Rik Scarce

Skidmore College


Rik ScarceRik Scarce joined the Skidmore College faculty in the fall of 2003.  He teaches Environmental Sociology, Social Theories of the Environment, Environmentalisms, Sociological Perspectives, Development of Sociological Thought, Contemporary Social Theory, Social Movements and Collective Behavior, Political Sociology, and other classes.  Previously, he taught at the Lyman Briggs School (now College) at Michigan State University, where, in 2002, he received the University and the College of Natural Science Teacher-Scholar awards.  He has also taught in the Sociology Department at Montana State University, and he has guest lectured at more than fifteen colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

Rik's current research is a book and documentary project on sustainability in the Hudson River region tentatively titled Sustaining This Place: Making the Hudson Region Last.  His previous books Eco-Warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movementinclude an update of his first one, Eco-Warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement (Left Coast Press, 2006), Contempt of Court: A Scholar's Battle for Free Speech from Behind Bars (Alta Mira Press, 2005), Fishy Business: Salmon, Biology, and the Social Construction of Nature (Temple University Press, 2000), and the first edition of Eco-Warriors (Noble Press, 1990); he is also the editor of Syllabi and Instructional Materials for Environmental Sociology, 4th and 5th editions, for the American Sociological Association (1999 and 2003).

Rik has authored or co-authored scholarly articles and book chapters on the social construction of nature, the international environmental movement, teaching methods, environmental conflict resolution, environmental attitudes, environmental futures, electronic democracy, and research ethics.  His  journal articles have been published in Symbolic Interaction, Society and Natural Resources, Teaching Sociology, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Law and Social Inquiry, The American Sociologist, Animals and Society, and elsewhere, and he has also been published in the Chronicle of Higher Education and a variety of lay outlets.

Among the more unusual events in his life, Rik was jailed for five months in 1993 for refusing to cooperate fully with a federal grand jury. His "contempt of court" citation Contempt of Court: A Scholar's Battle for Free Speech from Behind Barsresulted from his defense of the First Amendment's "free press" clause.  In particular, Rik argued for a researcher's right to safeguard confidential communications.  He also was following the American Sociological Association's Code of Ethics, which forbade sociologists from violating promises of confidentiality that they make to research participants.

Ultimately, Rik appealed his case to the United States Supreme Court, which refused to grant him a hearing.  Never accused of wrongdoing, arrested, or tried, Rik was released from jail after 159 days when a judge recognized that he would not cooperate further with the grand jury.  Contempt of Court is Rik's chronicle of his experiences. 

Rik Scarce's Ph.D. is in sociology from Washington State University (1995). His M.A. is from the University of Hawaii (1984), and his B.A. is from Stetson University inFishy Business: Salmon, Biology, and the Social Construction of Nature Florida (1981); both are in political science. He lives in Averill Park, New York.  For fun he enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and bicycling.

For more detail, see Rik's vita (in pdf format).

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