People / In Memoriam

Rachel Schurman

Rachel Schurman was the first woman to serve on the core faculty of the Energy and Resources Group. She came to Berkeley as a Ciriacy-Wantrup postdoctoral fellow in 1993 and joined the faculty the next year as an assistant professor. Her appointment was split between the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Sociology. She taught environmental sociology with a development perspective in courses jointly offered between ERG and Sociology and co-taught social science methods in ERG.  In late 1998, Rachel and her husband, Michael Goldman, were both offered professorships at the University of Illinois, an offer Berkeley failed to match, and then several years later they moved to the University of Minnesota. Though her five years at Berkeley were far too brief, she had a memorable impact on the lives of her students while calmly deepening and expanding the ERG faculty‘s conception of their program.

Professor Schurman earned her undergraduate and Master of Science degrees in economics. She earned her PhD in sociology and rural sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1993. Her PhD research documented how neoliberal economic policies affected the fishing industry in southern Chile. At Berkeley, Professor Schurman along with Professors Norgaard and Rochlin developed ERG’s first social science methods course. Rachel’s advice was in extremely high demand because of the high quality of her guidance. She chaired the PhD research committees of Dennis Takahashi Kelso on the risks of ocean salmon farming and of W. Scott Prudham on the old growth timber crisis in the Pacific Northwestern US. She also served on the PhD committees of William Boyd, Navroz Dubash, Dara O’Rourke, and Thomas Sikor, and also worked with many ERG masters students.