Ph.D.          University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

                    Doctor of Philosophy in Geography (2015)

                    Title: "Promised Land: The Politics of Abandonment and the Struggle for a New Detroit"


M.A.            University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

                    Master of Arts in City and Regional Planning (2008)

                    Title: “Pork Chop Politics: Constructing Rural Economies and Imagining Alternatives”


B.A.             Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

                    Bachelor of Arts in Medical Anthropology (major), Photojournalism (minor) (1999)

                    Title: “Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Healthcare Networks in Honduras”



Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

                    Assistant Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development, 2015



Urban studies, critical race studies, political ecology, environmental justice, agro-food studies, social movements, critical development studies, property and land tenure, participatory research, ethnography.



2014          Sara Safransky, “Greening the Urban Frontier: Race, Property, and Resettlement in Detroit,” Geoforum 56: 237-248.

2014          Andrew Newman and Sara Safransky, “Remapping the Motor City and the Politics of Austerity,” Anthropology Now 6, 3: 17-28.

2012          Sara Safransky and Wendy Wolford, “Land Grabs in the Americas and their Alternatives,” published online by the Land Deal          

                   Politics Initiative.

2012          Sara Safransky, “Book Review: Liquid Materialities: A History of Milk, Science and the Law. By Peter Atkins.” Cultural Geographies

                  19: 134-135.

2010          Kevin Fox, Elizabeth Hennessy, Scott Kirsch, Lisa Marshall, Sara Safransky, Autumn Thoyre, and Jenna Tiitsman, “Book Review      

                   Essay:  A Catalog of Things. Edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel,” Social & Cultural Geography 11, 2: 191-199.



2014          Sara Safransky, Article, “Green urbanisms: Competing vision for postindustrial futures in Detroit,” Antipode, Special Issue on

                   Critical Agrarianism in Theory and Practice.

2014          Linda Campbell, Andrew Newman, and Sara Safransky, eds. Detroit: A People’s Atlas (book proposal submitted to Wayne State                      University Press; manuscript under preparation.)




2014            Institute for Human Geography Grant (co-PI, Detroit collaboration)

2014            Wenner-Gren Foundation Engaged Anthropology Grant

2014            Social Science Research Council Grant for Critical Agrarian Studies Workshop (co-PI)

2013            Mellon-ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship

2013            Contested Landscape Summer Institute Fellow, Cornell University

2012            Antipode Scholar-Activist Project Award (co-PI, Detroit collaboration)

2012            Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

2012            National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant

2011            Landscape Architecture Foundation Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship

2010            University of California Community Forestry and Environmental Resource Fellowship (collaborator on engaged scholarship


2010            Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Program

2009            National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (3-year fellowship)

2008            Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Graduate Fellow with “The Changing Nature(s) of Land”

1998            Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant, Undergraduate Thesis Field Research



2012          Tuition Incentive Scholarship

2012          Linda and David Lewis Summer Research Fellowship

2011          Off-Campus Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

2010          Latin American Studies Tinker Field Research Grant

2008          Best Master’s Thesis Award, Department of City and Regional Planning

2008          Robert E. Bryan Fellowship, Carolina Center for Public Service



University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

2010            Teaching Assistant, Environmental Justice, Anthropology Department

2009            Co-Instructor, Geographies of Economic Change, Geography Department

2008            Teaching Assistant, World Regional Geography, Geography Department

2008            Co-Facilitator, Food Systems and Economic Development Workshop, Planning   


2008            Teaching Assistant, Power, Property Rights and Social Movements, Geography Department 

2007            Teaching Assistant, The Fate of Food, Geography Department

2007            Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Women’s Studies, Women’s Studies Program          



2011-12      Doctoral Dissertation Research, Detroit, MI, fifteen months

2010-11      Participatory Research and Documentary Production, Warren County, NC, one month

2010            Preliminary Dissertation Field Research, Detroit, MI, two months

2009            Exploratory Research, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and surrounding region, two months

2008            Collaborative Team Research, Eastern NC, one month

2007-08      Master’s Thesis Research, Eastern NC, three months 

2004            Research Assistant for Book Project on Food Politics, three months

2000            Research Assistant for Book Project on Redevelopment in Stamford, CT, six months    



2013            “Green Redevelopment as Settler Colonialism: Struggle over Land and the Future of Detroit,” American Association of 

                     Geographers Annual Conference, Los Angeles, April 9.

2013            “Hantz Off Our Land: Urban Redevelopment, Land Politics, and the Greening of Detroit,” Invited Colloquium Talk, Whittier

                     College, Whittier, CA, March 7.

2012            “Uniting Detroiters: Public Participation in the Motor City,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San

                     Francisco, November 14.

2011            “The Politics of Abandoned Land in Detroit,” American Association of Geographers Annual Conference, Seattle, April 17.

2010            “Re-imagining Detroit: The Country in the City,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, November


2009            “Prairie Gold: The Global Rush to Farm Fuel,” Bio-fuels Conference, sponsored by Journal of Peasant Studies, Halifax, Canada,                          October 16-17.

2009            “Smithfield Food Inc.’s ‘Good Food. Responsibly.’ and Imagining Alternatives,” American Association of Geographers Annual

                     Conference, Las Vegas, March 24.

2008            “Pork Chop Politics: Constructing Rural Economies and Imagining Alternatives,” Food and Social Movement Panel at Agriculture

                      Food and Human Values Society Conference, “Resilient Culinary Cultures: Disaster, Innovation, and Change in Foodscapes,”                             University of New Orleans, New Orleans, June 4-7.

2008           “Building Local Food Systems in North Carolina,” Sawyer Seminar, Fate of Food Conference, UNC-Chapel Hill, April 25-26.



Current      Member, Editorial Board, Uniting Detroiters Project

2011-12      Co-Organizer, Research Justice Working Group, Detroit

2008-12      Board Member, Center for Integrating Research and Action, UNC-Chapel Hill

2011            Member, Hiring Committee, Department of Geography, UNC-Chapel Hill

2010-11      Graduate Committee, Department of Geography, UNC-Chapel Hill

2004-10      Board Member, Maverick Farms, Valle Crucis, North Carolina

2010            Coordinator, Social Movements Working Group, UNC-Chapel Hill

2009-10      Curriculum Committee, Department of Geography, UNC-Chapel Hill

2008-09      Colloquium Committee, Department of Geography, UNC-Chapel Hill



American Anthropological Association; Association of American Geographers; Center for Integrating Research and Action (UNC-Chapel Hill); Social Movements Working Group (UNC-Chapel Hill); Land and Sovereignty Research-Activist Collective