Andrew Flachs
Curriculum Vitae

Professional Profile

Field experience in South India, Bosnia, and the United States.  Research spanning the anthropology of agriculture, ethnobotany, the anthropology of knowledge, and political ecology.  Specific foci of interest include: mixed-methods approaches to qualitative social science; conventional/industrial agriculture; fermentation and the microbiome;  alternative farming systems including organic agriculture; food studies; indigenous knowledge and ethnobiology; the anthropology of capitalism and household decision-making; natureculutre; the intersections of knowledge, politics, and environment in sustainable development. Training in ethnobotanical field methods, GIS analysis, survey design, qualitative research design, and quantitative data analysis, in addition to ethnographic field methods.   Co-Editor of the Journal Ethnobiology Letters.


  • Over a dozen first author peer-reviewed publications and dozens of conference presentations and invited talks

  • Over $200,000 in funding for several projects

  • Five national prizes for research papers from anthropological organizations

  • Strong student evaluations from introductory, advanced, and graduate level courses

Academic Affiliation

Purdue University
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Heidelberg University
Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies
Volkswagen Foundation Exchange Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Missouri - St. Louis
Adjunct Instructor

Washington University in St. Louis
PhD Candidate, Instructor


Doctor of Philosophy, Anthropology
Washington University in St. Louis
Cultural Anthropology
Graduate Certificate in American Culture Studies

Dissertation Title:  Cultivating Knowledge:  The Production and Adaptation of Knowledge on Organic and GM Cotton Farms in Telangana, India.

Master of Arts, Anthropology
Washington University in St. Louis
Cultural Anthropology

Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology
Oberlin College   

Bachelor of Music, Saxophone Performance
Oberlin Conservatory

Research Grants

Purdue University Agricultural Science and Extension for Economic Development (AgSEED) Grant (Co-Investigator):  $50,000

Purdue University College of Liberal Arts Global Synergy Grant:  $20,500

American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Fellowship:  $6,241

Volkswagen Foundation Workshop Grant:  $11,195

Volkswagen Foundation Research Grant:  $8,000

Library of Congress Blanton Owen Award:  $500

Missouri Botanical Garden Ethnobotanical Research Grant: $2,500

National Geographic Society Young Explorers Grant: $2,000

Jacob K. Javits Fellowship: $114,516

Oberlin College Research Fellowship (former McNair program): $5,000

Doris Baron Environmental Studies Student Research Grant: $2,000

Jerome Davis Award:  $500


Purdue University Teaching for Tomorrow Fellowship
Awarded to facilitate long-term contributions to teaching and mentoring

Purdue University ENGAGE grant                                                                                  
Awarded for academic workshop in support of forthcoming book

Purdue University ASPIRE grant                                                                                       2019
Awarded for conference and research travel

Purdue University Anthropology Department Excellence in Teaching Award
Awarded to anthropology professors nominated by past and current students

Washington University H. Kathleen Cook Graduate Student Prize
Awarded to a student in recognition of excellence in scholarship, service, and teaching

Washington University Dissertation Fellowship
Competitive dissertation completion fellowship

American Anthropological Association Robert M. Netting Award
Graduate student or recent PhD paper prize in the anthropology of agriculture

Political Ecology Society Eric Wolf Prize
Graduate student or recent PhD paper prize in political ecology

Washington University Richard J. Walter Scholarship
Awarded to PhD candidates in recognition of work in Asia

Washington University Writing Center and Libraries Graduate Fellowship
Competitive award to build skills in writing pedagogy and analytic software

Society of Ethnobiology Barbara Lawrence Award
Graduate student or recent PhD paper prize in ethnobiology

Washington University Lynne Cooper Harvey Fellowship
Competitive five year fellowship in American Culture studies

Oberlin College Comfort Starr Prize in Anthropology
Awarded to an outstanding graduate of the anthropology department

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention
2011, 2013

Oberlin College Highest Honors Anthropology

Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition Christine Wilson Award, Runner-Up
Undergraduate student paper prize in food studies

National Association for the Practice of Anthropology Student Achievement Award, First Place
Student or recent PhD paper prize in cultural anthropology

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Flachs, Andrew. 2019  “The Factish in the Field:  An Anthropological Inquiry of Genetically Modified Seeds and Yields as Beings.”  Science and Technology Studies, 32(3):26-43.

