Brian J. Burke, Ph.D.

Research & Teaching Interests: 

Political ecology and political economy; grassroots activism for environmental and socio-economic change; alternative economies; globalization and development; expertise and the politics of knowledge; power, subjectivities, and socio-cultural change; community-based and activist research methods; Latin America and the United States.


  • Ph.D. 2012, University of Arizona School of Anthropology, Tucson, AZ
  • M.A. 2006, University of Arizona School of Anthropology, Tucson, AZ
  • B.A. 2002, Williams College, Williamstown, MA


SD3375: Sustainability, Economics, and Development


Brian J. Burke is an Assistant Professor in the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Department at Appalachian State University. After receiving his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, he served as a post-doctoral researcher with the Coweeta Listening Project at the University of Georgia and the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program. His research aims to support movements for social justice, environmental sustainability, and solidarity economies by examining their ethical visions, strategies, and the challenges they face. Drawing on post-structural political economy and political ecology, he is particularly interested in the ways that material and socio-cultural dynamics work together to constrain and enable change. His work has included projects on urban environmental activism and appropriate technologies on the US-Mexico border, rural cooperatives in Brazil and Paraguay, alternative economies in Colombia, and environmental knowledge production in southern Appalachia.

Representative Publications

Burke, Brian J. and Boone Shear. 2014. Introduction: Engaged Scholarship for Non-Capitalist Political Ecologies. Journal of Political Ecology 21: 127-144. [Part of a special issue of the Journal of Political Ecology compiled by Burke and Shear.]

Burke, Brian J. and Beatriz Arjona. 2013. Experiments with Alternative Political Ecologies: Examining the Construction of Ecovillages and Ecovillagers in Colombia. In: Environmental Anthropology Engaging Ecotopia: Bioregionalism, Permaculture, and Ecovillage Design for a Sustainable Future. Eds, Josh Lockyer and Jim Veteto. New York: Berghahn Books.

Burke, Brian J and Jessica Piekielek. 2011. Cooperatives, Politics, and Development in Rural Paraguay. Human Organization 70(4): 355-365.

Burke, Brian J. 2010. Cooperatives for “Fair Globalization”? Indigenous People, Cooperatives and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Brazilian Amazon. Latin American Perspectives 37(6): 30-52.

Department: Sustainable Development

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-6316

Office address
211 Living Learning Academic