Sonja K. Pieck

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Associations

Environmental Studies

Hedge Hall, Room 113

Latin American Studies

Hedge Hall, Room 113

207-786-8206spieck@bates.edu

About

Ph.D., M.A., Geography, Clark University
B.A., Environmental Studies, Bucknell

Sonja Pieck is a faculty member in the Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies Programs.

Research

As a human geographer, I am broadly interested how various forms of nature (e.g., “cultural landscapes” or “biodiversity”) are produced and how they become meaningful to different groups of people. At the same time, I am curious about environmental governance and political participation at multiple scales, especially around access to and use of these forms of nature and natural resources.

In the past, I have examined these issues by exploring transnational alliances between Amazonian indigenous groups and US environmentalists, and by studying NGO mobilization strategies against mega-infrastructure projects in Peru. My current research takes me back to Germany, my country of origin, where I investigate the history and environmental politics of the Green Belt, an ecological corridor and protected area crafted from the remains of the Cold War inter-German border that once separated socialist East Germany from capitalist West Germany. In my current book project, I am particularly interested in the complex and mutual entanglements of emergent ecosystems and historical memory. In landscapes marked by war, militarization, and trauma, I argue for a conservation praxis productively situated between land care and curation, between ecological principles and historical memorialization, and between expertise and community participation. My work ultimately advances a vision of conservation that is sensitive to the landscape’s past while being collaborative, empathetic, and more deeply acknowledging of the interlacing between humans and the places they inhabit.

Teaching

My courses, from the introductory to the upper levels, broadly cover the environmental social sciences and range across the Global North and South. Course descriptions can be found in the College Catalog.

ANES 242       Environment, Human Rights & Indigenous Peoples
ENVR 204      Environment & Society
ENVR 223      Politics of Wildlife Conservation
ENVR 337      Social Movements, NGOs & the Environment
ENVR 350       Environmental Justice
ENVR 417      Community-Engaged Research in Environmental Studies
ESEU s28        Green City Germany: Experiments in Sustainable Urbanism