2006 Speaker Biographies

Javier Alvarez-Mon holds degrees in Art History, Near Eastern Archaeology, and Ancient Religions, from the School of the Louvre (Paris), The Jesuit School of Theology, and the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley (California), and the University of California at Berkeley. Currently he is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at U. C. Berkeley. Javier's main focus of research interest is the ancient Iranian civilization of Elam (ca. 4200-550 BC).
Email: javieram@socrates.berkeley.edu

Edmund Burke III is Professor of modern Middle Eastern and World History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he has taught since 1968. He is currently the holder of a Presidential Chair in World History and is the Director of the Center for World History. Burke has previously taught at University of California, Berkeley, St. Antony's College, the University of Oxford, the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris), the University of Sydney (Australia), and the American University of Beirut. Burke is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on Middle East and North African history, orientalism and world history, including The Environment and World History, 1500-2000 (co-edited with Kenneth Pomeranz), under submission 2006.
Email: eburke@ucsc.edu

Jaquelin Cochran is a doctoral candidate in the Energy and Resources Group at U. C. Berkeley. She is currently researching equity and rainwater harvesting in India.
Email: jcochran@berkeley.edu

Peter Hayes is Executive Director of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development, a non-governmental policy-oriented research and advocacy group. Professionally active as an environment and energy consultant in developing countries (working for the United Nations Environment Programme, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Canadian International Development Research Council, US Agency for International Development, and United Nations Development Programme), he also writes widely about security affairs in the Asian-Pacific region. He was first executive director of the Environment Liaison Centre in Nairobi, Kenya in 1974-76. He was Deputy Director of the Commission for the Future (Australian Government) from 1989-91. He has visited the DPRK seven times.
Email: phayes@nautilus.org

Alan Karras is a professor in the International and Area Studies teaching program, UC Berkeley and a popular lecturer at ORIAS programs. He is the author of several books, including Sojourners in the Sun: Scottish Migrants in Jamaica and the Chesapeake, 1740-1800. He works in political economy of industrial societies with a focus on race relations, state formation, migration, and contraband trade; currently he is preparing a world history of smuggling to appear in a new series for Rowman and Littlefield. He is also chair of the Test Development Committee for the AP World History Exam.
Email: karras@berkeley.edu

John R. McNeill is a professor in the History Department and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His writing in the field of environmental history includes Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World (2000) and The Mountains of the Mediterranean World: An Environmental History. He co-edited The Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (2003) and Soils and Societies : Perspectives from Environmental History (2006). He is currently working on a book about the history of yellow fever in the Americas (c. 1640-1920).
Email: mcneillj@georgetown.edu

Vijaya R. Nagarajan is an Associate Professor of South Asian Religions in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies and the Program in Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches courses on Hinduism, Religion and Environment, Voice, Memory and Landscape, Spiritual Autobiography of Place, On the Commons, Environmental Studies Internship, and Religion and Nonviolence, among others. Her interests include from ritual and ecology to forests and commons, especially in South Asia. During 2006-07 she was awarded the NEH Chair in the Humanities for 2006-2007 at University of San Francisco on the theme: The Language of the Commons. She has also begun field research on the topic: Sacred Groves and the Commons in India with grants from the American Academy of Religion-Individual Research Grant (2005) and Jesuit Foundation (2005). She was awarded a 2001-2002 Fellowship in the Women's Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, where she taught and worked on her manuscript, Drawing Down Desires: Women, Ritual and Ecology in Southern India (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). This work is on the kolam - intricate and beautiful rice flour patterns drawn daily at dawn on the thresholds of homes, temples and businesses by millions of Tamil women in southern India. The kolam, she argues, expresses Tamil women's understanding of ritual, gender, and ecology, especially the concept of embedded ecologies.
Email: nagarajan@usfca.edu

Dara O'Rourke is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, and an affiliated faculty in the Center for Labor Research and Education, at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the environmental, labor, and health impacts of global production systems and new strategies of democratic governance. He is currently studying changes in the organization of industrial production systems, developing new monitoring systems and metrics for the environmental and social impacts of supply chains, working to develop new information systems to inform consumers of the impacts of products, and advancing strategies for preventing pollution and workplace health problems.
Email: orourke@nature.berkeley.edu

Ariadna Reida is the Russian director of Baikal Watch, which is based in San Francisco through the Earth Island Institute. She is also co-director of the Great Baikal Trail Association, an international volunteer-driven non-profit membership organization working to develop, maintain, promote, and protect the first 1,300-mile-long national trail in Russia, and in that way advocate sustainable development of Baikal region.
Email: ariadna_gbt@mail.ru

Jarbel Rodriguez is an assistant professor of medieval history at San Francisco State University. He specializes in 14th- and 15th-century Spain focusing on captivity/slavery, Muslim/Christian relations, and charity. His forthcoming book Captives and their Saviors in the Medieval Crown of Aragon will be published in spring 2007. Professor Rodriguez graduated from Princeton University in 2001.
Email: jarbel@sfsu.edu

Alex Saragoza is Doctor of Latin American History and Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. A specialist on modern Mexico. Saragoza's work delves into the intersections of Latin American history with that of the United States as a consequence of migration. His research has examined the structural origins of Mexican migration, focusing on the role of the state in the process of the concentration of wealth and power in Mexico. In addition, he has done research on the transnational aspects of cultural formations in Mexico, including work on Mexican cinema, radio, and television. His current interests center on ideology and representation from a transnational perspective.
Email: alexsara@berkeley.edu

William Schaefer is a professor in the Department of East Asian Language and Cultures at U. C. Berkeley. His research and teaching interests include modern Chinese literature and culture; image cultures and the relations between verbal and visual representations; photography in China; Chinese and global modernisms; landscape representation and geographies of literature; race, primitivism, and anthropological discourse; and comparative studies of literary, ethnographic, and historical narrative. His most recent publication is "Shanghai Savage" (positions: east asia cultures critique 11:1), http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/positions/v011/11.1schaefer.pdf
Email: wschaefer@berkeley.edu

Sonja Schmid is a Research Associate at Stanford University, where she is affiliated with the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and teaches in the Program in Science, Technology and Society. She received her Ph.D. in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University. Her dissertation focused on understanding complex decision-making processes at the interface between science, technology, and the state in the Cold War Soviet context, and is based on extensive archival research and narrative interviews with nuclear energy specialists in Russia. She is currently working on a book about reactor design choices and the development of the civilian nuclear industry in the Soviet Union. Other research interests include technology transfer, risk communication, and the popularization of science and technology.
Email: sschmid@stanford.edu

Rachel Stern is a Ph.D. student in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently working on her dissertation, which looks at Chinese environmental lawsuits (think: "A Civil Action" or "Erin Brockovich"). This research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Pacific Rim Research Program, and the UC Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies. Before coming to Berkeley, Rachel worked at a public policy think tank in Hong Kong, where she did research on environmental issues. She also spent a year learning Mandarin through Cornell University's FALCON program.
Email: rstern@berkeley.edu

Michael Watts is Director of the Institute of International Studies and a professor in the Geography Department at U. C. Berkeley. He established the Berkeley Working Group on Environmental Politics, the major center for cross-disciplinary political ecological research on the Berkeley campus. In addition he plays an active role in the Africa Studies Center and co-directs the undergraduate Development Studies Program. His research interests are political economy, political ecology, Africa, South Asia, development, peasant societies, social and cultural theory, U.S. agriculture, Islam, and social movements. His current book projects include a history of oil in the Niger Delta.
Email: mwatts@berkeley.edu