Michelle Glowa, Assistant Professor of the Anthropology and Social Change MA and PhD at CIIS K. Michelle Glowa

Assistant Professor
Anthropology and Social Change
School of Consciousness and Transformation (SCT)

PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz

BA, BS, Colorado State University

Michelle Glowa, PhD is an assistant professor in Anthropology and Social Change department. Her research interests include critical political ecology, urban social movements, and agri-food studies. Her work uses interdisciplinary frameworks to explore the dynamics between activists engaged in changing the socio-spatial landscapes of cities and food systems and the contemporary institutions with which they interact. Michelle approaches her research with over a decade of experience working with food justice and urban agriculture organizing in the United States and Mexico. Her research contributes to a broader effort in the social sciences to study the cultures, political imaginaries, solidification of practices, and limitations of today's radical social movements. Michelle received her B.S. in Natural Resource Management and Political Science from Colorado State University and her PhD in Environmental Studies from University of California Santa Cruz. 



PhD, Environmental Studies, University of California Santa Cruz

MA, Environmental Studies, University of California Santa Cruz

BA, Natural Resource Management, Political Science, Colorado State University


Alternative Economic Systems (3 Units)

This course offers a critical examination of economic possibilities, alternative production systems, and subjectivities that can be considered “postcapitalist” in that they strive to transcend what is conceivable within the current socioeconomic order. The critiques and experiments examined here include both past and present attempts to carve out autonomous spaces of noncapitalist production. We will embark on a journey through popular economic organizations, communal self-management of land, experiments in solidarity economy, community economy, participatory economics, and self-organized workplaces and cooperatives. In doing so, we arrive at a very different notion of “development,” a perspective grounded in a number of noncapitalist or postcapitalist struggles in different parts of the world. Such struggles for dignity and alternative production systems are epistemic, critical, and prefigurative. At once challenging and reimagining development, those struggles contribute to an emerging sensibility that another world is possible (McMichael 2009).

Political Ecology: Critical Approaches to Anthropology of the Environment and Socio-Ecological Change (3 Units)

In the last century, we entered a period of unprecedented environmental transformations leading to what many scholars believe is the biosphere on the brink. In this landscape of uncertainty and change, heated debates over environmental conservation, land use, and livelihoods dominate the contemporary sociopolitical arena. This course explores political ecology as an interdisciplinary approach to understanding socio-ecological processes of change. We start with an examination of the political stakes and dynamics of environmental access, management, and transformation. Through critiques of scholars and communities, we will challenge understandings of nature, resource use, and degradation that have resulted as a consequence of colonialism and uneven capitalist development. The class will play particular attention to political ecologies of our increasingly urbanized world, asking the questions: Where does society end and nature begin? How are movements and communities reframing and constructing socio-natures in resistance? In so doing, our intention is to arrive at Robbins’s conclusion that “politics is inevitably ecological and ecology is inherently political” (2012).

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