FAU Broward Campuses - Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Patricia Widener

Monday, Feb 01, 2021
Dr. Patricia Widener

Associate Professor | FAU’s Department of Sociology

Dr. Patricia Widener is an associate professor of sociology at the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. She is the author of Toxic and Intoxicating Oil: Discovery, Resistance, and Justice in Aotearoa New Zealand (expected in March 2021) and Oil Injustice: Resisting and Conceding a Pipeline in Ecuador (2011). She conducts and studies how communities and environmental and climate groups mobilize in response to an oil project or oil disaster through the perspectives of environmental justice, marine and visual sociology, and social movements.

"My recent research steps away from the tensions between communities and the oil industry to explore how island communities and marine industries are responding and adapting to climate change and/or energy supply transitions," Dr. Widener said.

Dr. Widener, who has been teaching at FAU since 2006, teaches courses in environmental, climate, and social justice, and invites guest speakers from local organizations into the classroom and encourages students to attend local climate and environmental events. She has also accompanied students to Tallahassee to meet with Broward County legislators on issues related to energy and the environment.

"I have had many memorable experiences working with FAU students, but most are centered on us attending community events together in Broward County. These pre-COVID activities have included community-organized flooding tours, the youth climate strike in Fort Lauderdale, and a community workshop on climate change and building resiliency," Dr. Widener said. "In addition, I’ve been extremely impressed by our students’ commitment and dedication to attending classes and participating online during COVID-19."

She has co-authored with students on climate change in the journal Environmental Sociology and the edited book Systemic Crises of Global Climate Change: Intersections of Race, Class and Gender .

Dr. Widener was born in Kansas City and lived in Bangkok, Thailand, New Orleans, and Providence before moving to Broward County. She was awarded the Faculty Member of the Year, Broward Achievement Award, in 2019. She spent six years working as a journalist in southeast Asia, met a team of justice-oriented environmental sociologists, and decided to embrace the academic life.