Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

Position Title
Assistant Professor

  • Department of Human Ecology
1335 Hart Hall, 1221 Meyer Hall

Research Interests:

I am a geographer and interdisciplinary social scientist focused on climate change, agriculture, and the environment.  My research draws on and engages political ecology, geographical political economy and economic geography, science and technology studies, applied ethics, critical policy studies, cultural economy, environmental sociology, and animal studies.

I employ a variety of methods and approaches in my research. including participant observation, interviews, survey research, and document analysis.  My work consciously engages social theory and aims to advance and refine its use in empirical and theoretical practice.

My current research interests are concentrated around the following four issues: - The political economy of decarbonization and climate risk.
- Policy, politics, and programs for greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation in agriculture.
- The geography of field-based scientific research and the role of space, site, and scale in scientific research.
- Metrics and measurement in the valuation of animals and the governance of animal welfare.

Current Research Projects:

California Climate Action Research Initiative, Climate Action 2023 Seed Awards. "A fusion outlook product for predicting climate-water variation toward efficient decision making." Lead Investigator: Isabella Velicogna (UC Irvine).

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Policies to Build and Sustain Economic Security and Wealth for Families and Communities of Color. "Can California and Federal Racial Equity Policies Affect Disparities in Rural Land Ownership? A Participatory Evaluation of Reparations and Investment." Lead Investigators: Mark H. Cooper and Bettina Ng'weno (African American & African Studies).

UC Davis Global Affairs, UC Chile–UC Davis Seed Grant. "COVID-19 and food system resilience in Polynesia: Lessons from Rapa Nui." Lead Investigators: Mark H. Cooper and Jonathan Barton (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile).

US Department of Agriculture, NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. "Multifaceted pathways to climate-smart agriculture through integrated participatory program development and delivery." Lead Investigator: Tapan Pathak (UC Merced).

Professional Biography:

Before coming to UC Davis I was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Political Science at Lund University, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Science and Policy at the College of William & Mary.  I completed my Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I also have a M.S. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Postgraduate Diploma in History from the University of Otago, and a Bachelor of Arts (with Distinction) in History (Honors) and Political Science from the University of Kansas.

Graduate Program Affiliations:

- Geography Graduate Group (M.S. / Ph.D.)
- Community Development Graduate Group (M.S.)
- Animal Biology Graduate Group (M.S. / Ph.D.)
- International Agricultural Development Graduate Group (M.S)
- Science and Technology Studies Graduate Program (Ph.D. designated emphasis)

Graduate Students:

I am not currently accepting new graduate students.

Selected Publications:

Bulkeley, H., Cooper, M.H., and Stripple, J. 2018. Climate’s New Governance. In A Research Agenda for Global Environmental Politics, 137-148, Dauvergne, P. and Alger, J. eds. Edward Elgar.

Cooper, M.H. 2017. Open up and say “baa”: examining the stomachs of ruminant livestock and the real subsumption of nature. Society & Natural Resources 30: 812-828.

Cooper, M.H. 2015. Measure for measure? Commensuration, commodification, and metrology in emissions trading markets. Environment and Planning A 47: 1787-1804.

Rosin, C. and Cooper, M.H. 2015. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from livestock: complications, implications, and new political ecologies. In Political Ecologies of Meat, 315-328, Emel, J. and Neo, H. eds. Routledge.

Cooper, M.H. and Rosin, C. 2014. Absolving the sins of emission: The politics of regulating agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. Journal of Rural Studies 36: 391-400.

Cooper, M.H., Boston, J., and Bright, J. 2013. Policy challenges for livestock emissions abatement: Lessons from the New Zealand experience. Climate Policy 13: 110-133. 

Burton, R.J.F., Peoples, S., and Cooper, M.H. 2012. Building ‘cowshed cultures’: A cultural perspective on the promotion of animal welfare in dairy farms. Journal of Rural Studies 28: 174-187.

Cooper, M.H. 2011. Markets and myopia beyond finance: Emissions trading and the promise of market-based environmental governance. Dialogues in Human Geography 1 (1): 38-41.

Campbell, H., Burton, R., Cooper, M., Henry, M., Le Heron, E., Le Heron, R., Lewis, N., Pawson, E., Perkins, H., Roche, M., Rosin, C., and White, T. 2009. From Agricultural science to ‘biological economies’? New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 52: 91-97.

Cooper, M.H. 2009. Commercialization of the university and problem choice by academic biological scientists. Science, Technology, and Human Values 34: 629-653.