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Faculty and Workshop Presenters' Biographies

Gar Alperovitz has had a distinguished career as a historian, political economist, activist, writer, and government official. He is currently the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and is a former Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University; Harvard’s Institute of Politics; the Institute for Policy Studies; and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution.

He is the author of critically acclaimed books both on the democratization of wealth and on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy; his articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, The Nation, and the Atlantic among other popular and academic publications.  He has been profiled by the New York Times, the Associated Press, People, UPI and Mother Jones and has been a guest on numerous network TV and cable news programs, including “Meet the Press,” “Larry King Live,” “The Charlie Rose Show,” “Cross Fire,” and “the O’Reilly Factor.”

In addition to his media appearances, his work has been featured in TV documentaries, including two BBC programs and an ABC Peter Jennings Special on the use of the atomic bomb. As a well known policy expert, he has testified before numerous Congressional committees and lectures widely around the country.

Alperovitz received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin; a masters degree from the University of California at Berkeley; and his Ph.D. in political economy as a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University. After completing his studies he served as a legislative director in both houses of Congress and as a special assistant in the State Department.

Among his many achievements is having been the architect of the first modern steel industry attempt at worker ownership in Youngstown, Ohio.  In addition, he was nominated to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers by leading national consumer, labor, and environmental organizations.

He is also the president of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives and is a founding principal of the University of Maryland-based Democracy Collaborative, a research institution developing practical, policy-focused, and systematic paths towards ecologically sustainable, community-oriented change and the democratization of wealth.  His most recent books include What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution (2013) and America Beyond Capitalism (2011).

He lives in Washington, DC.

Diego Angarita is the Assistant Executive Director at Nuestras Raices. Through his work with the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, he has worked with city officials, community gardeners, farmers and consumers on identifying policy shifts that help to support urban agriculture work, farm to school initiatives, and support for local markets to supply fresh produce to SNAP recipients. He has spent the past few years studying the food landscape of Holyoke as well as looking at models of healthy, culturally relevant, fair jobs, locally sourced food enterprises in low-income communities as a way to develop a business model for Nuestras Raices. He also developed a youth program for Nuestras Raices that teaches teenagers about Puerto Rican history and culture, agriculture and environmentalism, healthy eating and food policy through leadership development. He sits on the board of Co-op Power, a sustainable energy cooperative, the Advisory board of the Hampden County Department of Transitional Assistance, the Massachusetts Food Policy Alliance, and is part of the strategic planning team for the Holyoke Youth Taskforce. A regional leader in the food movement, Diego has been brought into food systems strategic planning conversations by Food Solutions New England, Project Bread, the Kendall Foundation, Policy Link and the Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing as well as the organizing committee for the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. He has done consulting work training groups funded to work on food projects to utilize Whole Measures, tool for community food systems evaluation and planning through the Community Food Security Coalition. He has a bachelor's degree from Hampshire College and is overseeing the current strategic planning process of Nuestras Raices including pieces related to a farm business plan, program plan and board development

Michel Bauwens is the founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. He has co-produced the 3-hour TV documentary Technocalyps with Frank Theys, and co-edited the two-volume book on anthropology of digital society with Salvino Salvaggio. Michel is currently Primavera Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and external expert at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (2008, 2012).

Michel Bauwens is a member of the Board of the Union of International Associations (Brussels), advisor to Shareable magazine (San Francisco) and to Zumbara Time Bank (Istanbul); and scientific advisor to the "Association Les Rencontres du Mont-Blanc, Forum International des Dirigeants de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire" (2013-). He functions as the Chair of the Technology/ICT working group, Hangwa Forum (Beijing, Sichuan), to develop economic policies for long-term resilience, including through distributed manufacturing. He writes editorials for Al Jazeera English [1]. He is listed at #82, on the Post-Carbon Institute (En)Rich list, http://enrichlist.org/the-list/

Michel currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has taught at Payap University and Dhurakij Pandit University's International College. He is a founding member of the Commons Strategies Group.In his first business career, Michel worked for USIA, British Petroleum, riverland Publications, Belgacom, and created two internet start-ups.

Steve Dubb is Research Director of The Democracy Collaborative and has worked for the Collaborative since 2004. In 2012, with Rita Hodges, Dubb co-authored The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads (published by MSU Press).  Dubb is also the principal author of Linking Colleges to Communities: Engaging the University for Community Development (2007) and Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems, which was published by The Aspen Institute in 2005. Previously, he was Executive Director of the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), a U.S. and Canadian nonprofit association that provides education and technical assistance to university and community-based housing and retail cooperatives. For much of the past two decades, he has worked in various positions in the cooperative or civil society sector. Dubb received his Masters and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. He received his Bachelor's in Economics (with honors) and Spanish from the University of California, Berkeley.

Eli Feghali is the Manager of Communications and Online Organizing for the New Economics Institute. He is a Lebanese-American who has spent the majority of his professional life working as a communications specialist and community organizer. He has particular expertise in strategic communications, press relations, new media strategy, and web design. During his undergraduate career at Vanderbilt University, Eli founded a student activist organization dedicated to addressing economic inequality, beginning a lifelong commitment to community organizing. 

Having spent the majority of his life focused on issues of economic and social justice, Eli is deeply passionate about the efforts underway to build a New Economy that puts people over profits. He believes that effective communication is essential to broadening the movement to build a just and equitable economy that works for all people and the planet. 

