Jeffrey Hoelle

Associate Professor

Office Hours

By appointment (Fall 2023)

Contact Phone

(805) 893-4244

Office Location

HSSB 2073
HSSB 2075 (lab)


Sociocultural Anthropology (environmental anthropology; ethnography; agriculture, land change and deforestation; 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. The Portuguese translation of the book is available for free download here.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, I was on sabbatical at Latin American Centre and the School of Environment and Geography at University of Oxford.

Along with Brazilian colleague Valerio Gomes, I lead the inaugural Fulbright Amazonia Initiative (2022-2024).



The anthropology of environmental degradation in the Brazilian Amazon

The function and aesthetics of everyday forms of nature control and domination

Cross-cultural comparison of cattle economies, cattle cultures, and beef consumption

Integrating culture into land use-land change frameworks, theory, and modeling

Local Research Project on Plants and People: The IV Ethnobotany Project 

Fulbright Amazonia Initiative


Jeffrey Hoelle & Nicholas C. Kawa (2021) Placing the Anthropos in Anthropocene, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 111:3, 655-662, DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1842171
Yann le Polain de Waroux, Rachael D. Garrett, Mollie Chapman, Cecilie Friis, Jeffrey Hoelle, Leonie Hodel, Kelly Hopping & Julie Gwendolin Zaehringer (2021) The role of culture in land system science, Journal of Land Use Science, DOI: 10.1080/1747423X.2021.1950229
Wade, M. & J. Hoelle. 2020. A review of edible insect industrialization: Scales of production and implications for sustainability. Environmental Research Letters 15(12). DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aba1c1

Hoelle, J. A Chegada da Cultura Caubói no Acre, Brasil. 2020. Caderno de Geografia 30(3), pp. 461-483. DOI: 10.5752/P.2318-2962.2020v30nesp3p461

"Why the Amazon is Burning" Op-ed, Los Angeles Times, Aug 27, 2019

Quantifying cultural values associated with deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. (2018) Journal of Land Use Science

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



Winter 2023: ANTH 2: Introductory Cultural Anthropology (TR, 12:30-1:45);

ANTH 205: Anthropological Ethics (graduate course) (W, 2-5pm)

Other courses I teach:  ANTH 115: Language, Culture, and Place;   ANTH 240A:  Anthropology Research Methods (Graduate course);  ANTH 252: Political Ecology.

Course descriptions