Susan Stonich

Susan Stonich
Professor Emerita


Sociocultural Anthropology (ecological, economic and developmental anthropology, natural resource management, qualitative and quantitative analysis, political ecology; Appalachia, Latin America, Asia)


Faculty in Anthropology and Environmental Studies

PhD, University of Kentucky


Environmental Studies Program

Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science

Research and Teaching Interests

Susan Stonich has several interrelated research and teaching interests: the conflicts and contradictions between economic development and environmental conservation efforts in coastal zones in the context of climate change; environmental justice; vulnerability and resilience to climate related hazards and disasters; international tourism; and aquaculture (particularly shrimp and shellfish farming). She works primarily in Central America and the Caribbean but has also worked in South-East Asia. She uses a political ecology approach in her research that integrates the perspectives of political economy and human ecology and determines the linkages between spatial, geopolitical, ecosystem, and temporal scales.  Her research focuses particularly on several types of “securities;” social network security, household livelihood security, health/food security, and environmental security.  She has served on many national and international panels and committees including the National Academies of Science/National Research Council Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change (1997-2003) and the Scientific Advisory Committee, Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (2003 – 2006). She now serves as a member of the United States Climate Change Science Program, Human Impacts of Climate Change Advisory Committee. 

Dr. Stonich teaches undergraduate courses on: Human Dimensions of Global Change/Disasters, Development, and People (ANTH130A/Env Studies 130A); International Tourism and Conservation (ANTH130B/ Env Studies 130B); Global Food Systems and Human Food Security (ANTH130C/Env Studies 130C); People, Poverty, and the Environment in Central America (ANTH104h/ Env Studies 104); and Environmental Justice/Human Rights and the Environment (ANTH185/Env Studies 185). She regularly teaches the required graduate student seminar on Anthropological Research Methods (ANTH240).


Current Research Projects

Dr. Stonich co-directs (with Dr. Sara Alexander of Baylor University) a research project in the Mesoamerican Reef System funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program, From Vulnerability to Resilience: Helping People and Communities Cope with Crises.

Dr. Stonich is working with the National Shellfisheries Association, the World Wildlife Fund Mollusc Dialogue, and NOAA Aquaculture and Habitat Conservation Program on a project to help determine standards on North American shellfish farming that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.


Selected Publications

  • Stonich, S. 2008. (Eco)tourism and Marine Protected Areas in a Time of Climate Change. In Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas, edited by A. Stronza and W. Durham, pp. 51-65. CABI International, Oxfordshire and Cambridge.
  • Stonich, S. 2008. International Tourism and Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras. In Capitalizing on Catastrophe: Neoliberal Strategies in Disaster Reconstruction, edited by Mark Schuller and Nandini Gunewardena, pp. 47-68. AltaMira Press, Lanham, New York.
  • Stonich, S. 2007. International Tourism, Vulnerability, and Disaster Capitalism. In Sustainable Development and Planning, edited by A. Kungalos, C. A. Brebbia and E. Beriatos, pp.1029-1038. WIT Press, Southampton.
  • Stonich, S. and D. Mandell. 2007. Political Ecology and Sustainability Science: Opportunities and Challenges. In The World System and the Earth System: Global Socio-Environmental Change and Sustainability Since the Neolithic, edited by A. Hornborg and C. Crumley, pp. 258-268. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek.
  • Stonich, S. 2006. Enhancing Community Based Development and Conservation in the Western Caribbean. In Anthropological Contributions to Travel and Tourism: Linking Theory with Practice, edited by T. Wallace, pp. 77-86. American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC.