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Jessica O'Reilly

Assistant Professor
GA 1019, (812) 855-6018

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California Santa Cruz, 2008
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California Santa Cruz, 2003
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Michigan, 2000

Region Of Interest

  • Antarctica
  • The Arctic
  • New Zealand

Research Topics

  • Global climate change
  • Environmental management and governance
  • Science, culture, and practice
  • Institutions and expertise

Research Summary

I am an environmental anthropologist who studies how scientists and policy makers participate in environmental management, both in regards to the Antarctic environment and global climate change. I use participant observation and ethnographic interviews to examine how people and ideas in science and policy interact, how experts make decisions about matters of concern, and how relationships with the environment inform knowledge production. I have conducted research in Antarctica, New Zealand, at the Antarctic Treaty consultative meetings and at meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). My current project analyzes how assessors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change make decisions in the writing of their assessment reports, which form the core set of science advice to the UNFCCC.

Representative Publications

  • 2017. The Technocratic Antarctic: an ethnography of scientific expertise and environmental governance. Cornell University Press.
  • Forthcoming. Assessing Assessments: A Historical and Philosophical Study of Scientific Assessments for Environmental Policy in the late 20th Century. Chicago University Press (with Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Dale Jamieson, Keynyn Brysse, Milena Wazeck, and Matthew Shindell)
  • 2016. Sensing the Ice: field science, models, and expert intimacy with knowledge. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 22(1): 27-45.
  • 2015. Glacial Dramas: typos, projections, and peer review in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Climate Change edited by Jessica Barnes and Michael Dove. Yale University Press.
  • 2012. The Rapid Disintegration of Projections: the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Social Studies of Science. 42(5):709-731 (with Naomi Oreskes and Michael Oppenheimer).
    O’Reilly, Jessica.
  • 2011. Tectonic History and Gondwanan Geopolitics in the Larsemann Hills, Antarctica. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 34: 214–232.
  • 2011. Characterizing Uncertainty in Expert Assessments: ozone depletion and the West Antarctic ice sheet. WIREs Climate Change. 2: 728-743 (with Keynyn Brysse, Michael Oppenheimer and Naomi Oreskes).