Sandy Rikoon has a lot on his proverbial plate. His work is hard to pigeonhole, except to say that, in general, it’s grounded in concern over both people and the environment. Since his academic discipline in rural sociology lives “at the intersection of basic and applied research,” it is the pursuit of “seamless connections” between his research, teaching, and outreach activities that drives Rikoon’s work.
Interviewees tell about how they are working to further their disciplines with their contributions.
Only after encountering problems do many state and federal agencies call upon the expertise of social scientists for help, and Rikoon wishes they would ask for help while they set up a project—rather than afterward—to make sure the process fits with local norms.
Rikoon, who received a Kemper Award for Teaching Excellence in 2002, and was named Curators Distinguished Teaching Professor in 2008, teaches a number of graduate-level courses in the areas of environmental sociology, the sociology of agriculture and natural resources, and political ecology, as well as an undergraduate course titled Population and the Environment.
Rikoon’s most recent book, Is Globalization Overpowering Democracy?, is the culmination of fifteen years of research with people in the Czech Republic in Eastern Europe, in particular the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Biological and Ecological Systems.
Folklorist, sociologist, and environmentalist, Sandy Rikoon runs the environmental sociology program in the Department of Rural Sociology, where he teaches graduate courses in environmental sociology, advises students, and does research in the area of environmental sociology.