Human Response to Environmental Change in Cambodia


Principal Investigators

Sabina Shaikh

Dr. Sabina Shaikh is a Senior Instructional Professor in the Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU) and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies at the University of Chicago. She is the Director of Academic Programs for CEGU, Faculty Director of the Chicago Studies Program, and Faculy co-lead of the Environmental Frontiers Initiative at the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation.  As an environmental economist, her research and teaching focuses on the economics of environmental policy and natural resource management, the valuation of ecosystem services and global sustainable development. Her collaborative research on water sustainability, migration and urbanization in the Mekong Basin of Cambodia has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Center for International Social Science Research, the Social Science Research Center, and the Neubauer Collegium at the University of Chicago. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis.

Alan Kolata

Kolata Leads ongoing interdisciplinary research projects studying human-environment interactions over the past 3000 years in the Lake Titicaca basin of Bolivia, on the north coast of Peru and most recently in Thailand and Cambodia. His recent research interests include comparative work on agroecological systems, human-environment interactions, the human dimension of global change, agricultural and rural development, and archaeology and ethnohistory, particularly in the Andean region.

Marco Garrido

Garrido’s work has focused on the relationship between the urban poor and middle class in Manila as located in slums and upper- and middle-class enclaves. The project has been to connect this relationship with urban structure on the one hand and political dissensus on the other. In the process, he highlights the role of class in shaping urban space, social life, and politics.

The project has resulted in several articles: on segregation in the form of the interspersion of slums and residential enclaves; on the urban poor’s support for populism; on the relationship between spatial and social boundaries; and on developing an urban sociology focused on cities in the Global South. This work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Qualitative Sociology, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. More recently, he published a book entitled The Patchwork City.

His new project draws a link between democratic recession and the explosive growth of the middle class in the developing world. Specifically, I locate the Philippine middle class’ support for Rodrigo Duterte in their experience of democracy. My research aims to provide a thick account of this experience and, thereby, clarify the sources of democratic disenchantment in the Philippines and elsewhere.


Anni Beukes, Fellow, Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, University of Chicago

John Felkner, Assistant Professor, Florida State University

Julio Postigo, Indiana University

Mauricio Arias, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida

Michael Binford, Professor, University of Florida

Monin Nong, Research Associate / Project Coordinator, Cambodia Development Resource Institute

Try Thuon, Royal University of Phnom Penh


Cambodian Development Resource Institute

Center for Khmer Studies

Cambodian National Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial