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Petra Tschakert

Petra Tschakert


School of Earth and Environment

University of Western Australia


  1. Ph.D. Arid Lands Resources Sciences, University of Arizona, 2003
  2. Mag. Phil, Geography and Economics, French; Karl-Franzens Universitaet, Graz, Austria, 1991


My research activities and practice focus broadly on human-environment interactions and more specifically on rural livelihoods, environmental change, marginalization, and social learning. My main interest lies in the theoretical and empirical intersections of political ecology, environmental justice, complex systems science, and participatory research. It is the result of a long-term commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and extended periods of field work and capacity building in West Africa. I seek to understand the strategies small-scale resource users, primarily subsistence farmers and miners, employ in adapting to environmental stresses and coping with socio-economic, political, and institutional exclusion. I draw on participatory research (PR) as an epistemological framework that promotes critical engagement with marginalized communities (of space and practice).  Over the years, I have found that participatory mapping, diagramming, environmental theatre, and participatory video are wonderful tools to open up alternative routes for 'doing' geography. My ultimate goal is to expand people’s opportunities for enhancing livelihood resilience.

Dr. Tschakert was Coordinating Lead Author of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She worked on Chapter 13 (“Livelihoods and Poverty”) of the Working Group II Report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, and is now part of the Core Writing Team of the AR5 Synthesis Report.

Tschakert has been working with the Rock mainly in the context of climate change. More specifically, she has collaborated on projects addressing gender, justice, and climate change; limits to adaptation; climate change and conflict; and ethical dimensions of geo-engineering as a problematic mitigation solution. Tschakert teaches graduate courses in feminist political ecology of interest to a wide range of Penn State students.