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Christian Parenti

Christian Parenti

Christian Parenti has a Ph.D. in Sociology (co-supervised in Geography) from the London School of Economics and is a professor in the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University, specializing in Environmental History, Political Economy, Political Ecology and the Politics of War. His 2011 book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, explored how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. The book involved several years of travel and research in conflict zones of the Global South. When it appeared, critics called Tropic of Chaos “a must-read,” “a harrowing tour-de-force,” “a sweeping discourse on the collision set in motion between the natural and the social world,” and a “wake-up call for humanity, particularly the richest nations.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote that “Parenti offers an unusual and compelling analysis of violence through the lens of the environment” and another reviewer noted that “Tropic of Chaos not only asks the right questions. An argument could be made that it deals with the only questions currently worth asking.”

Dr. Parenti’s  previous books include The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq (2005), a work of analytic and ethnographic reportage on the first years of US military occupation in Iraq; The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror (2002), a history of routine, everyday surveillance that traces the development of political technologies, like fingerprinting and photographic identification, from their origins in the antebellum South to the present; and Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (2000/2008). Considered a social science classic, Lockdown explores the history of the US prison and policing buildup since the 1960s and argues that the buildup is rooted in both global-scale economy shifts and national discursive projects of racialized class control and political theater.

Christian Parenti completed a series of post-doctoral research fellowships at the City University of New York Graduate Center where he worked closely with the geographers Neil Smith and David Harvey; and has held fellowships from the Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. His current research focuses on the environmental history of state involvement in American economic development, from the earliest days of the republic onward.

As a journalist, Christian Parenti has reported extensively from Afghanistan, Iraq, and various parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His articles have appeared in FortuneThe Washington PostThe New York TimesMiddle East ReportLondon Review of Books, Mother Jones, and The Nation (where he is a contributing editor). He has also helped make several documentaries and has won numerous journalistic awards, including the 2009 Lange-Tailor Prize and “Best Magazine Writing 2008” from the Society for Professional Journalists. He also received a 2009 Emmy nomination for the documentary Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.

Sponsored by the School of Justice Studies, the Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Social Work, the African/African American Studies Program, and the Honors Program


Published on December 01, 2016

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