Caleb Scoville

Caleb Scoville's picture
Research Interests: 
environmental politics (endangerment/extinction, water, climate change, anthropocene), science, knowledge, technology, morality, law, political economy, social and political theory
Office: 
Cafe Milano (2522 Bancroft Way)
Profile: 
I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley where I study environmental politics. My research interests span social and political theory, cultural sociology, science and technology studies, environmental sociology, political sociology/economy/ecology, economic sociology, and law and society.
 
I am interested in how “nature” is configured as a political object, particularly in times of crisis. My primary empirical focus is endangered species conservation and water management in California. My dissertation draws on documents, observations, interviews, and a large scale analysis of news articles to understand the entanglements of science, law, infrastructure, politics, and culture in the context of one of the most contentious and consequential endangered species conflicts in American history: the case of the delta smelt, a small species of fish caught in the center of California's "water wars." The first major article from this project, "Hydraulic Society and a 'Stupid Little Fish': Toward a Historical Ontology of Endangerment" (in Theory and Society 48) was awarded the 2017 American Sociological Association Animals and Society Section’s Jane Goodall Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Scholarship, the 2017 Herbert Blumer Prize for the best paper written by a UC Berkeley sociology graduate student, and UC Berkeley's 2018 Leo Lowenthal Prize.
 
My research on the politics of endangerment and extinction has informed an interest in bringing environmental law into empirical legal studies. To this end, I was a 2017-18 Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law & Society. My background in political theory and ongoing collaborations with philosophers ground an enduring interest in foundational concepts, and in particular "freedom" and "nature," which are typically avoided in the discipline of sociology, yet frequently looming in the background of sociological analysis and social theorizing nonetheless.
 

Curriculum vitae available here.

Published And Forthcoming Work:

Amironesei, Razvan and Caleb Scoville (Equal Authorship). “Groundwater in California: From Juridical and Biopolitical Object to a Political Physics of Vital Processes.” Theory, Culture & Society (Accepted).

Scoville, Caleb. "Hydraulic Society and 'A Stupid Little Fish': Toward a Historical Ontology of Endangerment." Theory and Society 48.1 (2019): 1-37. [read online]

  • Jane Goodall Award for Graduate Student Scholarship, Animals & Society Section, American Sociological Association
  • Herbert Blumer Prize for Best Paper Written by a Berkeley Sociology Student
  • Leo Lowenthal Prize, awarded to a UC Berkeley graduate student whose research is in the spirit of Professor Lowenthal’s work

Amironesei, Razvan and Caleb Scoville (Equal Authorship). “Opposing California’s WaterFix: The Trump Administration and the Future of Environmental Advocacy.” Ethics, Policy, and Environment 21.1 (2018): 29-33. [read online]

Scoville, Caleb and Neil Fligstein. “The Promise of Field Theory for the Study of Political Institutions.” In The New Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Parties, Movements, Citizenship and Globalization edited by Thomas Janoski, Cedric DeLeon, Joy Misra, and Isaac Martin, Forthcoming 2018, Cambridge University Press.

Scoville, Caleb. “‘We Need Social Scientists!’ The Allure and Assumptions of Economistic Optimization in Applied Environmental Science.” Science as Culture 26.4 (2017): 468-480. [read online]

Scoville, Caleb. “George Orwell and Ecological Citizenship: Moral Agency and Modern Estrangement.” Citizenship Studies 20.6-7 (2016): 830-845. [read online]

Scoville, Caleb. "Reclaiming Water Politics: California's Drought and the Eclipse of the Public." Berkeley Journal of Sociology 59 (2015): 35-43. [read online] [republished by The Hampton Institute]