Soc 320 Research Opportunity, Summer/Fall 2020: The Environmental Sociology of Oil Palm Crops

Term: Summer/Fall 2020
Status: Open
Working With: Angela Serrano, 
Topic: The Environmental Sociology of Oil Palm Crops
This project investigates the environmental sociology of oil palm crops. It seeks to understand environmental transformations produced by the palm oil industry, with particular attention to how those transformations have affected small and large scale farmers in different ways. At this stage, the main component of the project is a literature review focused on changes in genetic selection and crop management practices of oil palm.
Activities: The undergraduate research assistant will conduct a literature review of environmental transformations in the palm oil industry, using library and online sources. They will receive an initial list of texts to read and summarize. The undergraduate assistant will then be asked to identify further sources related to the initial list to read and summarize. The primary researcher will provide a set of guiding questions to organize the summaries. The summaries should be submitted every other week.
To Apply: Please contact Angela Serrano at the email address above. Applicants should submit their resume or CV and a one- to two-paragraph statement explaining the reasons why they want to participate in this research practicum. Applicants who have fulfilled the Comm-B course requirement and have taken courses on environmental studies (e.g. environmental sociology, environmental humanities, ecology) will be given preference.

Readings: This is an example of the types of texts that the undergraduate assistant will read and summarize:

  • Zeven, A.C. 1970. The Partial and Complete Domestication of the Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis). Economic Botany 26 (3): 274-280.
  • Corley R.H.V and P.B. Tinker. 2016. The Oil Palm (5th ed.) Wiley Blackwell, West Sussex, UK.
  • Nyouma, Achille, Joseph M. Bell, Florence Jacob, and David Cros. 2019. “From mass selection to genomic selection: one century of breeding for quantitative yield components of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.).” Tree Genetics & Genomes 15(5):69.