Gordon Ulmer

Assistant Professor - Cultural Anthropology


Assistant Professor - Applied Cultural Anthropology
Undergraduate & Graduate Advisor
Director, Ethnographic Research Lab
Graduate Program Coordinator
Ethnographic Consultant, Cultural Resources Facility


I am an applied cultural anthropologist who examines themes of environmental crisis, precarity,
and cultural continuity and change from the perspective of political ecology. I have researched
and published on related themes including environmental change and cannabis cultivation (2024), ecological crisis and migration (2021), natural resource extraction and disposable labor
(2020), the effects of global climate change on health and somatic stability (2019), waste
infrastructure and development (2018), ethnographic methods (2016), and unequal ecological
exchange (2015). My international research programs in Andes-Amazonia and Central America
center on how polluted waterscapes relate to people’s insecurity, instability, and well-being.

My current project builds conduits between landscape ecology, multispecies ethnography, and
Indigenous studies to trace the social histories of biotic lifeforms in wildland-urban transition
zones on California’s Redwood Coast, a region experiencing sea level rise at a faster rate than
anywhere else on the West Coast. The question driving this research is: What can the social
biographies of flora, fauna, fungi, and microorganisms in disturbed landscapes teach us about
human precarity and survivance in this moment of climate crisis?

Personal website

Selected Courses Taught:

  • Bear River Culture & Socioecological Change
  • Critical Histories of Culture, Race, & Science
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Ethnography
  • People, Parks, & Power
  • Wicked Problems of the Anthropocene


  • Ph.D. Anthropology, The Ohio State University
  • M.A. Anthropology, The Ohio State University
  • B.A. Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin

Selected Publications:

Two people surfing  Researcher holding spears  Two people on a motorcycle in a flooded street   

Gordon Ulmer
(707) 826-4560
Office hours: Mondays 8:50-10:50 am & by appointment