“As it’s understood biologically, there’s a sort of naturalization or an objectification of the idea of growth as being the central and core principle of understanding life.”
Valerie Olson researches contemporary sociocultural processes that remake what counts as environments. Her current projects focus on how social groups use the system concept to perceive, organize, and control spatial relations, particularly on large scales. This focus allows her to follow the ways people relate to sites, things, and processes they do not experience directly and which are categorized as outlying or beyond human. She serves on UCI interdisciplinary research teams and campus initiatives such as Water UCI, the Salton Sea Initiative, the UCI OCEANS Initiative, and the UCI Community Resilience program.