Dr. Jessica DiCarlo is the Chevalier Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Transportation and Development in China at the Institute of Asian Research, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia.
Jessica received her PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado Boulder, and her Master’s in Development Studies from the University of California Berkeley. In 2019, she was a Global China Research Fellow at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center. She is currently a collaborator in the Swiss National Science Foundation project “Roadwork: An Anthropology of Infrastructure at China’s Inner Asian Borders” at the University of Zurich.
Jessica’s research focuses on Chinese capital and infrastructure as global drivers of political-economic and environmental change. Her dissertation drew on seventeen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Laos and China, where she examined the construction and planning of the Laos-China railway and related economic zones. She situates her research in critical development studies, political ecology, political and economic geography, and infrastructure studies.
She prioritizes long-term, ethnographic fieldwork. In China, she has worked in Yunnan, Liaoning, Tibetan regions, as well as Beijing and Shanghai since 2008. Her interest in Chinese borderlands led her to Nepal, India, and Laos, with past research experiences that span development, disasters, agrarian change, public health, and rural livelihoods.
Her research has been published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Geoforum, Ecology and Society, Ambio, and Case Studies in the Environment. For more see: www.jessicadiCarlo.org.
Jessica is currently developing publications and a book project from her dissertation. She recently completed a co-edited volume entitled The Rise of the Infrastructure State: How US-China Rivalry Shapes Politics and Place Worldwide, which will be released in July 2022.
At SPPGA, she will also develop a policy-oriented research agenda centered on Chinese development, holding two policy workshops during her tenure. She is especially excited to teach a course for the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs.
An avid outdoors-woman, Jessica enjoys running, cycling, skiing, and climbing long distances, and practices yoga.