We had some good news during the spring: Samer Alatout was promoted to associate professor with tenure.
Samer grew up in Nablus, Palestine. He came to the US in 1990, and after finishing his undergraduate work in New York City, he moved to Ithaca, New York to begin graduate school at Cornell in Science and Technology Studies.
After completing his Ph.D. work, Samer spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in the Departments of Geography and Government at Dartmouth College. He joined our department in 2003 as part of a cluster hire in International Environmental Affairs and Global Security. Fitting Samer’s interdisciplinary orientation, he has a joint appointment in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and is affiliated with the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, as well as the Department of Geography.
Samer’s research fits broadly under the rubric of the sociology, politics, and policy studies of science and technology, with a special focus on environmental sciences. Broadly speaking, his research has been driven by a concern over identity politics, environmental justice, and state formation. Until recently, much of his research has centered on water history and politics in Palestine and Israel between 1918 and the present.
While Samer continues to work on water-related matters, in the Middle East and globally, he has turned much of his intellectual attention more recently to issues around the role of environmental sciences in shaping borders on the local and international scales. His interest takes seriously the literal, material, and symbolic dimensions of border life and, in the process, addresses environmental conflicts, politics, and policy-making at international borders. While this new work looks at borders in Israel-Palestine, Samer has also started to focus on a new empirical terrain, examining the US-Mexico border.
Samer’s work has been published in a number of top tier journals, including Social Studies of Science, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Political Geography, and Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. He has been very active professionally and is on the Executive Council of the International Water History Association and the editorial boards of Political Geography, and the new journal Resilience: A Journal of Sustainable Critique.
As a cluster hire, Samer teaches for both the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology and in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. In our department, Samer offers an undergraduate course on international development and sustainability. In our combined graduate program with Sociology, Samer has taught a seminar on theories of power, one on border theory, and another on water politics. For the Nelson Institute, he has been teaching one of the core courses for the Certificate on Humans and the Global Environment on local and regional approaches to sustainability and vulnerability. In addition, Samer taught an environmental studies capstone course and a course on water in international context.
Samer lives in Madison with his wife (Staci Lowe) and two kids, Nadim (3 years old) and Sophie (2 months old).