Kirsten Rudestam

Visiting Instructor of Sociology

Maxey 234
(509) 527-4914
Mondays 10:30-12:00, Thursdays 1-2:30 and by appointment


B.A. in Environmental Studies from Brown University
M.S. in Environmental Studies from University of Oregon
PhD in Sociology from University of California, Santa Cruz

Areas of Interest

Kirsten studies water policy and management, "sense of place" with respect to resource management practices, and the role of affect and emotion in environmental politics. She investigates the relationship between water policies and everyday behaviors; how ideas about local waters are formed, the conflicts they produce, and how they enable or disable particular forms of participation. Her dissertation research focused on the dynamics of contested water use practices within the Deschutes Basin of Central Oregon. Her current research examines more closely collaborative and participatory water management practices as they interface with tribal nations and Indigenous communities. She aims to explore in these cases how the collaborative framework imposes limits on and creates opportunities for maintaining and recuperating Indigenous relations with water.


Kirsten has a Master's in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to her doctorate work, she spent two years co-directing the University of Oregon's Environmental Leadership Program, developing environmental service learning projects for undergraduate students. She has ten years of experience teaching environmental field courses for undergraduate college students in the western United States and is strongly motivated by her commitment to experiential education as a mode of radical environmental pedagogy.