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R. Scott FreyR. Scott Frey

Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Social Justice
Ph.D. 1980 Colorado State University

The University of Tennessee
905 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0490

Phone: 865-974-1169
Curriculum Vitae

Interest Areas

Environmental Sociology (Environmental Policy, Risk, and Justice); Comparative Social Change and Development (Cross-National Analysis of Human Well-Being and Sustainability; Transnational Movement of Hazards, and World-Systems Theory); Public Policy Analysis (The Problem of Valuation, Social Impact Assessment, and Evaluation Research); Critical Social Theory and Film (Classical American Cinema, with a focus on Film Noir and American Society);Social Research Methods

Scott Frey is currently Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Social Justice. He has taught previously at George Washington University, Kansas State University, and the University of North Florida, and he has held chair and head positions at the University of North Florida and the University of Tennessee. He has also held appointments at Argonne National Laboratory and the National Science Foundation. He has contributed chapters to recent books on environmental issues and he has published in numerous periodicals, including the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, and Social Forces. He has received research funding from the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of World Systems Research and serves currently on the editorial boards of Human Ecology Review and Sociological Inquiry. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City during the fall 2013 term.

  1. Preparation of a book (under contract with Routledge) examining how and why core-based hazardous products, production processes, and wastes are displaced to the peripheral zones of the world-system. These export practices not only damage the environment, but they have adverse health, safety, and socio-economic consequences for peripheral countries. Attention is also directed to how valuation discourses on development (especially economic language) are used to justify these practices.
  2. Examination of the human causes, adverse consequences and the distribution of those consequences, and human responses to environmental problems in several geographic settings: the Ogallala Aquifer Region of the U.S. Great Plains (the problem of water depletion and its consequences for the region, especially Southwestern Kansas, and the legacy of the Dust Bowl), the maquila urban centers of northern Mexico (hazardous production facilities and waste dumping), the Special Economic Zones of Shanghai and southern Guangdong Province in China (especially electronic product recycling in Guiyu and Taizhou), coastal Bangladesh and India (ship breaking and the attendant health, safety, and environmental risks), and Vietnam (the legacy of Agent Orange under Operation Ranch Hand during 1961-1971, the causes and adverse environmental and socioeconomic consequences of current pesticide use, illegal wildlife trafficking, and farmer responses to climate change).
  3. Analysis of the cross-national determinants of various forms of development, including alternative measures of human wellbeing and sustainability. I am currently working with a former graduate student on a cross-national project examining the link between infant mortality rates and urban slums (and other determinants) for a large sample of countries in the world-system, as well as a Chinese Scholar looking at the cross-city variation of economic, distributional, and sustainability measures for a large sample of Chinese cities.


  • American Cinema (Distance Learning Course with electronic delivery: internet, video, and live interactive format)
  • American Protest Music: From Florence Reece to Bruce Springsteen (I hour honors freshman class)
  • American Society and the Films of Quentin Tarantino: Visualizing Race, Class, and Gender
  • The American Environmental Movement
  • Comparative Urban Sociology
  • Environment and Resources
  • Environment and Society
  • Film and American Society
  • Film Noir and American Society
  • Human Rights in the World-System
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Methods of Social Research
  • The Modern World-System
  • The Political Economy of Cuba (Study Abroad Course in Cuba)
  • International Seminar on Vietnam: The Political Economy of Vietnam in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (Study Abroad Course in Vietnam)
  • International Seminar on Vietnam and Cambodia (Study Abroad Course in Vietnam and Cambodia)
  • Social Change and International Development Sociology of Culture: American Film Noir in Its Social Context
  • Social Problems
  • Sociology of Culture: American Cinema in Its Social Context
  • Technology, Society, and Public Policy
  • Two Radical Perspectives: John Dewey and Leon Trotsky
  • Urban Sociology
  • Violence in American Cinema (I hour freshman class)


  • Advanced Studies in Environmental Sociology
  • Comparative Social Development
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Methods of Policy Research
  • Methods of Social Research
  • Social Change
  • Societal and Institutional Dynamics
  • Sociology and Social Policy
  • Sociological Theory
  • Professional Seminar on Teaching
  • Matthew Sanderson and R. Scott Frey, "Structural Impediments to Sustainable Groundwater Management in the High Plains Aquifer of Western Kansas." Agriculture and Human Values, In press.
  • Matthew Sanderson and R. Scott Frey, "From Desert to Breadbasket…to Desert Again?: A Metabolic Rift in the High Plains Aquifer." Journal of Political Ecology, 21:516-532. 2014.
  • R. Scott Frey, "Cigarette Trafficking in the World-System." Journal of Globalization Studies 4:74-81, 2013.
  • R. Scott Frey, "Agent Orange and America at War in Vietnam and Southeast Asia." Human Ecology Review 20:1-11, 2013.
  • R. Scott Frey, "The E-Waste Stream in the World-System." Journal of Globalization Studies 3:79-94, 2012.
  • R. Scott Frey, "The Displacement of Hazardous Products, Production Processes, and Wastes in the World-System." Pp. 440-442 in Routledge Handbook of World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Research, edited by Salvatore Babones and Christopher Chase-Dunn. New York: Routledge, 2012.
  • R. Scott Frey, "Globalization, Environmental Justice, and Sustainability in the World-System: The Case of E-Waste in China." Pp. 169-188 in Toward a More Livable World: The Social Dimensions of Sustainability, edited by Jerry Williams and William Forbes. Nacogdoches, Texas: Stephen F. Austin Stare University Press, 2012.

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