Eric Hirsch Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Office: Hackman P121B

Appointments: Office Hours

Email: eric dot hirsch at fandm dot edu

About Eric Hirsch


I am an environmental anthropologist who is currently researching climate change, adaptation, and the politics of economic growth from the point of view of the everyday. Most of my research has taken place in Peru, particularly the southern Andes and the cities of Arequipa and Lima. I also conduct ongoing research in the Maldives and the US northeast. My scholarship is a long-term effort to understand what economic growth and environmental change actually looks and feels like as various communities face the imperatives of resource extraction and climate adaptation. I work to question the power dynamics at play in uses of concepts like "resilience," "adaptation," and "sustainability." 

My first book, Acts of Growth: Development and the Politics of Abundance in Peru (2022, Stanford University Press), is an ethnography of economic growth in the southern Peruvian Andes against the backdrop of droughts and diminished agricultural prospects. There, I suggest that development work has shifted from an effort to alleviate poverty to a means of managing a wealthy nation's resource abundance. I inspect how different political actors mobilize idealized images of Indigenous livelihoods, traditions, and expertise to expand Peru's astronomical growth in ways that render small-scale identity-based entrepreneurship and large-scale mining complementary forms of development meant to make life better in a site of acute climate change impacts.

A second major research project for which I have begun fieldwork, tentatively titled Adaptive States, uses comparative ethnography to understand the role that climate change adaptation projects and plans play in everyday life in Peru, the Maldives, and the northeastern US. Across a series of articles and at least one future book project, I inspect the tensions that emerge as national leaders, environmental justice movements, and marginalized communities face the tantalizing promises of emissions-intensive economic expansion and, simultaneously, the need to address climate change.

When I arrived at F&M, I launched the F&M Environmental Migration Lab as a space to conduct engaged, locally oriented research with student and community collaborators that’s complementary to my other scholarship. We focus on the environmental dimensions of mobility, broadly defined, which includes but also goes far beyond researching the potential climate signals visible in recent migration trends and stories. The project merges narrative, kinship, and atmospheric data to discern how people are navigating ecologically and politically hostile environments. Parts of this research were presented in 2022 as a public arts and multimedia display my team and I curated called Welcoming City: Voices of (Un)Settlement in Lancaster at F&M’s Winter Visual Arts Center.


B.A. (Anthropology and English), Columbia University, 2009
M.A. (Sociocultural Anthropology), University of Chicago, 2012
Ph.D. (Sociocultural Anthropology), University of Chicago, 2016

Peer Reviewed Publications

(*please email me for a copy of anything listed below if you do not have library access)


Hirsch, Eric. 2022. Acts of Growth: Development and the Politics of Abundance in Peru. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Research articles

Reyes-García, Victoria, and the LICCI Network (53 co-authors, incl. Eric Hirsch). In press. “Indigenous peoples and local communities report ongoing and widespread climate change impacts on local systems and livelihoods.” Communications Earth and Environment.

Hirsch, Eric. 2023. “Forced Emplacement: Flood Exposure and Contested Confinements, from the Colony to Climate Migration.” Environment and Society: Advances in Research (Fall 2023 issue on “Fire and Flood). 14(1): 14-22.

Paulson, Susan, Eric Hirsch, and Jonathan DeVore. 2022. “Caring Masculinities: Stories of Interspecies Love in the Andes and Atlantic Forest.” General Anthropology Bulletin 29(1): 10-14.

Hirsch, Eric. 2020. “Hidden Treasures: Marca Perú (PeruTM) and the Recoding of Neoliberal Sustainability in the Peruvian Andes.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 15(3): 245-269.

Hirsch, Eric, Chelsey Kivland, and Yana Stainova. 2020. “Self Exposures: The Political Arts of Ethnoracial Identification in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Introduction to Special Issue on “Arts of Exposure.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 15(3): 201-218. (equal co-authorship)

Ismael Vaccaro, Eric Hirsch, and Irene Sabaté. 2020. “The Emergence of the Global Debt Society: Governmentality and Profit Extraction through Fabricated Abundance and Imposed Scarcity in Peru and Spain.” Focaal 87: 46-60.

