Environment and Sustainability

Environment and Sustainability

  • Brechin, Steven

    • Portrait
    • Steven Brechin
    • Professor and Graduate Program Director
    • Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1989
    • Email: steven.brechin@rutgers.edu
    • Office: Davison Hall, 133
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Professor and Graduate Director of Sociology, Steve’s research explores some of the contours of a sociology of climate change – comparative/cross-national levels of public support, the required collective action by nation-states and the international community to address it, and the serious social justice issues that climate change generates. Current projects include critically understanding climate finance and development investments, both public and private in adaptation and mitigation, as well as the levels of cooperation required to make significant reductions in greenhouse gases.  

      Other projects include articulating Karl Polanyi’s environmental sociology and sustainable institutions built upon Polanyian thinking; investigating sustainable lifestyles in the U.S. – especially around the rapid development of organic farm to table movement in Northwestern Michigan – including its economic sustainability. With local collaborators, as well as students, Steve continues his decades’ long field research in Belize, Central America investigating the challenges to state-civil society relationships in ecological governance, and more recently on the country’s engagement with climate change - its domestic actions and international systems of support. This country-level examination helps to ground-truth his more international analysis.

      His earlier research focused on the sociology of biodiversity conservation, organized international reforestation programs, and environmentalisms.  Before arriving at Rutgers, Steve taught at Princeton, Michigan, Illinois, and Syracuse. He earned his graduate degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

  • Clarke, Lee

    • Portrait
    • Lee Clarke
    • Professor
    • Ph.D. State University of New York, Stony Brook, 1985
    • Email: lclarke@rci.rutgers.edu
    • Office: Davison Hall, 113
    • Website: https://www.leeclarke.com/
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Professor of Sociology, writes about organizations, failure, disaster, risk communication, and the boundaries between politics and science. His last work, Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2006. Clarke is currently writing a book about how science and politics meet, and don’t meet, regarding the loss of America’s wetlands and the idea of “coastal restoration.”

      Please see Dr. Clarke's website for information about his research.

  • MacKendrick, Norah

    • Portrait
    • Norah MacKendrick
    • Associate Professor
    • PhD, University of Toronto. 2011
    • Email: norah.mackendrick@rutgers.edu
    • Office: Davison Hall, Room 107
    • Website: https://www.norahmackendrick.com/
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Norah MacKendrick’s research falls within the fields of medical sociology, environmental sociology, gender, science and technology studies, and consumer studies. In 2020 she became Chair-Elect of the Environmental Sociology section of the American Sociological Association.

      She is the author of Better Safe Than Sorry: How Consumers Navigate Exposure to Everyday Toxics, which identifies the rise of “precautionary consumption” in the United States. She finds that chemical body burdens are the consequence of decades of regulatory failure to properly assess the health consequences of environmental chemicals. The burden of addressing this failure has fallen to women and mothers who feel responsible for protecting their children from exposure to chemicals, and do so through cooking, grocery shopping, and management of the household. The book reveals how discourses of maternal responsibility and consumer empowerment circulate within the campaigns of environmental health advocacy groups, and as well as through the retail landscape for organic foods and ‘green’ products, particularly Whole Foods Market.

      In 2019, Better Safe Than Sorry won the Best First Book Award from the Association for the Study of Food & Society. In 2020, it won the Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award from the Environmental Sociology section of the American Sociological Association.

      In her other research, MacKendrick has examined the intersections of risk, individualization and modern motherhood, as well as the dynamics of non-toxic consumption, “foodscapes” and science activism. Her research has been published in Gender & Society, Signs: the Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Sociological Forum, Journal of Consumer Culture, Food, Culture and Society and Contexts.

      MacKendrick is working on three new projects. The first examines the diffusion of endocrine disruptor theory into reproductive medicine. The second looks at the role of doctors in the wellness and self-help industries. And the third is a collaboration with Endia Louise Hayes on Black foodways and the alternative food movement.

