Prof. Shannon O'Lear


Shannon O'Lear
  • Director, Environmental Studies Program
  • Professor
(she/her)

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Department Phone:
Lindley Hall, room #213

Biography

I am a political geographer with interests in environmental geopolitics, critical geopolitics, the South Caucasus, and Science and Technology Studies (STS). An overarching objective of my work is to apply a critical, spatial awareness to bring new insights to bear on dominant understandings of human-environment relationships. I demonstrate this approach in my 2018 book, Environmental Geopolitics. I have also published work on climate science, geography and STS, geopolitics in Azerbaijan and Armenia, genocide and other forms of violence. I am finishing work on an edited book project for Edward Elgar’s Research Agenda series focused on geographies of slow violence. Currently, I am the interim Director of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Kansas. I am also serving as an Expert on the Environmental Science and Human Security Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education (AC-ERE) of the National Science Foundation. I am serving as the Councilor for the Great Plains Rocky Mountain Region of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) through 2023 and am serving my second year on the AAG’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. As a response to the unusual circumstances this academic year, I am co-organizing a webinar series for the AAG with one track focused on early career concerns and another track focused on issues for leadership within the discipline. I hold a BA in Geography and Russian and a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

Research

Research interests:

  • Political geography of environmental issues
  • Environmental security and vulnerability
  • Political geography of former Soviet republics
  • Human dimensions of global change
  • South Caucasus region
  • climate science
  • violence
  • environmental geopolitics
  • Azerbaijan
  • Caspian Sea

Teaching

Teaching interests:

  • human geography
  • political geography
  • geography of genocide
  • environmental policy
  • environmental geopolitics
  • critical geopolitics

Selected Publications

O'Lear, S. (2021). Environmental Change and Human Security Research Directions for the National Science Foundation. National Science Foundation.
O'Lear, S. (2021). O'LEAR, SHANNON. A Research Agenda for Geographies of Slow Violence. Edward Elgar Publishing. [ISBN: 978 1 78897 802 6, eISBN: 978 1 78897 803 ].
O'Lear, S. (2020). O'LEAR, SHANNON. A Research Agenda for Environmental Geopolitics. Edward Elgar Publishing. [ISBN: 978 1 78897 123 2, eISBN: 978 1 78897 124 ].
O'Lear, S. (2018). O'LEAR, SHANNON. Environmental Politics. The Companion to Environmental Studies, edited by Noel Castree, Mike Hulme, and James D. Proctor. Routeledge. [978-1-138-19219-5, 978-1-138-19220-1, 978-1-315-].
O'Lear, S. (2015). O'LEAR, SHANNON. Reframing Climate Change: Toward Ecological Geopolitics. Routledge.
O'Lear, S. (2013). Environment and Conflict: Security, Climate Change, and Commodity Resources. The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations - Issue 1 | Volume 14.
O'Lear, S. (2012). Review of the book The Return of Private Property: Rural Life after Agrarian Reform in the Republic of Azerbaijan by Lale Yalçin-Heckmann. Anthropos - Volume 107.
O'Lear, S. (2011). The Scope of Resource Conflict: A Model of Scale. Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations - Issue 1 | Volume 12.
O'Lear, S. (2009). Geography of Genocide. Space & Polity - Issue 1 | Volume 13.
O'Lear, S. (2008). Which Comes First, The Nation or The State? An analysis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Caucasus. National Identities - Issue 2 | Volume 10.
O'Lear, S. (2006). Introduction. Conflict Management and Peace Science - Issue 4 | Volume 23.
O'Lear, S. (2005). O'LEAR, SHANNON. Resources and Conflict in the Caspian. The Geopolitics of Resource Wars. Frank Cass.
O'Lear, S. (2004). O'LEAR, SHANNON. Energy, Territory and Conflict: Research in the Caucasus. WorldMinds: 100 Geographic Solutions to Saving Planet Earth. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Selected Presentations

US Wild Card, Carbon Emissions, and COP 21: Disrupting Policy and Practice on Climate Security - International Studies Association Annual Meeting. Location: San Francisco, CA. (4-05-2018).
Geography, Power, Knowledge, and the Possibility of ‘Otherwise’ - Environmental Geopolitics in the Anthropocene. Location: University of North Carolina and Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. (3-24-2017).
Critical Geopolitics of Wildlife Conservation - Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Location: Washington, DC.
Environmental Geopolitics at the Centre for Climate Justice. Location: Glasgow Caldonian University. (10-07-2019).
Environmental Geopolitics at BIOSEC Research Group - Politics Department at the University of Sheffield, UK. Location: Sheffield, UK. (10-02-2019).
2019 AAG Leadership Symposium I and II Promoting Diversity in Geography: Strategies to Improve Inclusion, Broaden Participation, and Assess Progress - Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Location: Washington, DC. (4-02-2019).
Critical Approaches to Wildlife Conservation - Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Location: Washington, DC. (4-02-2019).
Environmental Geopolitics: An inquiry into geographical knowledge in conservation - WildCRU Conservation Geopolitics Forum. Location: Worcester College, University of Oxford, Oxford UK. (3-19-2019).
Environmental Geopolitics in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Directions - The American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. Location: New Orleans, LA. (4-10-2018).
Climate Change and American National Security: Assessing the Risks and Weighing the Options - International Studies Association Annual Meeting. Location: San Francisco, CA. (4-04-2018).
Climate Science and Slow Violence: Technoscientific narratives - American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. Location: Boston, MA. (4-05-2017).
A Competition for Resources - Human Geography Futures Seminar. Location: Johns Hopkins University/Applies Physics Laboratory. (9-13-2016).
JEDI is Listening: Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Geography, A Listening Session - Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Location: Virtual event. (4-08-2021).
Building Inclusive Communities and Diverse Departments, Supporting Women in Geography 8th Annual Panel - Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Location: Virtual event. (4-08-2021).
Family, Life, and Work: Strike a Balance - Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. Location: Virtual event. (4-10-2021).
30th Annual James E. Seaver Lecture: Environmental Geopolitics. Location: Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas. (3-29-2018).