Dr. Thomas W. Pearson

Professor / Department Chair

Phone 715-232-1515
Office 441C Harvey Hall

Thomas Pearson is a cultural anthropologist and chair of the social science department. His teaching and research interests include environmental justice, political ecology, social movements, applied anthropology, and disability studies. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork on environmental conflicts in both Central America and the United States related to biodiversity conservation, GMOs, intellectual property rights, sand mining, and industrial pollution and toxic exposure. He is the author of When the Hills Are Gone: Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Community (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), as well as numerous academic articles and essays. His second book, due out in late 2023, is tentatively titled An Ordinary Future: Margaret Mead’s Anthropology and the Predicaments of Disability (University of California Press). His current research is a collaborative, multi-sited ethnographic study of community responses to PFAS contamination in the mid-Ohio River Valley and Upper Great Lakes regions of the United States, a project sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.