Zoe Nyssa is a sociocultural anthropologist specializing in environmental questions, particularly related to biodiversity conservation and climate change. With a focus on applying anthropological insight to policy, Dr. Nyssa studies the relationships between local and elite knowledge practices, environmental governance, and distributive questions of risk and justice. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2014. Prior to coming to Purdue, she was a Ziff Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment and a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the Program on Science, Technology and Society. At Purdue, Dr. Nyssa is co-developing the new Master’s track in Applied and Practicing Anthropology.
Dr. Nyssa has conducted research at leading conservation projects in the U.S., Europe, and Ecuador. Her first book, Endangered Logics: The Nature of Knowing in Ecological Crisis, tracks the emergence and contemporary practices of biodiversity science in order to evaluate their impact globally on human and non-human life. Using a multi-sited and mixed method approach, the project employs participant observation as well as archival research, behavioral surveys, and data mining to link analyses of conservation program building with ethnographic study of elite practice and environmental decision making. This work has been supported by a number of fellowships and grants, including an Andrew W. Mellon dissertation year fellowship at the University of Chicago and a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.