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


SD 3375: Sustainability, Economics, and Development


Brian J. Burke is an Associate 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. 2022. Social Exchange: Barter as Economic and Cultural Activism in Medellin, Columbia. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP.

Welch-Devine, Meredith, Anne Sourdril, and Brian J. Burke (Eds). 2020. Changing Climate, Changing Worlds: Local Knowledge and the Challenges of Social and Ecological Change. Switzerland: Springer Nature. 

Vásquez-León, Marcela, Brian J. Burke, and Timothy J. Finan (Eds). 2017. Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change: Experiences from Rural Latin America. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Rice, Jennifer L. and Brian J. Burke. 2017. Building More Inclusive Solidarities for Socio-Environmental Change: Lessons in Resistance from Southern Appalachia. Antipode, doi: 10.1111/anti.12336

Rice, Jennifer L., Brian J. Burke, and Nik Heynen. 2015. Knowing Climate Change, Embodying Climate Praxis: Experiential Knowledge in Southern Appalachia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 105(2): 253-262. 

Burke, Brian J., Meredith Welch-Devine, and Seth Gustafson. 2015. Nature Talk in an Appalachian Newspaper: What Environmental Discourse Analysis Reveals about Efforts to Address Exurbanization and Climate Change. Human Organization 74(2): 185-196.  

Burke, Brian J., Meredith Welch-Devine, Seth Gustafson, Nik Heynen, Jennifer L. Rice, Ted L. Gragson, Sakura Evans, and Donald R. Nelson. 2015. Can Science Writing Collectives Overcome the Barriers to More Democratic Science Communication? Environmental Communication Praxis in Southern Appalachia. Environmental Communication.

Burke, Brian J. and Nik Heynen. 2014. Transforming Participatory Science into Socio-Ecological Praxis: Valuing Marginalized Environmental Knowledges in the Face of the Neoliberalization of Nature and Science. Environment and Society: Advances in Research 5(1): 7-27.

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.

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Sustainable Development

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-6316

Office address
211 Living Learning Academic