Skip to main content

Paige West

Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology
School: 
School of the Arts
Department: 
Anthropology Department
Office: 
Department of Anthropology, Barnard College and Columbia University, 3009 Broadway, New York, New York 10027
Email: 
pwest@barnard.edu or cw2031@columbia.edu
Phone: 
212-854-5933
Biography

Paige West joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, the year after earning her Ph.D. in cultural and environmental anthropology at Rutgers University. She is currently The Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology.

Dr. West’s broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. More specifically, she has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea.

Dr. West is the author of three books and the editor of five more. She has also published many scholarly papers.  In 2008 Dr. West founded the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research. She currently serves as the journal’s editor. Dr. West’s most recent book, Dispossession and the Environment, is the winner of the 2017 Columbia University Press Distinguished Book Award.

In 2002 Dr. West received the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology and Environment Junior Scholar award for her work, in 2004 she received the American Association of University Women Junior Faculty Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Faculty Fellowship, in 2006 she received the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Fellowship, and in 2007 she was named a Fellow by the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania. In 2012 she became the Chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia. Recently, she has served as the chair of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association. In 2013 she delivered the Leonard Hastings Schoff Memorial Lectures at Columbia University. In 2015 she became the co-director of the Pacific Climate Circuits project at the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University. In 2016 she was named a Distinguished Scholar by the National Social Enviornmental Synthesis Center and an advisor to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) Science for Nature and People Initiative (SNaP). Finally, in 2017 and 2018 Dr. West is serving as a Phi Beta Kappa distinguished national lecturer.

In addition to her academic work, Dr. West is the co-founder, and a board member, of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea by Papua New Guineans. Dr. West is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in Papua New Guinea dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge.

Research & Other Works
Article
An Anthropology for 'the Assemblage of the Now'
Article
"Such a site for play, this edge:" Surfing, Tourism, and Modernist Fantasy in Papua New Guinea
Article
Making the Market: Specialty Coffee, Generational Pitches, and Papua New Guinea
Article
Holding the Story Forever: The Aesthetics of Ethnographic Labor
Article
Translation, Value and Space: Theorizing an Ethnographic and Engaged Environmental Anthropology
Global assemblages, resilience, and Earth Stewardship in the Anthropocene
Article
Tourism as Science and Science as Tourism: Environment, Society, Self, and Other in Papua New Guinea
Article
Environmental Conservation and Mining: Between Experience and Expectation in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea
Article
Ecotourism and Authenticity: Getting Away from It All?
 
Submit Content

Share your research or scholarly works to be posted on the site.