Debbie Kasper is an environmental sociologist with specialties in sociological theory, community and culture formation, and social change. She teaches a wide variety of courses at Hiram College (including Human Settlements, Community, Sociology of Food, Environmental Sociology, Permaculture, and more) in which students explore and apply what they’re learning through real life experiences on and off campus. In addition to teaching, Kasper puts her eclectic interests to work in other ways at the College: mentoring the SEED Scholars, helping coordinate sustainability efforts, and collaborating with campus leaders to enhance the ecological and social health of the Hiram community.
- Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, Sociology; Doctoral Minor: Social Thought Program
- M.A., The Pennsylvania State University, Sociology
- B.A., St. Norbert College, Sociology
Kasper’s scholarship focuses on the development of an integrated theoretical framework for “socio-environmental studies” and understanding, studying, and guiding social change. In addition to writing about these ideas, she enjoys finding ways to apply and test them with students in classes and in other areas of campus life.
- 2016. “Re-Conceptualizing (Environmental) Sociology.” Environmental Sociology 2(3): 1-11.
- 2015. “Contextualizing Social Practices: Insights into Social Change.” Pp. 25-46 in Putting Sustainability into Practice, edited by Emily Huddart Kennedy, Maurie Cohen, and Naomi Krogman. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
- 2014. “Codifying Figurational Theory and Mapping Common Ground in Sociology…and Beyond.” Human Figurations 3(1).
- 2009. “Ecological Habitus: Toward a Better Understanding of Socioecological Relations.” Organization& Environment 22(3): 311-326.
- 2008. “Redefining Community in the Ecovillage.” Human Ecology Review. 15:12-24.
Certified in Permaculture Design, Kasper brings Hiram College the rare opportunity to offer a permaculture course to undergraduates. Some of her students were so excited by what they learned, they initiated a project to re-design a campus park and institute Hiram’s first “food forest.” At home, she and her family are busy transforming their lawn into a diverse, abundant, and largely edible landscape.