Paige West, Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, begins her directorship of the Center for the Study of Social Difference this summer after having served as co-director of two CSSD working groups, Reframing Gendered Violence and Pacific Climate Circuits.
“I’m honored to have been selected to direct CSSD for the next few years,” says Dr. West. “The center’s goal of creating space for our community to come together to work towards scholarship that pushes our understanding of social difference in new directions and that produces social change lies at the heart of why I initially became a scholar.”
Dr. West’s broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. More specifically, she has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption.
In addition to her academic work, Dr. West is the co-founder, and a board member, of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea by Papua New Guineans. Dr. West is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in Papua New Guinea dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge.