Friday, January 6, 2012

Maxwell T. Boykoff

Maxwell T. Boykoff is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Science and Technology Policy, which is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He teaches in the Environmental Studies program and is Adjunct faculty in the Geography Department. In addition, Boykoff is a Senior Visiting Research Associate in the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

Boykoff's new book is Who Speaks for the Climate?: Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change.

Late last year I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Right now I have three books going. The first is Alternative Food Networks: Knowledge, Practice and Politics by David Goodman, E. Melanie Dupuis and Michael K. Goodman. From my time working on my PhD in Santa Cruz, California, I have been captivated by work that seeks to understand how most people come to interact with the environment around them: through the production, and consumption of food. These three authors have roots in Santa Cruz as well, through common commitments to agroecology and food ethics. This book is a really insightful take on how the growth of alternative food networks – farmers’ markets, Fair Trade, organics – have intersected with associated movements of environmental justice, sustainability and animal welfare. I am now in the middle of reading about ‘the politics of quality’ and the mainstreaming of organics, which I find to be a fascinating and complementary set of considerations to discussions about the hidden costs of ‘cheap’ food.

The second book is Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies, edited by my colleague here in Colorado, Mara J. Goldman, along with Paul Nadasdy and Matthew Turner. I’ve been skipping around in it to read various case studies of how the biological, physical and ecological meet political, cultural, economic and social dimensions of human-environment challenges. I like the fusion of political ecology and science studies approaches in these case-based essays. I particularly have found Part Three of the book on ‘Circulation of Environmental Knowledge’ to be thought provoking. The chapter by Rebecca Lave on the role of knowledge and expertise in stream restoration, and the chapter by Roopali Phadke on ‘technological imaginaries’ in India were especially good.

The third book I’m paging through is really just a short story: Arthur Conan Doyle’s "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott." This mystery is driven by the quixotic behaviors of three main characters, Armitage (Trevor), Evans (Beddoes) and Hudson. I actually picked this up to follow along with my father’s Madison, Wisconsin-based Sherlock Holmes reading group who call themselves ‘The Notorious Canary Trainers’ after another of Doyle’s stories.
Learn more about Who Speaks for the Climate? at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue