Skip to Content

Department of Anthropology


Monica Barra

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment and Department of Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803 576-8340
Office: EWS 501
Resources: Critical Ecologies Lab
School of Earth, Ocean & Environment
Department of Anthropology
African American Studies Program
Monica Barra


Monica Barra holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.  Dr. Barra is an assistant professor in the area of Race and Environment at the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment and Department of Anthropology and is a faculty affiliate in African American Studies.

Research Areas: 

  • Race Inequality
  • Environmental and Urban Anthropology
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Environmental Justice
  • Ethnography of North America
  • Race and Geography


Dr. Barra’s research focuses on the ways racial inequalities and geographies are forged in and through scientific knowledge and practices, racial histories, and transformations and uses of physical environments. Her current book project, Losing Louisiana, examines these topics through an ethnography of land loss that considers the complicated ways scientists and residents conceptualize space, water, land and sediment in the context of historic and contemporary race relations. This work is theoretically situated within scholarship on histories of racial formations in the U.S., the political ecologies of the plantation, critical science studies, black geographies, and environmental anthropology. This research has led to collaborations with engineers, ecologists, fishermen, and coastal residents aimed at democratizing scientific expertise on coastal restoration by integrating the knowledge and values of the communities most directly exposed to climate change into environmental restoration science.

In spring 2019 Dr. Barra began work on a second book project that focuses on the intersection of housing, land justice, and climate change for communities of color living in and along the U.S. Gulf and southeast coasts. Supported by an Early Faculty Career Grant from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, this ethnography of home and housing examines the ways diverse histories of land tenure and issues around housing justice intersect with ongoing research and planning efforts to make coastal U.S. South resilient to the environmental, cultural, and legal challenges that accompany climate change.


  • ENVR 540:  Decolonizing the Environment (special topics)
  • ANTH 342/ENVR 342:  Environmental Anthropology
  • ANTH 348/ENVR348:  Environmental Racism and Justice
  • ANTH 291/SOST 298:  Southern Voices (special topics)
  • ANTH 291: Science and Society (special topics)


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.