Alexander is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also participating in the Interdisciplinary PhD Emphasis in Environment and Society, and his research is focused on the intersections of music, sound, and environment. Alexander’s dissertation project engages permaculture landforms as sites of human and more-than-human sonic creativity and collaborative expressivity, with an ear toward the relationship between listening practices and environmental justice work. Alexander also studies the modal traditions of the Middle East, Central Asia, and India, attending specifically to the relationship between musical practices and nation-building projects in these regions. These various research directions are guided by an underlying commitment to understanding how acoustic and musical experiences shape senses of community, belonging, and responsibility within and across social and ecological levels.