Flachs, Andrew and Glenn Davis Stone. 2019. “Farmer Knowledge Across the Commodification Spectrum in Telangana, India.” Journal of Agrarian Change, 19(4):614-634.

Flachs, Andrew and Joseph Orkin. 2019. “Fermentation and the Ethnobiology of Microbial Entanglement.” Ethnobiology Letters, 10(1):35-39.

Flachs, Andrew. 2019. “Planting and Performing: Anxiety, Aspiration, and “Scripts” in Telangana Cotton Farming.” American Anthropologist, 121(1):48-61.

Flachs, Andrew and Matthew Abel. 2019. “An Emerging Geography of the Agrarian Question:  Spatial Analysis as a tool for Identifying the New American Agrarianism.”  Rural Sociology, 84(2):191-225.

Flachs, Andrew and Paul Richards. 2018. “Playing development roles: the political ecology of performance in agricultural development.” Journal of Political Ecology, 25(1):638-646.

Flachs, Andrew. 2018. “Development roles: contingency and performance in alternative agriculture in Telangana, India.”  Journal of Political Ecology, 25(1):716-731.

Flachs, Andrew.  2018. “Listing at Multiple Stages:  Using Key Informants and Walking Probes to Generate Efficient and Accurate Lists During Larger Surveys.”  Field Methods, 30(3):175-190.

Flachs, Andrew. 2017. “ Show Farmers:  Transformative Sentiment and Performance in Organic Agricultural Development in South India.”  Culture, Agriculture, Food, and Environment, 39(1):25-34.

Stone, Glenn Davis and Andrew Flachs. 2017.  “The Ox Fall Down: Path Breaking and Technology Treadmills in Indian Cotton Agriculture.”  The Journal of Peasant Studies, 45(7):1272-1296

Flachs, Andrew, Glenn Davis Stone, and Christopher Shaffer.  2017.  “Mapping Knowledge:  GIS as a Tool for Spatial Modeling of Patterns of Warangal Cotton Seed Popularity and Farmer Decision-Making.”  Human Ecology,  45(2):143-159.  

Flachs, Andrew. 2016. “The Economic Botany of Organic Cotton Farms in Telangana, India.”  Journal of Ethnobiology, 36(3):683-713.

Flachs, Andrew. 2016.  “Redefining Success:  The Political Ecology of Genetically Modified and Organic Cotton as Solutions to Agrarian Crisis.”  Journal of Political Ecology, 23(1):49-70.

Stone, Glenn Davis and Andrew Flachs.  2015Seeking Sustainability for Smallholders: Bt Cotton in India.”  In Africa's future...can biosciences contribute?, David Bennett and Patrick Mitton, eds.  Pp. 119-128.  Cambridge, Banson/B4FA.

Flachs, Andrew.  2015 “Persistent Agrobiodiversity on Genetically Modified Cotton Farms in Telangana, India.”  Journal of Ethnobiology, 35(2):406-426. 

Stone, Glenn Davis and Andrew Flachs.  2014 “The Problem with the Farmer’s Voice.”  Agriculture and Human Values, 31(4):649-653.

Stone, Glenn Davis, Andrew Flachs, and Christine Diepenbrock.  2014 “Rhythms of the Herd:  Long Term Dynamics in Seed Choice by Indian Farmers.”  Technology in Society.  36(1): 26-38.

Flachs, Andrew.  2013 “Gardening as Ethnographic Research – Volunteering as a Means for Community Access.”  Journal of Ecological Anthropology, 16(1):97-103

Flachs, Andrew.  2010 “Food For Thought: The Social Impact of Community Gardens in the Greater Cleveland Area.” Electronic Green Journal, 30(1):1-9.

Work in Progress

Flachs, Andrew. Cultivating Knowledge: Biotechnology, Sustainability, and the Human Cost of Cotton Capitalism in India, in production with the University of Arizona Press.

Barbillon, Pierre, Loïc Schwaller, Stéphane Robin, Andrew Flachs, and Glenn Davis Stone. Forthcoming. “Epidemiologic network inference.” Statistics and Computing, published online March 1, 2019.

Flachs, Andrew and Sreenu Panuganti. 2019. “Organic aspirations and parallel value in South India.” Economic Anthropology, published online July 2, 2019.

