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Sociology and Criminology & Law

Stephen Perz


Professor of Sociology


Ph.D. Sociology, University of Texas at Austin, 1997

Areas of Interest

  • Environmental Sociology
  • Sociology of Development
  • Sociology of Latin America
  • Global and Transnational Sociology
  • Rural Sociology
  • Demography



I conduct research on the social and ecological impacts of infrastructure on developing regions. This involves collaboration with other faculty and graduate students in various departments, centers, and schools at UF. I focus on the Amazon, specifically the “MAP” region in the southwestern corner of the basin where Bolivia, Brazil and Peru meet. There, I collaborate with scholars across many disciplines, countries and types of institutions. We have received funding from NSF for interdisciplinary, international research projects to collect socio-economic, botanical and remote sensing data in order to develop and evaluate dynamic simulation models. I also work with numerous individuals and institutions in the MAP frontier on applied conservation and development projects. With funding from USAID, we have trained thousands of stakeholders in skills to improve natural resource management, we have facilitated numerous policy dialogue events to address institutional questions and resource conflicts, and we have supported planning processes for more sustainable territorial and watershed management. We have also built capacity in regional universities to apply scientific teaching techniques, to conduct applied research, and to publish in international scientific journals.


Stephen Perz received his PhD in sociology with a specialization in demography from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. He is an affiliate of UF’s Center for Latin American Studies and UF’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He has conducted research in the Amazon on migration into frontier regions, socio-economic drivers of land use and land cover change, socio-spatial processes of road building, and the social-ecological impacts of infrastructure. He has received more than $16 million in funding from NASA, NSF and USAID and other sources, for research as well as applied conservation and development work. He focuses primarily on the southwestern Amazon, specifically the tri-national frontier where Bolivia, Brazil and Peru meet. His work features collaboration across disciplinary, national and organizational boundaries. He has over 90 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, plus various book chapters and other items. In 2014, he was named a UF Foundation Term Professor. In 2015, he was selected the UF International Educator of the Year for Senior Faculty. In 2016, he published his book on the challenges and strategic practices of spanning boundaries in research and environmental management, Crossing Boundaries for Collaboration: Conservation and Development Projects in the Amazon. In addition to serving on numerous graduate committees, he has chaired nearly 30 MA thesis and PhD dissertation students in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Phone: (352) 294-7186

Room: 3115

Spring 2020 Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 11:40AM – 12:40PM