Gregory W Knapp
Gregory Knapp's research, books and teaching has focused on adaptive dynamics of prehistoric and traditional agriculture in Peru and Ecuador, including embanked fields, sunken fields, raised fields, irrigation and slope agriculture. The adaptive dynamics approach in cultural and political ecology emphasizes local decision making, while also recognizing the salience of particular environmental, cultural, social, economic and political contexts as they change over time. The approach is also consistent with attention to cultural landscapes in the tradition of Carl Sauer. In addition to working on reconstructing prehistoric landscapes and demography, Knapp was involved in the first major international study of the impacts of climate change on Andean agriculture, where he argued for policies prioritizing empowerment of local actors, maximizing local adaptive flexibility. He is currenlty a participant in the Food and Farming Research Initiative in the Department of Geography and the Environment
A second major research theme has been the critical study of regional identities, ethnic territoriality and mapping. Knapp has organized conferences on the ethnic geography of Latin America and regional identities in Texas and Mexico. He published one of the first studies of the ethnogeography of Ecuador and co-edited a pioneering special issue of a refereed journal devoted to the topic of participatory mapping. Knapp's current research concerns language persistence and salience for identity, as well as the role of maps in agribusiness discourse.
A third theme has been the contextualization of modernization (both neoliberalism and social democracy) in historical cultural ecology, as the latest phase of humanity's progressive achievement of greater efficiencies through collaboration, and in feminist political ecology and post-development theory. Modernization has both advantages and disadvantages, as recently addressed in discourses about sustainability.
A fourth theme has been the history of geographic thought, both in terms of institutions and in terms of regions. Knapp is an editor for the Library of Congress relating to bibliographies of Western South America, and has also authored departmental and biographical histories in the discipline of geography.