Non-Peer Reviewed Publications and Other Media

Flachs, Andrew. 2019 “Rich aromas and forest light on South Indian coffee farms.” Blog post, Sensorium <link>

Flachs, Andrew. 2019 “How agricultural policies can support new American farmers.” Policy brief, Scholars Strategy Network <link>

Flachs, Andrew. 2019 “Planting and performing.” Photo Essay, American Anthropologist. <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2019 “Confounds are Life-an anthropologist takes a closer look at the microbiome.”  Radio interview, Earth Eats Podcast. <link>

Flachs, Andrew and Joseph Orkin. 2018 “The Worlds Within Us.” Blog post, Voices for Biodiversity. <link>

Marston, John M., Andrew Flachs, and Elizabeth Anne Olson. 2018 “Publishing in Ethnobiology Letters in 2018.” Editorial, Ethnobiology Letters 9(2): 283-288.

Flachs, Andrew.  2017-18 “Ethnobiology Forage! Blog”  Society of Ethnobiology. <link>

Flachs, Andrew and Ashley Glenn.  2017 “Growing the Bosnian Kitchen:  Sustainable Food Systems.” Blog post, Voices for Biodiversity. <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2017 “Monsoon Adaptation.” Blog post, Weather Matters. <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2017 “Biodiversity on Organic Farms in Telangana, India.”  Blog post, Voices for Biodiversity.  <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2017 “High Hopes and Farming Reality.” News & Views, Nature Plants, 3(16212):1-2.  <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2016 “The Green Revolution”.  In Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, Paul B. Thompson and David M. Kaplan eds. Pp.1–7. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2016 “How Genetically Modified Crops Grow”.  Field Note, National Geographic Magazine, 229(4):  24-25. 

Flachs, Andrew.  2015 “David Norton and Nick Reid’s Nature and Farming:  Sustaining Native Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes”. Book review, Economic Botany, 69(4):378-379.

Flachs, Andrew.  2015 “Dan Barber’s The Third Plate”. Book review, The Common Reader.  <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2014 “If They Spray Four Times, You Have to Spray Five”: How Genetically Modified Cotton is Stalling, Not Solving Pesticide Exposure”.  Blog post, Global Health Hub.  <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2014 “Cotton Farming in Telangana, India”.  Radio interview, National Geographic Radio.  <link>

Flachs, Andrew.  2013-2014 “Explorer’s Journal”. Blogger, National Geographic Blog.  <link>

Flachs, Andrew and Glenn Davis Stone.  2013 “Agriculture”. Oxford Bibliographies. <link>

Select Conferences and Invited Talks

2019 “Ethnographic perspectives on fermentation and the microbiome” Invited talk, Purdue University Interdepartmental Nutrition Program.

2019 “Tenacious cooperatives and creative choices on Telangana cotton farms.” Paper, American Anthropological Association conference, Vancouver, Canada. (panel co-convener and co-chair).

2019 “Creative rural solutions amid agrarian crisis and cotton capitalism in Telangana, India,” Paper presented at the Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin (panel chair).

2019 “Cultivating knowledge: Decoding agricultural sustainability through an ethnography of seeds,” Keynote lecture, Cornell-Syracuse South Asia Consortium, Syracuse, New York.

2019 “Ethnobiologizing Fermentation Revivalism,” Paper presented at the Society of Ethnobiology conference, Vancouver, Canada.

2018 “Organic Aspirations and Neoliberal Agriculture in South India,” Paper presented at the AAA conference, San Jose, California.

2018 “Anthropological Perspectives on Fermented Food and the Microbiome,” Invited Talk, Indiana University Food Institute Seminar, Bloomington, Indiana.

2018 “Narrative (I): Advancing from Narration Toward Narratology: The Art, the Craft, the Science”, Discussant, Berea, Kentucky

2018 “Using Anthropology to Understand Biotechnology in Rural India,” Invited Talk, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.

2018 “Ethnobiology and the Hope for Sustainable Cotton Agriculture in Telangana, India,” Paper presented at the Society of Ethnobiology and Society for Economic Botany joint conference, Madison, Wisconsin.

2018 “Growing Pains: Farmer Fees and Agricultural Consultation in Telangana, India,” Paper presented at the Dimension of Political Ecology conference, Lexington Kentucky.

2017 “Seeds as Relational Beings in Telangana Agriculture”, Paper presented at the AAA conference, Washington DC (panel co-convener and co-chair).

