Kirk S. Lawrence, Ph.D.

Kirk S. Lawrence, Ph.D.

Associate Chairperson, Human Relations Coordinator and Associate Professor of Sociology

Social Sciences LI
Sociology LI
Human Relations LI


Long Island

  • 631.687.4579
  • O'Connor Hall, Room E108


Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Riverside

M.A., Sociology, DePaul University

B.A., Financial Administration, Michigan State University


Dr. Lawrence joined St. Joseph's University, New York in 2011. He teaches courses in Environment and Society (part of the environmental studies minor), Globalization, Research Methods, and Sociological Theory. Prior to his arrival at St. Joseph's, Dr. Lawrence taught at the University of California, Riverside, California State University at Long Beach, and the University of La Verne in La Verne, California.

Scholarly & Professional Interests

Dr. Lawrence developed his research interests as a student and research assistant at the Institute for Research on World-Systems at the University of California, Riverside. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of environmental sociology, political economy and social evolution.

He is currently working on a book that will detail research on the history of shellfish production in the waters surrounding Long Island. The research, conducted with John Antonacci, an SJC sociology graduate and current Ph.D. candidate at SUNY Binghamton, and supported by the College’s summer research and faculty development small grants, draws from data gathered from archival investigation, shellfish catch statistics from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, and interviews with people in the oyster (and clam) industry, including indigenous historians, oyster hatchery workers, farmers, distributors, promoters, and consumers. 

His dissertation considered the evolution of energy, power and environmental degradation over the last two centuries in the modern world-system. His work has appeared in a number of journals and books, including the International Journal of Comparative Sociology, the Journal of World-Systems Research, Globalization and the New Semi-Peripheries (edited by Owen Worth and Phoebe Moore, 2009, Palgrave Macmillan), Sociological Perspectives (with Dr. Seth Abrutyn), Global Society (with Dr. Christopher Chase-Dunn) and Social Change, Resistance and Social Practices (edited by R. D. Buono and D. Fasenfest, 2010, Boston, MA: Brill).

Select Publications

“The Degradation of Nature and the Growth of Environmental Concern: Toward a Theory of the Capture and Limits of Ecological Value,” with Seth Abrutyn. 2015. Human Ecology Review 21(1):87-108. 

“Urban Scale Shifts Since the Bronze Age: Upsweeps, Collapses and Semiperipheral Development,” with Hiroko Inoue, Alexis Álvarez, Eugene N. Anderson, Andrew Owen, Rebecca Álvarez,and Christopher Chase-Dunn. Social Science History 39(2):175-200.

“Global Environmentalists and their Movements at the World Social Forums,” with Matheu Kaneshiro and Christopher Chase-Dunn. 2012. Chp. 10 in The Handbook of the World Social Forums, edited by J. Smith, E. Reese, S. Byrd, and E. Smythe, eds. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

“The Thermodynamics of Unequal Exchange: Energy Use, CO2 Emissions, and GDP in the World-System, 1975-2005.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology. 2009. 50(3-4): 335-359.

“The Next Three Futures, Part 1: Looming Crises of Global Inequality, Ecological Degradation, and a Failed System of Global Governance,” with Christopher Chase-Dunn. 2011. Global Society 25(2): 137-154.

“Chiefdom to State: Toward an Integrative Theory of the Evolution of Polity,” with Seth Abrutyn. Sociological Perspectives. 2010. 53(3): 419-442.


"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
— Henry David Thoreau