Luisa Cortesi

Stanford H. Taylor Postdoc Fellow, STS and Anthropology


Luisa Cortesi (PhD, Yale) is an environmental anthropologist who works on water, disasters, knowledge, technologies, and environmental justice. Her research focuses mainly in North Bihar, India, where she coordinated an innovative network of NGOs in the flood-affected area during the 2007 and the 2008 disastrous inundations, conducted ethnographic fieldwork for over three years in 2012-2015, and where she remains engaged in pro-bono advising to local NGOs. 

Prior to her joint PhD in the department of Anthropology and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, Luisa conducted graduate level studies at SOAS-University of London (UK), the Universita' degli Studi di Torino (Italy), and the Université de Fribourg (Switzerland). Luisa has also worked in Sub-saharan Africa, did research in Tamil Nadu, Orissa, UP, Delhi, Rajasthan (India), and served as UN fellow and water specialist for UNDP, WFP, and other UN agencies. Her research and teaching is interdisciplinary, grounded on a keen interest in environmental sciences and the humanities that includes collaborative research and methodological innovation.

Her research has been supported by the Fulbright Commission, the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the American Institute for Indian Studies, the MacMillan Centre, and several other endowments. Luisa is the recipient of a 2017-2018 Josephine de Karman Fellowship for high academic standards based on a national competition among graduate students of any discipline in the US. She has been awarded the 2016 Royal Anthropological Institute’s Curl prize for the best essay relating to the result or analysis of anthropological work, the 2017 Wolf prize by the Political Ecology Society for an essay advancing the field of Political Ecology, and the 2017-2018 Praxis Award for outstanding achievements in translating anthropological knowledge into action.