Portrait of Christian Espinosa Schatz

Christian Espinosa Schatz

Advisor: Michael Dove

  • PhD Student
I am a doctoral student in Yale's combined degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. I have a long-standing interest in climate change as an issue of justice, knowledge, and power. My undergraduate dissertation examined how Biblical concepts of creation, care, and hope mediate Evangelical Christian pastors’ understanding of climate change, moving beyond easy journalistic narratives of denial to explaining the diversity of responses within the Evangelical church. My master’s dissertation examined how the history of drainage and agricultural intensification in England’s lowest lying landscape shapes contemporary debate over the challenges of climate change.
My current project further engages this anthropological approach to climate change through working with the Mayan agrarian communities of Guatemala’s western highlands. I am seeking to understand how Mayans navigate climate change through local environmental knowledge, scientific expertise, and transnational mobility. I use ethnographic and geographic methods to examine both the material and discursive formations of climate change: drought, rainfall variability, and food insecurity; agroecological practice, Mayan terminology for the weather, and ethnoclimatology; international aid, NGO projects, and “usable” climate science; historic marginalization, remittances, and transnational mobility. The insights I hope to gain on how marginalized indigenous people understand and navigate climate change will provide foundational knowledge currently missing from the debates on climate adaptation, climate migration, and climate justice.

Christian is a proud first generation college student from Southern California.
MPhil Geographical Research
University of Cambridge 2019;

B.A. Environmental Science and Public Policy
Harvard University 2018