Adam Romero

Adam Romero

Assistant Professor

B.A., Biology and Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
M.S., Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of Oxford
Master Gardener Certificate, University of California, Cooperative Extension
Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Berkeley

Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


In each of my classes, I work hard to create a learning environment where, as one of my students put it, “we can chew on the issue presented" and have the breathing room "to come up with our own practical and impractical solutions."  I incorporate intriguing and important content with interactive lectures, in-class exercises, experiential writing assignments, and thought-provoking exams, drawing upon my broad training in both the natural and social sciences to help students think across disciplinary boundaries.  I believe that teaching is an integral part of scholarship and that our work in the classroom is never complete. While my ultimate goal as a teacher is to foster critical thinking, reading, and writing skills, I am a firm believer that intellectual curiosity is a prerequisite to critical engagement and I strive to facilitate an inclusive classroom that makes space for my students to think creatively and take intellectual risks.

Recent Courses Taught

This school year I will teach Interdisciplinary Inquiry (BIS 300F) during the fall term. This particular section of BIS 300 investigates the production and consumption of food as well as the production and consumption of knowledge about food, nutrition, and how and why we chose to eat what we do. We will use the theme of "What to Eat?" as a springboard for exploring and developing interdisciplinary research questions.

During the Winter term, I am teaching Environmental Geography (BIS 242) and The Industrial Animal (BIS 397). Environmental Geography investigates the spatial aspects of the processes that shape our planet. Although an understanding of physical and environmental processes is central to this course, BIS 242 is not simply a natural science course. Instead, one of the fundamental principles of the course is that environmental dynamics are inseparable from social, cultural, political, and economic processes and relations. The Industrial Animal examines the historical development of the US industrial meat system. Exploring the physical, scientific, and political infrastructures that support American industrial meat production, we pay critical attention to the biological complications that have arisen in shaping animal and human life to fit the needs of the modern factory. We examine the methods–from synthetic vitamins and artificial light to the division of labor and mechanization–industrial meat producers use to try to tame the obstacles of biology.

In the Spring, I am teaching The History of Science and Technology (BIS 397) as well as the advanced seminar Food and the Environment (BIS 490). The History of Science and Technology is a new class in the STS major and it explores how science and technology have shaped society and how society has shaped science and technology. This class will use the clock and the cultural production of time and space as a lens in which to study the history and historiography of science and technology from 1400 to present day. Topics covered will include the scientific method, the railroad, the telegraph, still and motion pictures, GPS, and the development of the electron capture device. Food and the Environment explores the relationships between the production of food, clothing, energy, the environment, and a dynamic agrarian complex structured around production for and realization of value in a market. Drawing from a wide variety of readings, we take a critical look at structure, function, and change in the US agro-industrial complex.


My current research project delves into the political economic origins of agrochemicals in US agriculture. Drawing from 16 archives across the US, this project tells a story of a critical agroecological state-change – a state-change in which toxic chemicals became necessary for industrial agricultural production. By tracing the biogeochemical fate of industrial waste, I demonstrate how pre-WWII agriculture served as a profitable sink for industry's toxic byproducts. I argue that industrial agriculture can serve as a threshold of waste's transmutation, whereby the burden of point source waste disposal is transmuted into widely distributed inputs and non-point source pollution. The project's findings have important implications for US environmental and agricultural policy and the political economic theorizations of waste, pollution, and agroindustrialization.  In taking agriculture's consumptive role seriously, this research opens a novel window into the chemicalized nature of everyday life.

Selected Publications

Rajan, R, A. Romero, and M. Watts, eds. 2017. Genealogies of Environmentalism: The Lost Works of Clarence Glacken. Charlottesville, VA. University of Virginia Press.

Romero, A., J. Guthman, R. Galt, M. Huber, B. Mansfield, and S. Sawyer. 2017. "Chemical Geographies."  GeoHumanities 3 (1):1-20.

Romero, A. 2016. Review of “Food Systems in an Unequal World: Pesticides, Vegetables and Agrarian Capitalism in Costa Rica” by Ryan Galt, University of Arizona Press, 2014.  Journal of Peasant Studies 44 (1). 332-334.

Romero, A. 2016. “From Oil Well to Farm:” Industrial Waste, Shell Oil, and the Petrochemical Turn (1927-1947). Agricultural History 90 (1): 70-93. (*Winner of the 2017 Vernon Carstenson Award for the best article published in Agricultural History*)

Romero, A. 2016. Commercializing Chemical Warfare: Citrus, Cyanide, and an Endless War. Agriculture and Human Values 33 (1): 3-26.

Romero, A. 2015. Review of “Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology” by Frederick R. Davis, Yale University Press, 2014. Agricultural History 89 (4). 630-632.

Sayre, N., and A. Romero. 2014. Carrying Capacity Paradigm. In Essential Concepts for Global Environmental Governance, edited by J. Morin and A Orsinin. New York: Routledge/Earthscan. 21-24.

Eitzel, M. V., S. Diver, H. Sardiñas, L. M. Hallet, J. J. Olson, A. Romero, G. D. L. T. Oliveira, A. T. Schuknecht, R. Tidmore, and K. N. Suding. 2012. Insights from a Cross-Disciplinary Seminar: 10 Pivotal Papers for Ecological Restoration. Restoration Ecology 20 (2): 147-152.