My name is Christopher (Kit) Hill and I’m an educator, researcher and activist in the transdisciplinary field of environmental/sustainability studies/sciences. Though I should admit… I’m more of an environmentally focused social scientist, historian, and thespian at heart.
Originally from Seattle, WA, I now live with my Swedish partner/wife on a small organic farm and forest plot in Svartåna, Värmland (Sweden). After having worked at Stockholm University and Handelshögskolen (Stockholm School of Economics), where I taught “Sustainable Development?” and “Environmental Policy” to undergraduates at the Swedish Program (exploring topics from Resilience Thinking, Political Ecology, and Environmental History), my wife and I began to grow frustrated with “all the talking and very little walking” that was happening in both academia and the city. And, perhaps due to the fact my teaching/practitioner methods have always been fairly heuristic and hands-on (e.g. collaborating with forestry and small-scale farming practitioners), it only seemed natural that the next rational step was to buy a small scale farm and forest plot and “practice what we preached.” My scholarly interests have always been fairly diverse,
2011 MSc. Sustainable Enterprising from The Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University)
2008 Environmental law (U.S.) certificate University of Washington
2005 B.A. major in Psychology & minor in Theater, Performance and Dance from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN
2005 Certified Health Specialist through A.C.E. & N.S.C.A.
2003 University College Cork, Ireland (primarily studied sean nos singing and theater)
1998 Youths for Understanding (YFU) in Bygstad, Norway
Work Experience & Teaching Method:
As well as teaching, I have been working as a freelance writer for the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics where I’ve continue to research and write articles about sustainable development, power relations, urban growth, food production, food security and food sovereignty. I also collaborate with the Stockholm Resilience Centre’s Food Group and Social Science Working Group. Beyond academia, I sing and play guitar for a folk music band, continue to work with the farmers from my Msc. thesis and I volunteer with other small-scale farming initiatives around Sweden.
Before moving to Sweden, I was running my own health and fitness business in Seattle, WA as a ‘sustainable lifestyles’ coach, working primarily with individuals but also with local businesses and NGOs. I worked one-on-one, heuristically helping people find healthier patterns in their lives. I began my practice focusing on the fitness side of health but, as ‘health’ is a broad topic, my practice began to focus more heavily on food and other related topics (lowering stress, community participation, etc.). I collaborated with local organic farmers who delivered seasonal foods, offered cooking classes to those interested and I established a network of naturopaths (from masseurs to acupuncturists) and community organizations (google: Puget Sound SCALLOPS).
In my practice, the conjunction ‘sustainable lifestyles’ was (and continues to be) more of a philosophy; a reflexive method in which to learn, engage and critique, rather than a rigid step-by-step guideline or unchanging theory. This philosophy continues to tie into my heuristic method of teaching regarding issues and topics related to health, sustainability and environmental topics.
From my experience working in different fields I’ve come to the (perhaps obvious) conclusion that different people learn and communicate quite differently. Everybody comes with their own unique histories (or theories). As an instructor, my aim is to respect, acknowledge and explore different platforms in which to nurture individual understanding and curiosities. I draw heavily from the pedagogical work of Paulo Freire.
“How can we present a proposal intended not to say what is, or what ought to be, but to provoke thought, a proposal that requires no other verification than the way in which it is able to ‘slow down’ reasoning and create an opportunity to arouse a slightly different awareness of the problems and situations mobilizing us?” – Isabelle Stengers
My current scholarly interests are based on transdisciplinary or post-disciplinary research platforms that span within and beyond academia. I’m interested in hands-on ethnographic methods of research and teaching, exposing the often-contradicting multiplicities of meaning(s) and perspective(s) (across multiple scales of space and time) through deeper historical understandings of relationships and connections. I strive to do this with the help of a few theories (or non-theories as some authors would muse): Dialectical Materialism, Historical Ecology, Actor-Network Theory, Complexity Thinking, Resilience Thinking, Political Ecology, World-Ecology and Ethnomethodology.
Contextually, as you can read from my blogging, I have focused on issues surrounding the dynamic social-ecological relationships of food, health, cities and power – non of which, of course, can be void of politics for, “Everything is Politics” – Thomas Mann. Due to my concern for praxis, a large portion of my time, before buying a farm, was spent volunteering and working on small-scale farms.
Food (in all its glory) – eating, cooking, growing, hanging out with farmers, hunting (particularly mushrooms and blueberries), making sauerkraut, brewing beer, etc. When I’m not thinking of food I’m: backpacking, hiking, camping, rock climbing, biking, dancing, gym training, reading, writing, singing, acting, playing guitar and hanging out with my partner/wife and friends.
1) I grew up with three adopted sisters from Korea and Ethiopia, as well as a sister in law from Japan. 2) I met my Swedish wife/partner via couchsurfing.com (“she surfed my couch and then my heart”) 3) All my life I’ve been singing: boys choirs, A capella groups, multiple ‘indie’ bands and even studied in Ireland to learn how to sing Sean Nos 4) As you can probably tell, I’ve never been pleased with being placed in a stereotypical role.