Eli lives in Boston, MA, where he enjoys eating vegan food, walking his dog Rondo, and watching as many Boston Celtics games as humanly possible. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/efeghali.

Prasannan Parthasarathi received a PhD in economics from Harvard and is Professor of Economic History and South Asian History at Boston College. He is the author of The Transition to a Colonial Economy: Weavers, Merchants and Kings in South India, 1720-1800 (Cambridge, 2001), The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton Textiles (Oxford, 2009), and Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not: Global Economic Divergence 1600-1850 (Cambridge, 2011), which received the Jerry Bentley Book Prize of the World History Association and was named a Choice Magazine outstanding academic title. He is now working on a study of agriculture and the environment in nineteenth-century South India. His articles have appeared in Past and Present, the Journal of Social History and International Labor and Working Class History. He is a Senior Editor of International Labor and Working Class History, Associate Editor of the Medieval History Journal, and serves on the editorial boards of the American Historical Review, Textile History, and Indian History. He has taught at summer institutes at Schumacher College and the Whidbey Institute. He is active in the movement for peace and justice and was a co-founder of Newton Dialogues on Peace and War and the 25% Solution: Fund Our Communities Not War and is on the board of Massachusetts Peace Action.

Juliet Schor is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She is also a member of the MacArthur Foundation Connected Learning Research Network. Schor’s research focuses on issues of time use, consumption and environmental sustainability. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years, in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women's Studies.

Her most recent book is True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy (2011 by The Penguin Press, previously published as Plenitude. More information can be found at julietschor.org.) A follow-up volume of case studies titled Practicing Plenitude will be published by Yale University Press in 2014. Schor’s Previous books include the national best-seller The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure  (Basic Books, 1992) and The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (Basic Books, 1998). The Overworked American appeared on the best-seller lists of The New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, The Village Voice The Boston Globe as well as the annual best books list for The New York Times, Business Week and other publications. The book is widely credited for influencing the national debate on work and family. The Overspent American was also made into a video of the same name, by the Media Education Foundation (September 2003).

Schor also wrote Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (Scribner 2004). She is the author of Do Americans Shop Too Much? (Beacon Press 2000), co-editor of Consumer Society: A Reader (The New Press 2000) and co-editor of Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-first Century (Beacon Press 2002). She has also co-edited a number of academic collections. Schor’s scholarly articles have appeared in the Economic Journal, The Review of Economics and Statistics, World Development, Industrial Relations, The Journal of Economic Psychology, Ecological Economics, The Journal of Industrial Ecology, The Journal of Consumer Research, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and The Journal of Consumer Culture, among others.

 Schor is a former Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the 2011 Herman Daly Award from the US Society for Ecological Economics. She is also an occasional contributor to the Guardian Sustainable Business Pages. In 2006 she received the Leontief Prize from the Global Development and Economics Institute at Tufts University for expanding the frontiers of economic thought. She has also received the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language from the National Council of Teachers of English. She has served as a consultant to the United Nations, at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, and to the United Nations Development Program.

Schor is currently working on issues of environmental sustainability and their relation to Americans’ lifestyles and the economy and the emergence of a conscious consumption movement. She is a co-founder of the Board of the Center for a New American Dream (newdream.org), a national sustainability organization.

In addition to the foregoing, Schor is a co-founder of the South End Press and the Center for Popular Economics. She is a former Trustee of Wesleyan University, an occasional faculty member at Schumacher College, and a former fellow of the Brookings Institution. In 2012, she organized the first-ever Summer Institute in New Economics for graduate students. Schor has lectured widely throughout the United States, Europe and Japan to a variety of civic, business, labor and academic groups. She appears frequently on national and international media, and profiles on her and her work have appeared in scores of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and People magazine. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show on CBS, numerous stories on network news, as well as many other television and radio news programs.

Gill Seyfang: I am a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Consumption, and I lead a programme of research on 'grassroots innovations' for sustainability. I am an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist, linking sustainability policy agendas with ‘new economics’ theories and cutting-edge community-based practice. 

Previously I have held a RCUK Academic Fellowship here in the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA (2007-12), been a Senior Research Associate in the School (2001-2007), and was Principal Investigator on an ESRC research grant in the School of International Development, also at UEA (2000-2001). I have a PhD in Sustainable Development from Leeds Metropolitan University (1998), a MSc in Environmental Sciences (1994) and BA in Development Studies (1991), both from UEA.

My main research interest is around grassroots innovations, which are community-led initiatives which challenge mainstream consumer culture. They aim to establish new systems of provision (for food, housing, money, transport, energy etc) and incorporate both social and technological innovation for sustainability. These collective endeavours embody deep green social and ethical values and experiment with alternative options for lifestyles and community-building which aim to reduce consumption levels. My research investigates the potential of these grassroots innovations to grow and spread from their green niches and influence wider society, examining alternatives to mainstream systems of provision, seeking to evaluate and demonstrate their contribution to a challenging 'new economics' vision of sustainable consumption and wider 'low-carbon lifestyles'. 

I currently lead two research projects in this field, on complementary currencies (GICC) and community energy (CISE) (http://www.grassrootsinnovations.org). I am the author of 'The New Economics of Sustainable Consumption: Seeds of Change' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and a prize-winning paper on the Transition Towns movement in the UK, and am co-editor of the International Journal of Community Currency Research (http://www.ijccr.net). My work on community-led sustainable energy projects won 'best paper' prize at the 4th International Sustainability Transitions conference in Zurich this year.