Associate Professor
Affiliate Faculty: UGA Institute for Women's Studies

Contact info

Geography Geology Building, Room 135
Phone Number:
Research Interests:

urban political ecology, climate and carbon governance, nature-society theory, science-policy studies, scholar-activism, feminist and anti-racist praxis and pedagogy

My work examines the intersection of the state, society, and science through issues of environmental governance. Drawing broadly on political ecology, urban political geography, and science-policy studies, I attempt to understand the relationship between "nature" (as the non-human), state practices, and social institutions. All of my research considers the effects of environmental policies and programs on urban governance, sustainable development, environmental citizenship, and notions of expertise. I am also working to more fully connect my research on environmental governance to the people (residents, activists, decision-makers) which I work, in an effort to help promote new forms of democratic science and policy-making. My projects have ranged from localized environmental issues (such as sewer overflows in Columbus, Ohio and non-timber forest product gathering in New England) to international concerns (such as global climate change and ecological conservation in India). I work with a variety of groups, including public officials, activist organizations, climate scientists, and community residents. I employ mixed methods in my research and draw upon both human and physical geography.

  • Ph.D. (2009), University of Arizona Geography
  • Master of Arts (2005), The Ohio State University Geography
  • Bachelor of Science (2003), Texas State University Geography

One of numerous Co-PIs, L-PI T. Gragson. (2014-2016). Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER): The Interacting Effects of Hydroclimate Variability and Human Landscape Modification in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. National Science Foundation’s DEB Division of Environmental Biology and BIO Directorate for Biological Sciences. 

N. Heynen and J.L. Rice (Co-PIs) (2012). Developing Ethnographic Methodologies for Long-Term Socio-Ecological Science: Preliminary Approaches from the Coweeta Listening Project (Supplement to the Coweeta LTER) National Science Foundation, SBE, Cultural Anthropology Program. 

J.L. Rice (PI), D. Ferguson, C. Woodhouse (Co-PIs) (2009-2012). Knowledge to Action: An Assessment of the Transfer of Climate Science to Decision Making. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sectoral Applications Research Program. 

Robbins, P. (PI) J.L. Rice (Co-PI). (2008). From Nations to Networks: Global Climate Change and Local Climate Governance in the United States. National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. 

Selected Publications:

The following are my three primary areas of my research and their associated publications:

1) Climate and carbon governance, with an emphasis on urban programs and policies: In the absence of effective climate change regulations at the national level in the United States, municipal governments across the US are designing and implementing their own greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation and adaptation programs. These new forms of climate policy are firmly embedded within urban governance, the behaviors of city residents, and community-based activism, signaling a dramatic shift away from the top- down approach to climate regulation once thought to be the only avenue to global climate governance. As city governments enact climate policy through a regulatory focus on those areas of urban governance over which they have direct control (e.g. city ordinances on energy efficiency in the built environment), they are also working to influence the individual behavior of local residents through outreach efforts that provide information about how to voluntarily reduce one's own carbon footprint (e.g. utilizing alternative transportation or compact fluorescent light bulbs). This arrangement of political authority has allowed cities to achieve some successes in mitigation efforts, but policy-makers and activists also face significant governance challenges. Furthermore, recent efforts at climate mitigation and adaptation are causing new forms of ecological gentrification, something I call carbon gentrification. I am examine these shifts within the wider context of neoliberalism as a means to explicitly address questions of power and politics.


Rice, J.L., Cohen, D.A., Long, J., Jurjevich, J.R. (Forthcoming). Contradictions of the Climate Friendly City: New Perspectives on Eco- Gentrification and Housing Justice.  International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Long, J. and Rice, J.L. (Forthcoming). From Sustainable Urbanism to Climate Urbanism. Urban Studies.

Rice, J.L. (2018). "Science and the City: Consensus, Calculation and security in Seattle, Washington." Handbook on Spaces of Urban Politics. Eds. K. Ward, A. E. G. Jonas, B. Miller, D. Wilson. Routledge

Rice, J.L. (2016). “The Everyday Choices We Make Matter:” Urban Carbon Politics and the Post-Politics of Responsibility and Action. Eds., Bulkeley, H, Patterson, M., Stripple, J. The Cultural Politics of Climate Change: Devices, Desires, and Dissent. Cambridge University Press. 

Bee, B.A., Rice, J.L., Trauger, A. (2015). A feminist approach to climate change governance: Everyday and intimate politics. Geography Compass. 9(6): 339-350.