2017 “Postcolonial Performance and “Scripts” in Telangana Cotton Farming”, Paper presented at the Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin (panel chair).

2017 “Squeezing Agrobiodiversity:  Herbicides and High Density Cropping on GM Cotton Fields in Telangana, India”, Paper presented at the Society for Ethnobiology Conference, Montreal, Quebec.

2017 “Development Roles:  Contingency and Performance in Alternative Agriculture in Telangana, India”, Paper presented at Volkswagen Foundation Workshop, Heidelberg, Germany (Convener and organizer).

2017 “Field Performances:  Knowledge, Cotton, and Political Ecology in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk, Centre for International Environmental Studies at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland.

2017 “Applying Anthropology:  Investigating Sustainable Development on Cotton Farms in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Illinois.

2017 “Cultivating Knowledge:  Learning and Agrarian Change on GM and Organic Cotton Fields in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

2017 “Developing Knowledge:  GMOs, Organic Agriculture, and International Development in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk at East Anglia University, Norwich, United Kingdom.

2017 “Resilient Knowledge:  Learning to Farm on Genetically Modified and Organic Cotton Fields in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

2017 “Cultivating Knowledge:  Agricultural Learning and the Mixed Methods Toolkit in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

2017 “The Political Ecology of Performance:  Knowledge and Cotton Production in Telangana, India”, Paper presented at the Environmental Humanities Interdisciplinary Perspectives public lecture series, Heidelberg, Germany.

2016 “Spatial Modeling in Warangal Seed Fad Patterns”, Paper presented at the Heidelberg University Geography Department Colloquium series, Heidelberg, Germany.

2016 “Developing Knowledge:  GMOs, Organic Agriculture, and Sustainable Farming in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.

2016 “Redefining Success: The Political Ecology of Genetically Modified and Organic Cotton as Solutions to Agrarian Crisis”, Paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia.

2016 “Integrating Historical and Political Ecology in the Lower Illinois River Valley”, Roundtable presentation at the Society for Applied Anthropology Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia.

2016 “Developing Knowledge: Incentive and Constraint Among Cotton Farmers in Telangana, India”, Invited Talk at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.

2016 “The Anthropology of Sustainable Agriculture”, Invited Talk at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois.

2014 “Risk, reward, and the creation of knowledge on organic cotton projects in Telangana, India”, Paper presented at the AAA Conference, Washington DC.

2013 “Trial Runs in Uncertain Times:  Skilling among Organic and Bt Cotton Farmers in Telangana, India”, Paper presented at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” Heidelberg, Germany.

2013 “What Does Equal Access to Nutritious Food and the Land to Grow it Mean to Society?  Can Human Societies in the 21st Century Achieve It?” Panelist, Open Forum at the Society for Applied Anthropology Conference, Denver, Colorado.

2012 “Rhythms of the Herd:  Long Term Patterns in Warangal Agriculture”, Paper presented at the AAA Conference, Invited Session – Knowledge Boundaries:  Conceptual and Methodological Challenges in Studying Indigenous Knowledge, with Glenn Davis Stone and Christine Diepenbrock.

2010 “Food For Thought: The Social Impact of Community Gardens in the Greater Cleveland Area,” presented at the Central States Anthropological Society Conference, Madison, Wisconsin.

2009 “The Capabilities Approach: Navigating Cultural Politics in Human Rights Discourse,” Paper presented at the Central States Anthropological Society Conference, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

Research Projects

2017 – “Environment and Development in South Indian Organic Agriculture”, ethnographer and ethnobiologist in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India.

2017- “Preserving Probiotics:  Biocultural links between the human gut microbiome and fermented foods”, ethnographer and ethnobiologist in Tennessee, Warangal, India, Kunming, China, and Sarajevo, Bosnia.

2017- “Transnational Foodways in Sarajevo, Bosnia”, collaborator and ethnographer in Sarajevo and surrounding rural areas, Bosnia.

2015-, “Human Environmental Relationships in the Lower Illinois River Valley”, Ongoing multidisciplinary project in Calhoun County, Illinois.

2013-2016 “GM Crops and Indigenous Management”, collaborator and ethnographer in Templeton Foundation funded research (Glenn Stone PI), Telangana, India.

2013-2014 “Cultivating Knowledge:  Skilling and Constraint on Organic Farms in Andhra Pradesh, India”, Doctoral Dissertation Research, Telangana, India.

