Karim-Aly Kassam


Natural Resources


Cornell University

ksk28 [at] cornell.edu


122 Fernow Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Brief Biography

Karim-Aly S. Kassam is an International Professor of Environmental and Indigenous Studies in the Department of Natural Resources and the American Indian Program at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University. His objective is to merge teaching with applied research in the service of communities. His research focuses on the complex connectivity of human and environmental relations, addressing indigenous ways of knowing, sustainable livelihoods, and climate change. It is conducted in partnership with indigenous communities in the Alaskan, Canadian, and Russian Arctic and Sub-Arctic; the Pamir Mountains in Afghanistan and Tajikistan; and the rain forest in the south of India. By investigating the relationship between biological diversity and cultural diversity, Dr. Kassam seeks to expand the foundations of the notion of pluralism.

Dr. Kassam's book, "Biocultural Diversity and Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Human Ecology in the Arctic," was published in 2009.

Dr. Kassam states, "I have been working in the Arctic for over 15 years with northern communities such as the Sami, Inuit, Inupiat, and Dene, and have just published the results of my life's work and, therefore, have something meaningful to contribute." Dr. Kassam is interested in speaking to academic, graduate student, and general public audiences. Dr. Kassam's work in the Arctic has been used by civil society institutions as well as government agencies to develop policy.

Potential lecture titles include:

Ways of knowing

Mapping Indigenous Knowledge

Human Dimensions of Climate Change in the Arctic and Alpine Areas

Link between Biological and Cultural diversity

Dr. Kassam holds a PhD in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell University, an MSc in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics, an MPhil in Islamic Studies from the University of Cambridge, and a BA in Economics from the University of Calgary.

Science Specialties

human ecology

Current Research

Areas of Applied Research Focus: Indigenous and local ecological knowledge Human ecology Biocultural diversity Pluralism Ways of knowing Food sovereignty and security Participatory action research Climate change impacts and adaptation Natural resource policy and management International development studies Indigenous land and marine use Gender analysis Arctic social science Social change in indigenous communities Community economic development.