Jessica DiCarlo portrait
  • Assistant Professor, Geography Department
  • Assistant Professor, Environmental & Sustainability
  • Affiliated Faculty, Asian Studies Program
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Global Change & Sustainability

Courses I Teach

  • ENVST 2100 - Intro to Environment and Sustainability Studies
    This course focuses on our relationship with the environment and examines connections among local-scale phenomena and regional-, national-, and global-scale processes. We read and discuss several perspectives and approaches that are central to understanding human-environment relations, including environmental ethics, social constructions of nature, political ecology, and environmental justice.
  • GEOG 6960 - Graduate Qualitative Methods & Research Design
    This course is designed to provide graduate students with a comprehensive understanding of qualitative research methods and their applications across various academic disciplines. Qualitative research is a powerful approach for exploring complex phenomena, gaining insights into lived experience and human behavior, and generating rich, contextually grounded data. This course delves into advanced qualitative methods, theories, and practical skills necessary for conducting rigorous and meaningful qualitative research. Our goals are (1) to learn how to use some of the most common methods and to understand what sorts of questions and which methods are best suited to one another; (2) to write better proposals and do better research; and (3) to encourage critical thinking about the research process. We consider how to use and combine research methods, how to design and conduct data collection, what we assume explicitly and implicitly, and the ethical dilemmas raised by fieldwork-oriented studies. This will include developing strategies for critical self-reflection at all stages of the research process, and considering validity and biases across quantitative and qualitative research. Readings will provide techniques and tools for collecting, coding, and analyzing qualitative data and producing rigorous qualitative research. The course includes practical engagement with data collection to help students develop a nuanced understanding of various methods. The course also includes a research design component in which students have the option to develop a research proposal that informs their graduate work and collectively refine these proposals through peer review. In framing a project, we will think carefully about the connection between research questions, methods, data, and analysis. We will consider how to define research questions, emphasizing the importance of selecting a topic that is impactful (personally, professionally, scientifically) and achievable.

Other Profile Data

Courses Taught

University of British Columbia

Ethnographies of Global China [graduate seminar]: We study China’s global investments and integration from the ground. We will read deep empirical work with the aim of connecting complex local realities to today’s pressing policy questions regarding China’s global development model. We explore topics through which global China is currently manifest such as labor, smart cities and zones, environmental issues, connective infrastructure, business networks, and surveillance.

Resource Governance, Environment and Human Security [graduate seminar]: We  explore the linkages between environment, development, and human wellbeing. We will study a range of intergovernmental, nongovernmental, and other responses to the challenges posed by global ecological interdependence. Careful examination of the socio-political context will form an important part of the discussions. Case studies focus on land and food security, energy minerals, climate change, the resource curse, and more. We also explore reactions to these issues such as agrarian movements, environmental justice, and activism.

Asia Policy Practice [graduate seminar]: The primary objective of this course is to give students an opportunity to engage with academics and policy practitioners on contemporary Asia policy issues. It is designed for students  in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) program to  provide an identity and a community for those interested in strengthening their policy skills on Asia.

University of Colorado Boulder

Geography of International Development: The course is organized in three parts and is intended to build an understanding of how the term “development” has emerged and how it has been repeatedly reinvented and transformed to match the changes in the world around us. Part 1 explores the development of capitalism in terms of states, societies, and markets. Part 2 considers the history of development as an international project as it emerged in the context of post-colonial Cold War geopolitics and the way in which its theories and practices have shifted over time. Part 3 addresses approaches, technologies, and/or alternatives to development.

Geography of China: This course is on the human and cultural geographies of China and surveys the world's most populous country, examining physical and historical geography, urbanization and regional development, agriculture, population, energy, and the environment. Our most significant objective in this course is to demonstrate the usefulness of geography as a tool in dispelling many common myths about contemporary China. In doing so, we situate China's development in a broader Asian and global context.

Place, Power, Culture: This course is fundamentally concerned with understanding processes of ‘world-formation’ through a meditation on several abstract and yet essential concepts: Power, Place/Space, and Culture/Subjectivity. We spend the semester developing the conceptual skills to think through these key terms. What is ‘power,’ and how are spaces produced through relationships of power?

Global Public Health: We explore critical issues in global public health through a biosocial lens, incorporating the biological, economic, political, social, and cultural influences on health. We take a candid look at the challenges of quantifying health as well as the complexities of past health initiatives. We delve into the roles of the World Health Organization, nongovernmental organizations, and ministries of health in addressing both infectious and non-communicable diseases. We explore healthcare systems and consider the  elements of systems that improve accessibility and quality of care for citizens, making health a human right. We end with future priorities of global health.

Political Ecology: “The environment” figures dominantly in our daily lives and academic training—from concerns about climate change and biodiversity loss to energy policy, organic agriculture, and ongoing struggles for environmental justice. Yet we rarely stop to consider the specific historical, political, cultural, and economic contexts of these issues. In this class, we do just that through the lens of political ecology, a growing interdisciplinary subdiscipline, which examines the politics surrounding environmental issues.

University of California Berkeley
*GSI = Graduate Student Instructor

Food and the Environment [GSI for Nathan Sayre]: How do human populations organize and alter natural resources and ecosystems to produce food? The role of agriculture in the world economy, national development, and environmental degradation in the Global North and the Global South. The origins of scarcity and abundance, population growth, hunger and obesity, and poverty.

Global Poverty: Hopes and Challenges [GSI for Fatmir Haskaj]: This class seeks to provide a rigorous understanding of 20th-century development and, thus, 21st-century poverty alleviation. Students will take a look at popular ideas of poverty alleviation, the institutional framework of poverty ideas and practices, and the social and political mobilizations that seek to transform the structures of poverty.

Worldings: Regions, Peoples, and States [GSI for Jake Kosek]: This course is designed to transform how you think about, understand, and engage in its makings and re-makings. Ideas central to the field of geography, such as space, nature, empire, and globalization, animate the histories and politics of each of these issues and many other cases.  Our approach will not be to simply learn about the regions of the world but to think critically and geographically about how regions, peoples and states, and other foundational concepts have come into being and how they might be otherwise. 

Dalian University of Technology, P.R. China

Courses on Western Civilization, Phonetics, Conversational English, Literature, Writing

University of California Los Angeles

English as a Second Language