Assistant Professor, Department of Global Development
Jenny's work is driven by interests in environmental conservation and development in the tropics; intersections of data infrastructure and land governance; human health impacts of ecological change; global food and agriculture systems; the financialization of land; and the role of scientific knowledge in climate change politics.
Jenny is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University, an Atkinson center for a Sustainable Future Faculty Fellow, and a core faculty member of Cornell's Southeast Asian Studies Program. She is the elected president of the Cultural and Political Ecology speciality group of the American Association of Geographers (2022-24).
From 2016-17 she was an Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future postdoctoral associate at Cornell, based in the Science & Technology Studies department. She is interested in environmental conservation and development in the tropics; intersections of data infrastructure and environmental governance; human health impacts of ecological change; global food and agriculture systems; the financialization of land; and the role of scientific knowledge in climate change politics.
Awards & Honors
- 2021-22: Cornell Center for Social Sciences Faculty Fellow
- 2021-22: Einaudi Global Public Voices Fellow
- 2018-19: Cornell Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Academic Venture Fund ($127,000), Assessing Mercury Use in Indonesian Gold Mining: Socio-Political Interventions and Impacts on Ecosystems and Human Health. PI: Jenny Goldstein, co-PIs: Matt Reid, Tom Pepinsky
“Land of no return: Development after degradation in Indonesia’s peatlands”, Department of Geography colloquium, University of South Carolina, April 22, 2022
"Contributions from Political Ecology to Data Science," Thought Leader’s Summit at the Schmidt Center for Data Science and the Environment, UC Berkeley, September 22-23, 2022
“The Volumetric Forest” at the Forest Multiple symposium, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, October 27-28, 2022
“Interstices in remote sensing: Scale, surveillance, and the role of strategic ignorance in Indonesia’s peatlands”, WITS centre, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, November 4, 2022
“Land of no return: The role of non-knowledge in Indonesia’s peatlands”, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences colloquium, Cornell University, November 30, 2022
“Ground, but illicit, truth: Satellite surveillance, scale, and ignorance as agrarian resistance in Indonesia,” 4S annual meeting, Cholula, Mexico, December 9, 2022
Recent Courses Taught
- DSOC 3150 Climate Change & Global Development: Living in the Anthropocene (fall 2022)
- DSOC 6150 Qualitative Methods (spring 2023)
- 2017-present: Core Faculty Member, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University
- 2016-17: Postdoctoral Associate, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell University, Department of Science and Technology Studies
- PhD, Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, 2016
- M.A. Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, 2009
- B.A. History & Theory of Architecture, Barnard College, Columbia University, 2005
- 2022 J.E. Goldstein and E. Nost (co-editors) The Nature of Data: Infrastructures, Environments, Politics. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
2023 J.E. Goldstein, Neimark, B., Garvey, B., Phelps, J. Unlocking “lock-in” and path dependency: A review across disciplines and socio-environmental contexts. World Development 161: 106116
2022 J.E. Goldstein. More Data, More Problems? Incompatible Uncertainty in Indonesia’s Neoliberal Environmental Governance Projects. Geoforum 132: 195-204
2022 J.E. Goldstein, Budiman, I., Canny, A., Dwipartidrisa, D. Pandemics and the Human-Wildlife Interface in Asia: Land Use Change as a Driver of Zoonotic Viral Outbreaks. Environmental Research Letters 17(6): 063009
2022 Faxon, H.O, Goldstein, J.E., Fisher, M., Hunt, G. Territorializing Spatial Data: Controlling Land through ‘One Map’ Projects in Indonesia and Myanmar. Political Geography 98: 102651
2022 E. Nost and J.E. Goldstein. A Political Ecology of Data. Environment and Planning E 5(1): 3-17
2022 J.E. Goldstein and H.O. Faxon. New Data Infrastructures for Environmental Monitoring in Myanmar: Is Digital Transparency Good for Governance? Environment and Planning E 5(1): 39-59
2020 J.E. Goldstein. The Volumetic Political Forest: Territory, Satellite Fire Mapping, and Indonesia’s Peatland Burning. Antipode 52(4): 1060-1082
2020 J.E. Goldstein, L. Graham, S. Ansori, Y. Vetrita, A. Thomas, G. Applegate, A.P. Vayda, B.H. Saharjo, M.A. Cochrane. Beyond slash-and-burn: The roles of human activities, altered hydrology and fuels in peat fires in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 41(2): 190-208
2019 J.E. Goldstein, K. Paprocki, T. Osborne. A Manifesto for a Progressive Land-Grant Mission in an Authoritarian Populist Era. The Annals of the American Association of Geographers 109(2): 673-684
2019 Knuth, S.E., S. Potts, J.E. Goldstein. In Value’s Shadows: Devaluation as Accumulation Frontier. Environment and Planning A 51(2): 461-466
2017 Goldstein, J.E., J.S. Yates. Rendering Land Investable: Introduction to Special Theme Issue. Geoforum 82, 208-210
2016 Goldstein, J.E. Knowing the Subterranean: Producing Oil Palm, Carbon Emissions, and Divergent Expertise in Indonesia’s Peat Soil. Environment and Planning A 48 (4): 754-770
2014 Goldstein, J.E. The Afterlives of Degraded Tropical Forests: New Value for Conservation and Development. Environment and Society: Advances in Research 5: 124-140
2011 Goldstein, J.E. The “Coffee Doctors”: The Language of Taste and the Rise of Rwanda’s Specialty Bean Value. Food and Foodways 19 (1-2): 135-159
- 2021 Goldstein, J.E. Op-ed: Will the quest for better climate data set back global pledges? Smerconish, 18 November
- 2021 Goldstein, J.E. Southeast Asia’s smoldering peat fires amid viral pandemic. Hot Spots, Fieldsites, July 27.