2012 “Seed Choice, Farmer Deskilling, and Foodways” Pilot Study, Washington University in St. Louis, Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

2010 “Female Genital Cutting, The Veil, and Democracy:  Navigating Cultural Politics in Human Rights Discourse,” Senior Honors Thesis, Anthropology, Oberlin, Ohio.

2010 “Berkeley California Farmer’s Market Accessibility,” a research project funded by a grant from Oberlin College and conducted with The Ecology Center, Berkeley, CA.

2009 “The Social Impact of Cleveland Area Community and Urban Gardens,” Oberlin Summer Research Institute, Oberlin, Ohio.

2008 “The Capabilities Approach,” Oberlin Summer Research Institute, Oberlin, Ohio.

2007 Research Assistant, McMaster University Institute of Environmental Health, Hamilton, Ontario.


Assistant Professor, Purdue University, West Lafayette IN

  • Introduction to Anthropology

  • Building the Socioecological Toolkit: Research Methods in Human-Environmental Relationships

  • Seminar in Ethnographic Analysis

  • Ethnographic Writing

  • Public Engagement

Instructor, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg Germany

  • Readings in Political Ecology and Alternative Agriculture

Instructor, University of Missouri, St. Louis, St. Louis MO

  • Ethnographic Field Research Methods

Instructor, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis MO

  • Food, Culture, and Power

Instructor, University College at Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis MO

  • Introduction to Anthropology

Teaching Assistant, Washington University in St. Louis,  St. Louis MO

  • Anthropology of Fashion

  • Culture and the Environment

  • Anthropology and Existentialism

SciJourn Teaching Fellow, St. Louis MO

  • Worked with inner city St. Louis teens to increase science literacy through designing and implementing research objectives, conducting science journalism, and publishing the results of that work.

  • Supervised research, oversaw each step of the journalistic process, and edited work for publication.

Environmental Intern, Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland CA

  • Oversaw a Zero Waste Lunch program teaching school children about recycling and composting.

  • Assisted with environmental education programs, taught the “Green Planet” class, helped build sustainability programs.

Writing, NGO, and Professional Experience

Freelance Writer, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
2016 -

  • Developed listening comprehension and lecture content for the Education Testing Service (ETS)

Writing Center and Library Fellow

  • Advised undergraduates, graduate students, and affiliated researchers, including ESL students, through individualized writing sessions.

  • Studied directive and non-directive writing pedagogy, conducted writing workshops.

Graduate Student Mentor, YMCA Leadership Symposium

  • Advised professional students in the process of researching, writing, and submitting academic research papers in coordination with YMCA of America.

English Lecturer and Development Assistant, Rural Development Foundation, Telangana, India

  • Directed English medium classrooms and helped implement English curriculum, including photoblogging.

  • Designed and maintained website.

  • Developed an intermediate and advanced curriculum for rural Indian students covering the fundamentals of journalism and intensive English language instruction.

Intern, J.W. Fulbright Commission, Prague, Czech Republic

  • Advised Czech students on American education, edited English language statements.

Intern, Glopolis: Prague Global Policy Institute, Prague, Czech Republic

  • Edited English language statements for publication.

Relevant Skills

Proficient Telugu
Basic Czech, French, German, Bosnian
ArcGIS suite
R statistics package
Field ecology and plant taxonomy


Peer Reviewer: Journal of Ecological Anthropology, Human Ecology, Journal of Ethnobiology, Human Organization, Geoforum, National Science Foundation, Journal of African Law , Ethnobiology Letters, Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment, Journal of Political Ecology, Journal of Rural Studies, Field Methods, American Ethnologist, Environment, Development, and Sustainability

Co-Editor, Ethnobiology Letters

Co-editor, Forage! Blog of the Society of Ethnobiology

Graduate Student Liaison to Anthropology Department for Sociocultural Students

Peer Mentor, Washington University Anthropology Department

American Anthropological Association Food Task Force, White Paper lead author

GOOD Ideas for Cities St. Louis, Team STL Provocateur

Health, Environment, and Recreation Committee, Vanguard Cabinet, City of St. Louis

Lorain County Food Policy Coalition

Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers Associate Program

Professional Affiliations

American Anthropological Association
Environment and Society Section, AAA
Society for Applied Anthropology
Society for Economic Anthropology
Society for Economic Botany
Society for Ethnobiology
Missouri Botanical Garden


Available upon request