Rebecca L. Austin received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Georgia. She received her M.A. in applied anthropology from Northern Arizona University and her B.A. in anthropology from Fort Lewis College. She recently taught for six years at Florida Gulf Coast University where she helped develop curricula for a new anthropology major and an interdisciplinary M.A. in environmental studies. Her long-term doctoral research, funded by a Fulbright grant, focused on environmental movements and community-based coastal resource management among fishing communities on Palawan Island, Philippines. She has a number of years of experience as an applied anthropologist with tribal governments in the southwestern U.S. and as a consultant in the private sector, including work with traditional cultural properties on the Navajo Nation, social impact assessment, and the social impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Dr. Austin's current interests are in traditional irrigation systems in the southwest (acequias), public perceptions of lawns and landscapes, human rights for environmental activists, and integrating anthropology with human ecology for teaching and applied projects. She holds a joint appointment with the Environmental Studies Program and the Anthropology Department at Fort Lewis College, and teaches a range of courses, including: Ecological Anthropology, Applied Anthropology, Coastal Anthropology, History of Anthropological thought, Introduction to Environmental Studies, Environmental Colloquium, and Social Dimensions of Environmental Movements.