Jennifer Wells Jennifer Wells

Associate Professor
Transformative Studies
Transformative Inquiry Department
School of Consciousness and Transformation

PhD, University of California, Berkeley

PhD, Sorbonne Paris IV

Jennifer Wells is a writer and professor, and has worked in video, film and radio. Her book Complexity and Sustainability (Routledge 2013), examines how complexity theories may advance environmental policy. She looks at complexity theories throughout the natural sciences, but also the social sciences, social theory, and philosophy. Case studies focus on climate change and the energy transition. The complexity framework she develops has numerous implications regarding converging, multidimensional global crises, and related environmental science, policy and management. The book explores and problematizes discourse around shifting social, economic and environmental policy from vicious to virtuous circles, and from piecemeal to synergistic approaches.

Jennifer is currently working on a book on carbon ethics and environmental politics, in the context of pressing social inequities in the race to reduce global carbon emissions. Other current writing projects include a shorter guidebook on complexity theories and global change, and articles on the discourse surrounding growth, limits and values in confronting climate change, and on the imaginary of future scenarios and visioning.

Generally speaking, her work draws on interdisciplinary social sciences and humanities, with the aim of elucidating and advancing transformation in our societies, energy policy and use, economics, and environmental conservation. She draws from the fields of sustainability studies, complexity theories, environmental ethics and politics, climate change, and futures studies. Jennifer enjoys teaching both core classes and electives in TSD, utilizing multimedia and innovative hybrid classroom and online learning techniques. She supervises doctoral students in her research areas, including work on theoretical, qualitative, multimedia and arts-based scholarship.

After graduate degrees at Yale, Berkeley and the Sorbonne in Paris, in the fields of interdisciplinary environmental issues and philosophy, currently she is on the core faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Transformative Studies doctoral program.

J Wells. 2017. Mind the Gap: Bridging the Two Cultures with Complex Thought, Ecological Complexity Journal, Elsevier Press.

“Complexity as a Catalyst for Environmental Ethics: Advancing major ethical theories,” book chapter, L’Ethique Environnementale : Hommage a Catherine Larrere, Ed. Raphael Larrere, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris (in press), 2013.

Complexity and Sustainability, Routledge Press, 2013 (first published in August 2012).

“Classes that Change the World: Synergistic Solutions and Multiplier Effects for Students, Campuses and Communities,” in World Trends on Education for Sustainable Development, ed. Walter Leal, University of Hamburg Press, 2011.

"Melting Ice: Climate Change and the Humanities." Jennifer Wells and Carolyn Merchant, Confluence, XIV, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 13-27.

Complexity and Climate Change : An epistemological study of transdisciplinary complexity theories and their contribution to socio-ecological phenomena, dissertation, UC Berkeley, the Sorbonne, Paris IV, 2009.

Biotechnologies: An Overview, 140 p. book – Ford Foundation publication, co-authored with Dustin Mulvaney (equal authorship), under the direction of Michael Watts, Geography Dept, UC Berkeley, 2005.


Wells, Jennifer. Climate Tech Solutions talk, ManyLabs Event, San Francisco, September 29, 2017.

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