David Bond

Image of David Bond
Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action

David Bond teaches on the environment and public action. Trained as an anthropologist, Bond studies oil spills and their imprint on environmental science and governance. His work shows how toxic disruptions can fix vital relations with new forms of knowledge and care.


Bond is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on the scientific measurement and political management of the disastrous qualities of crude oil. He has conducted ethnographic research on leaky refineries in the Caribbean, on the figure of the Keystone XL Pipeline, corporate social responsibility in the tar sands of Alberta, and the scientific and political response to the BP Oil Spill. Bond is currently working on three projects: a critical history of the category of the environment; a collaborative ethnography on the ends of oil in northern Alaska; and a community engaged response to the discovery of the chemical PFOA in Bennington, VT and Hoosick Falls, NY. His research has been supported by Wenner Gren, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and the National Science Foundation; his publications have appeared in Anthropology NowCultural Anthropology, and American Ethnologist. Bond holds a PhD in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research. He has taught on the environment and public action at Bennington since 2013 and is the associate director of the Elizabeth Coleman Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA). He is also co-founder of the Bennington College Prison Education Initiative.

For the academic year Fall 18 – Spring 19, Bond was a Member in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.

Current Research Projects

A Crucian Crucible: Environmental Justice on St. Croix 

Environment: A Disastrous History of the Hydrocarbon Present

The Ends of Oil: Nature and Culture in a Changing Alaska

Understanding PFOA


David Bond. 2022. Negative Ecologies: Fossil Fuels and the Discovery of the Environment (University of California Press). 

So much of what we know of clean water, clean air, and now a stable climate rests on how fossil fuels first disrupted them. Negative Ecologies is a bold reappraisal of the outsized role fossil fuels have played in making the environment visible, factual, and politically operable in North America. 

Peer Reviewed Publications

David Bond. 2022. "Anthropology in an Age of Upheaval: Reflections on Environmental Justice in the American Empire of Oil," Anthropologia Pubblica, 8(1): pp. 157-82.

Daniel Aldana Cohen and David Bond. 2022. "Towards a Theory of Climate Praxis: Confronting Climate Change in a World of Struggle," in Crisis Under Critique, eds. Didier Fassin and Axel Honneth. Columbia UP): pp. 271-292.

David Bond. 2021. "Contamination in Theory and Protest," American Ethnologist, 48(4). 

David Bond. 2021. “What’s Wrong with the White Working Class?,” Anthropology Nowspecial issue on Trumpism, 13(1): pp. 37-43.

Tim Schroeder, David Bond, and Janet Foley. 2021. “PFAS Soil and Groundwater Contamination Via Industrial Airborne Emission and Land Deposition in SW Vermont and Eastern New York State, USA,” Environmental Science: Processes and Impact, Advance Article (Jan 1).

David Bond. 2018. "Environment: Critical Reflections on the Concept," Occasional Papers of the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Paper Number 64 (November). 

David Bond. 2017.​ "Oil in the Caribbean: Refineries, Mangroves, and the Negative Ecologies of Crude Oil," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 59(3): pp. 600-628.

David Bond. 2015. “The Promising Predicament of the Keystone XL Pipeline,” Anthropology Now, 7(1): pp. 20-28.

Lucas Bessire and David Bond. 2014. “Ontological Anthropology and the Deferral of Critique,” American Ethnologist, 41(3): pp. 440-456.

David Bond. 2013. “Governing Disaster: The Political Life of the Environment During the BP Oil Spill,” Cultural Anthropology, 28(4): pp. 694-715.

David Bond. 2011. “The Science of Catastrophe: Making Sense of the BP Oil Spill,” Anthropology Now, 3(1): pp. 36-46.

Ann Laura Stoler and David Bond. 2006. “Refractions Off Empire: Untimely Comparisons in Harsh Times,” Radical History Review (95), pp. 93-107.

Scholarly Contributions

David Bond. 2020. Understanding PFOAMedical Anthropology Quarterly, Critical Care Series (Nov. 16).

David Bond. 2020. A House Divided: Ben Lerner's AmericaAnthropology Now, (12:2): pp. 101-8.

David Bond and John Hultgren. 2020. History, Once More, In the Gear of Social ChangeInternational Karl Polanyi Society Newsletter (June). 

David Bond. 2020. After OilAnthropology News, Climate Issue (March/April): pp. 22-25.

Lucas Bessire and David Bond. 2017. “Introduction: The Rise of Trumpism,” Virtual Issue, Cultural     Anthropology, guest edited by Bessire and Bond, January 18. [most shared collection of CA]

David Bond and Lucas Bessire. 2014. “Ontology: A Difficult Keyword,” Virtual Issue, American Ethnologist, guest edited by Bond and Bessire, September 25.

David Bond and Lucas Bessire. 2014. “The Ontological Spin,” Fieldsights—Commentary, Cultural Anthropology Online, February 28.

Zohra Beben. 2013. “Interview with David Bond,” Cultural Anthropology Online, November 15.

David Bond. 2013. “Crude Domination?,” The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 18(3): pp. 527-9.

David Bond. 2013. “What Was Lost in the BP Oil Spill?,” Anthropology Now, 5(3): pp. 97-101.

Public Engagements

David Bond. 2022. "Can the Refinery Save St. Croix?St. Croix Source (Sept 5).

David Bond, Frandelle Gerard, Sommer Sibilly-Brown, and Jennifer Valiulis. 2022. "Refining Reality: What Really Happened Last Year?St. Croix Source (Aug 22).

David Bond. 2021. "Forever Chemicals and the Contamination Crisis in the US," Interview on KALW, San Francisco (Nov 1).

David Bond. 2021. “Are PFAS Too Toxic To Fail?,” The Guardian (Oct 24).

David Bond. 2021. "A Crucian Parable," Stabroek News (Aug 9).

David Bond. 2021. "Are We Being Kept Safe From 'Forever Chemicals' Being Injected at Fracking Sites?The Guardian (July 21).

David Bond. 2021. "A Crucian Crucible: Exploding the Impossible Continuum of Now," a six part historical series in the St. Croix Source (May-June). 

David Bond. 2021. “The US Military is Poisoning Communities across the US with Toxic Chemicals,” The Guardian (Mar 25).

David Bond, Janet Foley, and Tim Schroeder. 2020. Ban All Incineration of PFAS in New York, Op-Ed in Times Union (May 31): D2.

David Bond, Jakub Crcha, and Shachi Mokashi. 2019. Oil Train Smuggles Deadly Risk into our Backyards, Again, Op-Ed in Bennington Banner (Oct 18).

David Bond. 2018. PFOA Victims Deserve Medical Monitoring, Health Care, Op-Ed in Times Union (Aug 21).

David Bond, Janet Foley, and Tim Schroeder. 2018. New Research Suggests PFOA Contamination Far More Extensive Than Originally ThoughtBennington Banner (Aug 2): A6.

David Bond and Jorja Rose. 2018. Saint-Gobain's Claims Don't Hold WaterVermont Digger (May 20).

David Bond. 2017. Oil Trains in Bennington: Context and Concerns, Bennington Banner (Nov 26): A6.

David Bond and Phoebe Cohen. 2017. “Dismantling EPA: What This Means for Vermont,” Op-Ed in Bennington Banner (Feb 1): pp. A6.