Carolyn Lesorogol

Carolyn Kornfeld Lesorogol, a beloved professor for 20 years at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, died Thursday, May 17, 2023, of cancer. She was 58.

Carolyn Lesorogol researches international social development to understand how dynamic social change processes affect the well-being of families and communities. Using ethnography and mixed methods, she investigates the transition from communal to private land among Samburu pastoralists in Kenya, and its long term effects on land-use, cooperation, social norms and livelihoods.

Her recent work combines ethnography, household-level data, and agent-based and simulation computer modeling to examine how household land-use decisions affect ecological and well-being indicators. She is currently studying the formation, operation and impact of community-based wildlife conservancies in Samburu County, Kenya.

Lesorogol also designs and implements capacity building community programs including work with a community association in Kenya introducing a highly productive breed of dairy goats to improve household nutrition and income.

Lesorogol is currently on the editorial boards of the journal Economic Anthropology and the monograph series Research in Economic Anthropology. She has served on the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association (2017-2019) and served as Associate Dean for Global Strategy and Programs at the Brown School (2014-2020), leading the school’s development of global initiatives and educational programs. Lesorogol currently teaches master’s classes in international social development theory and practice and the doctoral course in qualitative research.

Carolyn Lesorogol

Areas of Focus:

  • International social development
  • Capacity building and participatory development
  • Institutional change
  • Political economy
  • Ethnographic research

Featured Publications

Modeling Coupled Human–Natural Systems of Pastoralism in East Africa

Which way forward? Using simulation models and ethnography to understand changing livelihoods among Kenyan pastoralists in a “new commons”
International Journal of the Commons

Animal milk sustains micronutrient nutrition and child anthropometry among pastoralists in Samburu, Kenya
American journal of physical anthropology