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David Sonnenfeld

David A. Sonnenfeld

211B Marshall Hall
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, New York 13210

Phone: (315) 470-4931/470-6636


Spring 2014 office hours: M 12:30-1:50pm, Tu 4:00-5:20pm, & by appointment


  • Research Associate, Environmental Policy Group, Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • Affiliate Faculty, Department of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
  • Associate Editor, Society and Natural Resources


  • S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow, Environmental Policy, University of California at Berkeley, 1998-2000
  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1996
  • M.A., Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1991
  • B.A. (Honors College), Independent Scholar, with distinction, University of Oregon, 1973

Research Interests

  • Sociology of environment and natural resources
  • Comparative environmental policy and governance
  • Globalization, development, and sustainability
  • Social studies of science and technology
  • East and Southeast Asia
  • Field, historical, and mixed research methods

Current Funding

  • Sonnenfeld, David A. (PI), and Xiaoliang Yang (co-PI), "Doctoral Dissertation Research in Science of Science and Innovation Policy: A Global Partnership Approach to Clean Energy Technology Innovation: Carbon Capture and Storage," National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant #SMA-1262278, 2013-15, $25,213.
  • Bluemling, Bettina (PI), David A. Sonnenfeld (co-PI), and Lei Zhang (co-PI), "International Environmental Policy Consultancy Project," Small Projects for Innovation of Education and Distance Learning, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, 2012-14, €13,440.
  • Quigley, Dianne (PI), David A. Sonnenfeld (co-PI), and Phil Brown (co-PI), "Ethics Education in Science and Engineering", National Science Foundation Ethics Education in Science and Engineering Grant #GEO-1032754, 2010-14, $397,984.

Recent Books & Symposia

  • Lockie, Stewart, David A. Sonnenfeld, and Dana R. Fisher. 2014. Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change. London and New York: Routledge. [link]
  • Oosterveer, Peter, and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2012. Food, Globalization and Sustainability. London and New York: Earthscan/ Routledge. [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Arthur P.J. Mol. 2011. Special Issue on "Social Theory and the Environment in the New World (dis)Order," Global Environmental Change 21 (3), August. [link]
  • Mol, Arthur P.J., and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2011 [2000]. Ecological Modernisation Around the World: Perspectives and Critical Debates. Chinese edition, tr. Kun Zhang. Beijing: Commercial Press. [link]
  • Smith, Ted, David A. Sonnenfeld, and David N. Pellow, eds. 2009 [2006]. Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry. Korean edition, tr. Jeong-ok Kong. Seoul: May Day Publishers. [link]
  • Mol, Arthur P.J., David A. Sonnenfeld, and Gert Spaargaren, eds. 2009. The Ecological Modernisation Reader: Environmental Reform in Theory and Practice. London and New York: Routledge. [link]

Recent Articles & Chapters

  • Lockie, Stewart, David A. Sonnenfeld, and Dana R. Fisher. 2014. "Socio-Ecological Transformations and the Social Sciences." Pp. 1-12 in Routledge International Handbook on Social and Environmental Change
  • Mol, Arthur P.J., Gert Spaargaren, and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2014. "Ecological Modernisation Theory: Taking Stock, Moving Forward." Pp. 15-30 in Routledge International Handbook on Social and Environmental Change
  • *Montefrio, Marvin Joseph F., and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2013. "Global-Local Tensions in Contract Farming of Biofuel Crops Involving Indigenous Communities in the Philippines," Society and Natural Resources 26 (3): 239-253, March  [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A. 2012. "Rule of Law." Pp. 320-323 in The Encyclopedia of Sustainability, Vol. 7: China, India, and East and Southeast Asia: Assessing Sustainability, eds. Sam Geall, Jingjing Liu, and Sony Pellissery. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing, pp. 320-323 [link]
  • Lin, Zhen, *Fan Dai, and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2012. "Resolving Forest Property Rights Disputes in China: The Bailian Case," Systems Research and Behavioral Science 29 (2): 227-231
  • *Montefrio, Marvin Joseph F., and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2011. "Forests, Food, or Fuel? Competing Coalitions and Biofuels Policymaking in the Philippines," Journal of Environment and Development 20 (1): 27-49, March.
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Arthur P.J. Mol. 2010. "Urban and Industrial Environmental Reform in Southeast Asia". Pp. 198-228 in The New Political Economy of Southeast Asia, eds. Rajah Rasiah and Johannes D. Schmidt. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Virtual Lecture

  • "Ecological Modernization Theory: An Introduction", Renmin University, China, October 2009 (on iTunes U) [link]


  • EST 361, History of the American Environmental Movement (3)
  • EST 494, Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (1)
  • EST 603, Research Methods and Design (3)
  • EST 612, Environmental Policy and Governance (3)
  • EST 696, International Environmental Policy Consultancy (with Wageningen Univ., NL) (3-4) [flyer; NL link; article]
  • EST 797, Ethics, Culture and Community-based Environmental Research (with D. Quigley) (1)
  • EST 797, Chinese Environmental Policy (with Zhen Lin) (1) [link]

Recently Completed Theses


  • Na, Hang Ryeol, "Multilevel Forest Science, Regime and Governance: Case Studies of Korea," Graduate Program in Environmental Science (Environmental and Natural Resource Policy), SUNY-ESF, 2012
  • Little, Peter C., "'Instead of Tumbleweed, We Have Mitigation Systems': An Ethnography of Toxics Risk, Mitigation, and Advocacy in IBM's Deindustrialized Birthplace," Graduate Program in Applied Anthropology, Oregon State University, 2010


