Meet the Faculty: Jenny E. Goldstein


Jenny E. Goldstein, assistant professor, development sociology

Academic focus: Political ecology, political economy of land, inhabited tropical forest restoration, land use and global climate change politics, digital infrastructure and visual data in development, Southeast Asia (particularly Indonesia)

Previous positions: postdoctoral associate, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell, 2016-17

Academic background: B.A. in Theory & History of Architecture from Barnard College, 2005; M.A. in Geography from UCLA, 2009; Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA, 2016

Last book read: “Platform Capitalism,” by Nick Srnicek

What do you do when not working? Cooking, working out, exploring the farms and trails around Ithaca and planning international travel—somewhere new whenever possible!

What gets you out of bed in the morning? I went into my field of research because of the urgency and severity of environmental problems in the rural tropics and the ways in which these affect people’s everyday lives—the hardest part is not getting cynical or hopeless about it all.

Current research project(s)? I have an ongoing project on the politics of fire and landscape restoration in Indonesia’s peatlands, as well as newer projects on the role of big data and digital technology in rural development in Southeast Asia and a project recently funded by the Atkinson Center with colleagues in environmental engineering and government on illicit mercury use in small scale gold mining in Borneo.

Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching? Health and Global Development at the undergrad level; a grad seminar on Data Infrastructure and Development sometime in the future

What movie about your field gets it completely wrong? Actually, some movies get my field fairly right—the Years of Living Dangerously documentary series is a good example.

What most excites you about Cornell CALS? Being at a public, land-grant university that encourages internationally-engaged and collaborative research. And the local apple vending machine in Mann Library.

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