Sociology PhD Alum Wins ASA Award

January 13, 2020

Dr. Cameron Whitley, Sociology PhD alumnus and assistant professor of Sociology at Western Washington University has been awarded a grant from the American Sociological Association.

 In the most recent issue of its newsletter Footnotes, ASA announced the recipients of the 2109 Community Action Research Initiative grant awards. The grants support pro bono work by the principal investigators as they partner with a community organization. Dr. Whitley's proposal is below:

Cameron T. Whitley, Western Washington University and Ashley Colby, Rizoma Field School, for
Biotecture for Sustainable Futures: The Importance of Off-Grid Architecture in the Face of Extreme
Climate Change Risk in Colonia, Uruguay.

The goal of this project is to see how sustainable development is created and supported by individuals as well as social and political organizations in rural and developing areas. It looks at the use and impact of Earthship Biotecture (an off-grid architectural phenomenon developed in the 1970s) as a sustainable practice that is being integrated in high-risk climate change areas. Whitley and Colby will conduct interviews with key informants concerning their interest in the Earthship Biotecture movement, how best to engage community partners, and how to promote policies that support sustainable off-grid development. They will
create a report that the Rizoma Field School (RFS), a community organization in Uruguay, will share
with local community members and government officials. Their goal is to document the importance of this movement for other scholars. According to Whitley, “what we are doing with this is more than research, it is about creating networks of knowledge that can be used to benefit individuals across nations in the face of grave environmental problems.” Colby adds that “the CARI grant will help RFS to advance a research agenda
that is focused on sustainability in the region, with the ultimate goal of providing usable information to
support similar initiatives.”