David Kneas

Associate Professor, Department of Geography and School of Earth, Ocean and Environment

PhD, Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Yale University, 2014

My research explores the political and cultural dimensions of resource environments, and the ways material resources are imagined, controlled, and contested across temporal periods. My first area of research centers on an ongoing conflict over a proposed copper mine in the Intag region of northwestern Ecuador. Situating the dispute in relation to  histories of geological exploration and agrarian settlement, this work explores the origins of both resource potential and local opposition to mining. Aspects of this research have featured in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Ethnos, Engaging Science, Technology, & Society, and American Anthropologist. A second area of research analyzes representations of South American nature and environmental change within US public culture, and has included publications in the Journal of Latin American Geography and Environmental History. In a new avenue of research, I examine the knowledge and expertise that help sustain the global mining industry, with a focus on the junior exploration companies and speculative investment. While scholarship on mining has tended to focus on sites of resource extraction and large mining corporations, this project explores the cultural frameworks and ritual practices that underpin how junior companies present themselves, as well as the kinds of knowledge that different actors use to assess the junior sector.

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