Edit page
Office of Communication & Marketing
View Profile

Name: Brian Obach
Academic Rank: Professor
Department: Sociology

Expertise Keywords: Environmental movement, Environmentalism, Globalization, Labor movement, Labor unions, Organic agriculture, Organic farming, Organic movement, Organized labor, Protests, Social movement coalitions, Social movements, Sustainable agriculture, Unions

Available For: interviews, essays, speaking

Expertise: Brian Obach conducts research on social movements, the environment, sustainable agriculture, and political economy. He is the author of "Organic Struggle: The Movement for Sustainable Agriculture in the United States" (MIT Press 2015) and "Labor and the Environmental Movement: The Quest for Common Ground" (MIT Press 2004) as well as several journal articles on social movements and the environment.

Currrent Research: labor unions, the environmental movement, globalization, the organic agriculture/sustainable agriculture movement

Contact Information

Office Phone: 845-257-3447
E-mail Address: obachb@newpaltz.edu
Home Phone: 845-255-7492


SUNY Albany 1987-1989 BA 1989 Political Science
University of Wisconsin, Madison 1991-2000 MA, PhD 2000 Sociology
SUNY Oswego 1984-87


Professional Development Award, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2014.

Professional Development Award, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2010.

Levin Fellowship for Turkey-United States Professional Exchange. Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey, December 26, 2009-January 9, 2010.

National Science Foundation Grant: “Coalition Dynamics and Strategic Innovation in the Organic Movement.” $85,000. 2006-2009.

Honorable Mention, Collective Behavior and Social Movements Distinguished Book Award for Labor and the Environmental Movement, American Sociological Association, 2005

Professional Development Award, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2005

National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant, $8,500. 1999

Organizational Memberships

American Sociological Association, United University Professions


Organic Struggle: The Sustainable Agriculture Movement in the United States. 2015. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Labor and the Environment: The Quest for Common Ground. 2004. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Peer Reviewed Articles
“Civic Agriculture and Civic Engagement” (with Kathleen Tobin). Agriculture and Human Values. Vol. 31, No. 2, 2014, Pp. 307-322.

“Consumption, Ecological Footprints and Global Inequality: A Lesson in Individual and Structural Components of Environmental Problems. Teaching Sociology. Vol. 37, No. 3, July 2009, 294-300.

“Capitalism, State Economic Policy and Ecological Footprint: An International Comparative Analysis” (with Serife Ilgu Ozler). Global Environmental Politics. Vol. 9, No. 1, 2009, Pp. 79-108.

“Cross Course Collaboration in Undergraduate Sociology Programs” (with Eve Waltermaurer). Teaching Sociology. Vol. 35, No. 2, April 2007, 151-60.

“Theoretical Interpretations of the Growth in Organic Agriculture: Agricultural Modernization or an Organic Treadmill?” Society and Natural Resources Vol. 20, No. 3, 2007, Pp. 229-44.

“New Labor: Slowing the Treadmill of Production?” Organization and Environment. Vol. 17, No. 3, September, 2004, Pp. 337-354.

“Barriers to Collective Action: A Classroom Simulation,” Teaching Sociology. Vol. 31, July 2003, Pp. 1-7.

“Labor-Environmental Relations: An Analysis of the Relationship between Labor Unions and Environmentalists,” Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 1, March 2002, Pp. 82-100.

“Teaching about Institutional Discrimination and the Controversies of Affirmative Action,” Teaching Sociology Vol. 28, No. 1, January 2000, Pp. 50-55.

“Demonstrating the Social Construction of Race,” Teaching Sociology Vol. 27, No. 3, July 1999, Pp. 252-57.

“The Wisconsin Labor-Environmental Network: A Case Study of Coalition Formation among Organized Labor and the Environmental Movement,” Organization and Environment Vol. 12, No. 1, March 1999, Pp. 45-74.

Book Chapters
“Labor and the Environment” (Revised) in Twenty Lessons in Environmental Sociology, Second Edition, Kenneth Gould and Tammy L. Lewis, eds. New York: Oxford University Press. 2014.

