Jeffrey Hoelle

Associate Professor
Graduate Advisor

Office Hours

Winter 2018: Tuesday 2-4pm

Contact Phone

(805) 893-4244

Office Location

HSSB 2073
HSSB 2075 (lab)


Sociocultural Anthropology (environmental anthropology, ethnography, Latin America, Brazilian Amazon)


Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Florida
M.A., Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin


I am a cultural anthropologist interested in human-environment interactions in the Brazilian Amazon. My research seeks to understand Amazonian livelihoods and land uses in relation to political and economic drivers, but also to expand the view through attention to cultural factors, such as ideals of work, nature, and masculinity, as well as food and landscape preferences. The goal is to understand why destructive environmental practices, particularly cattle raising, make sense from the perspective of different actors. My book, Rainforest Cowboys: The Rise of Ranching and Cattle Culture in Western Amazonia, won the 2016 Book Prize from the Brazil Section the Latin American Studies Association. 


  • Cross-cultural comparison of cattle economies, cattle cultures, and beef consumption
  • Integrating culture into land use-land change frameworks, theory, and modeling
  • The function and aesthetics of everyday forms of nature control and domination
  • The anthropology of environmental degradation in the Brazilian Amazon, focusing on cattle raising and gold mining


From contested to ‘green’ frontiers in the Amazon? A long-term analysis of São Félix do Xingu, Brazil. Marianne Schmink, Jeffrey Hoelle, Carlos Valério A. Gomes & Gregory M. Thaler (2017) Journal of Peasant Studies.

Jungle Beef: consumption, production and destruction, and the development process in the Brazilian Amazon. (2017) Journal of Political Ecology 24: 743-762.

Gold glimmers in the Amazon. with Michael Klingler and Peter Richards. December 13, 2016 Sapiens.

Rainforest Cowboys: The Rise of Ranching and Cattle Culture in Western Amazonia. 2015. University of Texas Press.

Additional publications 


Fall 2017

ANTH 115: Language, Culture, and Place

ANTH 240A: Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology (Graduate course)

Winter 2018

ANTH 2: Introductory Cultural Anthropology