Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin Madison

Samer Alatout

Associate Professor
336A Agricultural Hall
1450 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

(608) 263-0970

Office Hours: By appointment


2002-2003: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Geography, Dartmouth College

2003: Ph.D., Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University


2003: Assistant Professor, Rural Sociology and Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

2002-2003 Visiting Assistant Professor of Government, Dartmouth College

2001-2002 Visiting Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies, Cornell University

Research Areas:


Science and technology studies (sociology and politics of science and technology)
Social theories of power and government
Biopolitics, Foucault
Social theories of territory with a focus on borders
Political and cultural geography

Sites of interest:

Environmental policy and politics
Water politics in the Middle East
Environmental politics on the US/Mexico and Palestine/Israel borders
International Development and the politics of sustainability

Current Research Projects:

Borders: This research is meant to be a book-length project on the history of the concept of borders in modernity, late modernity, colonial and postcolonial times. At least initially, the empirical focus of the project will be on a comparative study of environmental issues at the borders in the US/Mexico and Palestine/Israel.

Towards a bio-territorial framework of power and government: This theoretical intervention critically engages the writings of Michel Foucault (benefiting from his contributions in biopolitics and relations of power in late modernity) and conventional state theory.

Environmental security/insecurity: In this project I critically engage the notion of national- and human-security, problematize their basic assumptions, and critically investigate the moves in recent decades to understand the environment from within different security narratives.

History of rivers as borders: There is ample evidence, maybe somewhat suggestive, that rivers were enrolled in nation and/or state building projects and used as markers of borders in recent history (last two centuries). This project aims to understand this transformation and its link to the colonial encounter.




Water Policy in International Contexts
International Development, Environment, and Sustainability

Graduate Seminars:

Social theories of Power
Social theories of border
Local and Regional Approaches to Sustainability and Vulnerability


Department of Community and Environmental Sociology
Graduate Program of Sociology
Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Department of Geography
Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies
Center for Culture, History, and Environment
Certificate on the Humans and the Global Environment
Water Resources Program
Middle East Studies Program
Development Studies Program
Agroecology Program
Sustainability and the Global Environment
Center for World Affairs and Global Economy
Global Studies
Global Legal Studies Initiative