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Department of Geography


David Kneas

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Geography; Earth, Ocean and Environment
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-1308
Office: Callcott, Room 326
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment 
Department of Geography
David Kneas


David Kneas completed his Ph.D. in 2014 at Yale University, in a combined program between Anthropology and The School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. David also has a Masters degree in Environmental Science from Yale and a BA in Biology and Spanish from DePauw University (Greencastle, IN).


My research examines the political and cultural dimensions of resource conflicts and environmental change in Latin America. Working at the intersection of human geography, cultural anthropology, and political ecology, I have conducted long-term ethnographic and historical research in the Intag region of northwestern Ecuador. This research situates the contemporary conflict over proposed copper mining within regional histories of agrarian settlement and national histories of mineral exploration that have articulated subsoil copper as on object of political and economic significance. I am currently developing a new research project that considers the production of knowledge and expertise within the global mining industry, focusing on the junior mining companies that dominate resource exploration worldwide.


  • ENVR 101: Introduction to the Environment
  • GEOG343: Human Impact on the Environment
  • GEOG/ANTH 581: Globalization & Cultural Questions
  • GEOG 721: Producing and Consuming Nature and Natural Resources
  • SCHC 337: Global Environmental Imagery

Representative Publications

Carse, A., and D. Kneas. 2019. Unbuilt and Unfinished: The Temporalities of Infrastructure. Environment and Society: Advances in Research 10: 9–28.

Kneas, D. 2019. Translating Tierra Baldía: Land, Landscape, and the Becoming of Frontier Terrain in Northwestern Ecuador. Ethnos, DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2019.1617326

Kneas, D. 2018. Emergence and Aftermath: The (Un)becoming of Resources and Identities in Northwestern Ecuador. American Anthropologist. 120(4): 752–764.

Kneas, D. 2018. From Dearth to El Dorado: Andean Nature, Plate Tectonics, and the Ontologies of Ecuadorian Resource Wealth. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society. 4: 131–154. 

Kneas, D. 2017 Necessary Illusions: Fetishism and the Becoming of Subsoil Resources. Extractive Industries and Society 4: 846–851.

Kneas, D. 2017 Chest Hair and Climate Change: Harrison Ford and the Making of ‘Lost There, Felt Here.’ Environmental History 22: 516–526.

Kneas, D. 2016 Subsoil Abundance and Surface Absence: A Junior Mining Company and its Performance of Prognosis in Northwestern Ecuador. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 22(S1): 67–86.

Kneas, D. 2016 After-Eden: Narratives of Nature, Degradation, and Poverty in Amazonian Discourse. Journal of Latin American Geography 15(2): 33–53. 

Baker, L., M. Dove, D. Graef, A. Keleman, D. Kneas, S. Osterhoudt, and J. Stoike. 2013. Whose Diversity Counts? The Politics and Paradoxes of Modern Diversity. Sustainability 5: 2495–2518.

Kneas, D. 2005. Contesting Copper:  Documentary Film, Research, and Mining in Ecuador’s Intag Region. Tropical Resources: The Bulletin of the Yale Tropical Resources Institute 24: 15–20.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.