Neak Loucks is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Irvine. Their dissertation research focuses on public lands conflict in southern Utah, asking how individuals, organizations, and agencies conceive of their stakes, entitlements, and social standings in relation to public land and what manifestations of settler colonialism, contrasting ways of knowing landscapes, and conceptualizations of property imply for the governance of physical and cultural resources.
Loucks is a Senior Pedagogical Fellow at in UCI’s Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation and combines their training and experience as an instructor with an anthropological lens to what kinds of education effectively develop analytic capacities to interpret and act in response to contemporary political and environmental challenges. Beyond university teaching, they have taught ecology to K-8 students in outreach and short-term residential school formats and served as a volunteer 4-H leader in Maine and California after 10 years of participation in Montana 4-H as a member. Loucks is currently an Instructor for the Open Seminar River School (part of the Mississippi River Anthropocenes), providing a comparative case of quotidian anthropocenes through their analysis of land conflict in Utah, examining the role of public lands designations and environmental education programs in shaping anthropocenic place-making, and creating analytic structures for examining public lands issues in other locations.