Profile: Dawn Biehler

Dr. Dawn Biehler Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Systems, University of Maryland Baltimore County. Dawn s interests center on urban environmental history, political ecologies of public health, environmental and social justice, urban housing issues, and human-animal interactions.

Dawn Biehler grew up on a small farm in upstate New York. After finishing her undergraduate degree in biology at Williams College (Massachusetts), she served two years in the AmeriCorps-VISTA program, working with urban social justice organizations that inspired many of her current research interests. Dawn completed both her Master s and PhD degrees at the University of Wisconsin Madison. A post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia preceded her current position at University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Dawn is currently developing a book, tentatively titled Pests and the People, that explores the historical geography of public health pests such as rats, cockroaches, and bedbugs and pesticides in US cities since 1900. The book is under contract at the University of Washington Press. Pests and the People examines past and present-day public interventions in housing quality and their implications for pest ecology and human health. Dawn is also interested in the ways community activists have understood and mobilized around the health threats posed by pesticides and pests. Recent articles appear in Geoforum (v. 40) and the Journal of Historical Geography (v. 36).

More broadly, Dawn in interested in the relationships among urban housing, urban environments, and public health. She has recently become involved in a collaborative project to examine vector mosquito species, environmental change, and environmental justice in the DC-Baltimore region. Future research will focus on how both the state and community groups have attempted to shape residential geographies with respect to sources of organic and toxic pollution.

Dawn can be reached at dbiehler@nullumbc.edu. See also http://www.umbc.edu/ges/people/biehler.htm

Updated: January 2010