My research and teaching specializations are Economic and Development Geography, with a regional expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa. My central research theme focuses on poverty and inequality, while also examining the important linkages between global economic and environmental processes of change. Although trained as a social scientist, my work lies at the critical intersection bridging human and physical geography. Fundamentally, my work is motivated by the desire to help improve living standards and enhance social justice in economically marginalized regions. My broader scientific goal is to expand our existing knowledge of economic, social, and environmental processes that perpetuate poverty and lead to growing income and power disparities between people and between places. My work offers important new insights for changing the development trajectory in less-studied, remote rural regions that are rapidly integrating into the cash economy and are on the front lines of climate change. As my research on the socio-economic drivers of poverty and inequality has evolved, I have increasingly sought opportunities to collaborate with international and US-based earth scientists interested in extreme weather, climate change, and land use/land cover change. My overall research program thus involves projects that enable me to put my work on the underlying dynamics of uneven development into dialogue with investigations of related processes of environmental change. My work has been supported by a variety of federal grants, including, as Principal Investigator (PI), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and a NSF Dynamic Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Interdisciplinary Team Exploratory Project Award. I have also been funded by several NASA program awards. Throughout my career, I have maintained a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring to foster enthusiasm for my discipline and encourage interdisciplinary thinking. 

Areas of Interest

  • Economic Globalization
  • Human Dimensions of Global Change
  • Inequality, Uneven Development and Social Justice
  • Mixed Methodologies
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Geography, Rutgers University, 2005
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    City and Regional Planning, Rutgers University, 2000
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    English, UCLA, 1995
Course Name Course Title Semester Syllabus
GEOG422 Changing Geographies of Subsaharan Africa Fall 2015
GEOG332 Economic Geography Fall 2018
GEOG332 Economic Geography Fall 2014 Syllabus
GEOG332 Economic Geography Fall 2013
GEOG332 Economic Geography Fall 2015
GEOG332 Economic Geography Fall 2016
GEOG332 Economic Geography Fall 2019
GEOG202 Introduction to Human Geography Spring 2020
GEOG331 Introduction to Human Dimensions of Global Change Spring 2016
GEOG632 Economic Geography Summer 2017

Current Students

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Rebecca Traldi
Julie A. Silva
1119 Lefrak Hall
Department of Geographical Sciences
jasilva [at]