Members > Eric Cunningham

Assistant Professor, Earlham College

I am a cultural anthropologist who studies human-environment interactions and the ways in which globalized flows of capital, materials, and ideas influence how people give meaning to and interact with places they inhabit. My central academic interests revolve around the cultural dimensions of resource management, risk, and resiliency both as globalized sets of ideas and practices and as practical dilemmas confronting local communities in Japan.

In my first project I consider various modes of knowing and experiencing forest environments in the Kiso Valley region of central Japan. I argue that forest ecologies in the region exist as contested spaces where meanings are produced by local residents, government officials, and other actors who draw upon global networks of materials, ideas, and relationships. I ask how forests in central Japan's Kiso Valley come into being and are reproduced as cultural objects infused with contentious ideas of nature, nationhood, citizenship, and governance. I also examine the role these conceptual natures play in mediating human-environment interactions and struggles for sustainability.

Key research Interests: political ecology, governance, nature production, resilience