Ben McMahan

Assistant Research Professor, AIRES

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, School of Anthropology

Ben is an environmental and medical anthropologist. His research focuses on environmental risk and the social and technological systems that buffer exposure to these risks, and the underlying vulnerabilities of communities and how this affects systems-level sustainability. His research includes climate, vulnerability, and the built environment; climate risk management for energy systems; community vulnerability within the context of economic volatility; data science and aggregation to develop innovative engagements with stakeholders and collaborators; hurricanes and community network response to disasters in the US Gulf Coast; community impacts of the oil and gas industry; rapid response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; and mapping the overlap between social factors and the spread of infectious disease. He employs methods spanning from ethnographic/qualitative to statistical/quantitative to geospatial/statistical. He focuses on analysis and visualization that integrates diverse methods and sources to develop novel analyses and insights and to create innovative tools for collaborative engagement.


  • PhD, Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Arizona
  • MS, Sociocultural Anthropology, Idaho State University
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Geotechnologies (GIS/RS), Idaho State University
  • BS, Anthropology, University of Nebraska