Creative Research Medal 2013
Chris Cuomo, professor of philosophy and women’s studies, is recognized for her unique and groundbreaking interdisciplinary work on the epistemology and ethics of global climate change. In 2003, Cuomo formed a research team with physical geographers who study the history and resilience of permafrost. Drawing upon her more than 25 years of scholarship related to ethics, feminist theory, social justice and environmentalism, Cuomo used research methods informed by feminist epistemology to integrate interviews with members of vulnerable populations into scientific research on landscape changes on Alaska’s North Slope. Her team’s interviews with Iñupiaq elders resulted in the creation of a community-based geographic information system that incorporates cultural information and memories along with geo-specific information about changes in the landscape. This unique blend of quantitative and qualitative data not only clarified the ecological changes in the North Slope region, but also produced excellent resources on the subsistence practices and gendered divisions of labor for contemporary Iñupiaq communities.