“Class and Intersectionality.” In Ten Lessons in Introduction to Sociology, Kenneth Gould and Tammy L. Lewis, eds. New York: Oxford University Press. 2014.

“Political Opportunity and Social Movement Coalitions: The Role of Policy Segmentation and Non-Profit Tax Law.” In Strategic Alliances: Coalition Building and Social Movements, Nella Van Dyke and Holly McCammon, eds. University of Minnesota Press:Minneapolis. 2010.

“Labor and the Environment” in Twenty Lessons in Environmental Sociology, Kenneth Gould and Tammy L. Lewis, eds. New York: Oxford University Press. 2009.

Agriculture Supporting Community in the Mid-Hudson Region. Discussion Brief #5. Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach. State University of New York at New Paltz. Spring 2011.

Book Reviews
This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. the Climate. In New Labor Forum. Forthcoming.

Beyond Capitalism: Building Democratic Alternatives for Today and the Future. In Mobilization: An International Journal. Vol. 19, No. 1, 121-22, March, 2014.

Blue-Green Coalitions: Fighting for Safe Workplaces and Healthy Communities. In American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 115, No. 4, 1306-08, January, 2010.

Making a Living: Work and Environment in the United States. In Environmental History. Vol. 14, No. 2, Pp. 378-79, April, 2009.

The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements. In Mobilization: An International Journal. Vol. 9, No. 2, 212-213, 2004.

On the Edge of Scarcity: Environment, Resources, Population, Sustainability and Conflict. In Contemporary Sociology. Vol. 32, No. 6, Pp. 734-36, November, 2003.

Coalitions Across the Class Divide: Lessons from the Labor, Peace and Environmental Movements. In Mobilization: An International Journal. Vol. 6, No. 1, Pp.102-3, Spring 2001.

Encyclopedia Entries
“Organic Agriculture Policy.” Food Issues Encyclopedia. Sage Publications. Forthcoming.

Multiple Entries (Bovine Growth Hormone, Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Greenpeace, Integrated Pest Management, Natural Resources Defense Council, No-Till Agriculture, Race-to-the-Bottom). 2007. Encyclopedia of the Environment and Society. Paul Robbins, Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publications.

“Minimum Wage” The Encyclopedia of New York State, Peter Eisenstadt, Ed., Pp. 987. 2005. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Other Publications
“The Anti-Fracking Movement in New York State” (Tentative Title). Contexts. Forthcoming.

“Revitalizing Agriculture and Supporting Community.” The Legislative Gazette. April, 2013.

“Climate Change Is a Moral, Economic Issue.” Op-ed with Serife Ilgu Ozler. Poughkeepsie Journal, November 11, 2012.

“Social Movements Classes as Sites for Organizer Training.” Mobilizing Ideas: The Pedagogy of Social Movements. The Center for the Study of Social Movements. University of Notre Dame. http://mobilizingideas.wordpress.com/. August 1, 2012.

“Locally Grown Food Offers Benefits Beyond Nutrition.” Op-Ed, Albany Times Union, August 28, 2011.

“Bush Administration Plays Bully Over Waterboarding.” Op-Ed, Poughkeepsie Journal, November 18, 2007.

“Organic Vision Marred by TV Dinners”. Op-Ed, Albany Times Union. Tuesday, October 23, 2007.

“Law Would Give Workers Voice, Choice”. Op-Ed, Poughkeepsie Journal. Tuesday, March 6, 2007, P.4A

“Mobilizing Unions for Environmental Protection,” Renewable Resources Journal Vol. 22, No. 3, Autumn 2004, Pp. 11-15.

“Assault on Unions Is Threat to Democracy” Op-Ed, Poughkeepsie Journal, Monday, September 1, 2003.

“Excessive Security Poses Threat to Democracy” Op-Ed, Times Herald Record, Friday, February 15, 2002.

Critical Pedagogy in the Sociology Classroom contributing author. 2002. Peter Kaufman, Ed. American Sociological Association: Washington, DC.