Department of Geographical Sciences
University of Maryland
Email: jasilva at umd.edu
Research Interests: economic geography, globalization, uneven development and global justice, the human dimensions of global change, and mixed methodologies.
My research focuses on development and its effects on poverty, inequality, and social change. In particular, I examine these processes in rural and rapidly urbanizing societies in sub-Saharan Africa. I investigate how development strategies interact with economic and environmental processes of global change across multiple geographic scales. To gain a fuller understanding of complex socio-economic processes, I employ a mixed methods approach, using both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Key findings of my research identify the complex and multidirectional channels through which global change processes interact and alter the contextual environments in which the poor and marginalized construct their livelihoods. My work has increasingly involved collaboration with researchers in other fields — including climatology, remote sensing, rural sociology, and anthropology — and from other countries. This has enabled me to study economic activity and adaptation in the context of larger human and natural systems (e.g., climate and social transformation), and thus to gain a better understanding of embedded economic interactions, and of the human dimensions of global change.