Eliza Jane
Associate Adjunct Professor
  • PhD, CUNY Graduate Center (2004, Anthropology)
  • MPhil, CUNY Graduate Center (2001, Anthropology)
  • BA, American University (1994, Anthropology)



I teach all-digital courses in the John Jay Anthropology Department from my field site in the Adirondack Park, not far from where I was born and raised in a hardscrabble ex-lumbering town in the southern foothills (think Twin Peaks meets Northern Exposure). After maxing out with three degrees in anthropology, I taught pretty much whatever was on offer at Paul Smiths, City College, Columbia and Goldsmiths before returning to the mountains to care for a dying parent. Since any serious commitment to kinship outside the discipline tends to make one fundamentally unemployable within it, I stuck around when that job came to its inevitable conclusion. I'm now raising my own daughter in the Adirondacks, where I have been able to produce a small stream of household revenue from the equally underfunded fields of public history and adjunct anthropology while my husband holds down a "real" job. All things considered, I'm probably as well off financially as if I'd never left, but at least I feel intellectually rich. Anthropology is a wonderful discipline for those who care about thinking, not so much for those who care about eating.


Courses Taught
  • Urban Anthropology
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Culture and Crime

    Please see my course website for previews.


Scholarly Work

Please click here to access the following:



Woodspeople: The Making of Adirondack Identity

A People's History of Hamilton County, Volume 8



Fire on the Mountain: Uneven Development in the Adirondacks

A People's History of Hamilton County, Volume 7



Woodswork: Labor and Livelihood on the Edge of the Adirondacks

A People's History of Hamilton County, Volume 6



Telling the Wild: People and Power in Southern Adironack History

A People's History of Hamilton County, Volume 1



Long Gone: The Rise and Fall of Spectacular Industry in the Southern Adirondacks

A People's History of Hamilton County, Volume 5



O Sister! Sarah Palin and the Parlous Politics of Poor White Trash

Dialectical Anthropology 33(1):15-27



Nature’s Carnival: The Ecology of Pleasure at Coney Island

In the Nature of Cities: Urban Political Ecology and the Politics of Urban Metabolism. Nik Heynan, Maria Kaika and Eric Swyngedouw, eds. London and New York: Routledge



The City in the Country: Rural Political Ecology and the Rent Gap

Environment and Planning A 37(6):1015-1032



The Lorax Redux: Profit Biggering and Some Selective Silences in American Environmentalism

Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 12(4):51-66


Honors and Awards


Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund ($60,043)

New York State Archives



Humanities in the Public Square ($149,517)

National Endowment for the Humanities



Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship ($40,000)

Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research



Center for Place, Culture and Politics Graduate Fellowship ($10,000)

Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York



Community Forestry Dissertation Research Fellowship ($13,000)

Ford Foundation




Research Summary

My research concerns the production of wilderness space as a solution to a crisis of late capitalism, and the subsequent dispossession of poor and working class people from exindustrial areas in the United States as they are targeted for restoration, preservation and Arcadian development. As a political ecologist, I'm particularly interested in the implications of forest enclosure and protection for rural housing, labor precarity, social reproduction, environmental justice, the criminalization of forest subsistence and class conflict over public space. I also write occasionally about rural politics from the perspective of critical white studies. My research is both ethnographic and historical and focuses on the landscape and people of the six million-acre Adirondack Park in upstate New York, where the local working class is being gentrified out of existence. My theoretical approach is Marxist most days of the week, aligning most closely with the ideas of radical urban geographers.