UCI Anthro Cover Slide
Kim Fortun | Research Program

Cite as: Fortun, Kim. 2019. Research Program Description. University of California. November.  http://centerforethnography.org/content/kim-fortun-research-program/essay

Kim Fortun Bio

Kim Fortun is a Professor and Department Chair in the University of California Irvine’s Department of Anthropology . Her research and teaching focus on environmental risk and disaster, and on experimental ethnographic methods and research design. Her research has examined how people in different...Read more

Kim Fortun Research Program Description

* Not a great example of a fully public facing research description *     My research focuses on environmental risk and disaster, and experimental ethnographic methods and research design. Over the years, my research has examined how people in different geographic and organizational contexts understand environmental problems, uneven distributions of environmental health risks, developments in the environmental health sciences, and factors that contribute to disaster vulnerability. A recurrent focus has been on ways data infrastructure subtends both environmental vulnerability and capacity to recognize and address such vulnerability. I’ve thus become increasingly invested in understanding and helping build “data capacity” (including technical infrastructure, public data resources, analytic and visualization capabilities, supporting educational programs and fields of expertise, and so on). Data capacity powerfully shapes how societies anticipate, characterize, and deal with collective problems. Given the tangles of problems contemporary societies face -- and need to work on together -- building interdisciplinary data capacity with global scope is a high priority. This will be far from straightforward, depending on inventive project designs linking researchers across disciplines, generations, and geographies; linking research to education at all levels; and building new connections between universities, governments, international organizations, businesses and other social actors.  This has become a key aim of my work.  

The community of Manchester, in Houston, Texas.  Small homes surrounded by chemical plants.

This is the community of Manchester in Houston, Texas.  I do research in communities --  like Manchester -- that have high levels of environmental stress and disaster vulnerability.