Brian King

Brian King

Office Address: 
312A Walker Building
Associate Head of Resident Graduate Programs
Associate Professor of Geography
Faculty Research Associate, Population Research Institute and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute
Department of Geography
  • development
  • conservation
  • Southern Africa
  • cultural and political ecology
  • health
  • livelihoods
  • justice


Honorary Research Associate, African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town

Faculty Research Associate, Population Research Institute, Penn State University

Faculty Research Affiliate, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Penn State University

My research concentrates upon several topics, particularly the impacts of conservation and development in Southern Africa, social and environmental justice, and the intersections between livelihoods, health and environment. 


Livelihoods, health and environment


My research examines the production of livelihoods and environmental change in the developing world. This work evaluates the relationships between health and environment, focusing in particular on the effects of HIV/AIDS upon social and environmental systems. I am the PI on a NSF CAREER grant Political Ecologies of Health: Coupling Livelihood and Environment Responses to HIV/AIDS ($485,292, September 1, 2011 – August 31, 2017, GSS 1056683).  This CAREER program is conducting intensive research in South Africa working in close collaboration with research institutes and governmental agencies to examine how livelihood systems adjust in response to HIV/AIDS, how livelihood responses to HIV/AIDS rework access patterns and the rules governing resource use, and whether intra-household and intra-community variations shape livelihood responses to HIV/AIDS. This work asserts that attending to health-environment interactions is needed to understand how disease results in transformations to social and environmental systems, and how these systems in turn shape the trajectories of disease and the possibilities for sustainable disease management.

This research was reported in October 2017 on The Academic Minute "How does food scarcity affect the treatment of HIV?"

Recent articles covering this research include:

Ending HIV while Isolation and Stigma Endure

Apartheid's Lingering Effects for HIV/AIDS

A recent presentation on this work is available at: "Eat Healthy and Nutritious Food"

and an article at the Conversation "How Bucking Climate Change Accord Would Hinder the Fight Against HIV/AIDS"