Skip to Content

Jeremy M. Campbell

Jeremy M. Campbell, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
B.A. Davidson College; M.A., Ph.D. University of California-Santa Cruz
Contact Information
x3583
FCAS 137
Areas of Expertise: 
Anthropology

Dr. Jeremy M. Campbell is a political and environmental anthropologist whose work focuses on land conflicts, ecological change, and the state in the Brazilian Amazon. He is particularly interested in the ways people come to know their environment and how that knowledge becomes politicized in moments of broad and rapid socioeconomic changes. In Brazil, Campbell conducts ethnographic research on the forms of authority and place-making that local peoples improvise as the character of Amazonia shifts from that of an extractive frontier to a workshop for sustainability schemes. Among his completed and ongoing projects are the following:

Property Schemes and Colonial Territorialities: Campbell is currently finishing a book, Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon about the material and imagined effects of land speculation along an unpaved forest highway. This ethnographic work sheds light on how local environmental knowledge and projections of the future development on the region combine in surprising ways to position migrants and native Amazonians in their engagements with state and market.

The Politics and Environmental Effects of Informal Gold-Mining: In collaboration with Brazilian and European colleagues (and with the support of the National Geographic Society), Campbell is investigating how a low-tech gold boom characterized by migrant labor currently underway in Amazonia contrasts with the formal mining industry, backed by political elites and multinational corporations.

Valuation and Recognition in Conservation Strategy. This research investigates how social histories and ecological/economic relationships become problematized in debates over the creation and maintenance of conservation units in rural sections of the Brazilian Amazon. Among the concerns that Campbell is drawn to explore is how conservation debates provide opportunities for political organization among socially-marginalized groups—including “renascent” indigenous groups and communities descendant from runaway slaves.

Areas of Expertise:

Development and modernity in Amazonia; colonization, agrarian politics, and land conflicts; science and environmental governance; indigenous and environmental justice social movements in the Americas; state-making and infrastructure; political ecology; Marxism and post-structuralism; Brazil; Latin America.

Selected Publications:

(In press) Speculative Accumulation: Property-Making in the Brazilian Amazon. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology

(In press) The Land Question in Amazonia: Cadastral Knowledge and Ignorance in Brazil’s Tenure Regularization Program. PoLAR: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review.

(2013) Review of Instituting Nature: Authority, Expertise, and Power in Mexican Forests by Andrew S. Mathews (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011). Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR) 36(2): 399-401.

(2012) Brazil’s Deferred Highway: Mobility, Development, and Anticipating the State in Amazonia. Boletín de Anthropología 27(44): 102-26.

(2012) Between the Material and the Figural Road: The Incompleteness of Colonial Geographies in Amazonia. Mobilities 7(4): 481-500.                      

(2012) Review of Storytelling Globalization from the Chaco and Beyond by Mario Blaser (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010). American Anthropologist 114(3): 547-48.

Courses Taught:

ANTH 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 222 Environmental Anthropology
ANTH 230 Political Anthropology
ANTH 260 The Anthropological Lens
ANTH 351 Ethnographies of Latin America
SUST 101 Introduction to Sustainability Studies

Environmental Justice in Brazil: a summer study abroad program that runs alternately in Pará (Amazonia) and Minas Gerais, Brazil. For more information see the EJB website.

Professional Service:

Campbell is the Secretary-Treasurer of the international scholarly association SALSA: Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (term 2012-2016).