- 2020 Goldstein, J.E. Lots of Smoke, But Where’s the Fire? Contested Causality and Shifting Blame in Southeast Asia’s Smoke-Haze Crisis. Book chapter in Disastrous Times: Beyond Environmental Crisis in Asia (T. Vaughn, E. Elinoff, K. Fortun, eds), Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press
- 2017 Goldstein, J.E. (with 106 co-authors). Letter to the Editor: Denial of long-term issues with agriculture on tropical peatlands will have devastating consequences. Global Change Biology 23, 977-982
- 2016 Carbon Bomb: Indonesia’s Failed Mega Rice Project. Environment and Society Portal, Arcadia Spring 2016, no. 6.
DSOC 3020 Political Ecologies of Health (spring 2018, spring 2019, spring 2020)
This course investigates the relationships between political economy, the environment, and health to understand how disease and the desire for health transform social and ecological systems and how these systems impact human health. Using contemporary case studies from the United States and the Global South, we will critically analyze how class, race, and gender affect specific populations’ health differently from others. We will move across scales from ecosystems and global development institutions to farms and cities to homes, offices, and bodies. We will also explore the roles capitalism, economic inequality, and environmental and social justice play in creating diverse health outcomes. Topics include infectious diseases; food policy and obesity; pollution and race; the US opioid crisis; epigenetics; and environmental toxins including nuclear and chemical contamination.
DSOC 3150 Climate Change & Global Development: Living in the Anthropocene (fall 2019, fall 2020)
This course investigates social, political, and economic life in the age of the “Anthropocene”: the current geological era in which humans have irrevocably altered the earth’s biophysical systems. We analyze what political-economic dynamics have led to this, how climate change is known and predicted scientifically, and the impacts it has on politics, economies, environments, and societies across scales. Drawing on case studies from around the world, we investigate topics including climate change impacts on land, oceans, animals, and forests; climate migrants and political instability; (un)natural disasters such as fires, floods, and hurricanes; and sea level rise and cities. We also investigate at existing and potential political and economic responses to climate change ranging from international governance agreements and green markets to local climate justice movements.
DSOC 4060/6020 Digital Capitalism (fall 2020)
How are information technology and digital infrastructure reshaping global development? Conversely, how are distinctive conceptions of development shaping the construction of information infrastructure? This course critically analyzes the relationships between social and economic inequality, the environment, and information technology such as big data, smartphones, internet connectivity, remote sensing, and computing algorithms. Questions include: how is information technology used to structure labor forces? How does the production, maintenance, and use of these technologies reflect global political economy and power structures? In what ways does digital infrastructure shape understanding of and interventions into urban and rural environments, political institutions, and social movements? This seminar course takes an interdisciplinary approach to answering these questions, drawing on recent scholarship from critical development studies, science and technology studies, geography, and anthropology.
DSOC 6150 Qualitative Methods (spring 2020)
Graduate seminar on qualitative research in the social sciences, with an emphasis on how we study global development methodologically. In particular, we investigate how material-discursive processes such as capitalism, inequality, globalization, colonialism, power, and hegemony can be approached through grounded empirical research. The course is “studio” based: you will experiment with elements of research design based on creative insights from readings, conversation, and critical reflection about your project. We cover alternative methodological directions in the qualitative social sciences (infrastructure, the digital) as well as the staples of fieldwork: interviews, participant observation, ethics, positionality, and data analysis. We think about theory and method together, as decisions about method cannot be divorced from broader theoretical and conceptual issues.
251B Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
goldstein [at] cornell.edu
Jenny in the news
- Polson Institute for Global Development
- Department of Global Development
- Global Development
- Lab of Ornithology
- Department of Global Development
- Natural Resources and the Environment