Lauren Richter


I am an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I teach and do research on social inequality, health, and the environment. I use qualitative interviews, ethnography, and archival approaches to broadly examine responses to adverse environmental health impacts. Currently I study U.S. regulatory frameworks and scientific knowledge/ignorance production to understand how inequality shapes pollution exposure and recourse. My research and teaching are inspired by critical race theory, environmental justice, science and technology studies, and environmental sociology.

I have published in Environmental Sociology, Environmental Health, Environmental Science & Technology, Social Studies of ScienceOrganization & Environment, the American Journal of Public Health, and the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. In 2016, I co-founded the Racial Equity Task Force for the American Sociological Association Section on Environmental Sociology, co-organized the 2018 Bridging the Gap: Race and Environment Conference at Temple University, and am currently guest editing a special collection on race and the environment for Environmental Sociology. In the past year, I provided expert testimony in hearings on three bills related to chemical regulation in the Rhode Island State House.

Prior to joining RISD, I was the recipient of a Leadership Grant from the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, spending a year as a research fellow at the Silent Spring Institute and Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University. Between M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, I worked at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment in California, and taught courses on Environmental Justice at the University of San Francisco. In 2018 I completed a two-year certification program in anti-racist mindful facilitation, studying with Rainbow Markell and Lee Mun Wah in Berkeley, California.