College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Levi Van Sant, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Integrative Studies

Faculty Directory

Research Focus

I am a human geographer whose work examines the politics of nature, particularly issues surrounding food, agriculture, and land conservation. My research in the US South analyzes the ways that the racial and class dynamics of the plantation past are reproduced in the present, and argues that any meaningful abolition of this legacy will require fundamentally reshaping property relations.

Current Projects

■ Conservation easements are an increasingly common strategy for protecting land from development pressure but there is little analysis of the social and ecological consequences of their spread. Thus, I am working on a collaborative and mixed-methods research project that analyzes the environmental justice implications of conservation easements in coastal Georgia and South Carolina.

■ I am developing a long-term research project on the politics of land, conservation, and development in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Select Publications

■ Van Sant, L. et al. (2020). Conserving what? Conservation easements and environmental justice in the coastal US South. Human Geography.

■ Van Sant, L. (2019). Land reform and the Green New Deal. Dissent Magazine.

■ Van Sant, L. et al., (2019). Anthropocene, Capitalocene, … Plantationocene?: A manifesto for ecological justice in an age of global crises. Geography Compass, 13(5), e12438.

■ Van Sant, L. (2018). The long-time requirements of the nation: The US cooperative soil survey and the political ecologies of improvement. Antipode.



Phone: 703-993-1436