Rice, J.L. (2014). An Urban Political Ecology of Climate Change Governance. Geography Compass. 8(6): 381-394.

Rice, J.L. (2014). Public Targets, Private Choices: Urban Climate Governance in the Pacific Northwest. Professional Geographer. 66(2): 333-344.

Rice, J.L. (2010). Climate, Carbon Territory: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in Seattle, Washington. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 110(4): 929-937.

2) Integrative Studies of Socio-Environmental Issues, with an emphasis on climate science and policy:  Because the complexity of socio-environmental issues is beyond the capacity of any one discipline (or epistemology) to fully comprehend, integrative research is needed to help researchers and practitioners understand and address contemporary socio-environmental challenges. An integrative approach requires, therefore, that individuals respect and engage epistemological difference as a way of deepening our understanding by highlighting multiple dimensions of socio-ecological problems, rather than seeking modes of convergence and synthesis. With this in mind, my research explicitly examines the politics of knowledge involved in how environmental problems are defined, and what solutions are seen as viable and appropriate. This includes understanding science and policy not as separate spheres of knowledge and practice, but as co-produced as researchers and decision-makers work to collectively define environmental problems and the information necessary to address them. It also requires careful examination of the social justice issues associated with technocratic and engineering-based solutions for environmental problems, like climate change, which often focus on efficiency and feasibility over more structural changes to a carbon-intensive economy. My research demonstrates decision-making communities in climate policy are often limited to a small number of government workers and scientific experts, showing that much work remains to make these processes more inclusive and democratic than they currently tend to be.


Burke, B.J., M. Welch-Devine, S. Gustafson, N. Heynen, J.L. Rice, T. Gragson, S. Evans, D. Nelson. (2016). Can Science Writing Collectives Overcome Barriers to More Democratic Communication and Collaboration? Lessons from Environmental Communication Praxis in Southern Appalachia. Environmental Communication.10(2): 169-186

Hirsch, P.D., J.P. Brosius, S. O’Connor, A. Zia, M. Welch-Devine, J.L. Dammert, A. Songorwa, T.C. Trung, J.L. Rice, Z.R. Anderson, S. Hitchner, J. Schelhas, T.O. McShane. (2013). Navigating Complex Trade-offs in Conservation and Development: An Integrative Framework. Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies 31: 99–122.

Rice, Jennifer L., Connie A. Woodhouse, and Jeffrey J. Lukas. (2009). Science and Decision-Making: Water Management and Tree-Ring Data in the Western United States. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 45(5): 1248-1259.

3) Environmental governance in southern Appalachia, with an emphasis on the politics of climate change and fracking: I engage in long-term place-based research through my participation in the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site and the Coweeta Listening Project (CLP). Working with a team of social scientists who are closely connected with ecological researchers, I examine the relationship between environmental governance, climate change, and exurban development in southern Appalachia, with a specific focus on the democratization of knowledge surrounding climate change in the region. We have developed a suite of new methods for facilitating this long-term participatory action research with local residents, regional decision-makers, and LTER scientists. More recently, I have also been working with activist groups concerned about the possibility of fracking in North Carolina. I incorporate public engagement in this research through my involvement in the CLP, where, among other things, we write a bi-weekly column called “Science, Community, and Public Policy” in a local newspaper, The Franklin Press. Together, this model of long-term, participatory, and publicly engaged research is working to better understand the ways in which the production, circulation, and utilization of ecological knowledge affects issues of socio-ecological vulnerability and socio-ecological justice.


Rice, J.L. and Burke, B.J. (2018) Building More Inclusive Solidarities for Socio‐Environmental Change: Lessons in Resistance from Southern Appalachia. Antipode, 50(1): pp.212-232.

Rice, J.L. and  B.J. Burke, N. Heynen. (2015). Knowing Climate Change, Embodying Climate Praxis: Experiential Knowledge in Southern Appalachia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 105(2): 253-262 (Special issue “Futures: Imagining Socio-Ecological Transformation” edited by Bruce Braun).

Gustafson, S., N. Heynen, J.L. Rice, T. Gragson, J.M. Shepherd, C. Strother. (2014). Megapolitan political ecology and urban metabolism in southern Appalachia. Professional Geographer. 66 (4), 664-675.

Articles featuring Jennifer L. Rice

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 1:26pm

This paper’s lead author is Jennifer Rice, UGA Geography

Tech companies that espouse sustainability may actually exacerbate a city’s carbon footprint, new research suggests.

Jennifer L. Rice