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The Department of Geography and the Environment is renowned for the quality and diversity of its collaborative research and curricula. We invite you to explore the disciplinary spectrum through our research clusters, initiatives, and spotlights.

Research Clusters

Research Initiatives

The Food and Farming research initiative integrates components of the Department's three major research clusters to examine food and related materials in a geographic context.

Research Spotlights (more coming soon)

Research Spotlights highlight the ongoing research of faculty and graduate students.

College of Liberal Arts

Knapp with UT graduate student Heather Rule, in a rose breeding facility, 2017.

Research Spotlights

Professor Gregory Knapp

Floriculture and Discourses of Tradition, Modernization and Sustainability in Ecuador

Mountain Agriculture has been transformed in the Andes and elsewhere by the development of nontraditional exports, taking advantage of unique environmental characteristics.  This research project studies the particular case of greenhouse floriculture in Ecuador, its social and environmental impacts and vulnerabilities, and its relationship with indigenous smallholders.  Recent project publications include refereed journal articles in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and the Journal of Latin American Geography.

Food and Farming

Eugenio Arima, William E. Doolittle, Gregory W. Knapp, and Rebecca M. Torres

Food and Farming research initiative integrates components of the Department's  three major research clusters to examine tactics and strategies of the production, distribution, preparation, and utilization of food and other useful plants and animals at a variety of scales from local to regional and global.  Faculty and student research projects have included the dynamics of agricultural and other land use in the Amazon basin, irrigation features and practices in the Southwest, Mexico, and the Andes, nontraditional export agriculture (including soybeans, quinoa and flowers), cattle ranching, the impact of roads, tourism and migration on agriculture, gendered spaces of food preparation, kitchen gardens, the persistence of smallholder farming, impact of traditional plant use on the environment, and the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Feminist Collective

Our work centers the relationships between power, people and place. We study migration, gentrification, displacement, nationalism, environmental racism, climate change, fashion and more! We are interested in the links between colonial histories and contemporary practice, how race, gender, class and other forms of power shape places and people's lives, and examples of activism, resistance and social justice. Central to our research is our commitment to supporting peers, building ethical and activist scholarship, and deepening diversity in geography.  As a research Collective we bring together faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from Geography and across UT. We strive to foster healthy and vibrant academic spaces for women, and particularly women of color, as we engage in feminist and antiracist geographic research. Primarily we use qualitative research methods: ethnography, interviews, photography, archival research and discourse analysis, but we are excited about trans-methodological approaches like creative and qualitaitve GIS and feminist machine learning. Check out our group!


stands for Ecology, Sustainability and Human-Environment Interactions. Through our research, reading and discussion, we aim to understand environmental problems through a diversity of viewpoints, ranging from ecology and geomorphology to economics and culture. We are interested in understanding both the biophysical and social dynamics of today’s ecological challenges, and we use a lens of coupled human-environmental systems to engage with various subfields of geography. We study biogeography, hydro-geomorphology, ecological restoration, land use change, ecosystem services, political ecology, vegetation ecology, and economic geography, among other things. We utilize mixed quantitative and qualitative methods, including remote sensing, spatial analysis, surveys, interviews, and soil, hydrologic and biological sampling. Our collective brings together faculty and graduate students to work on our own research, as well as stay up to date with the latest research in these fields.

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