  • Mai, Quan

    • Portrait
    • Quan Mai
    • Assistant Professor
    • PhD, Vanderbilt University in 2018
    • Email: quan.mai@sociology.rutgers.edu
    • Office: Davison Hall, 049
    • Website: https://www.quandmai.com/
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Quan D. Mai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Vanderbilt University in 2018. Dr. Mai’s research and teaching interests include work & occupations, social stratification, social movements, research methods, and environmental sociology. His scholarship focuses on how a range of social relations—including employment relations, race-ethnic relations, state regulatory capacity, and social movements—combine in the economy, polity, and in urban spaces to influence processes of social stratification. His current projects explore various consequences of nonstandard employment for workers’ labor market outcomes and socioeconomic well-being.

      He is a sociologist studying how work, race, and space shape various dimensions of social inequality in the labor market. His recent publications analyze the institutional drivers of work precarity in a cross-national setting. His current research examines how the experience of nonstandard employment shapes various aspects of workers’ lives, including their well-being and labor market prospects. In another related line of research, he explores the interaction between multiple media platforms, political institutions, and social movements. His research has appeared or is forthcoming in Social ForcesSocial Science & Medicine, Research in the Sociology of Work, Labor History, ​and other academic journals.

  • O'Neill, Karen M.

    • Portrait
    • Karen M. O'Neill
    • Associate Professor, Department of Human Ecology
    • Email: karen.oneill@rutgers.edu
    • Phone: 848-932-9208
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Karen M. O’Neill is a sociologist who studies how policies about land and water affect government power, the status of experts, and the well-being of various social groups. She has researched biodiversity protections in the urban plans of large cities around the world, local slow growth and pro-growth movements and policies in small towns, river flood control, and coastal storm vulnerability and hazard reduction. Karen has written or co-edited books on the rise of the U.S. program for river flood control and growth of government power (Duke University Press), on race and Hurricane Katrina (Rutgers University Press), and on changes in institutions in response to Hurricane Sandy (Rutgers University Press). She is a member of teams in two international competitions for coastal resilience designs, one for the New Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy, under the Rebuild by Design competition (finalist team), and the second to use the Mississippi River to replenish coastal land in Louisiana, under the Changing Course competition (one of three winning teams).

  • Schoolman, Ethan D.

    • Portrait
    • Ethan D. Schoolman
    • Assistant Professor, Department of Human Ecology
    • Email: ethan.schoolman@rutgers.edu
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Ethan D. Schoolman is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University. Dr. Schoolman is an environmental sociologist whose work focuses primarily on the politics and culture of local food systems, and the implications of robust local and alternative food systems for environmental sustainability, public health, and social justice. Since coming to Rutgers, Dr. Schoolman has directed large-scale surveys of specialty crops growers in the Midwest, farmers in the Highlands region of New Jersey, and vendors at farmers markets in thirteen New Jersey counties. While working on these and other projects, Dr. Schoolman has collaborated with a number of not-for-profit groups and government agencies, including New Jersey Audubon, New Jersey Youth Corps, Elijah’s Promise, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Dr. Schoolman’s work has been published in journals spanning a range of disciplines, including Renewable Agriculture and Food SystemsJournal of Environmental Studies and SciencesEcological EconomicsSociological ForumJournal of Consumer Culture, and Sustainability Science.At Rutgers, Dr. Schoolman teaches on sustainable food systems, environmental politics, and research methods. He is on the graduate faculties in Sociology, Nutritional Sciences, and at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and he is a faculty affiliate at the New Jersey Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health.

  • Shwom, Rachael

    • Portrait
    • Rachael Shwom
    • Assistant Professor, Climate and Society, Department of Human Ecology
    • Email: rachael.shwom@rutgers.edu
    • Website: http://humanecology.rutgers.edu/faculty.asp?fid=38
    • Assistant Professor Rachael Shwom teaches undergraduate courses in Energy and Society, Innovative Solutions to Environmental Problems, and Environmental Politics and graduate courses in Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and the Environmental Movement. Her research interests are in environmental sociology, organizational sociology and consumption. Her research interests are in the areas of civil society organizations and societal change; the evolution and function of interorganizational networks; how social institutions structure environmentally significant-consumption; and models in the natural and social sciences. She is currently involved in projects exploring: how energy efficiency advocates decide whether to work with businesses, networks in urban watersheds; how motherhood influences environmental practices; and using social and ecological models in climate change education.