Kenneth Iain MacDonald (Canada)

Kenneth Iain MacDonald

Co-Chair TCC

Kenneth MacDonald teaches in the Department of Geography; the Program in International Development Studies; and the Program in Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


He has conducted field research, primarily in northern Pakistan and India, since 1986 in areas as diverse as glacial hydrology, agro-ecology, cultural analyses of risk, the politics of labour relations in the mountaineering industry, the cultural politics of conservation, and the production of cultural identity. These projects are held together by a desire to understand how communities and environments function in a world in which the lives of individuals are tied together through spatially extensive relations of power that are often unclear. Most of this work is ethnographically based and has focused on the modes in which the biophysical environment is shaped through cultural processes.


His teaching interests bring together the fields of cultural politics, development and Environmental Studies and he has developed and taught courses on development ethics, development fieldwork, environmental conservation, globalization, and the global cultural economy. He has been actively involved in promoting an improved understanding of the complex relations between culture and biodiversity conservation through publishing in publications oriented toward academics and practitioners and organizing meetings, most recently the Symposium “Sustaining Biological and Cultural Diversity in a Rapidly Changing World: Lessons for Policy”, held at the American Museum of Natural History in 2008.


Dissertation Title: The Mediation of Risk: Ecology, Society and Authority in A Karakoram Mountain Community (Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies Award). Ph.D., 1995 University of Waterloo, Geography.