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About Jeanine M. Pfeiffer

Our collective ecological and cultural heritage represents a dynamic, kaleidoscopic encyclopedia for understanding, valuing, and stewarding the world our children will inherit. At issue is the sustainability of life: our existence and identity as humans on a fragile planet.
Worldwide, we have more endangered languages, more threatened cultural traditions, than biological species and habitats. The concept of sustainable cultural systems goes hand-in-hand with the concept of sustainable ecological systems.
My work investigates how human beliefs, knowledge systems, and practices have co-evolved with the surrounding environment.
This co-evolution of humans with our environment is encapsulated by the term biocultural diversity, which posits an intrinsic and synergistic relationship between the natural world (biological diversity) and the cultural world (cultural diversity).
From a scientific viewpoint, the concept of biocultural diversity implies an interdisciplinary approach: to study cultures, one must also study the environment in which those cultures are based. For more information, visit the Terralingua site on biocultural diversity conservation, the Global Diversity Foundation‘s website or The Christensen Fund‘s website.
As a researcher, scholar, professor and practitioner I work in landscapes and seascapes with traditional and contemporary cultures, in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.


Present Lecturer AY-B, Environmental Studies, San Jose State University
Present Lecturer AY-B, Humanities, San Jose State University

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • 2008 – 2011 NSF RCN-­‐UBE Grant No. DBI-­‐0840946 Education Network in Ethnobiology
  • 2008 – 2010 NIH-­‐ICBG Grant No. RFA-­‐TW-­‐08-­‐003 Biodiversity Surveys in Indonesia
  • 2005 – 2007 Training Grants, Indonesian Ministry of Forestry
  • 2003 – 2004 University of California Pacific Rim Research Grant
  • 1999 – 2004 University Research Expeditions Program – Field Research Grants
  • 1999 – 2000 U.S. Fulbright Commission – Student Award for Research in Indonesia


  • ENVS 10: Life on a Changing Planet
  • AMS/ENVS/HUM 159: Nature and World Cultures


2004 Ph.D., University of California at Davis ‐ Ecology
1993 M.Sc, University of California at Davis ‐ Humanities & Environmental Studies Departments
1988 B.A, Boston University ‐ Latin American Development

Contact Information

Telephone: 408.924.4312

Literary Works (8)

Radio (2)

Articles (8)

Micro-Documentaries and Films (3)

Books (4)