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Jessica Dempsey

Associate Professor


Faculty of Arts

How and why does biodiversity loss continue despite the proliferation of conservation laws and policies? Towards answering this, Jess Dempsey studies how nonhuman biological life shapes and is shaped by political, economic, and scientific processes that are implicated in and respond to biodiversity loss. This has led her to interview green financiers in fancy New York boardrooms and scientists in paper-stuffed academic offices, study investments in conservation cattle markets in rural Kenya, participate in endless international biodiversity negotiations, and examine the intricacies of ecological-economic models. Her award-winning book Enterprising Nature (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) traces the rise of market-based and economistic approaches to biodiversity conservation, concluding that “selling nature to save it” has so far remained promissory, more utopian than pragmatic. In addition to journal publications, Dempsey has also produced a short animation on this topic.