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Brian Klein

Department of Afroamerican and African Studies
Environmental governance, resource politics, and rural development in Africa.

Science, Technology, and Society Program

Brian Klein is an assistant professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and the Program in the Environment, as well as an associate of UM's African Studies Center. He is a political ecologist interested in environmental governance, resource politics, and rural development in Africa. His recent work examines local-level governance institutions in Madagascar’s artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector; the production of “mineral commons;” the role of “indigenous” or “customary” institutions like Malagasy dina (codes) in situated contests over resource access and authority; and the rise of “flexible extraction” and mobile subjectivities across northern Madagascar’s resource frontiers

Brian is currently working on a book manuscript (Everyday Exploitation: Extraction and Accumulation in the Mines of Madagascar) that investigates strategies of livelihood production, wealth accumulation, and capitalist expansion in Madagascar’s goldfields. Central to his analysis are STS-informed interrogations of how geological knowledge and extractive technologies—their conceptualization and deployment—have shaped both state-corporate interventions and small-scale miners’ resistance to dispossession. Other topics of his ongoing research include the production and use of artisanal geological knowledge; notions of belonging in extractive frontier settings; and the political-economic and socio-cultural dimensions of rural infrastructure projects.

Brian holds a PhD in environmental science, policy, and management from UC Berkeley. He was born and raised in Hawai'i. More information can be found on his website.

Undergraduate Courses:
AAS 103/ENVIRON 152 - Reconsidering African Environments
ENVIRON 209/AAS 261 - Nature and Power: An Introduction to Political Ecology
AAS 357/ENVIRON 302 - Environmental Governance and African Development
AAS 495/ENVIRON 462 - Studying Exploitation: Ethnography, Extraction, and the Environment in Africa