Assistant Professor of Sociology and Environmental and Urban Studies
Academic Program Affiliation(s): Environmental and Urban Studies, Global and International Studies, Sociology
Biography:Professor Peter Klein’s teaching and research focus on urban studies, environmental sociology, globalization and development, political sociology, and qualitative methods. He is engaged in research and community-based projects in both the United States and Brazil.
Peter’s research in Brazil focuses on public participation, urban and environmental change, and collective action in both Amazonia and Rio de Janeiro. His book manuscript, Flooded: Development, Democracy, and Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam (Rutgers University Press, 2022), provides an ethnographic account of the societal effects of the state’s attempt to mitigate the negative impacts of one of the world’s largest hydroelectric facilities with extensive social and economic resources. The book developed out of his PhD work, for which he won the best dissertation award in the Brazil section of the Latin American Studies Association. Peter continues to carry out research in the Brazilian Amazon, and his work extends to Rio de Janeiro. He engages with scholars, activists, and artists based in the city and the Global North, in efforts to reframe stigmatized understandings of Rio’s favelas, carry out research on environmental inequality, democratize academia, and rethink how knowledge is produced. Since 2019, Peter has been doing much of this work through Maré from the Inside, a visual and textual exhibit.
Peter also engages in teaching- and community-based participatory research and engagement in the United States on civic participation, environmental inequality, and housing insecurity. He cares deeply about student engagement in the world beyond the classroom, so that they can see the value of the ideas they learn in courses and apply them to civic and political work that matters to them. Through his courses and special projects, he works with students to actively participate in efforts in local communities, particularly the city of Kingston, that address environmental, housing, and other social justice issues.
Professor Klein’s published work appears in The Journal of Peasant Studies, Latin American Research Review, and American Journal of Sociology, among other academic journals. He is also co-author of The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life (2014).