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Andrew P. Vayda, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus


Biography: Andrew P. Vayda is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Ecology, Rutgers University, USA; Senior Research Associate, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia; and Adjunct Professor, Monash University (Australia) and the University of Indonesia. Formerly a professor at Columbia University, he has also taught for extended periods at the University of Indonesia and other Indonesian universities and at the University of British Columbia. He specializes in methodology and explanation at the interface between social and ecological science and has directed and participated in numerous research projects on people’s interactions with forests in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Since 2010, he has been taking part in interdisciplinary research on causes of the peat fires that may be one of the main sources of Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions and he has been teaching two- to seven-week seminar courses on methodology and explanation at various universities, including the University of Arizona, University of Indonesia, Oxford University, Australian National University, and Monash University. The journal, Human Ecology, was founded by him, and he was its editor for five years. He is also a founding board member of the Association for Fire Ecology of the Tropics and serves at present on the editorial boards of Anthropological Theory, Borneo Research Council publications, Forests, Human Ecology, and International Journal of Indonesian Studies. Among his publications are some hundred articles and several books, including Explaining Human Actions and Environmental Changes (2009), a selection of his essays on explanation and explanation-oriented research in the social sciences and human ecology, and Causal Explanation for Social Scientists (2011), a reader co-edited with Bradley Walters. A festschrift in his honor, Against the Grain: The Vayda Tradition in Human Ecology and Ecological Anthropology, with a concluding chapter by him on Causal Explanation as a Research Goal, was published in 2008 by AltaMira Press.

For a 53-minute video interview of Andrew P. Vayda on his life and work as of April 2008, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXcMXr5H7 or http://vimeo.com/24181562

For a transcript of the interview, go to: http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/bitstream/1810/238496/2/Vayda%20Interview%204-08%20rev.rtf-2.htm or http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/238496

For the Wikipedia article on Dr. Vayda, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_P._Vayda