  • Webster, Andrea M., "Who Are We Educating About Sustainability? A Quantitative Analysis of Student of Color and Low-income Student Enrollment in Higher Education in New York State, 2009-2010," Dept. of Environmental Studies, SUNY-ESF, 2012 (chair)
  • Bell, Kyle, "Building Metrobús: Actors and Institutions in the Transfer of Bus Rapid Transit Policy to Mexico City," Dept. of Environmental Studies, SUNY-ESF, 2011 (chair)
  • Jo, Nayoung, "The New Community Movement in South Korea in the 1970s: The Power of Community or Governmental Involvement?" Dept. of Environmental Studies, SUNY-ESF, 2011 (chair)
  • Ahmed, Osman Y., "Water Policy and Meteorological Drought in Kenya," Graduate Program in Environmental Science, SUNY-ESF, 2009

Professional Associations

  • International Sociological Association, Research Committee on Environment and Society (RC24)
  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources
  • Rural Sociological Society, Natural Resources Research Group
  • Association for Asian Studies
  • Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
  • Switzer Environmental Program, Fellow

Current Graduate Advisees

Laura CoberlyLaura Coberly

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental Policy and Democratic Processes
  • Undergraduate Institute: Marymount Manhattan College (International Relati)

Graduate Research Topic
Mangrove Civilizations: Dependency and Participation in Conservation. A Case Study of the Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal.

G.A.F. Sri DewiG.A.F. Sri Dewi

  • Degree Sought: MPS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Community Land Planning
  • Undergraduate Institute: Udayana Univ (Agriculture)

Graduate Research Topic
Indigenous Knowledge of Agriculture in Upstate New York

Chao JiangChao Jiang

  • Degree Sought: MS in Environmental Studies
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Undergraduate Institute: Beijing Language and Culture U (English Language and)

Graduate Research Topic
The Emergence of Preventive Chemical Management as a Salient Environmental Policy Concern in China: A Case Study of the Textile Industry

Kyungsun LeeKyungsun Lee

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
  • Undergraduate Institute: Seoul National University
  • Previous Graduate Study: Seoul National University (History of Science )

Graduate Research Topic
Ecological Modernization of the Chemical Industry in South Korea

Lee, Kyungsun. 2013. Scientists and Engineers without Borders: Appropriate Technology for a Sustainable World. Seoul: Danielstone Publishing Co. ISBN 9788958074878

Marvin Joseph MontefrioMarvin Joseph Montefrio

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
  • Undergraduate Institute: University of the Philippines (Civil Engineering)
  • Previous Graduate Study: National University of Singapore (Envt'l Engineering; Envt'l Management)

Graduate Research Topic
Growing Low Carbon Commodities in Upland Philippines: Integration of Smallholders in Biofuels and Rubber Production Regimes

Favorite Quote
"For what it's worth, it was worth all the while; It's something unpredictable but in the end is right" - Green Day

Areas of Competency
Globalization and environmental governance; Ecological economics; Economic anthropology; Participatory approaches to natural resource management; Political ecology of biofuels


Marvin is a trained environmental scientist and engineer from the National University of Singapore, where he specialized in the technical and economic aspects of sustainable forms of bioenergy production. His encounters with the burgeoning environmental and social impacts of agriculture-based biofuels in Southeast Asia led him to explore the policy and social dimensions of biofuels production for his doctoral research. In particular, he is interested in studying the decision-making processes in collaborative management regimes that integrate indigenous cultural communities to the global production systems of "sustainable biofuels." Marvin is pursuing a concurrent Masters in Public Administration degree at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to further hone his knowledge on policy, governance and collaboration. He carried out his doctoral field research in the Philippines from 2011-12.

Xiaole NiXiaole Ni

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
  • Undergraduate Institute: Nanjing University (English Language and)
  • Previous Graduate Study: Arizona State University (Public Administrationn)

Graduate Research Topic
Civic Scientists and Environmental Health in China

Areas of Competency
Science studies; Environmental communication; Social movements and new media; Food, environment and public health

Annisa Dian PratiwiAnnisa Dian Pratiwi

  • Degree Sought: MPS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental Policy and Democratic Processes
  • Undergraduate Institute: Instit Teknologi Bandung (Planning)

Personal Statement
I am especially interested in environmental governance, policy networks, and water resources policy

Graduate Research Topic
Intergovernmental Land Use Control: The Case of Jakarta's Coastal Zone

Professional Experience
I have five years of work experience in the Ministry of Public Works of Indonesia, focusing on policy formulation, strategic planning and budgeting for infrastructure

Xiaoliang YangXiaoliang Yang

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
  • Undergraduate Institute: University of Electronic Sci & Tech (Biology)
  • Previous Graduate Study: Pace University (Environmental Science)

Graduate Research Topic
A Global Partnership Approach to Clean Energy Technology Innovation: Cooperation between China and the United States on Carbon Capture and Storage

Favorite Quote
Strengthen Self without Stopping, Hold World with Virtue.

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Areas of Competency
Environmental & energy policy; Sociology of science and technology; Global environmental governance; Sustainable energy systems

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