Paige West joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, the year after earning her Ph.D. in cultural and environmental anthropology at Rutgers University. She is currently [...]
Paige West joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, the year after earning her Ph.D. in cultural and environmental anthropology at Rutgers University. She is currently Professor of Anthropology.
Dr. West’s broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. More specifically, she has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea to understand their traditions, especially as they relate to biodiversity, and to help them figure out how to conserve their cultures, languages, and environments. She is the author of two books and the editor of three more. She has also published many scholarly papers. Her current work focuses on indigenous adaptation to climate change across the Pacific.
In 2002 she received the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology and Environment Junior Scholar award for her work, in 2004 she received the American Association of University Women Junior Faculty Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Faculty Fellowship, in 2006 she received the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship, and in 2007 she was named a Fellow by the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania. In 2008 she founded the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research, which is published by Berghahn Books, and for which she serves as editor. In 2012 she became the Chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia. Paige has served as the chair of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association. In 2013 she delivered the Leonard Hastings Schoff Memorial Lectures at Columbia University.
In addition to her academic work, Paige is the co-founder of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in PNG among Papua New Guineans. Paige is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in PNG dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge.
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