Jake W. Dean

Picture of Jake W. Dean
Graduate Student


Sociocultural Anthropology
  • Political Ecology
  • Conservation-as-development
  • Maritime & Fisheries Anthropology
  • Posthumanism
  • Pacific Coast of Mexico & the Americas
  • Ecotourism and Outdoor Recreation



M.A. Latin American Studies, with a graduate certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory - University of Arizona (2023)
B.S. Earth & Space Exploration (Astrobiology & Biogeosciences) - Arizona State University (2021)
B.A. Anthropology - Arizona State University (2021)


Jake W. Dean is a Chancellor's and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He leverages his academic background in anthropology, earth science, and history research the political ecology of ecotourism, fisheries, and conservation-as-development projects in the Americas. He emphasizes inclusive, socio-ecological community-based approaches to conservation projects that incorporates local ecological knowledge. His doctoral work seeks to create a posthumanist political ecology of conservation-as-development projects along the migratory path of Pacific gray whales between Alaska and Baja California Sur, Mexico. He also critically considers the gendered and ecological realities of both sport and outdoor recreational spaces. He currently serves as the Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Political Ecology and has published freelance work with outlets such as El Universal, Slate Magazine, and Tucson Weekly on sports equity, environmental politics, and critiques of cryptocurrency.


Selected Academic Publications
J.W. Dean & J. Parks, “The framing of Indigenous and local ecological knowledge amidst climate change education in the COP27 cyberspace,” (in review) abstract accepted for article into special issue of Climate & Development, vol. 15, pp. TBD–TBD, 2023. 
J.W. Dean, A.M. Rice, L.M. Choi, “Small-Scale Food Production in the Pandemic: Perspectives from Mexico & Guatemala,” in Journal of Latin American Geography, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 215–226, 2023.
Dean, J. W. (2023). Cesando la Sal: A Social Ecology of Conservation-as-Development and Pacific Gray Whale Ecotourism in El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, México [Master’s Thesis, The University of Arizona]. http://hdl.handle.net/10150/668385
P. Whelley et al., “The Importance of Field Studies for Closing Key Knowledge Gaps in Planetary Science,” Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, vol. 53, no. 4, White Paper #165 of the NASA Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032, Mar 2021.