Laura Dev, PhD

Postdoctoral scholar in public political ecology.
University of California, Merced

Scholarly Interests

Plant person & scholar of more-than-human relations, Indigenous-led forestry, and climate justice in the Amazon.

I am interested in changing relationships between humans and their environments in the face of globalization and global changes—especially emergent more-than-human collaborations. My studies draw from political ecology, science & technology studies (STS), and environmental anthropology.

For my dissertation research I used a multispecies ethnography approach to investigate the relations and practices surrounding culturally important medicinal plants associated with ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant mixture. Specifically, I focused on pathways by which plants, rituals, and knowledge associated with the use of ayahuasca travel between Shipibo communities in the rural Peruvian Amazon and the Global North. I found that the commodification of ayahuasca and the rituals around it created both challenges and opportunities for Indigenous communities.

I also work with Indigenous communities to develop community-led responses to local environmental concerns. My postdoctoral research focuses on Indigenous-led forestry and climate justice collaborations.

I hold a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley and an MS in Ecology from Colorado State University. For my masters, I studied the interactive effects of climate change and grazing on grassland plant communities.


Academic Groups

Land Lab

Left Coast Political Ecology

Public Political Ecology Lab