Geography Profile
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Texas A&M University
202B CSA
MS 3147,
College Station, Texas 77843


Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers:

Panama 2014 Meeting

Dr. Christian Brannstrom


Ph.D. Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998

M.S. Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1992

A.B. International Relations, University of California, Davis, 1990


Dr. Christian Brannstrom’s research focuses on nature-society relations, in particular the historical geography of the environment and resource management in Brazil and Latin America. His work with land change includes collaboration with Jackie Vadjunec on an edited book, Land Change Science, Political Ecology, and Sustainability: Synergies and Divergences and several journal articles on the Brazilian Cerrado (savanna). His historical work strives for empirical depth to fill knowledge gaps in understandings of deforestation and implementation of irrigation systems. I have done this work in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and in the Atlantic Forest region of Brazil. His edited book Territories, Commodities, Knowledges (2004) aimed to establish key themes in the field and indicate common concerns among European, African, Asian, and North American literatures. His other activities include serving as co-editor of Journal of Historical Geography and Chair of the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (2012-2014).


Environmental Governance in the Brazil Brazilian Cerrado - analyzes types of governance regimes, evaluates the influence of state actors and civil society on water governance, and measures environmental outcomes of new governance regimes.

The Making of an Irrigated Agricultural Landscape in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, 1900-1945” is planned as a book covering three major themes: (1) ideas, stressing the invention of the Lower Rio Grande Valley as a “Magic Valley,” an ethnically white agricultural paradise with abundant, cheap, and subservient Mexican labor; (2) water governance, focusing on the construction of the irrigation infrastructure by private firms and their conversion to quasi-public irrigation and water districts; and (3) land, emphasizing the clearing of shrubland and constructing the grapefruit commodity chain.


  • Brannstrom (PI; A. Santos, co-PI), “Doctoral Dissertation Research: Opportunities and constraints to livelihood production in the Cassarubá Marine Extractive Reserve (MER) in Northeast Brazil,” National Science Foundation DDRI
  • PI Chris Houser) “Perception of the rip current hazard on Galveston Island and South Padre Island,” Texas Sea Grant College Program
  • PI Matthew Fry) “Collaborative Research: Social Perspectives New Geographies of Shale Gas: Distance Regulation and Policy Mobilities in Texas,” National Science Foundation

Selected Publications

  • Brannstrom, C., and P. R. B. Brandão (2012), “Two hundred hectares of good business: Brazilian agriculture in a themed space,” Geographical Review 102 (4): 465-85
  • Brannstrom, C. (2012), “John Shary, Charles Pease, and contested irrigation landscapes in early-twentieth-century South Texas,” Journal of Historical Geography 38: 234-46
  • Jepson, W., C. Brannstrom, N. Persons (2012), “‘We don’t take the pledge’: Environmentality and environmental skepticism at the epicenter of U.S. wind energy development,” Geoforum 43: 851-62
  • Brannstrom, C., L. Rausch, C. Brown, Marson, R., Miccolis, A. (2012), “Compliance and market exclusion in Brazilian agriculture: Analysis and implications for ‘soft’ governance,” Land Use Policy (29): 357-66
  • C. Brannstrom, “Political Ecology,” in Oxford Bibliographies: Geography, ed. B. Warf (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) []
  • Houser, C., Brannstrom, C., Quiring, S. M., Lemmons, K. (2011), “Study abroad field trip improves test performance through engagement and new social networks,” Journal of Geography in Higher Education 35(4): 513-28
  • Brannstrom, C. (2011), “A Q-method analysis of environmental governance discourses in Brazil’s northeastern soy frontier,” Professional Geographer 64(3): 531-49
  • Brannstrom, C., Jepson, W., Persons, N. (2011), “Social perspectives on wind-power development in west Texas,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101(4): 839-51
  • Brannstrom, C. (2010) “Forests for cotton: Institutions and organizations in Brazil’s mid-twentieth-century cotton boom,” Journal of Historical Geography 36(2): 169-82
  • Jepson, W., C. Brannstrom, and A. Filippi (2010) “Access regimes and regional land change in the Brazilian Cerrado, 1972-2002,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100 (1): 87-111
  • Brannstrom, C. (2009) “South America’s neoliberal agricultural frontiers: Places of environmental sacrifice or conservation opportunity?” Ambio 38(3): 141-9
  • Filippi, A. M., Brannstrom, C., Dobreva, I., Cairns, D. M., and Kim, D. (2009) “Fuzzy ARTMAP classification of hyperspectral Hyperion data for savanna and agricultural vegetation discrimination in the Brazilian Cerrado,” GIScience & Remote Sensing 46(1): 1-23
  • Brannstrom, C., Neuman, M. (2009) “Inventing the ‘Magic Valley’ of South Texas, 1905-1941,” Geographical Review 91(2): 123-45
  • Brannstrom, C., et al. 2008. Land change in the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado), 1986-2002: Comparative analysis and land-use policy implications. Land Use Policy 25: 579-95
  • Brannstrom, C., and Filippi, A.M. 2008. Classification of Cerrado (savanna) and agricultural land covers in North-Eastern Brazil's agricultural frontier. Geocarto International 23: 109-34
  • Brannstrom, C., and Filippi, A.M. 2006. Environmental policies for modern agriculture? Evaluating the case of western Bahia state, Brazil. In Sustainable Development: National Aspirations, Local Implementation, eds. J. Hill, A. Terry and W. Woodland, 271-91. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Brannstrom, C. 2006. Relações de trabalho na cotonicultura do Oeste Paulista: Uma visão do Arquivo do Fórum da Comarca de Assis. Patrimônio e Memória, 2 (1):1-16.
  • Brannstrom, C. 2005. Environmental policy reform on north-eastern Brazil's agricultural frontier. Geoforum, 36 (2):257-71.
  • Brannstrom, C. 2005. The timber trade in southeastern Brazil, 1920-1960. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 24 (3):288-310.
  • Brannstrom, C. 2005. Was Brazilian industrialisation fuelled by wood? Evaluating São Paulo's energy hinterlands, 1900-1960. Environment & History, 11 (4):395-430.
  • Brannstrom, C. 2004. Decentralising Brazilian water-resources management. European Journal of Development Research, 16 (1):214-34.
  • Brannstrom, C., ed. 2004. Territories, Commodities and Knowledges: Latin American Environmental History in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. London: Institute for the Study of the Americas.
  • Brannstrom, C. 2004. What kind of history for what kind of political ecology? Historical Geography, 32:71-87.
  • Brannstrom, C., Clarke, J., and Newport, M. 2004. Civil society participation in the decentralisation of Brazil's water resources: Assessing participation in three states. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 25 (3):304-21.

Graduate Students

  • Kellie Wilcox-Moore, MS Student (Chair)
  • Nicole Persons, MS Student (Chair)
  • Sasha Broadstone, MS Student (Chair)
  • Kristian Saguin, PhD Student (Chair)
  • Anna Santos, PhD Student (Chair)
  • Fiona Wilmot, PhD Student (Chair)
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