Dr. Jordan Fox Besek is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology with research interests in environmental sociology, historical sociology, social theory, the philosophy and history of science, and animal studies.
His research – aligned with the RENEW Freshwater Coastal Ecosystems and Sustainable Urban Environments focus areas - analyzes how social and environmental histories combine to condition contemporary environmental issues, particularly in Great Lakes cities and economies.
His current project examines social responses to Asian carp, an invasive fish that can grow up to 50 pounds, comes in great numbers, and jumps high out of the water when scared (for example by a boat motor). He looks at how the potential invasion of Asian carp to the Great Lakes via the Chicago River has created immense political, cultural, and scientific turmoil as well as how the social history of the Chicago River itself strongly influences Asian carp management strategies. Other interests include the social processes that lead to biodiversity loss and the philosophical foundations for interdisciplinary between the social and biological sciences.
Previous research projects have included work to improve the accessibility of Fish Consumption Advisories for peoples of lower socio-economic status and on cross-national relationships between economic indicators and the prevalence of invasive species.
Dr. Besek teaches graduate-level classical Sociological theory, undergraduate level organizational sociology, and has previously taught an undergraduate class in animals and society.
Dr. Besek holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Oregon, a Master’s in Urban and Regional Geography from the University at Buffalo, and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from Fordham University.