Jonathan Padwe

Jonathan Padwe, PhD

Associate Professor

Curriculum Vitae

Office: Saunders Hall 317
Office Hours: click here
Phone: 956-2707
Personal Website:

General Interests
Current Research
Selected Publications


Ph.D. (Environmental Anthropology): Yale University
MESc.: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
BA: University of Virginia

My research looks at the relationship between social and environmental change in the highlands of mainland Southeast Asia. This work is based on several years of fieldwork in Cambodia’s northeast highlands, along the border with Vietnam, as well as on archival research conducted at at Cambodia’s National Archives and at the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer, the French colonial archive in Aix-en-Provence.

I previously worked in South America and maintain an active interest in the region. My work there includes over three years working with foragers in eastern Paraguay, conducting research on hunting and natural resource use. Other work in South America includes field research on land reform and identity politics in Bolivia, and work in community development and as an advocate for indigenous peoples’ rights.

For more information, please see my personal website.

General Interests

  • Ecology, nature, territory and belonging
  • The political economy of agrarian transition
  • War, genocide, and the politics of remembrance
  • Southeast Asia (Cambodia and Vietnam) and South America (Paraguay, Bolivia)

Current Research

I’m particularly interested in farmers’ understandings of nature, and the ways that nature is used in practices of identity formation and the establishment of territory. To date, I’ve worked intensively with a small group of villages along the middle-Sesan River near the Cambodia-Vietnam border. My work traces Jarai plant-knowledge, and practices of remembrance, along networks that stretch from the highlands of Vietnam and Cambodia to communities of the Jarai diaspora in the United States and Europe.

I am currently at work on a book manuscript that explores nature, territory and belonging in Cambodia’s northeast highlands, and examines connections between the region’s turbulent political history and practices of understanding and transforming the environment. For this project, I worked closely with Jarai-speaking swidden farmers, who experienced the Vietnam War and the Cambodian genocide not only as human tragedies, but as environmental crises, too.

I also have several projects under development. These include: (1) research on the idea of indigeneity and its antecedents in mainland Southeast Asia; and (2) a study of the establishment of the Cambodia – Laos – Vietnam Triangle Development initiative, a framework for regional integration and economic cooperation with important implications for livelihoods and the environment.

Selected Publications:

Please see my website for a complete list of publications.

2013. Padwe, Jonathan. Highlands of history: Indigenous identity and its antecedents in Cambodia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 54(3):282-295. [LINK]

2013. Padwe, Jonathan. Hrin à l’âme de guêpe: Chasse et « relations extérieures » dans la littérature orale jarai. Translated by Mathieu Guérin. Péninsule no. 66 (2013): 133–160. [LINK]

2013. Padwe, Jonathan. Anthropocentrism. In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press. [LINK]

2013. Padwe, Jonathan. Cambodia (chapter editor and author of introduction). Pp. 75-90 in Joshua Barker, Erik Harms and Johan Lindquist, editors. Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity. Honolulu: University of Hawaiˈi Press. [LINK]

2011. Padwe, Jonathan. Cashews, cash and capitalism in northeast Cambodia. Pp. 123 – 153 in Caroline Hughes and Kheang Un, editors. Cambodia’s Economic Transformation. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press. [LINK]

2011. Guérin, Mathieu and Jonathan Padwe. Pénétration coloniale et résistance chez les Jarai: Revisiter le rôle des colonisés dans la mise en place des frontières en Indochine. Outre-Mers No. 370-371:245-272. [LINK]

2010. Padwe, Jonathan. Customary law, traditional authority and the ethnicization of rights in highland Cambodia. Pp. 325-363 in Frederic Bourdier, editor. Development and Dominion: Indigenous Peoples of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Bangkok: White Lotus Books. [LINK]

2008. Dove, Michael R., Andrew Mathews, Jonathan Padwe, Anne Rademacher, and Keely Maxwell. The Concept of Human Agency in Contemporary Conservation and Development. Pp. 225-253 in Bradley B. Walters, Bonnie J. McCay, Paige West and Susan Lees, editors. Against the Grain: The Vayda Tradition in Human Ecology and Ecological Anthropology. Lanham, New York: AltaMira Press. [LINK]

2004. Padwe, Jonathan. Participatory Conservation at the Condor Bioreserve, Ecuador: Representations, Decision Processes, and Underlying Assumptions. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 18(2/3):107-137. [LINK]

2000. Hill, Kim and Jonathan Padwe. Sustainability of Ache hunting in the Mbaracayú Reserve, Paraguay. Pp. 79-105 in J. Robinson and E. Bennet, editors. Hunting for Sustainability in Tropical Forests. Columbia University Press, New York. [LINK]

1997. Hill, Kim, Jonathan Padwe, Carlos Bejyvagi, Ambrosio Bepurangi, Felipe Jakugi, Roberto Tykuarangi, and Tito Tykuarangi) Impact of Hunting on Large Vertebrates in the Mbaracayú Reserve, Paraguay. Conservation Biology 11(6):1339-1352. [LINK]