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Graduate Student

Tamra Gilbertson

Fulbright Finalist Badge

Tamra Gilbertson

I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Political Economy and Environmental Sociology at the University of Tennessee. I hold a double BS in Biology and Zoology from Humboldt State University, and a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. I have over 15 years of experience collaborating with a wide range of networks including academics, NGOs and social movements working towards social and environmental justice. As a founder and Co-Director of Carbon Trade Watch and former Project Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Project of the Transnational Institute, my commitment to social, climate and environmental justice has been at the core of my work. My past investigations have resulted in a durable body of research and extensive international experience with Indigenous Peoples, small-scale farmers, youth, women’s groups, fishing communities, in diverse cultural settings including: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and South Africa. I often acted as a strategic point person between activist-scholar networks and local citizen groups, work I pursued as co-founder of the Durban Group for Climate Justice. I speak high advanced/fluent Castellano/Spanish, advanced Brazilian Portuguese, and beginning Català and French.

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Tamra Gilbertson was selected as a U.S. Student Fulbright Scholar for research at the University of Magdalena, Colombia for the 2018-2019 academic year.

My dissertation focuses on how large-scale extraction exemplifies socioeconomic and environmental conflicts at various scales. The research seeks to understand the interconnected and conflicting impacts of the globalized economy, the role of the state, and experiences of impacted communities. With the support of the US Student Fulbright, this dissertation research will investigate these urgent questions in Colombia, where coal extraction and exports have increasingly become a key strategy for national economic development. The research aims to bridge the methodologies of world-systems research, focusing on the macro economy, with environmental and climate justice studies at the local level, thereby offering fresh insights to scholars studying extractivism, unequal exchange in world-systems studies and environmental justice.

  • 2018 - Teaching Associate, Writing and Publishing for Scholars, Universidad de Magdalena, Colombia
  • 2018 - Teaching Assistant, Ecological Economics, Universidad de Magdalena, Colombia, Fall 2018
  • 2017 - Teaching Associate, Research Methods (SOCI 331), University of Tennessee Knoxville. Sp&Fa
  • 2015-2016 - Teaching Associate, Social Problems / Social Justice (SOCI 110), University of Tennessee, Fall 2015, Spring & Fall 2016
  • 1st International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding. 2019. “21st Century Coal Transition in Colombia: Power, Violence and Environmental Conflict.” Paper presentation. Irvine, US.
  • American Sociological Society. 2019. “Power, Violence and Environmental Conflict: 21st Century Coal Transition in Colombia.” Paper presentation. New York City, US.
  • Society for the Study of Social Problems. 2019. “Power, Violence and Environmental Conflict: 21st Century Coal Transition in Colombia.” Paper presentation. New York City, US.
  • Caribbean Studies Association. 2019. “Decarbonization of the Colombian Caribbean Economy.” Co-authored Paper Presentation. Santa Marta, Colombia.
  • US Student Fulbright Enhancement Seminar. 2019. “Marginalization, Violence and Environmental Conflict: 21st Century Coal Transition in Colombia.” Paper Presentation. Lima, Peru.
  • Soil Not Oil Conference. 2018. “Carbon Pricing: A Critical Perspective for Community Resistance.” Panel Presentation. San Francisco, US.
  • Protecing Mother Earth Conference. 2018. “Carbon Pricing 101.” Workshop. Nisqually Land.
  • Descarbonización de la Economía del Caribe Colombiano. 2018. “Una visión general de las transiciones globales del carbón.” Paper Presentation. Universidad de Magdalena, Santa Marta, Colombia.
  • Ciclo de Conferencias de Ambientalizate. 2018. “Recuperando el Ecofeminismo: La Lucha de la Mujer por la Naturaleza.” Speaker. Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporaneo, Colombia.
  • Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference. 2017. “Historical cycles of bankruptcy and the case of the US coal sector.” presenter in the session titled “Re-financing fossil fuels: Neoliberal reforms and the continuation of carboniferous industry.” Session organized by Dr. Paul Gellert & Tamra Gilbertson. Lexington, Kentucky.


  • Tokar, Brian and Tamra Gilbertson (eds). 2020. Climate Justice and Community Renewal: Campaigns and Strategies from the Frontlines. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge (Forthcoming).
  • Gilbertson, Tamra and Oscar Reyes. 2009. Carbon Trading: How it works and why it fails. Uppsala: Dag Hammarskjold Foundation.
    • Spanish Translation: 2009. El Mercado de Emisiones, Cómo Funciona y Por Qué Fracasa. Barcelona: Carbon Trade Watch.
    • German Translation: 2010. Globaler Emissionshandel: Wie Luftverschmutzer belohnt werden - Analyse, Kritik, Perspektiven. Frankfurt am Main: Brandes and Apsel publishing.
    • Finnish Translation of Chapter 5. 2010. Kenen Ilmasto? Outi Hakkarainen ja Mira Kakonen (toim.), Leo Westerholm, Arto Jaakkola and Atro Andersson (eds.). Helsinki: Kepa publishing.

