Jenny Goldstein is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University, an Atkinson center for a Sustainable Future Faculty Fellow, and a core faculty member of Cornell's Southeast Asian Studies Program. From 2016-17 she was an Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future postdoctoral associate at Cornell, based in the Science & Technology Studies department. She is interested in environmental conservation and development in the tropics; intersections of data infrastructure and land governance; human health impacts of ecological change; global food and agriculture systems; the financialization of land; and the role of scientific knowledge in climate change politics.

Hilary Faxon is a doctoral student in Cornell's Department of Development Sociology. Hilary's work investigates the politics of land and environment in Asia. Hilary works within the fields of critical agrarian studies, development sociology, state theory, feminist political ecology, and Southeast Asian studies. She has published peer-reviewed articles based on qualitative fieldwork conducted in Bhutan and Myanmar.

Talk: "From Surveillance to Monitoring: Environmental Governance and New Data Infrastructures in Myanmar"

Abstract: The design and use of environmental data infrastructures, including software platforms, sensors, satellite data, mobile phone apps, and digitally-generated visual representations, is increasingly inseparable from contemporary governance of natural resources. In this article, we investigate how environmental monitoring, as performed through global data and knowledge infrastructures that seek to make digital environmental data open and transparent, is playing out in post-authoritarian Myanmar, a liberalizing country with a history of state-led surveillance. Crucially, new data infrastructures that seek to monitor natural resource sectors both from within the country’s borders and externally are inseparable from the proliferation of new actors involved in environmental governance amid the country’s democratic transition. Drawing on two case studies of natural resources in Myanmar—forestry and jade mining—that are being monitored by international non-governmental organizations and domestic civil society groups we argue that remote monitoring of natural resources has become integral to contemporary environmental governance in ways that are uneven across the actors involved and particular to the materiality of the resources themselves, in ways that shape their potential for governance.