Advisory Board



W. Turrentine Jackson Professor of Western U.S. History

Louis Warren teaches and writes about 19th and 20th century Western U.S. history: immigration, environmental issues and demographic impacts. A specialist in environmental history, Warren is an authority on the history of conflicts between hunting and animal rights, no-growth and slow-growth movements, and Buffalo Bill Cody’s legacy. His acclaimed book, Buffalo Bill’s America: William Cody and the Wild West Show (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), has won numerous awards, including the 2007 Beveridge Prize from the American Historical Association, the Western Writers of America Spur Award in 2005 and the 2005 Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize. He also wrote The Hunter’s Game: Poachers and Conservationists in Twentieth-Century America (Yale University Press, 1997), which won the Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Non-fiction Book from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. Professor Warren is the Editor-in-Chief of Boom: A Journal of California.


Associate Professor, Sociology

Thomas Beamish is an Associate Professor of Sociology. Professor Beamish has studied innovation processes in the commercial construction/real estate industry; social and organizational response to environmental change and disaster; and how and why community movements mobilize and respond as they do to “risky” developments. What ties these diverse projects together is his theoretical fascination with the intersection of institutions, social organization, and interpretive work. His focus in each of these projects has been the collective bases for “local rationalities;” how sensemaking emerges from the places people live, the formal and informal social relations they are embedded within, and the collective memories and cognitive models they share as a result that help to explain their actions and inactions. He is the author of Silent Spill: The Organization of Industrial Crisis (MIT Press, 2002) and numerous articles in journals such as Social Problems, Organization and Environment, The Annual Review of Sociology, and in a number of edited collections.


Associate Professor, History

Diana Davis is an Associate Professor of History focusing on environmental history, political ecology, colonialism, political economy, veterinary history, Middle East and North Africa, pastoral societies and arid lands. She is the author of Resurrecting the Granary of Rome: Environmental History and French Colonial Expansion in North Africa which was awarded the Marsh Prize (ASEH) and the Meridian Award (AAG) and co-editor of Environmental Imaginaries in the Middle East and North Africa. She has conducted field and archival research in Morocco, France and the UK with fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She is currently working on two book projects. The first, Imperialism and Environmental History in the Middle East analyzes the complex relationships between imperialism and environmental narratives in the Arab Middle East from Egypt to Syria. The second analyzes the development of western thinking about deserts and arid lands over the longue durée and how this (mis)informs anti-desertification policy today. She holds a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD in Geography from the UC Berkeley.


Associate Professor, English

Hsuan L. Hsu is an Associate Professor of English. His interests include 19th and 20th century U.S. literature, Asian American Literature, visual culture, cultural geography, comparative racialization, and environmental justice literature. His book, Geography and the Production of Space in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, examines the representation of spatial scales in works by authors including Charles Brockden Brown, Herman Melville, Henry James, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Sui Sin Far. He is working on a book-length study of Mark Twain’s writings about Chinese immigration, the annexation of Hawai’i, and the U.S.-Philippine War. His courses have examined topics such as point of view, literatures of the American west, the literature of place, geographies of risk, and transnational American literature.


Assistant Professor, Human and Community Development

Jonathan London is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Community Development, Director of the UC Davis Center for Regional Change and Senior Researcher for the UC Davis Environmental Justice Project. Professor London’s research focuses on rural social movements, community participation in environmental and natural resource management, and questions of equity in rural development in the Central Valley. He currently represents UC Davis on the Community University Research and Action Alliance for Justice (CURAJ) Advisory Board. CURAJ is a coalition of researchers, legal advocates, and community activists dedicated to applying research to address issues of race, poverty and environmental justice in the Central Valley. Professor London has extensive leadership experience in non-profit management, participatory research, and community engagement. He holds a Masters of City and Regional Planning and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from UC Berkeley.


Associate Professor, Anthropology

James Smith is an associate professor in the sociocultural wing of the Anthropology Department. He completed his PhD at the University of Chicago in 2002 and received the Rockefeller Fellowship in Religion, Conflict, and Peace-building at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies from 2003-04. His research interests include “Development” and Vernacular Development Narratives and Practices; Artisanal Mining and Resource Extraction; State Transformation and Conflict/War; Religion, ritual and the occult; and East and Central Africa. Recent publications include Email from Ngeti: An Ethnography of Sorcery, Redemption, and Friendship in Global Africa (University of California Press, forthcoming, with Ngeti Mwadime); “Tantalus in the Digital Age: Coltan Ore, Temporal Dispossession, and “Movement” in the Eastern DR Congo, American Ethnologist, Volume 38, Number 1, (2011): 17-35; and Displacing the State: Religion and Conflict in Neoliberal Africa, editor, with Rosalind Hackett, (University of Notre Dame Press: 2011).


Associate Professor, American Studies

Julie Sze is an Associate Professor of American Studies and founding Director of the Environmental Justice Project of the John Muir Institute of the Environment. Professor Sze is a leading scholar of the culture and politics of environmental justice activism, urban environmentalism, social movements and community activism. She is the author of Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice (MIT Press, 2007) and articles that address literature and the environment, environmental health, and social justice in journals such as American Quarterly, the International Journal of Feminist Politics, and Children, Youth and Environments and in a number of edited collections. In her capacity as Director of the Environmental Justice Project, Professor Sze has been involved in planning meetings, engaging with local communities, and working on several innovative collaborative and interdisciplinary projects across the social science, humanities and the sciences. The Environmental Justice Project is focused on encouraging and developing interdisciplinary research on environmental justice, with a particular focus on Environmental Justice in the Central Valley (


Associate Professor, English

Michael Ziser completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University and joined the English Department in 2003. His scholarly fields include American literature before the Civil War; American natural history and agricultural writing through the present day; and ecocritical theory. Professor Ziser’s most current research considers the envirocultural preconditions and consequences of agricultural production in the pre-industrial American colonies. Recent publications include extended profiles of early American naturalists Thomas Nuttall, Constantine Rafinesque, and Alexander Wilson (2005); a reconsideration of Walden’s mode (Nineteenth Century Prose, Fall 2004); an inquiry into very early American writing about tobacco (William and Mary Quarterly, Winter 2005); an article on Lacan, Poe, Audubon, and Zoosemiotics (Angelaki, Winter 2008); and a chapter on the literary dimensions of early New England apple culture (Early Modern Ecostudies, 2008). He is currently Reviews Editor for Boom: A Journal of California and the UC Davis English Department Undergraduate Director.