Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Graduate Students: Sociology








Quinn's work is focused now on understanding how farmers experience incorporation into global value and commodity chains and how that intersects with increased exposure to climate and financial risks.  His work focuses specifically on the role of meso-level institutions in shaping these experiences and seeks to contribute to key debates within both environment sociology and development sociology.  His current research focus is largely consistent with his previous interests, but the emphasis on agricultural value chain activities and climate risk is a newer interest.








Benjamin Bradlow is writing a dissertation that compares the politics of urban public goods distribution in São Paulo and Johannesburg after transitions to democracy.  He's focusing on three types of public goods: housing, public transportation and sanitation. This work aims to explain how local governments and varied social actors, including semi-private water companies, private real estate developers, and housing social movements, interact to produce and distribute these public goods. The relationship between urban space, natural resources, and social contestation is central to Bradlow's analysis.  He relies on original fieldwork in both cities, which includes 240 semi-structured interviews and hundreds of archival documents.








Danielle is a PhD student in Sociology with concentrations in environmental sociology and the political economy of development. Her dissertation research examines the process and politics of climate change aid and adaptation planning in Bangladesh. Prior to coming to Brown she earned her Master's in Sociology from Northeastern University, with a focus on the environment, globalization, and social movements, and her B.A. from Vassar College also in Sociology.








Tom's research investigates the driving forces behind changes in the geography of manufacturing in Rhode Island between 1950-2010. His work documents how this geography developed along with urban demographic and political shifts to disproportionately expose vulnerable populations to the hazards of industrial manufacturing. In the past year, as a part of the Brown Superfund Research Program, Tom's work has turned to developing methods for classifying neighborhoods based on their complex environmental exposures from industrial manufacturing. Additionally, Tom has developed a new project with the Climate Development Lab aimed at mapping the climate change discourse on Twitter and measuring the impact of Twitter bots on generating and maintaining political polarization about climate change. 








Michael is a a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Brown University, where he is affiliated with the Climate and Development Lab, the Initiative in Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4), IBES, and The Watson Institute for International Studies as an IGERT Fellow. 

Michael is broadly interested in how axes of social difference (race, class, gender) influence how human individuals and collectives are able to relate to their environments, the land, and nonhuman nature. His dissertation analyzes slavery and dispossession, in colonial Rhode Island, as dual processes that patterned human relations to the environs based on racialized understandings of African slaves and indigenous Americans. In addition, he is a member of the Climate and Development Lab, working on various aspects of the international politics of aid to address climate change. He is also working with Scott Frickel to collect historical data on small and large waste generators and their potential contributions to the contamination of Mashapaug Pond watershed in Providence, as well as a project that examines the knowledge flows and blockages of the EPA Superfund Research Program. 

Michael received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of San Diego, where he also studied Philosophy and Peace and Justice Studies.








In his first few years at Brown, Jon worked extensively on smallholder agriculture in Brazil with a focus on forest cover and land use patterns. While continuing his Brazil work, his focus has shifted to community adaptation to sea-level rise and beach erosion in Rhode Island. Both studies help us better understand how political, demographic, and economic factors shape, and are shaped by, our relationship with the natural world.








Aaron's research interests are centered on identifying how grassroots environmental movements and local governments negotiate policy across regional contexts. At the heart of this work is a central concern with how conceptions of space and land use shape the relationship between grassroots movements and local government. His dissertation work compares the socio-political structure of the urban gardening movements in Boston, Massachusetts and Austin, Texas. In particular, this project seeks to understand why the gardening movements within each of these cities is both robust, yet structurally quite different. 








Apollonya grew up in New England and received her Bachelors' from Cornell University in Natural Resources. She then worked in an environmental non-profit, bartended, taught construction and math at an alternative high school, and traveled around Central America and Western Europe. Her work at Brown centers on the intersection of science, culture, and politics within Northeastern fisheries management and beyond. Apollonya is in Brown's Open Graduate Education program, which allows her to work on a Masters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) alongside her PhD in Sociology. In her free time, she enjoys running, knitting, listening to the blues, and traveling.








Through the process of Amy doing her dissertation fieldwork, analysis and writing, a clearer angle on "environment and society" has emerged. Teller thinks question of how environmental initiatives can and do expand to become vehicles for social and political transformation is central to this dissertation. Though the Brazilian environmental/agro-ecological organizations and organizers that the dissertation research focuses on seek to reach certain environmental outcomes with farmers, their practices--and the existing social and natural conditions in the region--have made this work into a mechanism for social change.








Ike is interested in the complex connections between climate change and society, particularly how political and economic structures react to the changing environment. Ike hopes to focus his research on how vulnerable populations in developing regions adapt and respond to the effects of climate change and how these changes fit into larger considerations of development.

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