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Professor Richard York received his B.S. in Psychology from Southern Oregon State College in 1994, his M.S. in Environmental Studies from Bemidji State University in 1997, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington State University in 2002.  He joined the University of Oregon in 2002, and is now Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies.  He is an environmental sociologist whose work combines human ecology and political economy.  He is both a theorist and an empirical researcher, who primarily uses quantitative methods.

One focus of his research is on how the structural characteristics of societies, including demographic, economic, and technological factors, influence levels of resource consumption and pollution emissions.  Additionally, he examines the connections between animals and societies.  He also studies the sociology, philosophy, and history of science.