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Contact Info:
Environmental Studies Program
Tufts University
163 Packard Avenue
Barnum Hall, Room 216E
Medford, MA 02155
Email: ninian.stein@tufts.edu
Phone: 617-627-0952

Dr. Ninian R. Stein


  • Ph.D. Brown University, Department of Anthropology
  • M.E.Sc. Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • M.A. Harvard University, Department of Anthropology
  • B.A. Brown University, Environmental Studies and Anthropology/Archaeology


Fall 2015

  • ENV 195-2 Environmental Policy
  • ENV 152 Seminar in Environmental Negotiation


Trained as an anthropological-archaeologist and an environmental scientist, Professor Ninian Stein's research and teaching spans three areas — environmental policy and communication, landscape change, and environmental justice. Many of her classes and aspects of her research look at environmental policy and communication through the lens of the disciplinary cultures of science and policy. At the heart of Prof. Stein's work is the idea of "landscape literacy" (Spring 2005), that if we can read the past of a place we are better able to plan for its future. Prof. Stein has taught most recently at Smith College, and also at Wheaton College in Norton (MA), the University of Massachusetts Boston, and San Jose State University.

Her current research draws on systems thinking, science and design to create new collaborative decision-making frameworks for communities seeking to increase their sustainability and more effectively utilize and preserve local environmental resources. The manuscript in progress for this work is tentatively titled Bioregional Urbanism 1.0. Her team is partnering with Grove Hall Main Streets and other community organizations to field-test the Bioregional Urbanist methodology in the Grove Hall neighborhood in Dorchester and Roxbury, Massachusetts. She is also finishing a manuscript, Not Your Average Run of the Mill: Combining Environmental History and Industrial Archaeology to Shape the Future of Factory Sites. Based on her environmental and anthropological study of a textile mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and its transformation into an artists' community, the manuscript offers techniques for transforming old industrial buildings into vibrant spaces for community building. This manuscript represents a concrete way to link environmental studies with the concerns of local communities.

The daughter of a career counselor, Prof. Stein especially enjoys talking with students about career paths including jobs, internships, and graduate and professional schools. She has advised undergraduate research and theses at several schools. Someday she hopes to teach a course entitled "Food, Clothing, Shelter: Our Stuff and Sustainability."

Teaching Experience

  • Visiting Assistant Professor
    Smith College, Fall 2012-Spring 2015
    Designed and taught in the fall semesters Environmental Integration I, an introductory course integrating environmental science and policy and Environmental Justice. In the spring semesters, designed and taught Collecting & Analyzing Information, a research methods course; and the Environmental Science and Policy Senior Capstone course
  • Assistant Professor
    San Jose State University, Fall 2011-Spring 2012
    Designed and taught Archaeology; Rediscovering Lost Civilizations; Archaeological Laboratory Methods; and Native North America
  • Mellon Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow
    Wheaton College, Fall 2009-Spring 2011
    Designed and taught Environmental Anthropology; Reading and Mapping Landscapes: Tools from the Environmental Sciences, History and Archaeology; Archaeologies of Landscape; and Environmental Justice
  • Associate Director of Environmental Studies and Lecturer in Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences Department
    University of Massachusetts Boston, Fall 2007-Spring 2009
    Designed and taught Historic Environments and Environmental Policy courses in fall, taught Introduction to Environmental Studies and Capstone courses in spring
  • Teaching Fellow
    New England Environmental History, Environmental Studies, Brown University, Fall 2006, 2005, 2004
    Designed and taught undergraduate seminar for 3 consecutive fall semesters

Selected Publications

"Future Boston" with Philip Loheed and Sarah Howard-McHugh, Earthos Institute submission to "The Self-Sufficient City: Envisioning the Habitat of the Future" International Competition held by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain. 2009.

"Paul Radin and the Historical Origins of the Debate on Indigenous Knowledge." Northeast Anthropology. 72. Fall 2008.

"Dichotomies and the "Maize Debate" in Late Woodland and Contact Period Southern New England." In John P. Hart editor, Current Northeast Paleoethnobotany II. Albany: New York State Museum. 2008.

Volume Collaborator. Charles Foster editor. Twentieth Century New England Land Conservation: A Heritage of Civic Engagement. Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers. 2008.

Selected Publications in Preparation

Not Your Average Run of The Mill: Combining Industrial Archaeology and Environmental History to Shape the Future of Factory Sites. Completed Manuscript 230 pages plus bibliography & illustrations.

Bioregional Urbanism 1.0: How Cities and Their Regions Can Be Self-Sustaining Within A Globalized World. With Philip Loheed, and Sarah Howard of Earthos Institute. Book proposal including 3 sample chapters in progress.

Audley-Pietrowski, Shanon and Ninian Stein. "Creating An Environmental Resiliency Framework: Changing Children's Personal and Cultural Narratives to Build Environmental Resiliency." Submitted to the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Spring 2015.