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Carolyn Lesorogol

Associate Professor
PhD, Washington University
Carolyn Lesorogol

Phone: (314) 935-8232


Research interests:

International social development

Capacity building and participatory development

Institutional change

Political economy

Ethnographic research


Dr. Lesorogol researches international social development and the dynamics of social change processes. Her work in these areas is conducted through intensive fieldwork in rural Kenya in East Africa. Using a combination of ethnographic approaches and quantitative and qualitative methods, she investigates the impetus for and impacts of social change. Her recent book, Contesting the Commons (2008) explains the transition from communal to private property among Samburu pastoralists, examining the economic and social outcomes of this change in property rights. She continues to analyze the long term changes in land-use patterns and social norms flowing from privatization. Her ongoing, NSF-funded research involves linking household decision-making to ecological conditions combining household-level data and agent-based and simulation computer modeling to examine diverse scenarios for land use.

In addition, she designs and implements capacity building community programs to enhance quality of life and opportunities for social development in rural Kenyan communities. Currently, she is working with a community association in Kenya to introduce a highly productive breed of dairy goats that will improve household nutrition and income as well as build the community’s capacity to implement and evaluate innovative initiatives. View the video on the project here

Dr. Lesorogol is also collaborating on community-based conservation projects in Madagascar and child nutrition research in Haiti.
Dr. Lesorogol’s research and community development work strongly informs the master’s level classes in international development theory and practice that she teaches at the Brown School, where she serves as coordinator of the Social and Economic Development concentration. She also teaches a doctoral level course in Qualitative Research Methods.


  • Read more about Dr. Lesorogol's work and her book titled "Contesting the Commons"



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