Book Chapters

  • Nordensvard, Johan, Tamra Gilbertson, and Daniella Marinelli. 2016. “Social implications of carbon markets – The case of carbon offsets and Plantar in Brazil.” The social dimensions of low carbon development, edited by Johan Nordensvard. Oxford: Earthscan Routledge.
  • Gilbertson, Tamra. 2015. “The Answer is Now!” How to Save Humanity. Stockholm:
  • Gilbertson, Tamra and Joanna Cabello. 2015. “Financialisation of the Earth,” Crime Climatique Stop: L'appel de la société civile. Paris: Le Seuil Publishing.
  • Gilbertson, Tamra. 2009. “Un mapa de carreteras hacia los confines de la tierra.“ Energía y deuda ecológica: Transnacionales, cambio climático y alternativas. Barcena, Lago y Vilalba (eds.) Barcelona: Icaria Press.
  • Gilbertson, Tamra. 2009. “How sustainable are small-scale biomass factories? A case study from Thailand.” Upsetting the Offset: The political economy of carbon markets, edited by Steffen Böhm and Siddhartha Dabhi Mayfly Press.

Refereed Journal Articles

  • Gilbertson, Tamra. 2015. Teaching Microaggressions in the Classroom: A multimedia and popular education approach. American Sociological Association. TRAILS.
  • Gilbertson, Tamra, Marco E.M. Peluso, Armelle Munia, Leila Luján-Barroso, María-José Sánchez, Carmen Navarro, Pilar Amiano, Aurelio Barricarte, J.Ramón Quirós, Esther Molina-Montes, Emilio Sánchez-Cantalejo, María-José Tormo, María-Dolores Chirlaque, Eva Ardanaz, Miren Dorronsoro, Massimo Confortini, Catalina Bonet, Núria Sala, Carlos A. González, and Antonio Agudo. 2014. Aromatic adducts and lung cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Spanish cohort. Carcinogenesis, first published online April 29, 2014.
  • Cabello, Joanna and Tamra Gilbertson. 2012. A colonial mechanism to enclose lands: A critical review of two REDD+-focused special issues. Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, Vol 12 (2).
  • Reyes, Oscar and Tamra Gilbertson. 2010. Carbon Trading: How it works and why it fails. Soundings, Issue 45.
  • Gilbertson, Tamra and Oscar Reyes. 2009. Nuevos mercados, viejas dependencias: El comercio de carbono, energías renovables y el Estado Español. Ecologica Politica, #39.


  • Gilbertson, Tamra. 2017. “Carbon Pricing: A Critical Perspective for Community Resistance.”Climate Justice Alliance and Indigenous Environmental Network.
  • Temper, Leah and Tamra Gilbertson (eds.). 2015. “Refocusing Resistance for Climate Justice: COPing in, COPing out and Beyond Paris.” EJOLT report, ICTA - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
  • Cabello, Joanna and Tamra Gilbertson (eds.). 2015. “Paths Beyond Paris: Movements, Action and Solidarity towards Climate Justice.” Carbon Trade Watch.

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  • 2018-19 J. William Fulbright US Student Program Finalist, Colombia
  • 2018 Shipley-Swann Graduate Fellowship
  • 2017-18 W.K. McClure Fellowship for the Study of World Affairs
  • 2015-2018 Chancellor’s Top-Off Fellowship, University of Tennessee
  • 2012 John's Hopkins School of Public Health Fall Institute Scholarship, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2004 Samuel Rubin Young Fellowship, Transnational Institute, The Netherlands
  • 1995-98 Teamsters Labor Union Scholarship: First Generation Student Scholarship


  • 2019 Jimmy and Ileen Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence, University of Tennessee
  • 2017-2018 Graduate Student Senate Award for Excellence in Service, University of Tennessee
  • 2018 Chancellor's Citation for Extraordinary Service Nominee, University of Tennessee
  • 2016-17 Department of Sociology Service Award, University of Tennessee

University Service

  • 2017-2018 Graduate Student Senate Travel Awards Chair (Managed $220,000 for graduate conference travel)
  • 2016-2017 Graduate Student Senate Representative of the Department of Sociology
  • 2016-2016 Graduate Students for Social Justice, member

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