Michael Murphy, PhD


2407 Posvar
412 648-7585


Michael is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research, scholarship, and teaching is focused on the ways that racialization patterns human relations to environments, land, and nonhuman forms of nature, both culturally and materially. He is committed to de/postcolonial modalities of knowledge production and dissemination, and finds inspiration in the praxis of W.E.B. Du Bois. Michael’s scholarship has been published in Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, Environmental Justice, and Humanity and Society. To reach audiences beyond the academy, he has also co-authored several Op-Eds for various publications, in addition to a policy briefing published by Adaptation Watch. He received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of San Diego, where he also studied Philosophy and Peace and Justice Studies. Both his M.A. (2014) and Ph.D. (2018) in Sociology were received from Brown University.

Fields of Interest

  • Racialization
  • Environment
  • Colonialism
  • De/postcolonial Sociology
  • Theory


  • PhD Brown University, 2018

Brown, K. L., Murphy, M.W., & Porcelli, A. M. (2016). “Ruin’s Progeny: Race, Environment, and Appalachia’s Coal Camp Blacks.” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 13(2), 327–344. doi:10.1017/S1742058X16000138.

Murphy, M.W. (2016). “‘No Beggars amongst Them’: Primitive Accumulation, Settler Colonialism, and the Dispossession of Narragansett Indian Land.” Humanity & Society. doi.org/10.1177/0160597616664168.

Society and the Environment (SOC 1445)

Social Theory 

Environmental Sociology (Graduate Seminar)