Michael Murphy, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

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 anticolonial modalities of social knowledge, and finds inspiration in the critical intellectual and historical work of W.E.B. Du Bois and Saidiya Hartman. 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.

Education & Training

  • PhD, Brown University, 2018
  • MA, Brown University, 2014
  • BA, University of San Diego, 2012

Representative Publications

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.

Murphy, M. W. (2016). Mapping Environmental Privilege in Rhode Island. Environmental Justice, 9(5), 159-165. doi.org/10.1089/env.2016.0010

Research Interests

  • Racialization 
  • Colonialism
  • Slavery
  • Environment/ecology
  • Anticolonial sociology 
  • Theory