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Daniel Murphy

Title: Assistant Professor
Office: 4th Braunstein Hall
Tel: 513-556-3415

Dr. Murphy is a cultural anthropologist and political ecologist whose research explores the interwoven relationships between humans and their environments, focusing, in particular, on the cultural, political, and economic dimensions of human response to environmental change.  Both in his research and as an educator, Dr. Murphy is deeply committed to the application of anthropological perspectives in the development of theoretically sound yet practical solutions to a range of human problems including rural poverty, environmental degradation, and adaptation to climate change. His current research is embedded in two, long-term programmatic interests: 1) ethnographic research on disaster and rural social change among mobile pastoralists in Mongolia and 2) applied research on climate change adaptation in the United States.

See website for more info: 

Theoretical interests: Environmental anthropology, economic anthropology, political ecology, and science and technology studies 
Topical interests: Economic development, environmental governance, pastoralism, disasters and risk, climate change, applied anthropology
Regional Interests: Mongolia, Inner Asia, and western US


  • PhD, University of Kentucky, 2011 (Anthropology).

Research Information

Research Support

  • (Co-PI), Daniel Murphy, Laurie Yung, Solomon Dobroski, Cory Cleveland, Lisa Eby, Paul Lachapelle, and Elizabeth Shanahan, Climate change vulnerability in Rural Montana: Using Multi-scale, iterative scenario-building to investigate community decision-making under future uncertainty, Montana Institute on Ecosystem's EPSCoR Program. 45,000. 02-2012. Status: Completed.
  • (Co-PI), Laurie Yung and Daniel Murphy, Forest Community Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity in the Context of Climate Change, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station . 225,386. 07-2011. Status: Completed.
  • (Co-PI), PI: Nina Burkhardt (USGS); Co-PIs: Renée Rondeau (Colorado State University, Colorado Natural Heritage Program), Betsy Neely (The Nature Conservancy), Marcie Bidwell (Mountain Studies Institute) Laurie Yung (University of Montana), Carina Wyborn (University of Montana), Rudy M. Schuster (USGS), John Sanderson (TNC); William Travis (University of Colorado), Daniel Williams (USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station), Socioecological Resilience to Climate Change in Southwestern Colorado, North Central Climate Science Center, Department of Interior. $553,985. 07-2013. Status: Active.
  • (PI), Daniel Murphy, (Continuing Support) Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity in Rural Ohio: Using Scenario-Building to Investigate Community Decision-Making Under Uncertainty, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station . 10,600. 09-2013. Status: Active.
  • (PI), Murphy, Daniel, Using Climate Change Scenario-building to Investigate Community Vulnerability in the Western U.S., Department of Agriculture. (12-JV-11221636-169), $55,085.75. 08/25/2013 to 09/30/2015. Status: Active.
  • (PI), Daniel Murphy, Climate Adaptation Planning in the Intermountain West, USDA Forest Service. 35000. 09-2015. Status: Active.


Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Daniel J Murphy (2014). Ecology of Rule: Territorial Governance and the Politics of Change in Rural Mongolia . Anthropological Quarterly, 87 (3). [Link]
  • Paige Fischer, Travis Paveglio, Matt Carrol, Daniel J Murphy, and Hannah Brenkert-Smith (2013). Assessing Social Vulnerability to Climate Change in Communities near Public Forests and Grasslands: A Framework for Resource Managers and Planners. Journal of Forestry, 111 (5), 352-369. [Link]
  • Daniel J Murphy (2014). Booms and Busts: Asset Dynamics, 'Natural' Disaster, and the Politics of Excess in Rural Mongolia. Economic Anthropology, 1 (1), 104-123. [Link]
  • Daniel J Murphy (2015). From Kin to Contract: Labor, Work, and the Production of Public Authority in Rural Mongolia. Journal of Peasant Studies. [Link]
  • Daniel J Murphy, Carina Wyborn, Laurie Yung, Cory Cleveland, Lisa Eby, Solomon Dobrowski, Erin Towler, and Daniel R. Williams (2016). Engaging Communities and Climate Change with Multi-scale Iterative Scenario-building in the Western US. Human Organization, 75 (1). [Link]
  • Carina Wyborn, Laurie Yung, Daniel Murphy, and Daniel R. Williams (2015). Situating Adaptation: How Governance Challenges and Perceptions of Uncertainty Influence Adaptation in the Rocky Mountains. Regional Environmental Change. [Link]
  • Daniel J Murphy, Carina Wyborn, Laurie Yung, and Daniel R Williams (2017). Rethinking Climate Change Adaptation and Place through a Situated Pathways Framework: A Case Study from the Big Hole Valley, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning, 167, 441. [Link]
  • Laurie Yung, Nicky Phear, Alayna DuPont, Jessica Montag, Daniel Murphy (2015). Drought Adaptation and Climate Change Beliefs Amongst Working Ranchers in Montana. Weather, Climate, and Society, 7, 281-293. [Link]
  • Daniel J. Murphy (2018). (In Press). "We're living from loan to loan': Pastoral Vulnerability and the Cashmere-Debt Cycle in Rural Mongolia. Research in Economic Anthropology.
  • Daniel J. Murphy (2018). (In Press). Mobility and the Moral Economy of Corruption in Pastoral Mongolia. Nomadic Peoples.

Invited Publications

  • Daniel J Murphy, Laurie Yung, Carina Wyborn, and Daniel R. Williams. (2014). Engaging Future Uncertainty and Climate Skeptics in the American West.. Anthropology News. [Link]
  • Daniel J. Murphy. (2017). Review of "Craig Janes and Oyuntsetseg Chuluundorj. (2016) Making Disasters: Climate Change, Neoliberal Governance and Livelihood Insecurity on the Mongolian Steppe. School for Advanced Research Press: Santa Fe, NM" . Nomadic Peoples, 21: (1), 161-164.

Book Chapters

  • Daniel Murphy (2012). Encountering the Franchise State: Dzud, Otor, and Transformations in Pastoral Risk in Rural Mongolia. In Bruce Knauft and Richard Taupier (Eds.), Mongolians After Socialism: Politics, Economy, Religion (pp.67). Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Admon Press. [Link]

Technical Reports

  • Daniel Murphy, Laurie Yung, Carina Wyborn, and Daniel R Williams (2015). Key Concepts and Methods in Social Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity. US Forest Service General Technical Reports. [Link]

Experience & Service

Work Experience

  • 2011 to 2012, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana.

Courses Taught

  • Fundamentals of Anthropology

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

  • Catastrophe! Anthropology of Disaster

  • Culture, Nature, Power: Critical Perspectives in Political Ecology

  • Culture, Environment, and Globalization