Theresa Selfa

Theresa Selfa

Associate Professor

219 Marshall Hall
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, New York 13210

Phone: (315) 470-6570/470-6636



  • Cornell University, Development Sociology PhD 2001
  • UC Berkeley, City and Regional Planning MCP 
  • Whitman College, English Literature BA 

Research Interests

Environmental Governance

Politics of Agri-Food Systems

Community Impacts of Land Use Change

Household Impacts of Environmental Policies 

International Development and Social Change

Environmental Certification and Labelling

US and Latin America

Current Graduate Advisees

Current Graduate Advisees

Nathan KennedyNathan Kennedy

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Selfa
  • Area of Study: Environmental Communication

Blake NeumannBlake Neumann

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Collins and Selfa
  • Area of Study: Water & Wetland Resource Studies

Christopher TomlinsonChristopher Tomlinson

  • Degree Sought: MS in Environmental Studies
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Selfa and Manno

Sara VelardiSara Velardi

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Selfa
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy

Theodora WeatherbyTheodora Weatherby

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Vidon and Selfa
  • Area of Study: Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Courses Taught

  • Undergraduate: Environment and Society
  • Graduate: Environment and Social Theory; Qualitative Research Methods

Recent Publications

Bain, C. and T. Selfa. 2017. “Non-GMOs vs. Organic Labels: Purity or Process Guarantees in a GMO Contaminated Landscape.”  Agriculture and Human Values, Forthcoming.

Bain, C., T. Selfa, T. Dandachi, and S.Velardi. 2017. “Superweeds or Survivors? Framing the Problem of Glyphosate Resistant Weeds and Genetically Engineered Crops.”  Journal of Rural Studies 51: 211-221.

Takahashi, B., M. Burnham, C. Terracina, A. Sopchak, and T. Selfa.  2016. “Climate change perceptions of NY State farmers:  The role of risk perceptions and adaptive capacity.” Journal of Environmental management 58(6): 946-957.

Kulcsar, L, T. Selfa,  & C. Bain. 2016. “Privileged access and rural vulnerabilities: Examining social and environmental exploitation in bioenergy development in the American Midwest.” Journal of Rural Studies 47: 291-299.

Asbjornsen, H.,  A. Mayer, K. Jones, T. Selfa, R. Kolka, L. Saenz, K.  Halvorsen.  2015.  “Assessing Impacts of Payments for Watershed Services on Sustainability in Coupled Natural Human Systems.” Bioscience 65 (6): 579-592.

Selfa, T., C. Bain, R. Moreno*, A. Eastmond, S. Sweitz, C. Bailey, T. Martins*, G. Simas Pereira*, R. Medeiros. 2015. “Interrogating Social Sustainability in the Biofuels Sector in Latin America: Tensions between Global Standards and Local Experiences in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.” Environmental Management 56 (6): 1315-1329.

Feldpausch-Parker, A., M. Burnham, M. Melnik*, M. Callaghan*, and T. Selfa. 2015. “News Media Analysis of CCS and Biomass: Perceptions and Possibilities."  Invited for Special Issue on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Bio-Energy vs. Fossil Fuels. Energies Vol. 8: 3058-74.

Selfa, T., A. Iaroi*, and M. Burnham. 2015.  Promoting Ethanol in Rural Kansas: Cultural Politics and Local Framings. Journal of Rural Studies 39: 63-73.

Selfa, T., C. Bain and R. Moreno*. 2014. “Depoliticizing Land and Water ‘Grabs’ in Colombia: The Limits of Bonsucro Certification for Enhancing Sustainable Biofuel Practices.” Special Issue on The Paradoxes of Multi Stakeholder Initiatives in the Age of Global Agri-food Governance. Agriculture and Human Values 31(3): 455-468.

Takahashi, B.* and T. Selfa. 2014. “Pro-Environmental Behavior in Rural Agricultural Communities: Examining the roles of environmental attitudes, community satisfaction, and community attachment.”   Environment and Behavior 47(8): 856-876.

Bain, C. and T. Selfa. 2013. “Framing and Reframing the Environmental Risks and Economic Benefits of Ethanol Production in Iowa.” Agriculture and Human Values 30 (3): 351-364

White, S.  and T. Selfa. 2013. “Shifting Lands: Exploring Kansas Farmer Decision-Making in an Era of Climate Change and Biofuels Production.” Journal of Environmental Management 51(2): 379-391.

Selfa, T., L. Kulcsár, C. Bain, R. Goe and G. Middendorf.  2011. “Biofuels Bonanza? Exploring Community Perceptions of the Promises and Perils of Biofuels Production,” Special issue on Sociopolitical Dimensions of U.S. Bioenergy Development. Biomass and Bioenergy 34: 1379-89.  

Selfa, T. 2010. “Global Benefits, Local Burdens? The Paradox of Governing Biofuels Production in Kansas and Iowa.” Special Issue on Sustainable Agriculture Systems in a Resource Limited Future. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 25: 129-142.

Selfa, T., R. Fish and M. Winter.  2010. “Farming livelihoods and landscapes: tensions in rural development and environmental regulation.” Special Issue on Landscape and Rural Development in Europe.  Landscape Research 36 (6): 595-612.

Peterson, H.H., T. Selfa, and R. Janke. 2010. “Barriers and Opportunities for Sustainable Food Systems in Northeastern Kansas.” Special issue on Renewable Agriculture, Sustainability 2: 232-251. 

Endter-Wada, J., T. Selfa, and L. Welsh.  2009. “Hydrologic Interdependencies and Human Cooperation: The Process of Adapting To Droughts.”  Weather, Climate and Society 1: 55-71.

Fish, R., M. Winter, D. Oliver, D. Chadwick, T. Selfa, L. Heathwaite, and C. Hodgson. 2009. “Unruly Pathogens: Eliciting values for environmental risks in the context of heterogeneous expert knowledge.” Environmental Science and Policy 12(3): 281-296.

Selfa, T., R. Jussaume, Jr. and M. Winter. 2008 “Envisioning Agricultural Sustainability from Field to Plate: Comparing Producer and Consumer Attitudes and Practices in Washington State.”  Journal of Rural Studies 24: 262-276. 

Selfa, T. and J. Endter-Wada.  2008. “The Politics of Community-Based Conservation in Natural Resource Management: A Focus for International Comparative Analysis.” Environment and Planning A 40: 948-965.

Selfa, T.  and J. Qazi. 2005. “Place, Taste, or Face-to Face? Understanding Producer-Consumer Networks in ‘Local’ Food Systems in Washington State.” Agriculture and Human Values 22:451-464.


Qazi, J. and T. Selfa. 2005. “The Politics of Building Alternative Agro-Food Networks in the Belly of Agro-industry.”   Food, Culture, and Society, Vol. 8 (1): 45-72


Selfa, T.  2004 “Mobilizing at the Frontier: Framing Social Justice Claims in a Natural Resources Management Project in Rondônia, Brazil.” Society and Natural Resources, Vol 17:717-734. 



Professional Memberships

  • American Sociological Association, Member of Political Sociology and Environment and Technology Sections
  • Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society
  • European Society for Rural Sociology
  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources
  • Rural Sociological Society
  • Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences


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