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Zeke Baker


  • PhD Candidate (ABD), Sociology, UC Davis, Expected completion: 6/2019
  • MA, Sociology, UC Davis, 2013
  • BA, Sociology (Minor: Urban Studies), Wheaton College, 2009


I work in the areas of Environmental Sociology, Science & Technology Studies, and Political Sociology, primarily using historical-comparative and qualitative methods. My dissertation is titled "Meteorological Government: A Political Genealogy of Climate Knowledge in the US, 1780-2018." This project is motivated by recent developments at the intersection of climate science and government, not only struggles against both climate scientists and those seeking to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but also efforts to render projected climate-change impacts governable in the present. How is it that climate became a 'governable' object? More broadly, how are scientific developments linked to historically dynamic forms of social power? I address these questions by tracing the historical configurations of climate knowledge and power over the longue durée, bearing on topics as diverse as population health, state-territorial expansion, racial politics, economic valuation of climate, and military strategy. To do so, I draw upon a wealth of primary historical data and theoretical traditions in environmental and political sociology, environmental history, political ecology, and science & technology studies(STS).

Other research includes work on the formation and use of climate information among water managers in California, especially regarding how resource managers variously imagine the future in a way that informs their experience of weather and climate and their social practice. Work with John R. Hall also takes up issues of the 'social temporalities' of climate change with respect to the historical and currently vexed domains of science, the state, religion, and social movements.

Other ongoing projects include a mixed-methods analysis of the social structure of climate-change research in California (PI, Dr. Julia Ekstrom), and a qualitative/fieldwork based project on land use struggles in Southeast Utah. The latter project is a collaboration with Dr. Stephen Fick (US Geological Survey) and titled "A Historical Political Ecology of Indian Creek, UT"

I am always looking for scholars and students interested in collaborative research, mentorship/research assistant experience, or simply a good conversation and exchange of ideas!

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Research Articles

Baker, Zeke, Julia Ekstrom and Louise Bedsworth. 2018. “Climate Information? Embedding Climate Futures within Temporalities of California Water Management.” Environmental Sociology 4(4): 419-433.

Media coverage: KCBS, NewsDeeply, The Confluence, and other outlets

Baker, Zeke. 2018. “Meteorological Frontiers: Climate Knowledge, the West, and US Statecraft, 1800-1850.” Social Science History 42(4): 731-761.

Baker, Zeke. 2017. “Climate State: Science-State Struggles and the Formation of Climate Science in the US from the 1930s to 1960s.” Social Studies of Science 47(6): 861-887.

Book Chapters

Baker, Zeke. 2019. “Three Propositions towards a Cultural Sociology of Climate Change.” In: Hall, John R., Ming-Cheng Lo, and Laura Grindstaff (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology. New York: Routledge.

Hall, John R. and Zeke Baker. Forthcoming, 2019. “Climate Change Apocalypse and the Future of Salvation.” In: Andersson, Jenny and Sandra Kemp (eds.) Futures: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Futurity. London: Oxford University Press.


SOC 46A - Introduction to Social Research Methods (Fall 2018)

SOC 100 - Sociological Theory (Spring 2019)