• David M. Hughes
  • David M. Hughes
  • Professor, SAS
  • Specialization: Environmental anthropology, race, whiteness, landscape, conservation, oil, climate change, energy, wind, the Caribbean; Southern Africa.
  • Degree and University: Ph.D, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 1999, Professor, SAS, Anthropology Dept.
  • Office: BIO-201
  • Office Hours: Spring 2024 - Mondays 12:30-2 pm, or by appointment
  • Phone: 848-932-9299
  • Visit Website

I work as a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey (United States). In research and teaching, I explore ways in which people exploit each other while exploiting nature, environments, and, indeed, the entire biosphere. I have written history and ethnography on topics as diverse as settler colonialism, racism, slavery, land reform, climate change, oil, and renewable energy – in Southern Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. My current work takes me to southern Spain and the Strait of Gibraltar, an energy-rich blow zone. Provisionally entitled Utopia of Wind: Politics after Fossil Fuels, the project will reassess property, aesthetics, biodiversity, work, and other Left values in light of the transition towards clean energy. Throughout, I have sought to dismantle associations taken for granted: those between land and freedom, between whiteness and nature, and between oil and progress. You may read current and older texts through the links to below.

  pdf Link to CV (588 KB)

hughes who owns wind

Who Owns the Wind?  Climate Crisis and the Hope of Renewable Energy - published 2021

Utopia of Wind
Boston Review has published the first piece of this work here

Energy without Conscience

Energy without Conscience
Duke University Press published this book in 2017. You can learn more about the work and buy it here.
Through a special deal with Knowledge Unlatched, it is available as a free PDF here.
The Financial Times previewed part of the book here.
Energy without Conscience received Honorable Mention in the 2017 competition for the Victor Turner Prize for ethnographic writing.

Whiteness in Zimbabwe: Race, Landscape, and the Problem of Belonging

Whiteness in Zimbabwe
My second book came out in 2010 with Palgrave Macmillan. You can learn more about the work and buy it here.
The Johannesburg Mail and Guardian reviewed the book here.


From Enslavement to Environmentalism: Politics on a Southern African Frontier (Culture, Place, and Nature)

From Enslavement to Environmentalism
University of Washington Press published my first book in 2006 in its Nature, Culture, Place Series. You can learn more about the work and buy it here.
The Zimbabwe Independent reviewed the book here.