Devore, Jonathan, Eric Hirsch, and Susan Paulson. 2019. “Conserving Human and Other Nature: A Curious Case of Convivial Conservation from Brazil.” Anthropologie et Sociétés 43(3): 31-58.

Hirsch, Eric. 2018. “Remapping the Vertical Archipelago: Mobility, Migration, and the Everyday Labor of Andean Development.” The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. 23(1): 189-208.

Hirsch, Eric. 2017. “Investment’s Rituals: ‘Grassroots’ Extractivism and the Making of an Indigenous Gold Mine in the Peruvian Andes.” Geoforum Vol. 82: 259-267.

Hirsch, Eric. 2017. “The Unit of Resilience: Unbeckoned Degrowth and the Politics of (Post)Development in Peru and the Maldives.” Journal of Political Ecology. 24(1): 462-475.

Hirsch, Eric. 2016. “Mediating Indigeneity: Public Space and the Making of Political Identity in Andean Peru.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 39(1): 95-109.

Hirsch, Eric. 2015. “‘It Won’t Be Any Good to Have Democracy if we Don’t Have a Country’: Climate Change and the Politics of Synecdoche in the Maldives.” Global Environmental Change 35: 190-198.

Contributions to edited volumes

Hirsch, Eric. 2024. “‘Not Like it Used to Be’: Contending with the Altered Agricultural Calendar in Peru.” In Routledge Handbook of Climate Change Impacts on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, edited by Victoria Reyes Garcia. London: Routledge.

Paulson, Susan, Jonathan DeVore, and Eric Hirsch. 2022. “Convivial Conservation with Nurturing Masculinities in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.” In Convivial Futures. Views from Tomorrow, edited by Frank Adloff and Alain Caillé. Columbia University Press/Transcript Publishing. pp.113-125.

Hirsch, Eric. 2020. “Ethnicity as Potential: Abundance, Competition, and the Limits of Development in Andean Peru’s Colca Valley.” In Ethnicity, Commodity, In/Corporation, edited by John L. Comaroff, Jean Comaroff, and George Paul Meiu. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 94-119.

Hirsch, Eric. 2020. “Sustainable Development.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by Mark Aldenderfer. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hirsch, Eric and Kyle Jones. 2019. “Hip Hop and Guinea Pigs: Contextualizing the Urban Andes.” In The Andean World, edited by Kathleen Fine-Dare and Linda Seligmann. London: Routledge. (Series: The Routledge Worlds). pp. 555-569.

Select grants and awards

2022-23 Catalyst Fund Grant, Franklin & Marshall College (for pilot research on environmental dimensions of migration in 5 regions)

2021-22 Winter Visual Arts Center Cross-Pollinator Residency, Franklin & Marshall College

2019, 2020, 2021-22 Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster - Seed Grant for engaged public anthropology research on environmental migration 

2021 Fellow, Obermann Institute for Advanced Study, University of Iowa

2020-2021 and 2016-2017 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Global Governance, Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University

2019-21 European Research Council Project on "Local Indicators of Climate Change Impacts" - Project Partner for Peruvian Andes

2017 Wenner-Gren Foundation Engaged Anthropology Grant

2017 Lichtstern Distinguished Dissertation Prize for Best Ph.D. Thesis in Anthropology, University of Chicago

2016 Wayne C. Booth Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Office of the Provost, University of Chicago

2016 Ignacio Martín Baró Prize Lectureship in Latin American Studies and Human Rights, University of Chicago

2015 Mellon Foundation - Hanna Holborn Gray Advanced Fellowship in the Humanistic Social Sciences, University of Chicago

2014 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship

2013 Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

2013 Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship

2013 UC Irvine Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion Research Grant

2013 Roy D. Albert Prize for Best M.A. Thesis in Anthropology, University of Chicago

CV Eric Hirsch