Laura Dev, PhD
Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences & Society
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
I teach about land, justice, conservation, and stewardship. 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.
As a researcher, I use a political ecology and multispecies ethnography approach to study plant-human relations and land practices. My doctoral research investigated the relations and practices surrounding culturally important medicinal plants associated with ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant mixture from the Amazon. 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 use participatory action research approaches with Indigenous communities to collaboratively develop community-led responses to local environmental concerns. My postdoctoral research focused on supporting Indigenous-led forestry efforts oriented toward climate justice.
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.