Rebecca D. Hardin

Associate Professor


PhD, Yale University (anthropology)

MPhil, Yale University (history, anthropology)

BA, Brown University (program in literary and social theory)

(734) 647-5947


Professor Hardin’s areas of interest and scientific study include human/wildlife interactions, and social and environmental change related to wildlife management, tourism, logging, and mining in equatorial Africa, especially the western Congo basin. Recent projects also focus on the increasingly intertwined practices of health, environmental management, and corporate governance in southern and eastern Africa, including sites in South Africa and Kenya. In 2013-14 she advised a student team studying environmental justice cases within the U.S., and connecting them to the international Environmental Justice Atlas. In 2014–15 she advised a student team assessing groundwater and surface water resources across the African continent, and advising GETF about how to make a better business case for water related investment by businesses in Africa. She teaches and mentors students interested in international environmental practice and policy, wildife management, human relationships to landscape, environmental justice, and global health. She also provides support for the students who are the genius behind SEAS's weekly environmental talk and music show, It’s Hot in Here, airing at noon on Fridays on WCBN FM 88.3, and with an accompanying blog and mp3 archive. The show helps researchers discuss their work with local audiences interested in environmental policy affecting Michigan, and also reach out to national and transnational audiences streaming the show via the Internet. Her recent book Transforming Ethnographic Knowledge explores the discipline of anthropology as a set of skills and tools for social change in sectors as different as business, biological conservation, conflict resolution, and biomedical care. Rebecca teaches courses in both SEAS and the Department of Anthropology, she also founded and coordinates SEAS's Environmental Justice Certificate Program for students beyond those two units working in or studying communities who are either negatively impacted by environmental harms, or experiencing inequality of access to environmental goods and ecosystem services.  Rebecca currently coordinates the Environmental Justice field of study and coordinates the Michigan Sustainability Cases initiative.

  • 2013-15: internal funds from French Research Institute CIRAD and University of Michigan for the cost ($11,000) of publishing a special issue of International Forestry Review on comparative analysis of tropical forest timber concessions.

  • 2007-2013: Co-PI with SNRE colleagues Tom Lyon, Dan Brown, John Vandermeer, and Rick Riolo (Arun Agrawal, PI). “Environmental governance, forests and logging concessions: the effects of institutional complexity on forest systems, cover, and change in Central Africa.” Supported by $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Coupled Human and Natural Systems Initiative.

  • 2006: Archival research in Europe on Colonial History of concession systems in the upper Sangha region of equatorial Africa. Supported by $12,000 Rackham Faculty Improvement Grant, University of Michigan.

  • 2005: Research on Concessionary Politics in Southern Africa and Coordination of Corporate Lives Panel at the American Ethnological Society Meetings. Center for International Business Education. Supported by $5000 grant from the University of Michigan.

  • 2001 & 2002: Grants (totaling $13,000) Phase I of Sangha River Network Project. Yale Center for International and Area Studies/ Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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Unite For Sight
Association for the Study of Law and Property
American Ethnological Society
American Anthropological Association
African Studies Association


Steering Committee Member, elected in at-large capacity, Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, a consortium of NGO, Zoo, and Animal protection interests, Washington D.C. (1999-2008).